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Ernie Smith

Missionary to Ukraine
"Exciting to See God Work"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, adapted by Kateland Vernon, Staff Writer, February 2020

Ernie and Anna Smith’s 37 years of missionary service with World Gospel Mission spanned the globe. In 1975, they were appointed as new missionaries to Burundi, later transferring to Tanzania where they were instrumental in opening that field. They also served for two years in Kenya. In 1985, they returned to the U.S. and represented WGM in the Southwest Region before pastoring two churches in California.

They returned to WGM in 1998 and helped establish WGM’s work in Ukraine. Under Ernie’s leadership, the Home of Hope Ministry Center in Berdyansk was purchased and renovated. It now houses a church, holds English classes, and youth ministry and even took in refugee families during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Ernie and Anna were committed to raising up local churches and encouraging believers to reach out to their own people. They taught English, served as treasurer, and worked in evangelism, discipleship, children’s ministries, church planting, and field leadership.

“It was exciting to see God work in the midst of different cultures and language groups,” Ernie shared about their service. “Anna and I have been allowed to join God’s work in many different ways. I believe we have witnessed most of the New Testament miracles: people healed, demons cast out, revivals, lives transformed from darkness to light, people sanctified, and special anointing for unique ministries.”

Both Ernie and Anna were natives of Arizona, where Anna now resides. Prior to serving as a missionary, Ernie was in the Air Force for eight years and worked as an aircraft mechanic. He and Anna were high school sweethearts and were married in 1962. They began attending church a few years later when they were starting their family. In 1966, they both accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Two years later, through WGM’s magazine, Call to Prayer (now The Call), Ernie and Anna were called to missionary service. Their three children are Catherine, Scott, and Michael.

Ernie graduated from Vennard College (Iowa) with a BA in Bible and pastoral ministries. He was an ordained minister in the Evangelical Methodist Church. Anna also attended Vennard and is a deaconess with the Evangelical Methodist Church. They retired in 2010 and lived in Arizona City, Arizona, where Ernie pastored an Evangelical Methodist Church.

“God is faithful!” Ernie shared before his passing on February 5, 2020. He is now able to fully see the truth of what he learned during his missionary service: “As long as we stay in the center of God’s hand, He will keep us. Nothing can happen to us that God does not allow.”

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