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Jeremy & Mattie Benbrooks — SMART 2017 missionary hosts
Christ gave a command to
reach the uttermost parts of the
world just before He ascended
into Heaven. For the disciples
who heard Christ’s words, this
likely conjured up ideas of far
off places such as Ethiopia (Homer, in the Odyssey, referred to Ethiopia as the
“end of the world”). Perhaps they would have thought of a long voyage, difficult
logistics, and most certainly cultural differences. Philip didn’t make the trip all
the way to Ethiopia, but he did obey the Holy Spirit and shared Christ with the
Ethiopian official he encountered in Gaza (Acts 8).

Times have changed—a lot! Modern conveniences such as airplanes, vehicles,
grocery stores, and the internet, make the journey to Africa simpler. However,
the call of the Holy Spirit to go to the ends of the earth (and everywhere in
between) remains unchanged. For eight SMART team members (plus the
Baughmans), Africa was truly the uttermost part, but they answered the call to
come despite the difficulties they encountered.

They experienced ministry in the city and in the village. They taught the Gospel
to children who attend school and to children who grow up in the fields.

They met educated men training to be pastors, and they met a village chief
who gave his life to Christ and changed the direction of his village. But they
also learned that the remarkable doesn’t happen by chance—the remarkable
happens through the work of the Holy Spirit and after years of faithful efforts
by someone directed by God to go.

Just as God used Gaza and the Ethiopian official as a preparation for future
ministry for Philip (he is later seen working in churches in the area of
Caesarea), we believe that God used the SMART trip to prepare the team for
future ministry. Regardless of where each serves, we pray that SMART showed
them the importance of being used by God wherever He leads.

Note: the SMART trip to Togo was only possible through the efforts of a team
of missionaries. We are grateful for co-hostess Lisa Lewis (CB I ‘00b, CB II
’01) and Randy and Jeanette Alderman, 30-year veterans of Togo, who were all
instrumental in making it happen!
Jeremy (CB I ’04b, CB II ’05) and Mattie (CB I ’02b, CB
II ’03, SM ’04) Benbrooks serve as missionaries in French-
speaking West Africa.