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Andrew and Tonya Lunau Smith

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Serving in: Canada Area of Ministry: Evangelism / Discipleship
We are engaged in ministry with the Deaf. Around Southwestern Ontario, Andrew regularly preaches in Deaf-led churches on the schedule for Ontario Mission of the Deaf. Andrew interprets other services in hearing congregations. Our ministry also includes teaching, leading Bible studies, and networking with Deaf ministry leaders to see how we can serve and/or resource.  Andrew is a member of the board of World Mission to the Deaf and since June 2013 serves as its President.  Tonya serves in various ways with her experienced focus on spiritual formation. She has also been involved annually with the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child ministry.

Your Story

Happy Thanksgiving
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 months ago

See our latest newsletter.


In this change of season, we are thankful. During this Thanksgiving weekend many will read Paul's encouragement in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus."

We take it to heart, and we do try to be thankful. We had a fulfilling time of ministry at the Deaf camp in the summer. We count it a blessing that Tonya found temporary seasonal autumn employment, and that Emma has had a great launch to grade 10. We look for God's goodness even through the mishap of Andrew falling and breaking a rib. Now four weeks later, he still has challenging pain. But in navigating all the praying, waiting, healing, and working, we know God's love and presence.

MailChimp subscribe link for our emails
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
5 months ago

Regular email updates can be a challenge, including managing lists of email addresses. MailChimp is a helpful online tool for us, and if you are interested you can click here to subscribe to our emails.

Like Gideon, we wonder, "What is God up to?"
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
5 months ago


Imagine sitting down with the Biblical character Gideon. What might you ask? Here's one idea: "Hey Gideon, God TALKED to you, what more proof did you NEED?!" Even though he had a seemingly direct line to God, Gideon still looked for confirmation of God's plans through the wool fleece. Twice! Today, these many centuries later, how many of us have similarly wished for God’s clear answers to the question, "God, what are You up to?"


Then when God further told Gideon He was going to accomplish something great (defeating the enemy) with far fewer warriors – not 32,000 but 300 – we might imagine Gideon had a mix of apprehension and amazement. God wanted there to be no doubt that it was God who was at work.


The Deaf community itself in Canada seems to be shrinking (stats are hard to get, but it would seem there are fewer). For sure, very few Deaf people are to be found in the hearing churches of Canada. Deaf-led churches are declining and aging, and their members are passing onto glory. We are not seeing outreach happen in a significant way. The majority of those Andrew engages with in Deaf churches – middle-aged and seniors – do have hearts wishing to reach their Deaf friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. But it now seems an overwhelming task.


As Andrew described in the January 2018 SIMNow article, "A Deaf Ear", (simnow.sim.ca/stories/a-deaf-ear), "Of course churches haven't intentionally excluded or marginalized the Deaf. It's partly due to lack of awareness as well as the complexities of Deaf ministry."


The burden for reaching the Deaf, and the solution, is something that the Holy Spirit needs to spark. In fact, it just seems like it would have to be a work of God, like with Gideon, to reach the younger generations of Deaf people with the gospel of Jesus and to see them empowered to lead. A Deaf friend shared with Andrew how the situation in the Deaf community felt like Gideon’s armies being reduced. Andrew notes, "To be honest, I sometimes feel like one of those who knelt and drank from the stream (Judges 7:6) and I'm not going to be part of the final '300 soldiers'. I do have faith that God will raise up Deaf Christ followers in Canada, for His glory. But right now I can't see the path to it."


We appreciate your prayers as we discern what God would have us do.

Men's Conference Interpreting
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
5 months ago

February 9 and 10 Andrew again served at Harvest Bible Chapel Oakville by co-interpreting their annual "Free Indeed" men's conference. Despite some wild winter weather that weekend, a good turnout of about 15 Deaf men joined the nearly 1,500 total. A privilege to serve Harvest Deaf Fellowship.

SIMNOW Article
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
10 months ago

The latest issue of SIMNOW includes an article regarding ministry among the Deaf. Check it out here: http://simnow.sim.ca/stories/a-deaf-ear and thank you in advance for your prayerful support.

Interpreting for Deaf Men's Fellowship
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 3 days ago

Deaf Men's Fellowship organized an event in Oakville and invited Pastor Jason Matta from Harvest Bible Chapel Toronto West as the speaker. You can see the event's video here. Andrew was invited to co-interpret with another professional interpreter. A good turnout of Deaf men, and really great to see some key leaders put it all together. Resulting from that day was an invitation for Andrew to interpret a Saturday morning Bible study. Pray that there would be Deaf men interested in participating side-by-side with hearing men. The study begins November 18 and is expected to go through to the spring.

