Advance Magazine
Fall 2023

Class of 2023: Anna Smith

Ministry: Slovakia

Sending Church: First Baptist Church—Elyria, Ohio

Throughout spring 2022, Anna grew increasingly uncomfortable and dissatisfied with her life. After getting a degree in music and missions in 2021, she hesitated moving forward. Pursuing missions seemed scary for her as a single person. Anna is an only child, and her father has physical limitations—two other factors making missions a harder choice. Instead, she got a job in her college town. When her boss unexpectedly let her go after several months, Anna had to face that the job wasn’t God’s long-term plan. It was missions.

In 2018, she had interned at BMM’s Global Ministry Center, so in September 2022 she reached out to Travis and Becky Gravley in BMM’s Enlistment Department. Surveying her interests and skills, they connected her to Slovakia missionaries Don and LeAnne Waite.

To Anna’s surprise, the Waites said they could really use her the next month. The time frame seemed too short to make arrangements, but Anna thought back to when she broke her leg during a youth group trip. Far from home, she sat in an ER dealing with medication side effects. She did the only things she knew to do: she prayed and sang “I Need Thee Every Hour.” God gave her so much peace that the medical staff couldn’t believe her transformation. God took care of Anna then, and He would now. Within three weeks, she had her funds and plane tickets.

Anna felt an instant connection with the Waites and their Slovakian church members. She participated in virtually all their ministries, including ESL classes, music and children’s ministry, and World Relief ministry in Ukraine. At the end of Anna’s three months, both the Waites and their church members were unanimous: “We want you back!”

Anna felt no doubts herself. She saw how few doctrinally sound churches are available in Slovakia. Some church members travel two hours to attend. Church members are so hungry for good doctrine that the church started a Bible institute. When Anna returns full-time, she wants to serve any way she can, especially through music, art, and ESL. With her help, the Waites can do far more, enabling them to make God’s truth more accessible in this spiritually needy country.

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