Rev. Vondas Ardell Smith, of Southaven, MS, died on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. He was 91.
Born March 28, 1927 in Jonesboro, AR, Vondas was the oldest son of the late Billie and Irene Hanson Smith. He served during the World War II era. After military service, Vondas felt a call to the ministry and attended the Pentecostal Bible Institute in Tupelo, MS. He established two successful home missions' churches, Newport, AR and Memphis, TN. Throughout his ministry, Vondas spent time traveling in Mexico, and his love for the Spanish speaking people grew. In November 1974, Vondas and Leah, left for La Paz, Bolivia, where he ministered for 24 years as the first foreign missionary to Bolivia from the United Pentecostal Church International. While working in Bolivia, Vondas established churches in five of the nation's nine states. He also founded Bolivia's Bible Institute, the Instituto de Doctrina Apostolica, in Cochabamba, Bolivia. After retiring from Foreign Missions, he eventually returned to the Memphis area and became the director of the prison ministry. He resigned to focus on founding El Faro UPC in Southaven, MS.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Leah Ruth Ellis Smith; five children, Vonda (Howard) Smith, Debra (Bruce) Lazarus, RaNae Vaughn, Lei-Rene (Jorge) Perez and Marcus (Barbara) Smith; grandchildren, Andrea (David) Nutt, Tanya (Nathan) Harrod, Khrista (Jeremy) Favor, MaLeah (Randy) Laird, Karisha (Dan) Devlin, Logan Vaughn, Yvonne (Kendal) Thomas, Dennis Perez, Daniel Perez, Priscilla (Sean) Martin, Ashley (Stephen) Kovach, Claudia Smith, and Audrey Smith; and great grandchildren, Isabella Nutt, Sophia Nutt, Zaiden Nutt, Alaina Harrod, Lincoln Harrod, Sean Laird, Katelyn Laird, Melanie Laird, Olivia Laird, Jason Devlin, Kate Devlin, Amidei Thomas, Abigail Thomas and Marshane Kovach.
Vondas was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers and sister-in-laws, John and Margie Smith, and O'Neil and Jenean Smith; one grandchild, Sgt. Jason Vaughn; and a nephew, David Smith.
Services will be held at the Pentecostals of Jonesboro, 5312 S. Caraway Road on Monday at 11:30 am with Rev. Steve Edwards officiating. Burial will follow in the Jonesboro City Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Roller-Farmers Union Funeral Home of Jonesboro. Vistiation will be from 10:30 am until time of service