Deaf Camp Ministry
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 4 days ago

Andrew was back at the Ontario Camp of the Deaf for the senior youth camp, June 30 - July 12, enjoying his role as videographer as well as a sort of chaplain for the camp. He spoke nightly during the camp's "Power Hour", this year on the theme that "You are a Piece of the Puzzle" and highlighting the stories of various people in the Bible.

World Mission to the Deaf Conference
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 4 days ago

Each year the World Mission to the Deaf (www.wmdcanada.org) holds a conference in Toronto to provide updates on the ministries it supports. As a board member and president of WMD, Andrew helps organize and host the conference. We welcomed students, staff, and volunteers from the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf in Puerto Rico, who made up a bell choir and performed several songs. Great to see the kids again who we knew when we were in Puerto Rico!

Work Day at the Deaf Camp
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 4 days ago

Annually, around the end of May, the Deaf Men's Fellowship organizes a work day at the Ontario Camp of the Deaf. Andrew was able to recruit 2 Deaf friends Danny and Peter to head up for the day, where they cleaned (and cleaned, and cleaned) the boys' dorm.

Making a Connection
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 3 days ago

During the winter and spring months of 2017 a young Deaf couple asked Andrew to help find a church in the Scarborough area where they might begin a Bible study for other young Deaf people they know live there too. As immigrants from Sri Lanka, they knew of other Deaf immigrants and refugees who are learning English and American Sign Language, and felt it was a great opportunity to expose them to the Gospel. But with Toronto's distances being so challenging to navigate mid-week, they couldn't use their normal church location in the west end of Toronto. The Deaf Pastor of their church was willing to travel to teach the study.


So the missing piece was location - and a blessing of being a missionary with SIM Canada is that sometimes our own connections can lead to ministry opportunities. From May through to September this Deaf group met Monday evenings at New Life Christian Church in Scarborough - the church whose Pastor is Benji Devadason, a well-known SIM Canada missionary focused on the Sri Lankan community. What a privilege to attend many of their weekly studies and to see young Deaf people ask questions about the fundamentals of Christianity! One Deaf young man even brought his 2 Deaf sisters!


Since September the group found Monday nights wouldn't work anymore because of schedules. Their preferred night is Fridays - of course that's a busy night for churches everywhere! So they are looking again for space... please pray for a new location (or that Mondays will work out again...) and pray for the young Deaf couple and their burden to reach their friends.

Harvest Windsor Men's Conference
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 4 days ago

Our dear friends Nathan and Deborah Kwasnicki in Windsor (we first met them at the Deaf Church in Puerto Rico...) have been connected with Southwood Church in Windsor, which recently became "Harvest Bible Chapel Windsor". They have a men's conference annually and Andrew was invited for the second year in a row to interpret for Nathan and other Deaf men. It is a blessing to Andrew as he serves churches like Harvest who have a heart for including and encouraging the Deaf in their community.

Interpreting Free Indeed at Harvest
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
1 year, 1 month, 4 days ago

It was a privilege to serve Harvest Bible Chapel Oakville Feb 10-11, 2017, interpreting for their annual men's conference "Free Indeed". Already booked for 2018!

By Prayer
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days ago
Here are our latest prayer points:

  • Praise for a great workshop and retreat in September with Deaf leaders

  • Wisdom in developing future ministry plans and involvements

  • Peace, strength, and healing for Andrew’s gallbladder surgery Oct 28 and recovery in November

  • Upcoming speaking engagements in December (Barrie, Toronto, and possibly elsewhere)

  • Our ongoing financial need



Download our latest newsletter...
Sign Language Classes
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days ago
Andrew has continued to take further advanced American Sign Language courses through the Canadian Hearing Society. Weekly sharpening of his skills and taking time to be attentive about ASL grammar are important, appreciated and respected within the Deaf community.
Training Workshop
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days ago
Andrew co-taught a workshop Sept. 15-16 focused on equipping Deaf church lay-leaders to teach and preach. This workshop’s focus was on chronological Bible storytelling, and Andrew partnered with an Ottawa-area Deaf missionary who has for many years been church planting and empowering Deaf leaders. The two were invited by the Ontario Mission of the Deaf to continue after an initial training session was well-received nearly 2 years ago.
Summer Camp
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days ago
July featured another exhausting but highly fulfilling time of ministry during the senior youth camp (kids aged 13 to 17) at the Ontario Camp of the Deaf near Parry Sound. Andrew enjoyed the role of roaming videographer, editing short movie clips for the kids to enjoy, featuring themselves!
This year Andrew was particularly energized through his opportunities to teach the Bible. He prepared a series of messages that built on the theme of daring the young people to be unique, take a stand, speak up, and trust God. Lessons from the book of Daniel – basic “meat and potatoes” Bible storytelling – brought out examples from Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and, yes, even King Nebuchadnezzar. It was fun to see the young people engage with the stories, some of them even stopping Andrew to try to guess what would happen next to these certain key characters!
Encouraging Other Men
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 9 months, 1 week, 6 days ago
Andrew was privileged to interpret Saturday's men's conference for a few Deaf men at Southwood Community Church in Windsor. What an encouragement to see that church's heart for being inclusive!
SIM Canadian Field Training
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 11 months, 1 day ago
At the SIM Canada office for a week of training with many Canadian Field colleagues. Great discussions on coaching churches. Also a perfect opportunity to thank the supportive staff team at "#10"!
Urbana!
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 11 months, 1 day ago
We were fortunate to be part of the SIM team at Urbana '15 in St. Louis Dec. 27-31. There were 4 of us from Canada, and a great team from the US, as well as some SIM missionaries from overseas. Check out the Urbana website and find links to video downloads to get the presentations from keynote speakers. "What story will you tell?" was the theme.

