Smith Summer Shenanigans

What a month it has been! Out of rainy Colorado and back into dry & hot California. 

After we left the mountains above Canon City late in May we were kind of over the rain. We spent two months in Colorado visiting family, attending work meetings, going to the doctor, dentist, etc. It seriously rained about 75% of the time! Still, we really enjoyed out time there and the time with family and friends. We even had a run in with some snow as we headed over Wolf Creek Pass above Pagosa Springs! 

After spending a couple of nights in Durango we made our way Southwest and hit Mesa Verde National Park. It is a must see if you are ever near southern CO. 

From there it was on to Grand Canyon National Park for a couple of more days. Lori and I hadn't been there since we were kids and I'm pretty sure we enjoyed it quite a bit more than the girls. It's true what they say, pictures truly don't do it justice. 

After hitting both national parks in a span of just a few days, we slowed down a little and stayed in the Verde Valley of Arizona in a town called Cottonwood. Besides temps being in the mid 90's, we really enjoyed our stay in the area. The kids went swimming every day, we visited about 4 national monuments in the valley, went to a local Church, drove through Sedona & Flagstaff, went swimming in a local river, saw petroglyphs and a whole lot more. We really feel like we found a hidden gem in this little valley. We also discovered that our National Parks Pass was an amazing investment after this particular week. It made us really realize how many amazing places there are to see if you take the time to look around. Here our a few pics from our week in the beautiful Verde Valley: 

 Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Castle National Monument

 Amazing Petroglyphs at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site

Amazing Petroglyphs at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site

 Trying Indian Fry-bread for the first time

Trying Indian Fry-bread for the first time

 Montezuma Well

Montezuma Well

 Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

 Swimming & rock jumping at Wet Beaver Creek

Swimming & rock jumping at Wet Beaver Creek

Whew... and that was just the first week of June! After the Verde Valley we headed back to one of our favorite campgrounds in Southern CA, Lake Skinner just in time for Abby's 8th birthday. Being that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up, of course she wanted to go to California Science Center for her birthday. My mom & dad joined us for the day and we all had a blast!

 Back at Lake Skinner

Back at Lake Skinner

 Birthday balloons from Gigi & Papa!

Birthday balloons from Gigi & Papa!

 Shuttle Endeavour

Shuttle Endeavour

BTW, if you've never been to the Science Center in L.A. You have to check it out. It is FREE. The space shuttle is incredible and they have some amazing IMAX movies as well. Right now the Dead Sea Scrolls are there on display!!


Last year our family started a tradition of a weekend camping trip to Two Harbors Catalina Island. This year didn't disappoint. Even with a smaller group than last year, we had a blast. Huge group campsite with a semi-private beach, our own kayaks and epic blue water and snorkeling... it was pretty amazing. Here are a few pics... (there are a ton more on our June pictures link )

 Kayaking to the caves

Kayaking to the caves

 Jamie coming out of the cave at low tide

Jamie coming out of the cave at low tide

 Loved taking the girls through for the first time

Loved taking the girls through for the first time

 Jamie & Lily on our amazing little beach

Jamie & Lily on our amazing little beach

 Family "sunset" walk

Family "sunset" walk

 Jamie taking Abby kayaking

Jamie taking Abby kayaking

 Visiting our geocache and the spot where we got engaged

Visiting our geocache and the spot where we got engaged

 

Yes, this month has been quite an adventure. Next we're headed up to Santa Barbara for my sister's wedding and then starting our journey to the east coast. 

Agape Bags Update

The last few months have been really exciting for Agape Bags. We were able to distribute roughly 200 bags in the great Denver area to places like Open Door Ministries & Restoration Outreach among others. We held a successful event at Calvary Chapel Fort Collins where we tested out the "Operation Christmas Child" model of handing out empty bags and asking people to fill them up with items on a list and then bringing them back to the Church for distribution. We've also been getting a steady stream of online orders from around the country which has been really encouraging. 

Our biggest challenge recently has been finding partners that are willing to work with us to get bags filled, and more importantly distributed. 

We currently have about 1,250 bags & Bibles in stock as well as 250 toiletry kits. Whenever we get enough money together, we buy the food & supplies to make the complete bags ourselves. Our problem has been trying to find Churches, outreaches & ministries that are willing to accept the bags. I know it sounds crazy but it's true.

If you have any connections with a ministry that does active outreaches, please get in touch with us or help make an introduction. We don't want to have to sit on available inventory for so long. It needs to get into the hands of individuals that need help!

Another idea that has been on Lori's heart for quite some time has been to figure out a way to distribute Agape Bags internationally. We've specifically been praying about Honduras and working with Churches there to make bags for kids. We believe that the bags can be a great vehicle to reach just about any need and to share the love of Jesus. 

Lastly, if you attend a Church that has been looking for a very simple way to start an outreach or minister to people in need (at home or abroad), we'd love to talk to you. We can help you run an event or come run it for you at your Church. We provide all materials, bags and Bibles FOR FREE!


Thanks again for your love and support. God has been so good to bring people into our lives to encourage us at just the right times. We're blown away by His faithfulness and grace towards messed up sinners like us. 

Much Love,

The Smiths