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GENE'S STORY        (Continued)
Princeton  offered me three years of free tuition,  a classical seminary education with world class scholars
like Bruce Metzger, Jurgen Moltmann, T. F. Torrance, & the opportunity to focus on Greek and Hebrew exegesis.
After  Princeton I served two years as associate pastor of an Alliance church in Los Alamos, New Mexico,
7000 feet up in the Jemez mountains,        some of the most beautiful country God ever made . . .
Feeling that God was giving us the liberty to close the effort,  we moved to Wheaton,
where I worked at three jobs part time (Wheaton Christian Academy,  Lombard Bible Church, and Graham Association for the severely retarded),
while Susan waited for our first-born son to be born.
The Alliance appointed us to Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa;

we left three months after our son Malcolm Sawyer Smillie was born.
While at Princeton I worked as a chaplain
in the Philadelphia city prison system.
. . . and I made some of the best friends I have ever known.
And then I met SUSIE !
In addition to pastoring, for two years I coached a 5th & 6th grade
soccer team  at Los Alamos
To read more detail
about our whirlwind
courtship and romance,
see
Susie's Story
Our first assignment in Cote d'Ivoire was to teach in the Yamoussoukro Bible Institute for one year.
That really helped us nail down French, using it all day in the classroom teaching Bible

Although the church asked the mission  to let us stay there and fill that crucial role, the mission insisted we should
"get out in the bush  and learn African culture, and an African language, thoroughly."
When we came home on our first furlough
we had grown to five Smillies; three robust
preschool boys now outnumbered us adults.
Gene's Mom & Dad came out to Africa !
Next
We spent the BEST YEAR OF OUR LIFE in France,
learning to speak and understand that language.

Strangely enough, going to France felt like "coming home" for me
- I've never felt more natural in a place,  as I did in France.
We moved down to Santa Fe, capital of New Mexico












where we tried for a year to start a new Alliance church from zero.

We failed spectacularly.
So we spent two years doing that

and also teaching lay church leader seminars and conferences.
After a year in France learning the language, and pastoring a French church for one
summer, we flew to Africa
For more on our life in Africa
click here
One summer I traveled all over South East
Alaska, teaching Vacation Bible School in
many native American villages and
supplying the pulpits for Presbyterian
churches. Got to eat a lot of fresh game too!
Waylon and Jessi sing what we can affirm thirty years later
:        (
click to listen to them)
For three years I got to work with Dr. Metzger not only in the classroom,
but also in his home yard!  He & his wife Isobel (whose father John
Mackay had been President of Princeton after the split, and who before
that had been a missionary, and had studied with both Karl Barth and
Miguel de Unamuno! and wrote the classic "
The Other Spanish Christ")
became close friends who "kept up with me" even after I went to Africa.