Posted on May 7, 2019 Pray for Karen Smith beginning new ministry with IM as Area Director for Africa.
Karen Smith

As of May 1, 2019 Karen, entered a new role with IM as Area Director for Africa. She resigned her position as IM global servant in Thailand. Karen was the program consultant to the New Life Center Foundation (NLCF). This ministry, based in northern Thailand, serves ethnic minority women who are at risk for labor exploitation.

Karen writes – I’m writing this journal to let you know about a recent change in my ministry assignment with American Baptist International Ministries.

As you know, I moved to Thailand in 1999 to serve at the New Life Center Foundation. (God called me to be a global servant when I was four years old, so this appointment was the fruition and fulfillment of that call.) Living and working in Thailand has been an incredible experience and a deep blessing…and the ministry of the New Life Center has grown and changed and stretched in all good ways over the past two decades. Today, an ethnic tribal woman – Tiemchan Kamonklapachon (“Bee” – her nickname!) is the Program Director of this ministry. Bee is an amazingly gifted leader; she is supported by a strong team of tribal staff and also my IM colleagues, Jeni Pedzinski and Kit Ripley. IM’s missiology is based in partnership and raising up national leaders, so Bee’s appointment as the NLCF’s program director is a testimony to this missiology, our IM philosophy of developing leaders, and the movement of God’s spirit. …

My deepest passions are equipping leaders, working with IM partners, and communicating what God is doing around the world. Truly, mission today is “…from everywhere to everyone” (this quote is by missiologist Samuel Escobar) and it is so exciting to be a part of what God is doing! Given these passions and my work experiences – and after a significant process of interviews and prayerful discernment – IM offered me the role of “Area Director” for Africa. I accepted this offer with great joy and officially began my new role on May 1st, 2019.

In this role, I will support IM global servants who work in countries in Africa, cultivate relationships with our partners and continue to visit churches to share what God is doing around the world. Moving into this expanded role feels like just the right next step in my journey, and I embrace this opportunity with much humility and gratitude. (I will be going back to Thailand this month for one last visit, to lead a conference and say goodbye to my community there.)

Thank you so much for all the support you’ve provided to me over the years; together, we are a ‘three-fold cord, not quickly broken’. 

Read Karen’s full journal at