Martyn Smith works for Caring For Life in England, but his roots stem back from America. Even though he was brought up the son of a minister, his belief in Christ was by no means set in stone, and serving Christ in full-time Christian ministry was probably the farthest thing from his mind.

Martyn undertook a year's voluntary work at Caring For Life, England, which opened his eyes to things he never expected.

The following article was written by Martyn in March 2008, and received lots of feedback from supporters of Caring For Life, who found it incredibly moving.

Because of the close ties between Caring For Life and Caring For Life USA, we wanted you to see this article to provoke, inspire and show why we think this organization is so worthy of support

Only by Faith by Martyn Smith
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As an American who has lived in Leeds, England, for nearly nine years, the longer I am here, the more people ask the question "Why?" and "Do you think you'll be here for the rest of your life?"

The only genuine answer I can give to them is... Faith.

To tell you that I would be living in England, married to a local Leeds girl and making a life for myself over "the Pond" would've been the furthest thing from my mind ten years ago, I can assure you!

Growing up in a Christian home has always been a struggle for me. Dedicating my life to a Christian ministry, much less one in Leeds, England, would have been met with nothing less than vehement anger at one point a while ago.

But through one act of grace and kindness, a year’s voluntary work turned into something far, far more...

If you know anything about Caring For Life, you'll know two things 1.) We try to share the love of Jesus and 2.) We are a "family." I have a family and it’s a family that loves me dearly, a family whose hearts break when it is time to say goodbye when I leave them and come back to England. But I can assure you, that when you meet some of these people who don't have families (and a lot who wish they didn't) and they still greet you with genuine love and care, it changes you.

To see the raw practicality of Jesus' love being shared and changing some of the darkest of lives in the people we care for, is a humbling experience.

Sometimes in our prayer meetings, someone will pray for someone they saw on the news, who lost a loved one, or whatever the situation may be. It is often a struggle for them to speak in public, much less pray! But, what is amazing, is that no matter how mumbled or disjointed it can be for them to pray, they still feel that they must tell God this thing, this bit of information, because he can sort it, he can fix it. He knows what to do.

It puts my faith to shame.

I love movies and a good little film to watch is Seabiscuit. It is very "Caring For Life." I won't give you the plot but at the end of the movie, Tobey Maguire's character says this:

"You know everyone thinks we got this broken down horse and fixed him. But we didn't. He fixed us. Every one of us. And I guess in a way, we fixed each other, too." To me this little quote is very powerful, because it tells me of Christ's love not only for me, but for these amazing people who have allowed us to be in their lives.

Christ fixes us all, every one of us, despite how broken and bruised we are, and through His grace and power He has allowed us to help each other too. And sometimes, we are not the one’s doing the fixing. This is why, when people ask me why I am here, despite the ups and downs that come, and despite my lack of it, faith is the reason I am here. Because, if it were up to me, the experiences, relationships, the fun that I myself would've tried to dream up, wouldn't touch ALL these things that I have already experienced here at Caring For Life.

If you have never have been to Caring For Life, I would personally highly recommend trying to come. To meet some of these people who will come and say hello to you, ‘cause you’re the “new guy” or for them to show you around “their” farm is a great privilege. If you do come, you’ll notice that those two things that Caring For Life seek to do aren’t just taglines or slogans to entice you in, but a genuine way of life.

In a world where taglines are a way of you getting you “in the door”, what a haven Caring For Life must be to so many of the very special people who are under its care.

Filming with some of the guys at work

At our recent coffee morning

Setting off on the weekly egg delivery

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen. Jude 1:24

Just a few of the CFL Family!