Embracing the Simple Things 


We had just checked in to another hotel. (This was the third one in the last 4 days) We unloaded the car, grabbed the luggage cart (more on this later), and headed up to our room. As always, Kinsley had to be the one to press the elevator buttons and use the key to open the door to the room. 

As we made our way inside I was focused on figuring out who would sleep where. We had been upgraded to a suite that had one giant king bed and a sofa that pulled out into a bed. As I was unloading the cart, I heard a little voice ask me if I wanted creamer in my coffee. I turned around to see Kinsley up on the counter of the bar, stirring up a concoction of water, sugar and who knows what else. Her smile was humongous as she took our drink orders and quickly served up our “coffees” to us. 

For the next 24 hours this little counter was her whole world. Her dream of being a barista had come true and she was loving every second of it. Where I saw nothing, she saw everything. 

The next morning we went to breakfast just as the buffet was about to close. I chatted with the lady working and learned that she was from Cuba. When I told her that I had been there, her face changed completely. It was a mixture of pain and happiness rolled into one look. I pulled out my phone and began showing her pictures of places that she had not seen in over 20 years. As we scrolled through the streets and faces of Cuba, tears began to fill her eyes. To me they were simple pictures on my phone, but to her they were everything. Our simple breakfast turned into an eye opening history lesson and a new friendship. 

Checkout time was quickly approaching and it was time to load up the ol luggage cart once again. Addi and Colt went to retrieve it and had only been gone about 60 seconds when the phone in our room began to ring….it was the front desk. I quickly ran through the possibilities of what in the world an 8 year old and 10 year old could get into in under a minute but I never would have guessed this one. 
In the competitive race to be the first to the cart, Colt had made a mad dash in the final stretch. His only mistake, not realizing that the door he was running through was not a door at all. Hilton keeps their windows and doors very clean, so clean in fact that Colt ran straight into it at full speed. The front desk was calling to tell us that he was on the couch in the lobby and that we might want to come down. 

We arrived downstairs to 3 ladies from the front office staff and Colt hanging out on the couches. He was far more embarrassed than hurt and reeeeaaally wanted to get back to loading up the car. One of the ladies asked him if some chocolate ice cream would help his knee feel better. To a multi billion dollar hotel chain it was nothing, but to Colt it was everything. His embarrassing epidsode and knee pain quickly went away and so did the chocolate ice cream in front of him. 

After we left I kept hearing the kids talk about the lady from breakfast, the “Starbucks” in our room and the Ice Cream Hotel. All very simple moments but ones that have a way of sticking in a kid’s mind for many years to come. 

This week we are traveling through Florida, doing our best to raise money for our orphans and pastors in India. We have many “BIG” moments on the calendar, but I am learning to pay attention to the little ones as well.
 

This week be on the lookout for the simple. Take time to appreciate moments or people that you may normally overlook in the business of life. If you need help, spend some time with a child, they sure have an awesome way of reminding us just how fun life can be. 


-Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop Missions, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.

Why They Attacked US


9/11/2001 revealed America’s most extreme enemies. It showed us men that hated everything we stand for as a Nation. That day reminded us that, unlike other countries, we operate in a way that threatens everything some of our enemies cling to with their beliefs. Continue reading Why They Attacked US

What if… 


I still remember the first time I heard “what if” in a negative way. I actually said it to myself right before my friend, Rebekah and I rode my Little Tikes green tractor and trailer down the steep hill in my back yard. As we were contemplating what we were about to do, I kept thinking “what if we wreck, what if we go straight into the trees, and what if this hurts.”

We ultimately decided to just go for it, and the end result was awesome! We hit speeds beyond what that little tractor was made for and quickly ran up the hill to do it again. 

I think many times in life, we limit what we will attempt because we allow ourselves and people around us to scare us into worrying about “what if”. What if you don’t make any money, what if it doesn’t work, what if you end up getting hurt. The excitement that an idea once brought is quickly replaced by fear and worry over something that you’re not even sure is going to actually happen. 

Decisions should be thought out, ideas prayed over and risk assessed, but at some point I think we need to focus on the “what if this actually works” part. 

A few weeks ago I made a video, posted it on Facebook and sat back to see if there was going to be any response. I told my wife that it was either going to go viral or flop….it didn’t flop. The end result was even bigger than the “what if this actually works” that I had imagined. 

We ended up raising almost $25,000 for our orphanage in India and I made a ton of awesome new friends in the process. I was completely blown away at what the video accomplished, and I am so thankful that I followed through with the idea God put on my heart.

