Friends, family thankful missionary detained in India is safe

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - A lot of East Texans have been praying for a young missionary, who was detained in India.

Jeffrey Smith, 21, of Henderson is serving this summer on a medical mission trip in India, but he and the team leader were questioned by police for spreading the gospel.

As East Texans got wind of Smith's detainment in India, prayer requests spread like wildfire.

"There were emails everywhere, sharing the news, asking people to pray," said Pastor Bill Kuykendall of Calvary Baptist Church.

"Everybody's texting this and that," said Keith Lybrand, youth minister at Calvary Baptist. "You don't know what's going on. I heard everything from he was kidnapped to detained."

As contact is limited, Smith's mom, Sherry, heard what happened through an email.

"They were out on the street just witnessing...the police came up and wanted to know who they were and what they were doing," said Sherry Smith.

She says police took Jeff and their team leader in for further questioning. Then, after four hours, released them. The incident is a reminder of the dangers missionaries face while spreading God's word.

"Especially in today's world, when you go outside the country, you're taking a risk and I know he would not want the focus to be on the dangers that he faces...we know Satan doesn't want them there, but we also know that God's power is greater," said Sherry.

She firmly believes God is in control and is using Jeff's college mission team from Waco in India.

"They said they've been having great results there and that they see why God's hand was in this and had them move to a different city," she said.

Leaders at Calvary Baptist watched Jeff grow up and are not at all surprised by his bold crusade for Christ, having already witnessed in Africa and Mongolia.

"I've been on a number of mission things with him and I think he's very serious," said Lybrand. "I mean, this is the pursuit of his life."

"God still has a great future for this young man," said Pastor Kuykendall.

Sherry is just asking East Texans to keep praying for Jeff's team until their safe return in two weeks.

Jeff is on the mission team with about 20 students from Baylor University, where he goes to medical school. His parents say he plans on becoming a foreign missionary doctor after graduation.

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