On September 11, 2012, Islamist fighters attacked a United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in that attack. Just a few months later Ronnie and Anita Smith, a young American couple, moved to Benghazi with their infant son. Their goal was to live out their faith in Christ and have opportunities to introduce Libyan people to Christ.
“We wanted to live our lives out in a place that didn’t know Jesus,” Anita Smith says.
Anita acknowledges that there was fear moving to a dangerous place, especially so soon after a deadly attack on Americans. But Anita shares how God gave both her and Ronnie peace about residing in Libya to further God’s Kingdom. Days after Ronnie’s death in December of 2013, Anita was on national TV in the United States and on Arabic-language TV all over the Middle East, forgiving her husband’s killers and expressing her love for the Libyan people.
Listen as Anita remembers the day she found out her husband had been martyred and how she received comfort from the Lord through her family, church and Christian friends—the Body of Christ in action.
Ronnie Smith taught chemistry to high school students at the Benghazi International School and was admired for his knowledge and chemistry skill, but even more for his warm personality and love for his students. Listen as Anita shares how their Libyan neighbors looked out for them and really welcomed them into their families, spending time together, drinking tea and talking about life and faith. Such conversations gave Ronnie and Anita many opportunities to share how Christianity is different from Islam and Jesus is different from Mohammed.
Listen as Anita shares how she was able to forgive the ones who murdered her husband—expressing her forgiveness to a national audience on CNN and CBS This Morning. When Anita hears of Libyans who started following Christ after hearing the testimony of her and Ronnie, it’s a powerful reminder of how Christ is using their sacrifice. Listen also as she shares how we can pray for the widows of persecuted Christian martyrs all over the world today.
Anita was just one of the four amazing women who shared their stories of persecution and God’s faithfulness during the Hearts of Fire Virtual Event. Worship music for the event was led by award-winning Christian music artist, Michael W. Smith.