When missionaries Randy and Gwendolyn Ashcraft visit Smithland Baptist Church Sunday it will be a homecoming of sorts.
Gwendolyn’s first home was in Heathsville when her father worked at Jones-Ash Funeral Home and her parents were members of Smithland Baptist. Although her parents, Clifford and Diane Stanley, moved to Chilhowie when Gwendolyn was three months old, none of them have lost touch with the friends they made in Northumberland County.
“I’m in contact with Gwen all the time on Facebook,” Patsy Headley said. Recently, when the Ashcrafts were planning a furlough to the United States that started October 4, Gwendolyn told Headley, “We want to come to that part of the country.” Patsy and other members of Smithland have made it so and at Smithland’s 11 a.m. service October 25 the Ashcrafts and their five children will lead the congregation in praise and prayer. Gwendolyn’s parents are coming, too.
Randy is the son of missionaries and has spent most of his life either on missions or with missionaries. A 1997 graduate of Louisiana Baptist Seminary, he met Gwendolyn in 1994 when she visited his parents’ mission in Mexico. They were married after her graduation from Bob Jones University and became missionaries in Mexico themselves. In Mexico, in addition to missionary work, they ran a home for orphaned children.
In 2010, the Ashcra
fts moved their missionary work to Bangkok, Thailand, where they work with people of different languages and religions. At Smithland, they will talk about their work in the Southeast Asia city, and, along with their children ranging in age from six to 16, lead the congregation in song.
Smithland Baptist is located on Walnut Point Road (Route 630). Everybody is welcome to come to the service.