I knew Ronnie Smith.
I grew up with his family.
His parents were my youth leaders.
I swam in his pool, played in his basement and ate his parent's amazing cooking.
Growing up, he was just a boy.
A boy who would annoy his sister and I when we were downstairs perfecting our dances, threatening to tell everyone at school how weird we were. I told him I didn't care... he knew that I did.
A few years ago he moved to North Africa with his young family to further the Gospel to a people who hadn't experienced God's love. To say I was inspired by this move would be an understatement... I was challenged, and slightly jealous.
A life filled with the purpose of God.
A life set apart from materialism, showmanship and narcissism.
A life laid down for others.
A life of love... true love.
His sacrifice challenged mine.
It still challenges mine.
He is a hero... not only because he died for Christ, but because he truly lived for Him.
You left a legacy that wasn't necessarily your intent.
You desired to show God to a people who didn't know Him, and in turn you also challenged the people who claim Him as their Lord to do the same. You marked our life with a question.... a question that we should have asked a long time ago: What are we truly here for?
That question will haunt every decision we make, every breath we take, every place we find ourselves... and I pray that through the tears of loss, we will find purpose, destiny and calling.
You will be in our stories to our children late at night... the man we reference when we talk about passion, faithfulness and mission... the heart we long to fashion ours after as the years go by.
We love you. You will be forever missed.
"Pray that many will see the passion of this young couple and stand in His gap to fulfill the great commission. 'Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. . . . Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.' —Revelation 2:10"