To help financially during this time of great need, please forward your offering to Tom's sister:
Darla Wexttsen, 16738 N. Tolle Lane, Mount Vernon, IL 62864
checks may be made payable to "Grace Community Church"

There is also a deposit account set up at US Bank to help defray Deb's uncovered medical expenses.
Visit any US Bank branch office to make a deposit in cash or by check for "Deborah A. Smith Memorial Fund".
Please be sure to mention Charity Paddock or Nellie Haverkos to be sure the gift is properly deposited.

If you use this link to join, then go shopping there, as much as 26% of your purchases will help the family.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

It is He whom we proclaim ... For this I labor and struggle ...

Deb and Tom's ministry over the years is lovingly recounted by Gary Sweeten on his Brave Heart blog like this:
Tom Smith came to the University of Cincinati as Campus Minister for the Christian Church and hit the ground running. I was Associate Dean of Students responsible for the Student Groups at UC so Dale Adams, adviser to the Church, brought Tom to meet me at a lunch. Before long Tom had recruited a bunch of students who were excited about the Gospel. Tom was and is a gifted evangelist. He also met a beautiful young woman named Deb who soon became his bride.

Tom and Deb lived among the students at The Carpenter's Houses. There was one for girls and one for guys. God really moved among the students as they learned the Word of God and did His works of love and grace. God used Deb and Tom to spark a revival.

Deb, although about the same age as the students, was a house mother, friend, counselor, worship leader, Bible teacher and nurse maid. She led many a home sick kid through the pain of growing up apart from their moms.

That started about 1970 and developed into a church plant, a national church movement and an international association of Spirit empowered congregations. Deb and Tom were partners who parented three of their own children as well as hundreds of children they "adopted" from around the world.
Their proclamation of the Gospel and hardships over the decades and of late, especially for Deb, bring to mind the following verses of Scripture for consideration:
Colossians 1:24-29

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the church,
25 of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God,
26 the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to His holy ones,
27 to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
28 It is He whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
29 For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of His power working within me.
(New American Bible)
May God always be Glorified in the proclamation of the Gospel, even if words are necessary.

Thanks be to God for the privilege of bringing our sister and brother before the Throne of Grace, as they have done countlessly for so many. At Tom's urging, the need of the hour is a miracle, and we still believe in miracles!

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