Janet Elaine Smith at a booksigning with fellow Amberg WI author Sherrie Palm
Click on the cover to take a photographic trip with her
HOT OFF THE PRESS!
Share Janet Elaine Smith's journey to Venezuela and her time there as a missionary. See how God led her into
the middle of the plains, how He answered prayers and provided for her needs, and how He even found a mate for her all because
she loved to write.
Janet Elaine Smith is available during
the summer and fall in northeast Wisconsin
and the Upper Peninsula (northwest area) of Michigan
for either one session presentations or “mini-retreats” of (usually) 2 days. Below is the usual slate she uses
for the mini-retreats, although they can be varied to suit each church/group needs and interests. Her message is inspirational,
challenging, and humorous. She is also an accomplished pianist and often uses music in her programs.
Session 1 (morning, 1st day)
-- Getting to know you (How she found God; He already knew where she was)
Session 2 (afternoon, 1st day)
– Foreign missions (9 years in Venezuela)
Session 3 (evening, 1st day)
– Home missions (35 years running a “Helps ministry” in the Red RiverValley with her husband)
Session 4 (morning, 2nd day)
– More foreign missions (The practical side of the gospel)
Session 5 (afternoon, 2nd day)
– The written word (How God led her into writing, and took her first novel to a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.com)
Session 6 (evening, 3rd
day) – God’s call to every person (Planting the seed right where you are)
To schedule a conference or single session, contact Janet Elaine Smith
Immanuel Baptist Church, Wausaukee WI, Brian Sjoquist, Pastor
Ken Jones, Amberg WI, former pastor Interfaith Bible Fellowship
Cornerstone Assembly of God Church, Athelstane WI
Hal & Janice Locke, Amberg WI
WOMEN'S ALL-DAY WINTER CONFERENCE
ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH
Janet Elaine Smith met the
Lord as a near teenager, and it was all because of lutefisk, lefse—and meatballs!She soon volunteered to work with the American Sunday School Union in northern Minnesota when she was in high school. She spent her summers teaching VacationBibleSchool and counseling at youth camps. Upon
graduating from high school in Deer River, MN, she attended
Bethany College of Missions in Minneapolis, MN, and after
graduating there, she completed her missionary candidacy at WEC International in Ft.
Washington, PA. Before leaving for her first term in Venezuela,
she took a Summer Literature Workshop at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL.
She was the youngest missionary to be accepted by WEC for foreign service, a claim that
still belongs to her.
While on the mission field
she got acquainted with Ivan Smith, and they were married in 1965. They have two sons and one daughter. They were based primarily
in Acarigua, Estado Portuguesa, although Janet also worked in Barquisimeto at
WEC’s bookstore, as well as in many small villages beyond Acarigua. Many Sundays
found them going by jeep with a group of national believers on “roads” that were dried up river beds to help in
the church services there.
Janet has many wonderful
experiences where God intervened on their behalf during their time in Venezuela.
In 1971 she was stricken with a case of hepatitis and tropical anemia. They returned to the US, and after praying about what
their next step was to be in their ministry, Janet and Ivan (independently) saw an article in the Minneapolis Tribune about
the plight of Mexican-American migrant workers in the Red River Valley and they both felt God’s leading to go there.
They had no financial support, but they felt sure that God was in this move and that He would supply.
When they moved to East
Grand Forks, MN, Janet began calling doctors, lawyers, judges, police, etc.
to offer her services as a translator for any migrants they might have difficulties communicating with. In just two weeks,
at , the first call to action came when a doctor asked for them to come to
the hospital to translate for a young migrant worker who had been in a serious accident. And the rest, as they say, is history.
A couple of years later Janet
and Ivan moved across the Red River to Grand ForksND.
In talking to the phone company to get a new phone number assigned, the phone company asked if they would be willing to use
the phone number 775-HELP, as they often got people who were looking for help of various kinds and they didn’t have
a clearing-house agency where they could refer them. At that point the work of Mission Socorro (the name given to the charitable
organization they had started) became much broader in its scope, dealing with people from all walks of life. The work with
the migrants did not become any smaller, but by percentages, it was then about 10% of the total phone calls for help that
In the next nearly forty
years that Mission Socorro operated in the Red RiverValley,
literally thousands of people were helped. They dealt with suicide attempts, abuse cases, homelessness, evictions, job placement,
run-away teenagers, supplying medications, even such mundane things as getting and delivering groceries for shut-ins.
During their time in Grand
Forks Janet began writing the stories of their experiences in Venezuela
so they would not forget them. She became enrapt in the whole process of writing, and felt God was leading her to share not
only their life in non-fiction format, but also to reach “a wide audience” through fiction writing. She felt that
God wanted her to write “non-preachy” books that would draw an audience from among the unchurched, yet her characters
would have a strong faith that people could relate to. It took almost 25 years before her first novel was published (in June
2000), but she now has 20 published books, and she hears from readers on a daily basis who have been touched by her words.
While she was waiting for
her books to be published, she kept writing, and she found a niche in magazines. She now has over 3000 magazine articles that
have been published.
In doing research for some
of her historical novels, she began to delve into genealogy, and she taught genealogy through Adult Education in Grand
Forks for 16 years. She is working on updating a how-to book on genealogy for publication in 2009.
In 1995, Ivan had his leg
amputated, and Janet became a full-time caretaker, along with running Mission Socorro and keeping active with her writing,
which she says provided her with a “life-line” and “escape route” from the trials of daily life. In
January, 2008, Ivan went home to be with the Lord, and Janet’s story of his passing is one that is sure to touch the
hearts of all who hear it. She felt like God, through Ivan’s last words, gave her a little glimpse into heaven. If anyone
has any question about the reality of heaven and what lies beyond, after Janet shares her experience, there will be no doubt
After Ivan’s passing,
Janet moved next door to Amberg, WI. She has been warmly
welcomed and embraced by the community. Having grown up in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota,
Janet is thrilled to be back in "the woods."
Janet has done a great deal
of public speaking, in colleges, to women’s groups, to writers’ groups, and to churches. She enjoys the interaction
with others who have similar interests. She weaves her stories and challenges with inspiration, emotion and humor. You can
specify the subjects you would like her to address, if you like, including: life on the mission field (either foreign or home);
life as a Christian wife, mother and teacher; how to know God’s will for your life; genealogy; music; the challenges
of being a minister’s wife; keeping your sanity as a caregiver; the life of a writer (both magazine and books); or almost
anything else you would like her to share with you. God has granted her some amazing experiences that range from dining with
presidents to eating goat, iguana or monkey meat with the poorest people of Venezuela.
She is available for speaking engagements by contacting her at:
Janet Elaine Smith
W7969 Vine St.
Janet reading from Old Habits Die Hard at a church presentation
Janet and other church members at a nursing home in Crivitz WI
TOPICS FOR PRESENTATIONS
(Venezuela, U.S. or both)
Facing challenges in loss
Reaching out to others--where you are
Writing (how-to's, her books or both)
Using music--even if you sing off-key
Marriage--with diamond rings
or boxing gloves
Surviving natural disasters
Janet gladly gives credit where credit is due.
"I owe my success to God, and God alone."
Janet giving a "hand" to her supporters
Janet sharing the secrets to her success with an audience
A great book is like a great mind; it keeps on giving