MVO’s New Director Looks to the Future

 In Bargain Center, charis house, General, Ministry Village, Ministry Village Early Learning Center, Tender Hearts Caring Hands

Last week’s blog introduced you to Mr. Drayton Smith, the new Executive Director of Ministry Village at Olive. Drayton’s background in ministry and missions positions him with a compassionate perspective to reach those in need throughout Northwest Florida. This week, Drayton tells us why he is excited about the opportunities he sees with MVO, and his outlook for the ministry in the coming years.

Drayton had heard of Ministry Village at Olive, but, like many, he did not fully understand the breadth of its mission or the details behind each program. “Before the COVID pandemic, I worked for a similar nonprofit organization,” explains Drayton. “I really felt like that was the highlight of my career because I was helping people, engaging with the community, and partnering with likeminded folks that were striving daily to be a blessing to others – no matter who those people are, where they are from, or what their past looks like. I was eager to go in early, stay late, and work harder than ever before. It was a true calling for me, and a passion that fed on the rewards of seeing life change in others…and in me!” Now, Drayton sees the opportunity to impact lives through the programs of MVO.

Drayton and Milissa Smith

“There are so many ways to reach our neighbors. It could be through a family that drops off their child at the Early Learning Center. When the staff prays over the children and the families – that is a proactive step to impacting a life before a child grows up to become a statistic. When you see people who have fallen on hard times and are dealing with the stress of financial hardship – I’ve been there myself. Through Tender Hearts Caring Hands, we can give them an uplifting hand – not just a hand-out. Helping them with a power bill, or a bag of groceries, or maybe just one hot meal – that can be powerful and life-changing. The Charis House ladies demonstrate the power of life-change every day. They become family to each other, and the staff and volunteers who minister to them support them. When there is a victory with one of them – whether it’s getting a job, or earning back a driver’s license – they all jump and scream for joy and celebrate for one another. Some of these ladies come from being abused and not knowing what true love is, and we help to change that.”

Drayton plans to work diligently to operate MVO debt-free. “Having debt hinders us somewhat on our ability to minister. Doing ministry is not cheap – it comes with a very heavy price. But we should not ‘be a servant to debt’. Once we are debt-free, we will be able to provide more services to more people, and reach more lives in the name of Jesus. That certainly fits in to the programs and work of Ministry Village.”

“Hearing stories of people coming to Jesus while shopping at the Bargain Center – having the staff in the store know customers by name and asking them about their family members or their doctor’s visits – that is mission work. They are loving on people wherever they are. The items that get sold in the Bargain Center are getting a second chance at a new life – why shouldn’t we give other people a second chance too? Jesus certainly gave me more than a second chance.”

Drayton and his wife Milissa have 5 children, one grandson, and 2 daughters-in-law. They have served as foster parents, hosting nearly 50 children over a 5-year period, and ultimately adopting 2 of their foster children. They enjoy life on their small Molino farm with their cows, horses, chickens, and dogs.

Welcome, Drayton and Milissa, to the Ministry Village at Olive family! We are excited to see what the Lord has planned for us in 2022!

The mission of Ministry Village at Olive is to put the words of Jesus into action throughout our community – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV) If you are looking for a place to demonstrate kindness to others for the glory of God, give us a call. We have opportunities through the Bargain Center; at our Tender Hearts Caring Hands benevolence program and food pantry; through the Most Excellent Way addiction support groups; at the Charis House; and at the Ministry Village Early Learning Center.

For more information on Ministry Village at Olive, Inc. and its work in the community, follow them on Facebook at, on Twitter @MinistryVillage, visit their website,, or call (850) 473-4466.

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