LaVern Ellis Smith was born at home on the family farm near Ringwood, OK, December 2, 1939. He is one of eleven children born to Ben A. and Caroline (Thomas) Smith. He spent the first 7 years of his life in Oklahoma. Attended Riverside grade school and moved with the family to a farm near Newton, KS where he finished grade school at Dewey district 81. He attended Berean Academy, Elbing, KS (1954- 1958) and college at Grace College of the Bible, Omaha (1958-1962). He later completed a master degree in Missions at Grace Seminary, Winona Lake, IN.
He did pastoral work in Council Bluffs, IA, Luton, IA and Lincoln NE (1961-1967). He served as a missionary with World Team from 1967-1982 in the countries of St. Vincent and Grenada. He worked in the World Team international office in Coral Gables, Fl from 1982-1985 at which time he went on loan to Ministries in Action from 1985-1992 doing crusade work in several Caribbean islands. In 1992-93 he served as missionary in residence at Grace University. In 1994 he worked in the buildings and grounds department at Grace. In 1995-2003 he served as a missionary in Trinidad. 2003-2009 he helped local churches with the Perspectives Course and facilitating work teams to the Caribbean. 2010 he returned to Trinidad for 1 year to assist the church in Palmiste.
LaVern is married to Marlene, for 50 years on August 6th, 2011. We have 4 children and 7 grandchildren: Nadine, Married to Galen Unruh, principal of Berean Academy, Nadine is Librarian, mother of 2; Marilyn, a nurse with the electrical side of cardiology at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Married to Brandon Walker, a lawyer and soon to be Certified Financial Planner (July 2011); Michael, Owner of Transformations, INC- a construction company, married to Tiffany (Burkholder), busy mother of three boys; Sharlene, housewife, mother of 2 boys, married to Steve Patrick, Tech Sergeant in the Air Force, Stationed presently in South Korea.
LaVern is practical, hardworking, loyal, dependable and committed to the persons or organizations he works for. Gifts of the Holy Spirit for ministry include preaching, teaching, hospital and home visitation, and counselling. Practical manuel skills include construction, carpentry, cabinet making, furniture building, plumbing, electrical and limited experience in TV production and auto mechanics. His primary goal is to honor and glorify God as Lord of life and lifestyle. His utmost desire is to involve all energies in expanding the kingdom of God through sharing the gospel, teaching the Word, and ministering to the saints in God’s family.