Robert and Lindsey Smith

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“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

That was the text for my first sermon out of seminary, preached in Madison, Wisconsin in November 2012 at Red Village Church. In that passage, God is speaking to his chosen servant, the Messiah, who would not only rescue the lost sheep of Israel but who would also shine the light of salvation to God’s people around the world. The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy at the wooden cross and the empty tomb. Truly, the gospel means everything, for us and for all nations.

It has been over four years since Lindsey and I left Red Village Church, and yet our hearts still have warm affection for you. When we think back on our time at RVC, we fondly remember sharing the gospel alongside you on State Street, hosting outreach teams to Eagle Heights, enjoying Village Vacations, meeting for discipleship, and hosting killer college parties (sleepovers, huge leaf piles, pumpkin carving contests, and capture the flag included!). We remember praying for the nations, hosting Missions Lab, and visiting those who had gone out for the sake of the Name. Time does not permit me to tell how Jacob Dubie fell into a river in Central Asia (whatever he tells you, he fell in completely on his own). O Red Village Church: we love and long for you!

Aaron recently commented to me that most of the current members of RVC have never met us. But surely we know each other. We are born of the same Spirit, united to the same Lord, trembling under the same Word, loved by the same Father, constrained by the same Commission. And as Lindsey and I consider God’s faithfulness in our lives—our marriage is stronger than ever, our children are growing beautifully, and I am training to become a pastor—we know without a doubt we would not be here today without Red Village Church. 

We have seen God’s goodness and mercy the past four years in Alabama. We reunited with the church that sent us to serve RVC, Providence Baptist Church. It has been my joy to serve as college minister and to begin an elder apprenticeship here. According to God’s will and only in Christ’s sufficient grace, in 2021 our church will send us out to preach the gospel in Franklin County, Tennessee, a place we used to live and a place we dearly love. The love of Christ constrains us to return there.

Brothers and sisters, would you pray for us? Lindsey and I are called to do what we are completely incapable of doing in our own strength. “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves…but our sufficiency comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Pray that in our weakness we would be empowered by the One who said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Franklin County, we want to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). We desire to establish a church just like RVC: faithful to the gospel, loving to each other, and sending laborers to the nations, for the glory of Jesus.

Beloved RVC: Keep being faithful to the gospel. Keep loving one another. And keep sending people to the UW Campus, to the lost of North America, and to the unreached peoples of the world. One day very soon, the light of Jesus will shine brighter than the sun in all the earth. We cannot wait to reunite joyfully with you on that day!

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