Thank You!

Hunter Smith, a loyal and strong supporter of Arise Africa, passed away in April of 2016. He came on several mission trips with Arise. Hunter sponsored several children through our programs and was always very involved with the organization. He was deeply loyal and quick to make new and dear friends in every chapter of life. Hunter was a natural and humble leader, never asking anyone to follow. However, because of the way he imitated Christ in is words and actions, people naturally did. He had a gift for making others feel known and wanted to be known by others as well. He was confident in the Lord’s constant and mercy-filled work in his life, allowing others to be part of the journey. Hunter lived with passion on his sleeve for the world to see. With the help of Kershaw’s Challenge, a scholarship was established in Hunter’s honor, allowing an individual to come to Zambia with Arise each year. This year, one of our summer interns, Kirbi, was selected as the 2018 Hunter Smith Scholarship Recipient. Here is a look into her experience in Zambia, and the impact that the scholarship had on her life.

Dear Smith Family,

I would like to start off just by saying thank you so much for the opportunity you have provided me with this summer. I came across the Hunter Smith Scholarship because of an email sent to Caroline Scruggs, who then passed it onto me. That was the first of many blessings. I was told first about the scholarship, and from there I looked up Arise Africa. I saw that there was a Summer Internship, and I felt immediately called to it. Even though the deadline was months prior, I applied anyway. Not even a couple days later, I was told there was a spot open for the internship, and before I knew it, I was being interviewed for the position.

Fast forward a couple months, I made it to Zambia because of the scholarship and lots of prayers. That place and those people can teach you a million things you never knew in as little as a day. To say this trip grew me as a person would be an understatement. What this trip gave to me wasn’t just great joy, but it was peace, growth, and life. I am a very empathetic person, and for a long time, I would feel others hurt so much that I was confused at why God wasn’t helping. As I prayed for eyes to see and ears to hear, I saw how He was working for the good of His people there in Zambia. I realized it was not His lack of work, but my lack of vision. My whole perspective changed. Instead of being sad when learning about people’s past hardships, I could now delight in where they were now and how God has worked and is continuing to work in their lives.

Another thing I learned in my time there was about fear, and I would consider this my biggest villain. This trip took fear and ran it over with a cruiser full of veggies. When preparing for this trip, a couple of fears I dealt with were flying, being new, not enough, and being too quiet. In just those few short weeks, I had flown around 26 hours on a plane, made about 100 new best friends, felt loved by all of them, and talked my heart out. It is crazy what can happen when I let Jesus dictate every step, even the scary ones. “Oh, to have child-like faith.” – I heard this a lot in church, in songs, and even in conversations, but I never really took into thought what it meant. Now, after seeing the kids in the different schools Arise Africa works in and the Arise Homes, seeing the way they love, praise, and cling to Gods promises, I understand that child-like faith the most beautiful example of how any follower of Jesus should live. Today, my doubts have been squashed and I know the lessons I learned to be true because I was able to spend my summer in Zambia under the Hunter Smith Scholarship. Thank you again, and blessings to you and your family always.


Kirbi Ward

To learn more about the Hunter Smith Scholarship and its recipients, click here!

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