Hunter Smith Scholarship


Hunter Smith, a loyal and strong supporter of Arise Africa, passed away in April of 2016. He came on several mission trips with Arise and Kershaw’s Challenge, and from the moment his feet hit the dirt of Lusaka, it's safe to say that his life was forever changed. Hunter sponsored several children through Arise and was always very involved with the organization.

Hunter had a larger-than-life personality. He was a magnet for children. On our trips, he would be first off the bus and the last one to get on, always with multiple children laughing and hanging onto his arms. He was dearly loved because he loved so ferociously. He was the tangible love of Christ to the children he met in Zambia. He held them, he tossed them in the air, he sat down and let them take a nap against his chest. That was Hunter: 110% all the time, all heart, for the glory of God and joy of children.

He was deeply loyal and was 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, the Hunter Smith Scholarship was established in 2016. The scholarship has one goal in mind: to send someone to Zambia with Arise Africa every year in Hunter's honor. We know how much he loved Zambia and feel that the most fitting celebration of him is to SEND and GO back to Africa every single year.


If you are interested in applying for the Hunter Smith Scholarship, please fill out the attached application below and email it to

Scholarship Recipients




Jessica Hayes

Texas A&M University - Commerce 

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas 

“I am so grateful and humbled that God would allow me to have such an opportunity as this. To share the Gospel with the children, build new relationships, and experiencing the faith, love, and hope they have in Christ has been the most beautiful thing I have ever encountered. Their passion for Jesus is evident and I love it!”



Kirbi Ward

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN

“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.”


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Natalie Lawson

Dallas Baptist University

Hometown: Lubbock, TX

“An incredible opportunity to be able to experience new cultures, share God's love with His people, and grow in relationship with some of the kindest, most loving people”


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Andy Gonzalez

Houston Baptist University

Hometown: Houston, TX

“Laughter and joy comes from the Lord, and a single day didn't go by where both were not happening. All together, it was Challenging, Humbling, and 100% Worth it”