Williamsburg—In 2012, University of the Cumberlands alumna April Smith, of Corbin, came face to face with the question that plagues every graduating senior: Now what?
As a student, she studied human services and religion and being heavily involved with international ministries—doing everything from coordinating events to participating as a conversation partner—she knew that she wanted to reach out to people with a heart of Jesus. She didn’t know what this would look like beyond her school years, but she was confident in the hands that would guide her future.
“Campus Minister Dean Whitaker encouraged me that in every season it is important to be present and the future will take care of itself,” Smith said.
It was those words that have resonated with Smith over the past two years as she has been serving with the North American Mission Board.
In the summer of 2013, Smith began working with NAMB, doing youth and children’s ministry with Oh Be Joyful Baptist Church of Colorado. While serving in Colorado, she felt God pointing her back to New York City.
“I went to NYC with Acts1:8 ministries as a student at UC, but I had no intentions of ever going back. God obviously had different plans,” Smith said.
As her short stint in Colorado was wrapping up, she still had a longing to be on the mission field.
As Smith sought out the next destination, God was planting road signs directing her pathway. Her home church, Immanuel Baptist in Corbin, had connections with Pastor Nathan Tubbs of Cornerstone Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. After long conversations with Tubbs and connections between the two churches, Smith knew this was the confirmation she needed.
“It wasn’t until the summer as I was finishing up with Oh Be Joyful in Colorado that God started pressing Cornerstone on my heart,” she said. “Through prayer and connection, God brought me here.”
Over the past year, Smith served with Cornerstone through NAMB as a church plant intern. She has learned that flexibility is key when it comes to ministry. From teaching children to administrative duties to coordinating women’s ministry, Smith has learned what it means to truly serve and trust in God.
“I have learned to walk dependently on God and to let go of my plans and lean into His,” Smith said.
“Coming here taught me that we have to go deeper than spelling out sacrifice,” she said. “It was hard to leave everything, but I knew it was worth it.”
Smith finished up her adventure as a church plant intern with Cornerstone on Nov. 1. With plans to continue being involved with missions, Smith returned home to Corbin, where she will continue seeking what God has in store for her.
With a willing heart that is seeking to serve God, she can rest assured that God will use her yet again. (UC)