As you go through your day today, allow yourself to think “what if” in a positive way. Think big, dream a little and picture what could happen…and then do something to get you closer to making it a reality. 

Start a business, give someone a chance or just look for ways to serve in bigger ways than you have ever imagined. You will fail; you will get hurt. But when that one “what if” comes true, it will be totally worth the bumps and bruises you earned along the way. 

It always was on the little green tractor.

What I Noticed About My Mom


I was blessed to have a mom that spent a ton of time with me when I was a kid. Not only did she spend time on the sidelines at all of my activities, she also allowed me to be a part of her life as well. Looking back on my childhood here are a few things I remember:

1. Mom had a good arm
In a family of all-boys we spent a lot of time in the yard throwing a ball back and forth. Whenever I needed someone to throw to, Mom was always there to fire the ball right back…with some speed and accuracy. I don’t remember what kind of purse she carried or what brand of shoes she wore, but I do know that she could throw a ball better than most kid’s dads. The best part wasn’t even that she could, it was that she would…anytime we asked.

2. Mom had huge heart
My parents never had a large salary, they have been in ministry since I was born. But even without the extra money I still watched as my mom would feed anyone and everyone that would say yes to a lunch or dinner invitation. Friends, church visitors, Virginia Tech quarterbacks, and even the random guy that walked up and down our road all frequented our house for mom’s special Sunday lunch of roast, carrots and potatoes. Oreo delight for dessert was a favorite for everyone.

My mom learned this way of life from her mom, who has given away just about every penny she ever earned. Looking back, I don’t remember the exact annual income we had as a family but I do remember this: We sure had a lot more fun giving than we ever did receiving.

3. Mom had open arms
I don’t remember one moment in my lifetime when I have needed my mom and she wasn’t there. (Even when I had a nurse call from the hospital I was in after being blown up in Iraq, mom was there to answer the phone.) Like most moms, she was there to drive us wherever we needed to go, but she was also there every time we needed to come home. She has always been the one I could go to about anything – and the good part was, about 99% of the time I could count on her to take my side. I can only imagine how hectic her life must have been being a pastor’s wife and mom to three boys. The truth is, it never once felt like mom was busy, she was always just there…right where we needed her to be.

4. Mom had a big mouth
She still does too…sorry mom. 😔

She was quick to tell us all the reasons the girl we were talking to just wasn’t a good choice. She was always very persuasive when she found out about trouble we had gotten into, always ending with, “Just be glad I found out and not your Dad.”

Mom talked a lot.

She talked about Jesus. She told us that putting our trust in Him was the best decision we could ever make.

She talked about church. Despite the fact that she had been in ministry and seen the good and bad, she still told us how important it was for us to have a church family in our lives.

She talked about our future. She encouraged us to dream big and never settle for anything in life. She told us that God made us unique and that there were things in life that we were made to accomplish. She told us so often we still believe it.

She talked about Heaven. She told us that things on this earth really aren’t that important and that one day we are all going to die. She often said, “What will it matter in Eternity?” She not only pointed out the things that wouldn’t matter, she also took the time to teach us the things that would.

I know as a kid there are many things I should have noticed about my mom that I probably missed. I never recognized a new haircut or dress, or congratulated her on an accomplishment at work.

I’m sure I missed plenty, but I think Mom made sure I noticed the important things.


Author Image AndrewAndrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Assistant Director of Rooftop Missions, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.

Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.

Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.

He has also owns and operates a small business -Yellow Dawg Striping – in Southwest Virginia.

Should Christians Always Give In Secret?

Anyone who has read the first four verses of Mathew chapter six knows that the Bible clearly tells us not to announce in a prideful way when and how we give to others or the church. It even goes so far as to say that we shouldn’t let our left hand know what our right hand is doing when it comes to giving to those that need it. Most people I know follow these verses to the letter, and quietly bless many lives and ministries around them. I personally think we may be messing up, however.  Continue reading Should Christians Always Give In Secret?

To The Pastor Looking To Drop Us 

 

This week has been without a doubt one of the most amazing of my life. I am currently in India, spending time with the staff and 76 orphans at the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home. We have laughed together, cried together and spent many hours planning for the future. I have sat down in a leprosy colony discussing our partnership and how we can do more to help those suffering from that awful disease. I have held 2 little girls whose parents died of AIDS and I loved them in spite of the virus that the girls also carry. I have been able to tell all of these precious children just how much Jesus loves them and that His love is one that will never forsake them. And then I woke up to this: 

“Our church feels that your focus has changed from that which was presented here years ago and we have many other missionary endeavors that God is leading us to pursue. We have sent our final check for the remainder of 2016. We do wish you God’s continued blessings on the work.” 

