On June 30, 2002 I received a phone call that would change our lives.
The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Malori is not breathing…Malori is dead.”
My 17-year old daughter Malori Aslan Smith, had decided to become a full-time missionary in Mexico. On a road trip from Mexico City to Laredo, TX, Malori was riding in a 15-passenger van with her fellow interns when the left rear tire de-treaded.
The van rolled three times and ended up upside-down on the side of a road in Monterrey, Mexico. Malori and two other missionaries were killed.
I flew down to Mexico and worked with the US Consulate to get Malori flown back to the US. I remember sitting in an airport in Hermisillo, Mexico filled with dread.
What was I going to do now?
All my plans seemed meaningless in light of the tragedy. I was really looking to God for answers. I decided to look inside Malori’s backpack. The outside of the backpack was decked out with key chains that she had collected over the years. The backpack even smelled like Malori–scented with her favorite “Happy” perfume. Inside the backpack I found 8 journals. I had no idea Malori was such a prolific writer. I decided to pull one of the notebooks out and read it–again, looking for answers.
Here’s the first thing I read:
I will never understand You
I will never see what You See
I will never know Your timing
I will never understand you perfect plan
But I will trust You anyways. Always
“I will trust you anyway. Always Yes God.” If anyone else had told me to “trust God,” I would have told them, “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t what I am going through.” But these words were from Malori herself.
A message from God for me personally via Malori’s journal.
Exactly what I needed to hear.
For the next month, we did funeral services and basically survived. I couldn’t go back to work and manage 200 people, so I stayed home.
At 42 years old, I was in a full-blown midlife crisis.
A few months later, I ran across a book called Halftime by Bob Buford. Buford promised that the second half of my life could be better than the first. Again, I thought, “that’s easy for him to say.” But within a few chapters, I found out that Buford had lost his only son, Ross, in a drowning accident in Mexico. “OK,” I thought. “Bob Buford knows exactly what I’m going through.” I read Halftime that night and was really encouraged. Bob says we can all move from success to significance. That’s what I needed to hear. My first half was pretty successful. Now I wanted my second half to be significant.
Malori’s accident on June 30, 2002 had ushered me violently into Halftime.
After reading Halftime, I visited the Halftime website and found the next book I needed for my Halftime journey. Lloyd Reeb had just published Success to Significance. Lloyd’s book provided a step-by-step guide through Halftime and helped me figure out my personal mission statement: “To recruit and equip eternal investors.” A few months later, I got to meet Lloyd and Bob in person.
In 2003, I started non-profit called,Aslan’s Army. We started to fund missionaries. Short term, long term, whatever. Not much of a strategy. After supporting around 100 missionaries, we focused our strategy to support four bible schools in India, Africa, Mexico, and Cuba. With bible schools, you can build relationship with the bible school director and see your treasure multiplied through the training of pastors who graduate and launch new churches.
The New Lion is the spiritual journey of Malori Aslan Smith, who died on June 30th 2002 while on a mission’s trip to Mexico.
What readers are saying about The New Lion:
“I just wanted you to know how much The New Lion touched my family. Reading how on fire she was for God made me hungry for what she had. So personally, Malori opened my eyes to the relationship that I want to have with God. My husband who has not lately been a very religious man, lost it. I have never seen him cry as much as he did. He is what I would like to call a borderline alcoholic and for the first time in our marriage he saw that. He wants to rededicate his life to Christ and really work on that area of his life. And it is your daughter that I have to thank for that. So please know that even though today is the one year anniversary of Malori’s death your daughter even in death is still touching people’s lives. So thank you.” –Kelli, Santa Ana, CA
“I just finished reading The New Lion. I loved it. Malori had something so many Christians don’t–an understanding of why she was created and what her purpose was, which gave her an ability to be relevant in reaching people the way Jesus did. By simply loving them out of a true heart. I get so tired of all the systems and programs in the church that mean nothing and lives seem not to be changed. You can see how she helped and encouraged so many people just by being who God purposed for her to be. I love it that she wasn’t perfect, but never gave up. I read her writings when I feel down or alone. They encourage me. I think Malori would say, “Wake up! What’s important? What lasts for eternity? Do that! The pain is only temporary. You can’t imagine the joy that’s waiting for you! Bring everyone you can! You won’t regret it. I can’t wait to see you! It’s only a moment away.” —Adam, Tulsa, OK
“I just read The New Lion and want to read it again from beginning to end. It so touched my heart. Malori was beautiful inside and out, and I’m sure touched many lives and will continue to do so with her writings and ministry you have carried out for her. Her match burned bright for our Lord and will continue to shine till our Lord returns for us all. ” ~Susan R.
The Preface through Chapter 10 of The New Lion were taken straight from Malori’s Journal entries. If Malori’s handwriting was legible enough and it fits with the style of the printed book or e-book format, I simply scanned the journals themselves and included them in the book. I believe this lends itself to the authenticity of the book, in case some wondered if I simply made this stuff up.
The sudden death of Malori was a shock to Smith family and over the next several years, we had to deal with some of the toughest challenges a family can face. Many experts believe that the death of a child is the hardest loss to overcome. And even though we were suffering greatly over the loss of Malori, we were profoundly comforted by Malori’s journals.
We believe Malori’s journals, as written down in The New Lion, will help you through some of the most difficult areas in your life.