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Coal is down; baptisms are up


Pastor Jeremy Smith, wife Amy, and their two sons.

AFLEX--Aflex is a small community in Pike County bordering West Virginia and situated along the Tug River. The once-thriving area, fed mostly by coal and railroad commerce, is now experiencing poverty due to the decline of both industries. Jeremy Smith, pastor of Aflex Baptist Church, knows the area well.

Smith was 27 years old when God called him to preach and started serving at Open Arms Baptist Church as an adult Sunday School teacher. Smith said at the time, “I was a little hesitant to tell my wife that God was calling me to preach, but much to my surprise, she already knew. God had revealed His desire to her heart, because when God calls a minister, he also calls his wife.”

Jeremy worked as a coal miner for 12 years, but recently lost his job due to the closing of numerous mines in the area. Smith said, “Through federal grants and financial aid programs, I am currently enrolled as a full-time student at Big Sandy Community and Technical School, aiming for a degree in Industrial Maintenance.”

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