And just like that, the pastor had dropped us. 

This wasn’t the first letter I have received like this and I am sure it won’t be the last. Here is what I would like to say to the pastor looking to drop us though…

1. Our focus has changed and we will continue to adapt to the needs and opportunities God places in our lives. 



While our focus may change, our mission has not and will not. Our goal is still and always will be to share the Gospel to the unreached, to start churches, train leaders and show the love of Christ to every single person that we possibly can. 

2. If you are looking for a reason to drop us, you will find it. 

We will never agree on every single thing. You will see something at some point that will upset you. We are human. There will be pictures of me in shorts…because it gets hot in India and Cuba. There will be drums and dancing because that is a major part of other cultures. I will have a beard, quite simply because I want one. This stuff might sound silly to some, but all of the things above are reasons pastors gave for not giving to our ministry anymore. Yeah..seriously. 

3. Understand that you really don’t have a clue

I spent 11 years on staff at a local church. I saw the videos, took the missionaries out to eat and occasionally read the updates that came in from around the world. Looking back, I had no idea what each of these missionaries faced on a daily basis and in reality you do not either. I have been in missions for one year and my mind has been blown at some of the experiences I have faced. Plans can be made but “Plan A-D usually get thrown out pretty quickly. World politics, local governments, weather, family, currency exchange, war, disease and more all impact what we do on a daily basis. Sometimes our focus HAS to change. 

To the pastors, churches and individuals that continue to support us in spite of our mistakes, failures and shortcomings…Thank You. You will never know just how encouraging you are to our families and just how much that encouragement is needed at times. We do not take you for granted and are honored that we can partner together to spread the Gospel across the world. Jesus promised us that He would be the same yesterday, today and forever. He didn’t say however that our methods for spreading the Gospel were to be as well. Right now we are in Cuba, India and the Dominican Republic…but that may change. There are refugees that need to be saved, war torn countries that need the love of Christ and many persecuted Christians that need our support. God may change our focus to these places in the future and I pray that you will join us as we seek to glorify Him in all that we do. That is my single greatest goal every single day…I just happen to wear shorts and have a beard.  

Andrew Smith

Assistant Director of Rooftop Missions 

*Nothing that I will ever write will be without mistakes and this blog post is no different. After receiving feedback, here are a few things I would like to clear up. 

1. The picture is not of a baptism. I was helping our orphans with their showers. Things aren’t always how you perceive them to be. 

2. I believe that churches can support whoever they want to. My issue is when a pastor feels like his standards are God’s standards. Dropping a missionary is a big deal and the reasons should be biblical and clearly communicated to the missionary or organization. Someone with a pastor’s heart will cherish this opportunity to help someone grow, not ignore their calls after sending them a letter. 

3. Pastors do have a “clue” about missions, just not a full understanding. I tried to use myself as an example here hoping that you would see where I was coming from…many of you missed the point. 

2015 in Review

Do you ever get asked the question, “What have you been up to lately?” Whether it is someone who is genuinely interested or just a person making conversation, it opens a door for us to describe how we have been spending our time. This article is a look back at our first year serving with Rooftop Missions. In short, I want to share with you what I have been up to in 2015.  Continue reading 2015 in Review

Why Not?

Such a great mindset for us all to have going into 2016!

Pastor Ken Spicer Journal

Positive,Intentional,Generous

In 2016 we can commit to making a difference in the lives of others and seeing a better life in every conceivable way. I believe God has given us a message for 2016 that has to do with being Positive, Intentional and Generous in all that we do. So often we default to living such a small and limited existence when God has put the world in our hearts. Jesus said you are the light of the world (Matt 5:14) and that we were commissioned to go to the utter most parts of the earth.(Acts 1:8) I believe that! I believe our lives are intended to be given for others in more ways than we can imagine.

What are some ways we can be Positive, Intentional and Generous? How about to write a song, a blog or a book? How about to learn a new thing about our profession or…

View original post 122 more words

Life as a Combat Veteran: What I’m reminded of on Veteran’s Day 

   
I love seeing my news feed on Veteran’s Day. The old pictures, the memories and the conversation between former combat brothers makes me smile…and sometimes bust out laughing. It is through those pictures and other moments on this day that I am reminded of a few things. 

