…an active missionary under LightShine Ministries. My financial account, with which I receive tax-deductible donations will be closed on 9/30/2019.
I will still be considered a youth minister and my credentials will remain valid through the end of this year. However, I will be entering a season of transition and letting go of the majority of my ministry responsibilities as I enter a season of furlough/a sabbatical. I will keep this blog active and my monthly newsletters to stay in touch. I will also keep my social media going as well. I still hope to share updates at my home church and any church that decides to support me during this next season. The on-going communications are why I hesitate to say “all” responsibilities.
So why the change you may ask? Hopefully, you’ve been reading along as I began this
“I am/I have” series. The main reason is my mental health that took a plummet this past Spring. The plummet resulted in suicide ideation and required inpatient hospitalization to pull out of it. The other reason is I simply want to “be” where I am living. By that I mean whether I’m in Glennallen or Wasilla, or one day another country/state I want to BE there and BE among the people AS someone who lives there (capitals for emphasis). If I could do anything differently I would go back and go to Glennallen, Alaska as a “youth minister” and not a “missionary.” Many people in the Copper River Valley are familiar with the term missionary. However, some of those familiarities are not all positive. As a result, I had a lot of myths to dispel and to convince a lot of people I wanted to stay there. Each year, whenever I would take a short break to visit family and friends and to fundraise back in Pennsylvania, I would often be asked a question. Something to the effect of “Are you moving…?” Now, I’m not saying Alaska is my forever home as I am someone who lives a more transient lifestyle. Even the locals in Alaska move around within Alaska pretty often. That said, wherever I’m living I want to be seen as a local, and not a missionary on a pre-determined time stamp.
As I have gone through this internal process, it became clear to LightShine and me that our ministry goals no longer aligned. It was time to end my contract with them and part ways. This process began back on June 5th, something that I initiated. I am very thankful for all the inroads they laid before my arrival. They have been an avenue of support as people could donate to the endeavors I was pioneering. This is NOT (again capitals for emphasis) a decision I made hastily. It is something I have talked about with mentors, close friends, and family for nearly six months. I wish LightShine the best as they continue to build their nearly acquired headquarters in Palmer, AK. They have short-term mission options that are similar to what Habitat for Humanity does but for churches, ministries, missionaries/pastors, and villages.
The honest truth from a former missionary,
Author: A.P. Smither
Editor: P.J. Walk
Special thanks to my mom who has proofread my rough draft of this blog and my previous one. Love you mom and am so thankful for all of you and dad’s support during this difficult time.