Dillon Smith is a typical 12-year-old boy from Maryland who loves soccer. But a few months ago he became an evangelist who preached to more than 1,000 people every evening in Rwanda.
In May Dillon flew with his mother to Africa to participate in two weeks of evangelistic meetings across Rwanda. The meetings resulted in about 100,000 baptisms, the largest number in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Dillon played an important role in those baptisms.
The original plan was for Dillon to preach a children’s sermon every evening before his mother, Jackie, gave the main sermon to adults in the city of Karongi.
But the director of the meetings soon realized it was taking too long for both Dillon and his mother to preach. So he suggested that Dillon take over his mother’s sermons.
After some coaching and encouragement, Dillon agreed. He was thrilled to see hundreds of people answer his first call to come forward and accept Christ.
“I was really excited,” Dillon said. “It was surprising to me because I did not know that that many people would come up.”
Rwanda—and Maryland—are far from Dillon’s birthplace. Dillon and his twin brother, Dawson, were adopted at the age of 2 from the Russian city of Novosibirsk. Before leaving Russia, the U.S. parents dedicated the boys to God at a local Adventist church. “In dedicating the boys, the Russian pastor said, ‘Who knows, maybe they will come back one day to preach in Russia,’” said his mother.
Dillon, who was baptized the Sabbath before he arrived in Rwanda, had shown an interest in preaching for some time. But when he was asked to take over the adult meeting, he wasn’t sure he was ready. The presentations, prepared by evangelist Mark Finley, were longer than the children’s program, and the language was at a higher level than Dillon was used to speaking.
His mother edited the sermons to bring them to Dillon’s level. He then preached every night, and many people were baptized.
Dillon, now entering the seventh grade, isn’t sure about whether he wants to preach full-time when he grows up. But he is confident that any boy or girl can preach with God’s help.
“You can do it,” he said. “Just trust in God.”
Copyright © 2017, Adventist Review. All rights reserved worldwide.