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 second of 3 parts. You can read Part 1 here. I pray you’ll be both blessed and inspired.
Over time I began to form even deeper relationships with Baltimore’s Homeless population, fall in love with prostitutes and deepen my fondness for inner city kids. For nearly four years I worked in West Baltimore–where I loved the people in what some would consider the worst parts of this city like Jesus loves me–with no boundaries and no conditions. Within that four years I still felt that something was missing in my heart. Night after night I would drive out of the neighborhood, cross over a few streets and be in my cozy and comfortable neighborhood, where it was “safe.” That wasn’t what I desired in my heart, and after much prayer I quickly knew that wasn’t what God desired for me. Life began to change. Things were happening that made it clear there was change about to happen in my ministry life, a hard one–one that ended with me wondering what exactly it was God desired for my life. After three VERY long months of praying, it was evident that God desired for me to live in East Baltimore, in the middle of one of Baltimore’s “tough” communities. It was a place where most people wouldn’t bother to come, a place that as most people drive by they double-check their locks and sped past without batting an eye.
But for me this little home in the middle of Luzerne Ave has become home for me. It’s become a safe place. It’s become the spot for the kids to hang out. It’s become a home full of love, prayer and Jesus. This community has become my family. This is the place Jesus intended for me to be His hands and feet. This is the place where I would have my house raided by the police at 6 a.m. on a July morning. This is the place where I would pray every night for three young boys who attempted several times to break into my house. This is the place where I would find out that a ten year-old boy who I loved dearly committed suicide. This is the place where I would find love and give love. This is the place that God has not just called me to serve, but to live, to become a part of a community, to allow people to watch my life, to be involved in my life and to hear about the love of Christ. This is the place that I call home. This is the place that I am continuously challenged to grow in my faith, to continue to love people even in the worst of circumstances. This is the place where I get to lead people to life with Christ and cheer them on as they grow in their walks. Never did I think when I boarded that place in March of 2001 would my life be what it is today…and never would I ever change it.
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