Alumni News

news & announcements for alumni

Update from Jamey & Lesley Smith

unnamedHere’s a brief excerpt from Jamey & Lesley Smith’s latest update. The Smiths are former NLCFers who are now working with our sister church in Danli, Honduras:

There is a very important day that comes around every September for the sweet children of Honduras. That day is National Children’s Day, and it is taken very seriously! But who wouldn’t want a reason to celebrate the wonderful kids that we are blessed to have at the Danli CDI? I (Lesley) have been planning for this day for over a year – ever since I found out about the holiday last year – by saving materials, ideas, gifts, prizes, anything super fun that we were given was automatically tucked away for this day. So for the first time ever, my students had these things in addition to their piñata and cake (which is all they normally have). Students from the communities we work in had never even heard of having raffle prizes like soccer jerseys and Barbie dolls, and had never each received a full gift baggie to take home no matter how much or how little candy they were able to collect from the piñata. They were absolutely amazed at the amount of work their teachers put in to their party and genuinely grateful.

But before we started all of the fun, we made sure to take a moment and explain why we have this day in Honduras; most of our kids just knew it was a day but had never thought about why someone would throw a party in honor of it. We explained to them how much we love each one of them individually no matter what. We know each of them by name and we had prepared a table with each of their names on it, just like the Lord knows them inside and out, each by name, and loves them unconditionally. We wanted to throw the best party we could so that they would know just how much they are loved.

In other wonderful news of the Danli Children’s Development Center, three of our kids have recently received new beds of their own and two new students entered the program this month. Praise the Lord! Also, the Danli CDI Facebook page has recently been significantly updated with dozens of new pictures from both this year and last school year. We hope you can check it out and enjoy!

Update from Jamey & Lesley Smith Read More »

Reflection on our 25-Year Reunion

Check out some pictures from the weekend: NLCF’S 25-Year Reunion Weekend

Whew! What a weekend we had!

First of all, our staff and a bunch of our leaders did an AMAZING job pulling this off. If you were blessed by the weekend, when you get a chance, thank them!

Now to the matter at hand. The first thing to mention is that when you do a reunion and a retreat together, you can’t really do either one in as focused a manner as you could if you did them separately. We knew that, but we were going for something different. We weren’t sure it would work, but we knew where God wanted us to aim.

We wanted to feel like what we are, a family. Multiple generations, at many different points in life to be sure, but family nonetheless. We wanted it to feel like a family coming together for a holiday. That desire guided the entire weekend’s planning. Friday night started well, everyone was having a good time, but I’m not sure we had that feeling just yet. I will tell you when I think it happened. We had a moment and things were different from there on.

It was Saturday, we had just finished the Olympics, and my team had stolen the First Place Golden Boot (then had given it back to the team that had earned it). After lunch, we asked Chris and Julie Massie to share their struggles in being able to get their two adopted kids out of the Congo, and we prayed for them. That is when it happened.

At that point, the age differences melted away; the graduating year stopped mattering. We prayed for two people just trying to bring their kids home. Boom, family. The rest was different. It seems so right that this weekend that had been so heavily prayed over would get to the point we had prayed it would get to in a moment of prayer and vulnerability. It just seems, well, right.

I won’t forget that weekend and I think that is true for most of us. For those that were here, thank you for taking the time, money and inconvenience to be with us. It is always easier to just not come to things like this, but we need things like this. Things that remind us that the world we stare at every day is not the only real world and not even the most real one. For those of you who couldn’t make it, you were missed and we are saving a chair for you at the next one.

~ Jim

Reflection on our 25-Year Reunion Read More »

Reunion Weekend Details

We are SO excited that this weekend has finally come!
We will join together on Friday at Camp Christi in Christiansburg, VA.
The address: 4704 Roanoke Street C’burg, VA 24073
The evening will start at 8:00p as we know that many of you are travelling in from out-of-town.  However, you are welcome to come and hangout anytime after 5:00p.  Feel free to grab some take out and join us at the retreat site!
The evening will conclude with a throwback campfire, smores and snacks!
We will rejoin (for those not staying at Camp Christi) on Saturday morning at 9am for Breakfast.  This will be followed by Engage Group vs Alumni vs. Team KiDS Olympics! (might want to bring some athletic attire and something warm!)  We will enjoy lunch together and head out by 2:00p
Alumni will rejoin AGAIN Saturday evening at Custom Catering in Blacksburg, VA.
The address: 902 Patrick Henry Dr. Bburg, VA 24060
Doors will open at 6:00p with dinner served at 6:30p.  Kids will be on-site (not at 130 Jackson) … so bring the kids along!  They will have their own hang-out!  Dress is business casual.
Sunday we will conclude the celebration at 11:00a in Squires Colonial Hall!  
Campus Tour!
We have 2 options for a campus tour to see the new sites since your last visit!
If you would like to be a part of the Friday at 3:00p tour … please email Jeanette by Friday at 10am.
The other tour will be Sunday afternoon.

Reunion Weekend Details Read More »


We have been asked a number of times about the #25blessings campaign NLCF has going this year. So, here goes.

