SMART Missions®

Our History and Philosophy

We were started by a high school youth group who was wrecked by their visit to an orphanage in Nicaragua in the mid-90’s. They went home and their lives were never the same. Led by God, they started to make a difference for the children through prayer and financial support.

Thus began ORPHANetwork – a network of like-minded churches and individuals who have God’s heart for social orphans. At the beginning, we were very focused on trips. Over the years, we’ve learned that we did a lot of great things for God’s Kingdom in the US and a lot of (unintentionally) harmful things for His Kingdom in Nicaragua.

Around 2010, Corbett and Fikkert’s book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself, really challenged our ministry to take a strongly objective view of our approach to global missions.

We began to look at poverty alleviation as providing a hand-up to the materially poor rather than a hand-out. As a result, we have strategically transformed our approach to global missions and serving teams.


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