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When God Guides: The Testimony of Zach and Rachel Smith

What started out as exploring God’s Word took Zach Smith and his family on a journey that transformed their marriage, their health, and their day-to-day lives. This is their story.

What started out as exploring God’s Word took Zach Smith and his family on a journey that transformed their marriage, their health, and their day-to-day lives. This is their story.

Rachel and Zach Smith had goals for their family. Though both had grown up in a context where drugs and alcohol use were a regular part of socializing, both had also grown up with religion, and the two wanted to go back to church. A local non-denominational congregation hosting Wednesday night activities for kids provided a place where their daughters could make friends and experience better influences, which segued into their church attendance.

It was at this time that Zach began to experience what he later would identify as Christ’s personal appeal to his heart. Zach’s schedule involved long shifts as a wine bottle maker, followed by days off to recoup, which often involved binging on movies and TV shows.

“It’s funny,” Zach states, “God showed me all this darkness before He called me to His Word.”

The darkness and satanic content on the TV screen began to repel Zach. His concerns about what he was viewing on TV were soon accompanied by a thought that started running through his mind:

“You call yourself a Christian, but you don’t know my Word.”

The thought stayed with him. Then one day while listening to a sermon, Zach heard the pastor read Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” The verse solidified a plan in his mind. He would read the Bible through from beginning to end. With ear buds in, Zach began listening to a scripture reading app through his 12-hour work shifts. Having quit smoking, Zach used his breaks and commute times to study as well, resulting in him reading through the Bible in a month and a half.

As Zach read, he shared his discoveries with Rachel, all the time finding topics that he wanted to dig into further. Videos on the topics he read about supplemented his studies. He began experiencing a deep hunger for truth.

For Rachel and their children, the changes in Zach’s daily routine piqued their curiosity, and initially brought worry. From the loft of their home, they would occasionally hear Zach loudly remark, “Wow!” and wondered at his enthusiasm.

“The kids and I got to where we thought, ‘oh no, he’s going to come up with something,’” Rachel recalls. “Finally I said, ‘Look, I’m glad you’re excited, but the things you’re saying are crazy. And they’re against everything I’ve ever been taught, and I don’t want to be deceived. So I have to study for myself.”

And study she did. As Rachel began reading, she started identifying the same topics that had piqued Zach’s interest. One of them was regarding the day for Sabbath.

“I had all these arguments for Sabbath, you know, like it’s for the Jews, and it was changed when Christ resurrected, and things like that,” Rachel shared. “And Zach had a rebuttal for every one of my arguments.”

Rachel continued to study the issue. “It didn’t take long until God also convicted me on the Sabbath,” she says.

Sharing discoveries from their reading began knitting the couple together even closer than before. They began praying together and asking for God to guide them. They felt impressed to seek out a congregation who kept the Biblical Sabbath and the same truths they were discovering. Zach suggested the Seventh-day Adventist church, which prompted their research on the church’s prophet, Ellen White. Rachel, wanting to read one of her books, got a copy of the Desire of Ages.

“You don’t have to go very far in that book to know that the Holy Spirit wrote that book through her,” Rachel shares.

Satisfied to discover that what they were learning of Adventism was consistent with what God had revealed to them in His Word, they resigned from their respective roles at the non-denominational church and began looking for an Adventist church to attend.

“We had a lot of people that were saying, ‘we left the faith, we left church,’” Zach recalls. “Our families too, and our families thought we were crazy.”

Zach and Rachel’s actions, compelled by what they had plainly read in scripture, brought on remarks from family and friends, who viewed the two as extremists. They noted that phone calls and visits from family began dwindling down when those connections could no longer hinge on drinking and smoking marijuana.

While old connections took a pause, new connections with a new church family began growing. Zach and Rachel found an Adventist church nearby to attend.

“When we first went there, right when I walked in the door, the hair on my arm stood up,” Zach shares. “I felt tears coming down my eyes, I wanted to cry. We met a couple people right then and they gave us hugs. We just knew it was home.”

Shortly after their first introductions with their new church in the spring of 2020, mandates closed the church doors, but not the opportunities for fellowship.

