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Russ and Heidi Smith

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Russ and Heidi Smith

Serving In: Chile
Ministry: Theological and Childrens Ministry

SAMS Role: Missionaries

Home Church: St. Mark’s, Geneva IL

Starting Year with SAMS: 1986 as a couple (Russ in ‘85, Heidi in ’79)

Calling to Ministry: Russ perceived the missionary call at age 14 and spent the next 15 years preparing. This included majoring in Spanish, short-term mission trips, seminary and SAMS training.

Heidi (Hawkins) was originally resistant to the idea of being a missionary. “At 18, I told God that the one thing I didn’t want to do with my life was be a missionary!” However, meeting missionary kids during her years at Wheaton College and surrendering her will and her plans to the Lordship of Christ changed that, Heidi perceived that her life-long desire to be a teacher was being re-directed by God into a missionary call. Heidi participated in the first SAMS missionary training class in 1979 and went to Peru.

The Lord brought Russ and Heidi together when Heidi was serving on SAMS home staff following her first term of missionary service. One of her jobs was to help with missionary training. The training class of 1984 was a class of one - and his name was Russ Smith! The rest is history: Russ and Heidi were married in February of 1986, went to Chile that August, and have been serving with SAMS there ever since. Their four children, Joel, Joshua, Joyanne, and Jocelyn were born and raised in Chile.

Mission and Vision for Ministry: The Smith’s overall vision is to share the Gospel and “make disciples… who will obey everything Christ commands.” They do that by working within the Anglican Church of Chile and beyond.

Specifically, they aim to:

  • Raise awareness that Jesus calls the Chilean Church to send out missionaries.
  • Pastor the parish(es) the Church calls them to
  • Teach (and learn) through ministries focused on evangelism and theological education
  • Serve in the opportunities God gives them, such as working with children, teaching English, etc.

Russ and Heidi seek to invest their lives in what will outlive them.

Personal Points of Interest: Russ likes languages, genealogy, and gardening. Originally from Central Illinois, Las Vegas is his “hometown.” He studied Spanish at UNLV and Oral Roberts University, receiving B.A. in ’79. His M. Div. was from Trinity School for Ministry in ’84. He was ordained a priest in Chile in 1994.

Heidi is passionate person who loves to communicate with loved ones near and far. Although Heidi has always used teaching in ministry, she particularly enjoyed teaching missionary kids at Santiago Christian Academy for seven years, fulfilling the dream God put in her heart so many years ago.

Favorite Bible Verse:
Heidi: Jeremiah 29:11
Russ: Psalm 67:5

Read Russ & Heidi's Blog