Note from Kathie: I met Colleen Smith at an Orange-sponsored Chick-fil-A meet up last year and I was so fascinated by her story. I knew that one day, I’d love to share her story with others. Colleen shares her story of inner city Children’s Ministry today in the first of 3 parts. I pray you’ll be both blessed and inspired.
I never imagined being a “white girl” from Kansas who would move 1254 miles from home and live in one of Baltimore’s roughest neighborhoods. I never imagined that I would witness shootings and watch someone die of a gang beating. I never imagined that I would love the homeless, street prostitutes, drug dealers, gang members and inner city kids the way I do. I never knew that God had a plan for me. In fact when I packed my bags almost 13 years ago and boarded a plane to Baltimore, MD (all because I was mad at my mom and knew I needed a change), I hated God, I was angry, I was frustrated and quite frankly there was no room for Him in my life.
However, almost a year later, my life changed completely. I had been hanging out with a Youth Pastor who was my neighbor, attending youth group, volunteering and getting to know–what I referred to at the time–“Jesus Lovers”. Little did I know that those “Jesus Lovers” would become some of the most influential people in my life, some of my best friends and my sisters for life. You see when I turned 22, I accepted Christ, and my life began to change.
The love I have found for the inner city life didn’t just happen over night and it didn’t just happen because I woke up one day and decided to venture into the “ghetto”. It happened because I allowed God to have a place in my life. I had influences in my life who believed in me, who challenged why I didn’t love God, and who were living testimonies of how God worked in their lives. It happened because I was ready to accept that Jesus Christ lived and died for me on a cross!
It was not the easiest decision I ever made. In fact it was one of the hardest, but the way that God has worked in my life–the way that He’s allowed me to begin the healing process of my own hurt and pain, the way that I have been able to clearly see my calling in life–has been nothing short of amazing. About six years ago, I decided to quit my full-time job with benefits (including a furnished home to live in) to become a part-time nanny and pursue my calling to serve the inner city. I packed up everything I had, stored it and lived on the couch of a friend for nearly a year. Finally I moved into the city, but a nice part of the city, and commuted for a nanny job. I loved the kids and the family but I knew I wasn’t happy. Soon after I felt like it was time to completely allow God to work miracles in my life so I quit my job to raise support and work full-time as an inner city missionary. I was a white girl who loved the ‘hood!
Originally from Wichita, Kansas Colleen Smith moved to Baltimore in 2001 to become a nanny. In 2003, she accepted Christ and her heart for the inner city began to develop. Over the past few years she’s quit her full-time job and raised support as a missionary to Baltimore City. These days you can find her living and serving in East Baltimore as the local missionary for Captivate Church (captivatechurch.com) She can be found online at www.colleensamantha.org as well as Facebook & Twitter. If you’d like more information on her ministry she can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org