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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Saturday, October 13, 2007

A love note from Tom - October 12, 2007

Dear friends in Christ,

Today my dear wife Deb went to be with Christ Jesus and the saints who have gone before us. Her healing is now complete. God's sovereign purposes are also complete. I often quoted Wimber in dealing with the tough times on Earth, "Earth aint heaven." But today I am finding comfort in being able to say "yes, but heaven is heaven." And Deb is healed, Deb is soaking in the beauty, Deb is singing with one of the awesome praise teams, Deb is telling the angels about her awesome five grandkids.

Our hearts ache. This big old farmhouse is silent but her legacy has just begun.

I do not have the words to tell all of you in the lovingdebsmith congregation what comfort we received from reading your blog entries. Our computer room is on the second floor in our home so I would have to print things out as Deb couldn't do stairs. Then Darla began bringing her laptop out and letting Deb see your letters with her own eyes. Yesterday the Holy Spirit prepared Deb for her homegoing by Darla playing a CD that brother Drew Grounds, worship leader at Central Christian Church, had made for Deb. But in the middle of it, Darla stopped and played Deb's 7 Calls To Worship, which magician Michael Cristiani reproduced on the blog. Deb could not speak the past three days. She made sounds that we tried to interpret but during one of the praise songs, she was able to sing along, by saying, "hallelu, hallelu." The hospice nurse could tell something was moving in the room and asked Deb, "What are you seeing?" Deb said, "angels." The nurse asked, "have they come for you?" She said, "not yet." At the end of that day, the nurses told us they believed she would go to be with the Lord in 24-48 hours.

At 3 am, Jordan and I decided to move her onto a pillow wedge in her bed to help relieve the coughing. In her broken language, she began to speak to Jordan and Jordan began to speak to his mother amidst the tears. He kissed and spoke of his love for his mother and began to pray for his mother. The Holy Spirit used this moment mightily for all three of us. I then gave Deb another round of meds in her IV port and then laid down with her and rubbed her head, arm and shoulders and she talked to me for quite a while also. Then she became silent but was still breathing and at about 4, I said, "If I'm going to work tomorrow, I've got to go to the couch to get a couple hours of sleep." For the past four months, I would be awakened by Deb's strange, unusual sounds. Today, the house was silent. I ran to her bed and her spirit was gone to be with Jesus.

We are sad but we are grateful because as Paul told the young church, "we are not like people of the world who die without hope."

We are going to honor Deb and her Savior in two Memorial Services, Lord willing. Next Saturday, October 20 at Grace Community Church in Mt. Vernon, Illinois at 11am and Sunday, October 21st at 3pm at New Hope Community Church , originally known by most of us at Fellowship Christian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I cannot close this love note to all of you without saying thank you for your generous gifts which have enabled us to combat the financial challenges of cancer medical care. You have kept our heads afloat, financially. We are still not out of the woods, in that our insurance company has not paid the first dollar because they are still looking in Deb's medical history to find a preexisting condition. They have renegotiated some of the prices with the hospitals and testing agencies. But they are still refusing to pay real money for the outstanding bills. Again, thank you.

Let me close by saying that Deb loved teaching art at a small college--Frontier Community College. Our family is establishing a "Deb Smith Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship" in her honor and to continue her ministry of helping discover students gifted to "do art." Deb's greatest joy was discovering the kids whom God had wired up to paint, do sculpture, do architecture. The administration originally told her they had to have a Fine Arts teacher to meet Humanities requirements for the State but not to expect any one to be very serious about Art and certainly no one to go on and major in Art at a 4-year University. She and her students surprised them as she has sent, the last time we counted, nine students on to major universities in Fine Arts, Graphic Arts, Art Education and Architecture. If you want to contribute to this scholarship fund, simply make your check out to "Frontier Community College" with Deb Smith on the Memo line and mail to our home address at 10517 North Panzier Lane, Ashley, IL 62808. Thank you.

Deb and I would read the blog and we would remember you and relive stories of our young life in Christ together. And our faith would be renewed in the midst of the most vicious battle of our lives. Surely friendship in Christ is eternal. God bless you all. Tom Smith.


Doug Hester said...

God bless you and your family, my friend. All of you are in my prayers. With deepest sympathy for your loss and greatest joy that Deb has been healed... Love, Doug (Psalm 27:14)

paula clare said...

Dear Tom and Family,
Bud and I are praying for your precious family. Our hearts are heavy for your loss but filled with gratitude for the blessing of having walked, even a little way, on this leg of the eternal journey with you. The impact and legacy of your ministry together will last for eternity. May Deb rest in peace and rise in glory!

Becky Thurman said...

My dear brother Tom and family,

My heart is broken for you. I weep with you as your heart longs for the fellowship of your beloved. My spirit rejoices with you as you think of your beautiful bride sitting with her Maker.

My memories of Deb include watching her grace as she worked with you at our "home" in Cincinnati (FCC). I didn't get to know her as well there as I wish that I could have. There were so many around her.

But my most precious memories of Deb were on our "girl" trip to Colorado with Tammy, Terri, and Nancy. We had so much fun. "ART" was all around us.

And I remember visiting there in Illinois and seeing her joy and hearing her passion for worship. My favorite art piece ever is the one that I believe she called "rapture" hanging in your living room.

Both of you have blessed me so much. Many times, I think of how you led Geoff and myself in our early walk into the freedom of Christ. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Deb is enjoying her dance with her Father. We will miss her but her gifts remain with us all.

Becky Thurman