Bruce Michael Schmidt, 66, was born on December 22, 1954 in Portsmouth, VA. He passed over into Heaven at 4:45 AM on Sunday, December 19, 2021.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Martha Ann Jones Schmidt, son Nathan Schmidt (Lauren) of Midlothian, VA, daughter Stephanie Dawkins (Paul) of San Marcos, TX, son Michael Schmidt of Cary, NC; and seven grandchildren: Julia, Heidi, Luke, Charlie, Lily, Hannah, and Ransom. He is also survived by his sister, Lydia Schmidt Crane of Apex, NC. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents Robert A. Schmidt and LaVerne K. Schmidt as well as brothers Wayne R. Schmidt and Glen Schmidt.
Bruce loved Jesus and worked as a Southern Baptist minister. His first ministry was as a high school student, when he voluntarily left his Christian school to be a missionary to the public high school. On the first day of class, he met his future wife, Martha. He often said, “The first most important decision you will ever make is to follow Jesus, and the second most important decision is who you marry.” He received a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.
In his 20s, he worked on staff at Bellevue Baptist, Memphis, TN and Long Leaf Baptist, Wilmington, NC. While attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bruce worked on the maintenance staff, where he learned many important life skills he later used on the mission field. He paid for graduate school on the GI bill, which he earned through his time served in the United States Army, 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, NC. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN.
In his 30s, Bruce fulfilled a dream of serving as a missionary in Kenya with the International Mission Board. He started Kenyan churches among the Maasai people. He established a Bible School for Maasai pastors, which later became a seminary.
In his 40s, Bruce moved his family to a remote part of Uganda known as Karamoja. The Karamojong people were best known for stealing cows and killing warring tribes with AK-47s. With the help of the IMB and First Baptist Woodstock,GA, Bruce was able to build a mission station in Karamoja to bring Bible messages and health care to the people in that remote area. This mission station is still operational and has become vital in the mission expansion efforts in Northern Uganda and South Sudan. Bruce also worked briefly as a minister to United Nations in New York City with the North American Home Mission Board.
In his 50s and 60s Bruce served as a Pastor in the United States, at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA, Lamar Baptist Church, Arlington, TX, Tabor City Baptist, Tabor City, NC, and First Baptist Gowensville, Landrum, SC.
Bruce was full of passion and conviction. He loved Jesus and the Word of God. Every morning from his daily devotion he selected a “good and guiding word,’’ which he wrote on a yellow post-it and carried in his pocket. He adored his bride and he was so proud of each of his children. He deeply cared about the world being a better place for his grandchildren. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18
Bruce ended many sermons by walking off the platform singing “Victory in Jesus.” His retirement began earlier than expected on December 17 when he suffered a stroke related to cancer and fully experienced victory in Jesus two days later. He lived every day of his life to bring glory and honor to God.
The family received friends on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM at Petty Funeral Home. A private graveside service was held at First Baptist Church Gowensville Cemetery.
Due to the possible inclement weather the celebration of life service has been postponed until Sunday, January 30, 2022 and will be held at First Baptist Church Gowensville conducted by Rev. Josh Phillips and Dr. Johnny Hunt. Music will be by Dr. Ken Renfrow and the Bluegrass Band from Bob Jones University.
Condolences may be left at www.pettyfuneralhome.com.
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