We were encouraged to see the IMB (Southern Baptists' International Mission Board) display highlighting "Deaf Peoples" among the people groups worldwide needing prayer and to be reached in their languages. So many! And at our SIM booth we had great conversations with young people interested in Deaf ministry in the future!
Tonya at Operation Christmas Child
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 11 months, 3 weeks, 6 days ago
For a second year, Tonya has been part of the Operation Christmas Child team in Kitchener, supervising volunteers and processing the donated shoeboxes. Duties this year are complete - after processing 380,000 boxes going to Chile, Senegal, El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Uruguay, and Ukraine from the Kitchener warehouse. Here she is with some of her OCC colleagues helping with take-down.
Itinerant Preaching
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 6 days ago
As an itinerant preacher for the Ontario Mission of the Deaf, Andrew occasionally heads up to Barrie to preach at the Barrie Church of the Deaf, meeting at the Bob Rumball Long Term Care Home for the Deaf. It was a foggy drive from Guelph, but cleared up nicely. One reason to be glad for this mild December as it makes the drives easy! Thanks for your prayers for safety!
Lunau Smith News December 2015
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 5 days ago

It's Our Anniversary!


When we left our paying jobs, sold our house and our cars and much of our stuff, and set out from Guelph to Puerto Rico we had a God-given vision. That was 10 years ago this Christmas!

People said, “You must have a lot of faith to do that,” or “I need more stability than that,” or “I could never live like that.” Being a missionary can seem like the worst job ever.

And, to be honest, it’s not easy! We have faced big changes, many struggles, and there are many ups and downs. It takes constant surrendering as God calls us to set aside our personal plans and ambitions in order to be witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But it can also seem like the best job ever! The missionary life is a life filled with anticipation, opportunities for stretching growth, changes and flexibility, a walk of faith, and a very real witness of God’s active hand.

You Are Our Vision Partners


Ten years has brought us many opportunities and experiences. We’ve had to find ways to persevere learning through challenges such as cultural differences, language communication problems, loneliness, and many other issues that missionaries deal with. Success is not always easy to measure, as we’ve described before in other newsletters. But we also know that you, as our team of vision partners, are enabling us to persevere. Without the team, there’s no way to celebrate the impact. We are aware that you and we are together in this. And we recognize that ministry success is shared with the people standing behind us in prayer and financial support. Thank you!

At this 10-year anniversary we ask you again to consider becoming or continuing as a vision partner with us, by prayer and financial support, in this strategic ministry among the Deaf community. Stand with us as we seek to encourage and reach the Deaf churches to impact their community for Christ.

As missionaries we combine evangelism with church planting and discipleship. Although Canada happens to be our passport country, it is also our ‘field posting’ at this time. We are two of 37 missionaries currently posted in Canada with SIM. We are the only SIM missionaries who are specifically committed to ministry among the Deaf. Please, with prayer, consider how you can be a vision partner with us.

SIM Canada Executive Director John Denbok recently noted that often it is “the lack of support they (missionaries) receive that makes it so difficult for them to continue.” We can attest to this as, according to Statistics Canada, we are a low-income family. As missionaries we have seasons of adjusting our support higher, and other times it gets adjusted lower. But this concern has been perhaps one of the more constant challenges in our continuing through these 10 years. You may be surprised to know our work does not automatically include travel, book, conference allowances or funding to support further academic or re-training studies; we get only what is given to fund all of our ministry and living expenses. Please, with prayer, consider what you can give.

By Prayer


We would so much appreciate your prayers in the following ways:

  • Safety in travels to meetings and Deaf churches.

  • Wisdom in developing future ministry plans and involvements.

  • Thanks for Deaf friends and contractors who have helped with house repairs this year!

