Michelle Smith has long been a seasoned advocate for troubled, highrisk youth, with extensive experience gained since 2002. Working in group homes for abused and neglected teens led her to get involved behind the walls in juvenile hall facilities with Pacific Youth Correctional Ministries in 2004. PYCM helps provide incarcerated youth with their spiritual needs: weekly bible studies and church services, discipleship programs, special events, bible delivery, and continuity of care when released into the communities. Juvenile halls, adult county jails, foster care shelters, public high schools, homeless shelters, hospitals, orphanages and prisons have become Michelle’s new favorite, regular hangouts.
When some of the teens “graduate” from juvenile hall to county jail, she tries to keep in contact with them and continue that positive, encouraging, godly mentorship. She has learned that such a contact may be the only visit or hopeful encounter they have all week, month or year.
Another passion of Michelle’s is being a guest speaker at churches, and especially youth groups! Michelle prayed a dangerous prayer several years ago… “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours.” And he did!
In 2011 the Lord called Michelle to quit her paying job and to join the staff as a full time local missionary with PYCM in the role of parachaplain. After realizing the crisis situation of gang activity, she went through academy training and was certified by Congress with Lives Worth Saving Gang Intervention. On Saturday evenings Michelle and her coworkers typically hit the streets during the hours of 7-10pm at night in the dark alleys and gang populated-neighborhoods to reach out to the boys and girls trapped in that lifestyle in Santa Ana, California.
Michelle has a heart for the nations and has had the honor and opportunity to travel and serve on missions teams in Mexico, Namibia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ireland, England, Romania, Malawi, Swaziland, South Africa, Philippines, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Uganda, with more countries on her “to-visit” list in the future! Her desire is to see people come to Jesus and be made whole and healed spiritually, emotionally and physically! She is one of His warriors on the front lines, wanting to set captives free, in Jesus’ name!
Michelle has made this proclamation of Jesus her own: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” [Luke 4:18]