The start of this Fall Semester in 1989, NLCF was planted. 25 years may not seem like a long time, but when you consider the percentage of church plants that make it that far, and when you add to that the fact that we primarily focus on a demographic that isn’t able to give as much (read that as on average 90% less than a traditional church), one where if someone wants to go on staff they have to first raise their entire salary like an overseas missionary. Where you regularly send your most experienced leaders to other churches in the cities where they are hired, and where you have to grow by 20-25% a year JUST TO STAY THE SAME SIZE YOU WERE LAST YEAR, well, it is daunting. To be growing and thriving 25 years later is pretty good sized miracle.

So we want to celebrate, but maybe a bit differently than the typical celebration.

What we decided to do was take this academic year and give blessings back to the Va. Tech and NRV community. And we thought that 25 of them would be symbolic.

Being a blessing to our community and university isn’t anything new here. We fully believe that we are called by Christ to be good neighbors, that the Good News should be, well, good news. That the people we are around should experience better lives because of our presence in them.

So, this year, #25blessings. We have already started and we have many more to go. Some of them are a bit expensive and some take a great deal of time. But we are committed. We have been so blessed to be a part of this amazing community for 25 years and we are excited to take a year (an incredibly busy one mind you) and focus on being grateful and showing gratitude. Taking time to slow down a bit and genuinely honor those who have been so good to us is simply the right thing to do. It will take a lot to get it done well, but it seems like a good thing to focus on.

As we are doing this, we are starting to see NLCF’ers (leaders and members) being blessed through it. Looking at our community through eyes that search for ways to bring blessing, not just to receive it. Seeing that even my everyday world needs me to be a light for Christ, not just in big and planned ways (although we have 25 of those) but in small, unplanned ones as well.

This is going to be a fun year! Would you like to join us? Email [email protected] and we will show you how you can!

Here is what Jesus said about all this in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5…

You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Emphasis mine.

Peace, Jim

#25Blessings Read More »

Clement Blanc

clementIn the Spring of 2011, I spent a semester in a VT lab for an internship in acoustics. Just to give a short overview of my life before that point, I had been raised in a Christian family in France, I gave my life to Christ at an early age, and at least from the end of my high school years, it’s been strongly on my heart that I wanted to serve God with my life. I’ve been playing the bass at church since I was 14, and I saw myself serving God somehow with music. By the time I got to VT, the thing grew bigger in my heart, I was seriously considering not becoming an engineer, but serving God full-time with my instrument.

During that semester at VT, my internship left me a decent amount of free time, and I mostly spent it practicing the bass (between 15 and 20 hours a week), but by the end of April, my forearms suddenly got very painful. I first needed to stop to play the bass, and fairly quickly I also needed to strongly reduce my work pace at the lab. I even spent few days home doing nothing with ice bags on my arms to reduce the inflammation.

Needless to say that it was a pretty rough unexpected change. As the days went by, it was not getting any better. I didn’t know it, but it was the beginning of 2 years without being able to play the bass on a regular basis with frequent painful times and without being able to use the keyboard of a computer for more than few minutes. Just to show the depth of God’s work in that situation, I want to emphasize how tough it has been. I was losing hope of fulfilingl my dream of serving God with my instrument. I was completely lost concerning God’s will. But it got even more serious going back to France where I was afraid about not being able to get my degree.

After my time at VT, I still had one semester at my French university plus another one semester internship. During most of my semester at school, I was able to write with a pencil, but was hardly able to spend more than 30 min typing on a keyboard. But for the last month of school, I wasn’t even able to take any notes.

I was about to start a mandatory internship where I was supposed to work on a computer 8 hours a day. I was scared. Before my first day at work, I wake up and my arms are already fairly painful (which even in the worst periods was unusual). I’m not asked to really work on the computer, mostly to do some readings, but even the short time just installing 3 or 4 software programs causes my arms serious pain.

My second day at work, I’m supposed to write a short report on what I just read, how I understand my project, how I plan it, etc. I start to type. Nothing. No pain for the first time in months. I go back home and start to use my computer and the pain is back. It went like that for months: I would go to work, spending many hours typing reports and feeling no pain and going home having the hardest time typing a 10 line email.

God was clearly not done with me being sick, but God was also providing just what I needed to keep going with that internship. I don’t think there is a better way to grow in your faith than having to rely on God every morning to heal you in order to be able to do your work for one more day. On the medical side of it, my situation got better very slowly. I started to go back to playing bass more frequently on March 2013.

But the story doesn’t stop here. When I got sick, I didn’t do nothing with my new free time. I started to read my Bible more, watch sermons on YouTube, read Christians books, etc. I started to learn about God from my trial, but also from everything I was watching and reading and it kept going until now. Out of that, my love for the Word grew stronger every day and also a love to share with the people around me what I was learning.

Through this journey, God was leading me somewhere. At the end of 2012, I felt clearly that I needed to set myself apart to study the Word in a seminary. I don’t exactly where it’s gonna end, maybe as a pastor, maybe something else, but I know that in 2 weeks I’m done with my work and I start seminary near Paris. I’m fully thankful to God for this trial which started 2 and a half years ago in Blacksburg and  has led me to commit myself fully to Him to serve Him for the rest of my life. God is faithful.

