Sammy Horner
Smith Happens
Amazon Australia (Kindle Edition)

When you think of God’s Squad founder, John Smith, you generally think of someone who has for years spoken out passionately about justice, someone who has influenced thousands of lives, and someone who you can remember cutting through the pretence to show the Gospel for what it is.

So, when you first take a look at the cover of Smith Happens and see a prophetic voice giggling like a naughty teenager, you would be forgiven for wondering what this book is all about. But if you know the author, you will also know that you are in for a treat of fun and laughs told in a way that only the Irish can.

Smith Happens

"Irish humour resonates with many Australians. We love the cheeky and irreverence that exudes from the mouths of these people who we love to mock and tell jokes about. So it is in this book that Horner tells many a fine tale (all true) of the countless accidents that have befallen John over his many years of ministry."

Sammy Horner has been a close friend of John Smith for many years. They have spent countless hours traveling around Europe and Australia together doing mission. John doing what he is best at - preaching the Kingdom of God with prophetic power, and Sammy singing his Irish folk songs infused with a faith aspect that is both real and easy to relate to.

Irish humour resonates with many Australians. We love the cheeky and irreverence that exudes from the mouths of these people who we love to mock and tell jokes about.

So it is in this book that Horner tells many a fine tale (all true) of the countless accidents that have befallen John over his many years of ministry.

Smith Happens is the untold story of John Smith. As Horner says in the introduction, “if there is one tree in a desert...[John]...will walk into it. If there are stairs to climb up, John will always fall down them. If it can cut you, bruise you, hurt you, lose you, it will do it to John Smith.”

Some of the more serious incidents in John’s accident-prone life include being run down by a police car resulting in him being in a coma for two weeks. At 10 he contracted rheumatic fever as well as a brain disorder. Spending two years in hospital, his parents were sure he would die. An amazing recovery (coincidence?) saw him face yet more challenges. He was bullied in school, had boiling water accidentally poured over him as a teenager, and faced more loneliness and insecurity than the average teenager.

And in his adult years, as he took to riding his famed Harley Davidson motorbike as part of his outreach to outlaw bikers, he had so many falls that you couldn’t count them. Throughout all this, though, his ministry and life went forward in obedience to his beloved Jesus.

All these stories are told with typical Irish, mocking humour by Horner. Each chapter ends with a hilarious checklist of do’s and don’ts to be aware of when you are in John’s presence.

There is a serious side to this book, however. Horner ends his tales of humorous woe with the respect and love that close mates have for each other. Through all the years of the most preposterous accidents and near-tragedies, John’s life, as Horner so beautifully describes, teaches us that “even the best of us get things wrong, even the best of us are not immune from accidents, illness, computer virus complications, making bad decisions and life throwing us a curved ball, but yet we can do much if we are driven by the love of God and the love of others".

Smith Happens is a barrel of laughs. But you may also cry tears of sadness and admiration for a man who has never given up despite sadness, rejection and much hardship. Recommended reading.