1. I’m not Special. 

It seems that due to the amount of phone calls, texts and messages that I receive that I would feel the opposite, but I don’t. Each Veteran’s Day I am reminded that, like me, millions of other men and women have answered the call to serve our country. Like me, many have been wounded. Just like me, they have left family and friends to serve wherever their branch needed them to go. It is certainly a special brotherhood to be a part of, but I am just one of many who have sacrificed on behalf of our country. 

2. America is Grateful. 

While there will always be extremists on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to any issue, I truly believe that most Americans appreciate what the members of the military have done and continue to do. The posts of gratitude are heartfelt, sincere and come from just about every person that we know. You may say that it is only a status update and doesn’t require much effort, but I appreciate each and every person that takes a moment to remember. 

3. Freedom is Worth the Cost. 

This is a hard point to write and to think about, but it is true. The cost of freedom is not cheap but it is necessary. If the alternative means sacrificing our freedoms of religion, speech and so many more, then I think we all would agree that we must continue to defend the way of life we all hold dear. As I write this I realize that the future battles of the United States will not be fought by myself or my military brothers. It will be up to future generations to carry on the tradition of service, sacrifice and duty. This could include our own children. While this thought makes me cringe inside as a parent,I know that the freedoms we hold dear will not go without future attacks. 

So this Veteran’s Day take the time to thank those who served our county. As a group, they are special and are worthy of our gratitude. Also take a moment to discuss with your children what this day means and why it is so important. For it is their generation that the responsibility of our freedom will be handed to one day. 

Praying that God continues to bless America! 

                     –Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.

https://give.rooftopmissions.com/rooftopmissions

Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/asmith
http://www.facebook.com/thepurpleheartvet 

Life as a Combat Veteran: When We Fail To Respond 

  

If you read any of my blog posts, make it this one. Veteran’s Day is approaching and I want to share something that has been on my heart for a long time. 

Many times throughout the year I will have  someone post a comment or send me a message thanking me for my service in the Armed Forces. When I see these comments I am humbled, grateful and most of the time unsure of how to respond. It is many times awkward. Here is why: 

1. When I share a picture of my time in the service, I am not looking for a response. 

OK, OK,  I do enjoy getting a few likes, but that is not why most of us veterans share pictures. Sometimes we come across an old photo that never made it to social media. Sometimes something happens where we feel the need to post something encouraging for the brothers we served with. Every once in awhile we just need to go on an old fashioned rant to clear up where we stand on an issue. Other times we simply want to remember an anniversary that is meaningful to us. 

2. Your simple “Thank You” means more than you will ever know. 

It’s not that you said “Thank You” to me, it is just the fact that you took the time to say it. Every time someone thanks me for my service, deep down I am praying that other veterans are thanked just as often as I am. I feel proud to know so many people that appreciate the sacrifices that have been made on their behalf. 

3. Your words about my service bring up memories and emotion. 

When someone says, “I’m sure you saw some terrible things over there”, usually I immediately start to think about some of those moments. Ask any combat veteran, and they will tell you, once the memories start rolling it usually takes awhile to process all the emotion it brings to the surface. After reading some messages of thanks, it may be hours before I move on to something else. Which brings me to my last point. 

4. Sometimes I don’t know how to respond. 

I can’t just say “You’re Welcome”. I want to say, “No, Thank You” but that just seems weird. I want to pour my heart out to each and every person and tell them about how much I loved serving in the military and how I miss it more than they could possibly understand. I really want to defer the attention off of myself and ask that people look up the names of Tyler Southern, Omar Avila and Jason Redman so that they can meet some true heroes. I think about guys like Ross McGinnis and Patrick Lybert who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and I pray deep down that people don’t forget to be thankful for what they gave so that we could be free. 

With a post like this, I am sure there will be some of you who want to thank me or the veteran who shares this link but here is what I challenge you to do instead. This Veteran’s Day, stop by a VA hospital near where you live or maybe even a local nursing home, and find a veteran who could really use your thanks. Find a WW2, Korean or Vietnam vet who doesn’t have social media and take the time to be perhaps the only person who will show appreciation for what they did in service to our country. If you want to thank me, thank them, because that would be the greatest way to show your appreciation this Veteran’s Day and everyday. 

-Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
https://give.rooftopmissions.com/rooftopmissions
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/asmith