Rev. Dr. Yanis Alfreds Smits, 78, passed away in his home in Fort Erie, Canada on April 23rd, 2020. He was born in Riga during the Soviet occupation of Latvia on August 9, 1941. At 20, Yanis married the love of his life, Ruth Bruvere in Riga with whom he had sixteen children. Already at a young age he was called to evangelism and dedicated himself to this pursuit by entering ministry at the age of 22 with Ruth by his side. This, in spite of facing certain persecution for his beliefs and evangelism efforts.
He gained widespread recognition internationally for fervently fighting for the freedom of religion in Latvia and the greater USSR - resulting in his exile from Latvia. He continued to champion this effort, receiving a United States congressional medal. Over his lifetime, Reverend Smits served as pastor of more than six churches and as the Bishop of the Baptist Union in Latvia until his retirement in 2006. He continued his ministry after retiring to Canada, serving as pastor of the Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church in Niagara Falls until the Lord called him home.
He is remembered by his loving wife, fifteen children and their spouses, 36 grandchildren and a large extended family.
Donations can be made to the Canadian Bible Society in memory of Rev Dr Yanis Smits at https://donate.biblesociety.ca/.
*A link to the live webcast will be available at the top of this page on Wednesday, April 29th starting at 11:45 am EST