Evan Smith, a junior at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, has plans to soar above and beyond his current job pouring concrete in Colquitt, Ga. He says God may lead him to perform music in arenas, or He may lead him to people along an Ecuadorian river.
Smith, 21, hopes he can do both. Just 18 solo hours away from a pilot’s license, he looks expectantly towards the sky as both his music and mission aspirations are tied to flying.
As a six-year volunteer with Southern Baptist missionaries to Ecuador, Steve and Carol Thompson, Smith said he believes God has called him to connect to people in 200 unreached communities along the Napa River that are best reached by air.
Smith is even looking into an experimental airplane powered by the same gasoline used by cars. The plane, he said, which can land on water, would be “perfect” for Ecuador.
“This is in the Lord’s hands, of course,” Smith told Florida Baptist Witness. “The big question now is ‘Where does my music fit into all of this?’”
Evan and his band, Skyview, were invited to perform at several events during Super Bowl week at Primera Iglesia Bautista in downtown Miami. They played in concert after a Strength Team performance and also with rap artists in a Saturday evening concert. Two years ago, Smith took a semester off from his BCF studies to work with the Miami church to establish a church plant, Mid-town Community Church. It was his contact with Pastor Arthur Salcedo that led to the Super Bowl week performances, he said.
“I did music and youth for the church for eight months, and then I trained leaders for both positions before I left—just like missionaries do,” he said.
He and fellow band members—BCF students Ryan Kirk, Trey Martin, Ross Ponder, Jim Butler and Chris Bridges—rehearsed music while driving from BCF to Miami, and arrived with their indie rock ready to perform. Smith and Kirk write all the music for the group, and its current concert includes songs about flying. The first piece, “The Sound of Flight,” is an instrumental interpretation of the sounds of wind and propellers, Smith said.
“The concert is about how God wants us to see life. From the sky, everything, including our problems, looks small. God will guide us like a GPS,” he said. “It’s like we say in our last song, ‘There is a way setter, a truth letter, and a life better in Jesus.’”
Band members also were involved in the Super Bowl halftime show after attending three of the six rehearsals in Miami. They helped move equipment and scenery on and off the field for the live Who performance.
During the last rehearsal on Thursday evening before the big game, Smith said he was able to meet Roger Daltrey of the Who. Smith handed him a CD that Daltrey assumed he wanted autographed, but it was a CD of Skyview that Smith wanted him to hear.
“I said if there was anything he could do to pass this along, please do it. He said, in his British accent, ‘I will have a listen,’” Smith said. “I don’t want the Who’s fame or glory, but I would like to have their platform to lead people to Jesus.”
Smith grew up in the Tampa area and made a profession of faith at a Billy Graham Crusade there in 1998. His family attended Wildwood Baptist Church where his grandfather, Wilson Smith, was pastor, then moved to Belleview Baptist Church when his grandfather retired. While at Belleview he was a worship leader as a teenager and was a member of a band there called PYRO, Praising Youth Reaching Out. Three of the band members, Cassidy Spencer, Jeffy Taylor and Matt Tripp, left Belleview to attend BCF together after graduation from Villages High School in 2006, he said.
Presently taking onlines courses at BCF, Smith married Jessica Shirley, a nursing student at Darton College in Albany, Ga., May 15. He proposed while they were in Ecuador.
“She said ‘yes‘ right away, and it’s not like she didn’t know what she was getting into. She wants to be a missionary in Ecuador, too,” Smith said.
Although he said he would love to play with Skyview in great arenas, Smith said his main goal is flying on the mission field and serving there with Jessica.
“I know the Lord has something in store for Skyview. It just hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “If we had the opportunity to tour, I would take the money and use it to further God’s calling, and I believe that is to be a missionary pilot.”
To contact Skyview or to hear its music, go to www.myspace.com/theSkyview5, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year BCF said it plans to offer basic aviation training as part of its bachelor of arts in missions degree. Along with classroom training in missions, students will learn the basics of flying in “bush-pilot situations,” according to a news release. For more information go online to www.baptistcollege.edu or call 800-328-2660, ext. 460.
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