  • Funds to cover higher than expected home repair expenses we incurred in 2015, and for future much-needed technology upgrades in our computer / cell phone.


Blessings to you this Christmas and in 2016!
Love, Andrew, Tonya & Emma

Download our latest newsletter:
Calvary Deaf Church in Peterborough
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 6 days ago
Andrew was glad to preach at Calvary Deaf Church, Peterborough. The service was followed by a wonderful Christmas lunch. Here Pastor John Northey is dishing out dessert!
Clear Sightlines
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 4 days ago
Our focus is with those who are "culturally" Deaf; that is, those who identify with Deaf culture and primarily communicate using sign language. At the beginning of a message, or at any kind of event where standing up and signing to a group is needed, it is often necessary to ensure people have clear sightlines. Sometimes Andrew will just get started and someone will get up and move to get a better view. Or someone else might stop the proceedings to get the lighting adjusted. That's a part of Deaf culture!

But besides deafness there are many we interact with who are living with other physical challenges, such as vision loss for example. A few we know have Usher syndrome, and when Andrew preaches they often have to position themselves with a clear line of sight, close to and directly in front of him.

On Nov. 22 Andrew was preaching at the Evangelical Church of the Deaf in Toronto. It's a bigger venue and has great sightlines, but it can be challenging for those who need to be close up. A Deaf couple showed up who've just moved closer to the neighbourhood and were checking out the church. And besides being Deaf, she has had other health issues contributing to declining vision. What a challenge! But she had an interesting solution - an iPad mounted on a stand and focused on Andrew while he preached. Then she could "pinch and zoom" in to see his signing better. Great use of technology! Praying they return!
St. Catharines Church of the Deaf
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 5 days ago
Andrew preaches at the St. Catharines Church of the Deaf from time to time. The church just celebrated their 60th anniversary. Andrew will be there a couple of times this fall. They meet at Calvary Church, 89 Scott Street, St. Catharines.
Teaching About Hearing and Deafness
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 3 days ago
Tonya had the privilege of teaching a Grade 1 class at a local school about our sense of hearing and about deafness and sign language.
ASL Class
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
2 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days ago
A Deaf leader at one church we interact with is a gifted ASL instructor who has encouraged Andrew to take some advanced ASL courses through the Canadian Hearing Society. Andrew began in the fall of 2015, with a course focused on the valuable and applicable area of storytelling. Even though Andrew has been natively fluent since a child, Andrew found through the course he learned to pay closer attention to important grammatical elements of ASL, and looks forward to future learning. This kind of refining in his skills can help build bridges in the Deaf community.
Crow Camp!
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 5 days ago
We headed west to Alberta, to speak at Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp (www.crowcamp.ca) during a week-long junior camp. Following a pirate theme, we taught our fellow ‘pirates’ about signs on a treasure map and storing up treasure in heaven. The kids left having learned a few important American Sign Language (ASL) signs as reminders.
Summer Camp 2015!
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 5 days ago
Andrew again spent two busy weeks at the Ontario Camp of the Deaf near Parry Sound. Besides ministering as a sort of “on-site pastor” and sharing the speaking role with the camp’s director, Andrew also found that roaming and following the kids with a video camera for daily reports made effective opportunities for connections. Andrew edited a 5- to 10-minute video summary of each day’s activities to be shown at the evening “Power Hour”, and by the end of camp many campers were asking, “Can I be in the video?” Andrew also set up a video booth where kids could answer different questions, some just fun and some more important questions of life and belief. It seemed a great success!
We Joined SIM
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 2 weeks ago
We began with SIM in the winter of 2008, at MissionFest in Toronto during a snowstorm! Even though we hadn't yet been accepted, our first "assignment" already occupied a great deal of our time - working with Tim Jacobson on the School of Urban Biblical Studies (SUBS) project. We completed the thorough process of applications and assessments for joining SIM, and were officially welcomed as members October 9th, 2008.
Landed in Puerto Rico!
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
3 years, 1 week, 3 days ago
We left family, friends, our home Church, and arrived in Puerto Rico, serving with World Mission to the Deaf (www.wmdcanada.org). This began two years of ministry with the Evangelical Church and Center for the Deaf in San Juan, and the Evangelical School for the Deaf in Luquillo.
Grief and Hope
Andrew Lunau Smith said...
5 months ago

We had a challenging but blessed journey with the final months in the life of Andrew's Mom, who passed away January 21, 2018. As a follower of Jesus her simple faith brought her hope in everlasting life. Our grief is covered with that hope. There have also been several others who have passed away in the Deaf community where she lived, and it's a challenge to us in this ministry that the hope those dear saints had is not as prevalent among Deaf youth. Thank you for your prayers!

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*Tax receipts will only be issued for Support and Ministry Accounts.