Amid the lockdowns, Zach and Rachel and their children were invited to join small groups and home church groups that surrounded them with love, and kept their walk with God growing.

“They knew that we were going to be in a spiritual battle,” Zach remarks.

Zach and Rachel had encountered spiritual battles early on as they made changes to align their lives with what they were reading in the Bible, including in their diet. Here, these battles started becoming more plain.

“We ate meat with every meal, and we actually ate a lot of pork because we were a big family, and pork is really cheap,” Rachel shares.

Convicted about what he was reading regarding unclean meat, and inspired by films exposing health concerns from consuming meat in general, Zach took the lead for his family in giving those foods up.

“I was mad at him,” Rachel says, “because we were eating pepperoni pizza, and I was mad that he wouldn’t eat it with us. But then the Lord really convicted me quickly that we needed to stop eating those things.”

For Zach and Rachel, being motivated by their convictions made the changes easier. For their children, the transitions were harder. Then, one day, Zach and Rachel noted that their children, who were consistently sick approximately every three weeks, had not had a single cough or cold. Zach also noticed that a sinus infection that had persisted for two years, even following surgery, had gone away completely after they had stopped drinking milk and eating meat.

“We weren’t sick for two years after quitting eating meat,” Rachel shares. Speaking of their diet changes, she continues, “It was a struggle at first, lots of potatoes, lots of bread. But God really got us through and He connected us with others, to show us a different diet and how delicious it can be. It’s a whole new way of life.”

Their new way of life continued to bring positive changes. After just six weeks of implementing the whole food, plant-based, unprocessed diet recommendations they had learned from a medical missionary online training course, Zach noted that his weight had come down by almost 40 pounds, and Rachel noted dropping 30 pounds.

Every area of life where Zach and Rachel let God guide them in making changes resulted in greater quality of life and joy. Diet changes were followed by an assessment of their living situation. The two had continued to read from Ellen White’s writings, and felt a burden to move to transition to more country-living where they could grow food free of chemicals and pesticides, and where they could homeschool their children in an environment free of concerning influences.

“We are learning the importance of going organic, and seeing that really the only way to be able to eat healthy is to grow the food ourselves,” Rachel adds.

Their conviction on the nearness of Jesus’ Second Coming prompted them to hold off from purchasing a home in the city where they were living. The two prayed and waited for God to open the right door. Three years into their prayerful wait, a series of miracles resulted in a cross-country move to Kentucky, where the family launched into country living, active involvement in another local Adventist church, and outreach to their community.

“God has been stretching our faith a little at a time, showing us He’s there with us, always,” Zach shares emphatically. “He wants all of our lives. The biggest thing we can do is to yield to what He has planned, because He’s the one that knows the beginning from the end.”

For both Zach and Rachel, the journey started with conviction on a matter, which, when surrendered to Him, resulted in experiencing a new power to make changes.

“He would bring conviction about something else, we would surrender it, and all of a sudden, with kids watching us, we went from having a TV going all the time or listening to secular music, to God just taking the desire away,” Rachel recalls. “And then we were waking up super early in the morning, and  we were constantly on our knees, always in prayer. It changed our marriage completely.”

For both Zach and Rachel, entrusting God with their plans has proved a blessing every step of the way, transforming their health, their marriage, and their family—including Zach’s mother. As Zach freely shared with his mom what he learned from reading, she took note in her own Bible reading. One day, Zach’s mom called to share that she had studied the topics for herself and believed he was absolutely right, and embraced the same truths Zach had embraced. Just one month later, his mom received a terminal lung cancer diagnosis. Three days after diagnosis, she passed to her rest, having spent her last three days reading scripture with Zach.

“She had no pain for those last three days,” Zach recalls.

Of his family, Zach shares how God has been faithfully leading them, one at a time.

“Never stop praying for your family, never stop sharing the joy,” Zach says. “People see the true joy that I have. Joy is what we all are searching for our whole lives. Only one Person can repair the breach. And that’s Jesus. He’s the joy.”


Wholeness for Life is a health and Bible education platform made for truth-seeking people just like Zach and Rachel.  


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