Joy to the World!

Merry Christmas from CIU President Mark Smith
December 06, 2019

Dear Friends,  

I am so grateful for your prayers and thank you for giving to CIU! Every day we labor to build God’s Kingdom, equipping students to take the gospel to people around the corner and around the world. We cannot do this in our own strength.

God is on the throne, and He is accomplishing His agenda through CIU’s students and alumni. Here are a few highlights:

  • CIU alumna, Dr. Dell Brabham (’95) serves as a principal at Hyatt Park Elementary School where she is touching young lives every day, “It’s humbling, because ‘my babies’ know that I love them. Many of our kids come to school wounded, so we have to be that culture of hope for them. Inspiring them and telling their parents, ‘Do not give up on your kids.’”
  • CIU alumnus, “John Paul” has worked in West Asia for 14 years as a church planter. When asked what drew him to work in a part of the world with restrictions on evangelism, he said, “God broke my heart for the people of this restricted nation.” He went on to say, “the cost of following Christ for locals in this country can be very high.”
  • We are serving our community; our students volunteer as tutors and mentors in the neighborhood elementary school. We are inviting our neighbors on campus for celebrations such as Trunk or Treat and the Hoop for Hope sports camp.

Dr. Susie Shellenberger, who served 19 years at Focus on the Family, challenged our students during Christian Life Week to clear the stage of their lives of idols and instead make room for God’s BIG dream. She went on to say that nothing can thwart a dream if God has given it to you.

CIU is proof of this. God gave a BIG dream to six young ladies 100 years ago, who knelt in prayer asking God for a Bible college in Columbia, South Carolina. We are that school. We continue to dream BIG!

CIU cannot do this work without you. As the world grows darker and our own country becomes more hostile to the truths of the Bible, our students and alumni bring the light of the gospel. Your prayers and support are more critical than ever.

Medical Update and Request:

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer in October. I had a kidney and the cancer removed on Oct. 28. I am now recovering at home and the doctors believe I am cancer free - I just need time to heal. The comfort of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of our prayer partners have sustained me in some difficult hours. He is an amazing God of comfort. Now, more than ever, I am grasping all that God wants to do and the urgency of the hour. We must know Him and make Him known.

I have not been able to travel and raise funds like usual due to my illness. Will you please help us as we try to raise $1 million for the University and Seminary? God has been blessing so much, but we count on each of you and your gifts to CIU. Please consider making an investment in CIU students this Christmas season as they train to take the gospel to wherever God leads them. Over 90% of our students request and receive financial aid from our donor-supported CIU Fund.

You can make a gift using the enclosed card or by visiting

Debbie and I wish you a blessed Christmas season!

Merry Christmas,

Dr. Mark A. Smith President