Clement Blanc Read More »

Clement Blanc: Set Apart

clementIn the Spring of 2011, I spent a semester in a VT lab (and at NLCF) for an internship in acoustics. At that point, I was playing the bass for at least 15 hours a week with the goal to be able to serve God full-time somehow with my instrument. By the end of April, my arms suddenly became very painful. I couldn’t play anymore, and I could barely keep typing on a keyboard to finish my internship.

It was the beginning of a 2-year period not being able to play the bass on a regular basis and not being able to type on a keyboard for more than an hour at a time. In the Spring of 2012, I had to do a second internship, but at that point, I wasn’t even able to use a pencil, so I started that internship with absolutely no chance to last there more than a week. But God made it possible.

As soon as I started to use my computer for work, the pain was gone. And as soon as I would go back home, the pain would be back. For months, God was healing me, just when I needed it during working hours, and then He would keep the trial going for the rest of the day. I learned a lot during those tough 2 years of the pain and the constant need to rely only on God.

But being away from music, God also gave me the time to study his Word, to study the life of heroes in the faith, and to learn a lot through a great preacher. A long story short, by the end of 2012, I strongly felt God calling me set myself apart to go study his Word in seminary. So I quit my work and I start in a few days at seminary, knowing that God led me there patiently for all the work He has prepared for me.

~ Clement Blanc

Clement Blanc: Set Apart Read More »

Jamey & Lesley Smith

jamey and lesley smithJamey and Lesley Smith are VT/NLCF alumni who are just a month and a half away from moving to Danli, Honduras as missionaries. They will be attending training in Colorado later this month before heading to Honduras to work with our sister church in Danli for four years. Jamey will be working with water & sanitation systems and Lesley will be helping the church with event management and the children’s ministry.

1. Why did you decide to move to Honduras? We decided to move to Honduras because we’ve been feeling God calling us to Danli over the past few years. We’ve had multiple opportunities to go on NLCF’s spring break trips and completely fell in love with the people and culture there. There is so much brokenness and poverty there and we have the desire to go and be a light for Jesus and share his love with the people of Honduras.

2. What are you most excited and most nervous about? We are most excited about the adventure of moving to another culture and getting to experience all that entails. We can’t think of a better way to start out our marriage than serving God in this way. We are definitely most nervous about the language. Even though we have been practicing, we still are not fluent. Keep praying that this comes quickly for us!

3. How can NLCF support you? NLCF can support us by praying for our specific needs that we will continue to share with you all during our time there and connecting with us while we are there. Feel free to connect with us at any point whether that be through email, facebook, text, etc. We will love hearing from you all! Also, you should definitely come on NLCF’s spring break trip to Danli and you can join in with the amazing things God is doing there!

You can follow our adventures on our blog at:

Jamey & Lesley Smith Read More »

Why I’m Working In Lebanon

kyle lotierHere’s an update from alum, Kyle Lotier, as he recounts how his experience at LT (2005) left an impression that is still impacting him today…

As I write this I’m sitting in the living room of the Medair flat in Eclubens, Switzerland. Prior to heading out into the field I’m being given about a week and a half of training on everything from accounting and project management to logistics and safety and security. I wanted to give a brief description of what my job in Lebanon will be like as well as discuss what could possibly have possessed me to do something this crazy. I’m still not entirely certain what my job is going to entail, so that entry might have to wait until after the team from Medair HQ completes its initial Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) assessment later this month. For the time being, suffice it to say that I will be working in the Bekaa Valley on a household flood and fire mitigation project, and probably some other yet to-be-determined WASH activities.

The second question is actually the easier one for me to answer, since I’ve had weeks, months, and years to think about it, even if it takes me a while to get there. It’s quite a long story, but one that I hope you will find worthwhile. It all started back in high school when I went on a mission trip to work on homes damaged by flooding near Fayetteville, West Virginia…  I don’t really remember too many of the particulars of the trip, but I do remember thinking “If I could do this for a living, that would be pretty much the best job ever.” Most of my academic and professional career since that point has been part of making that dream a reality. Except at some point it became about something much more than just traveling, having fun, and helping people; it became a calling.

I remember the summer before my senior year in college. I was spending the summer in Orlando, Florida, as part of a leadership training program with my college church (NLCF) while trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I still kind of wanted to do humanitarian aid or relief work, but I also knew that it would be much easier, and more lucrative, to just find an engineering job in the states somewhere; I was stumped. Luckily God had a plan, as He always does, and knew exactly where He wanted me to be. One day, on my day off, I went to the park to have some quiet time and see if I could get him to tell me what to do. For no particular reason I opened my Bible to the book of James and this is what I found:

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” – James 2:26

And now for the kicker, James 4:17:

 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

I had gone to the park that day to hear God speak. By the time I left the park that day I was pretty certain He had. It hasn’t always been easy, but at no point since then have I really doubted that this was what He wanted from me and for me. There have been times when I wasn’t necessarily sure that it was what I wanted for me, but each and every time I’ve walked away I have been gently and graciously reminded that it’s not about me. It never has been.

Why I’m Working In Lebanon Read More »