October 26, 2014

Craig Smith’s Health page 5

For updates go to:

Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6

http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smith-26151-to-30911/craig-smiths-health-page-1/life-for-those-left-behindcraig-smiths-health-page-6/

Craig Smith’s Health page 5

 

The funeral service will take place, Lord Willing, at 1pm on Friday the 7th of October (NZ time)

During the afternoon tea at about 3:30pm there will be tributes.

Please click on “Full” to view the full screen. (To find “Full” take your mouse over the video, when it is playing, until it appears)

YouTube videos playing until the funeral on Friday.

 

Craig’s funeral will be live streamed here:

http://www.livestream.com/craigsmithfuneral?t=642999

Funeral arrangements for Craig Smith

The funeral service will take place, Lord Willing, at

1pm on Friday the 7th of October

at Central Baptist Church, 190 Church Street, Palmerston North

Approx 2:30pm you are invited to join the family at the grave-side at

Kelvin Grove Cemetery, James Line, Pamlerston North

or

Light refreshments will be available from 2:30pm at the

Reformed Church, 541 Ruahine Street, Palmerston North

During the afternoon tea at about 3:30pm there will be tributes from:

Zach Smith on behalf of the Smith family

David Waldron on behalf of his family and other families

John de Vries on behalf of the Reformed Church

and Roy Sandbrook (including Kate Jaunay) on behalf of Home educators

 

You can still watch clips from Joshua and Charmagne’s wedding here:
http://www.livestream.com/smithdowneswedding2011?t=92375

Click here for Craig’s diary

Page 1: 8/7/11-31/8/11 http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smiths-health-2/craigs-diary/

Page 2: 1/9/11 to … http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smiths-health-2/11309-2/

written up until 14 September

Barbara wants to do something special for Craig. He has been involved in the Home Schooling movement since 1985. He has written a History of Home schooling in New Zealand from his point of view. Now she thinks it would be great for him to hear the history of Home schooling in New Zealand from your point of view.

What is the history of home education in your area from your perspective? Who has inspired or encouraged you? What has motivated you? What has brought you together with other home educators and strengthened you? We would very much appreciate hearing your stories. Please write in or email. Even if you are overseas, perhaps you have a testimony about how Craig, Keystone, HEF or the home education movement in New Zealand has encouraged you. Do let us know. Thanks

*********

To read page 1 of Craig Smith’s health please click here: http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smiths-health/craig-smiths-health-page-1/

To read page 2 of Craig Smith’s health please click here: http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smiths-health/craig-smiths-health-page-2/

To read page 3 of Craig Smith’s health please click here: http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smiths-health-2/craig-smiths-health-page-3/

To read page 4 of Craig Smith’s health please click here: http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smiths-health-2/craig-smiths-health-page-4/

1/10/11

Gone to Glory

Dear friends, on Friday morning, Craig was very drowsy and spent most of the day asleep. He remained peaceful and quiet and deeply unconscious all afternoon. Late in the evening it became difficult for him to breathe and in a short time, about 11:35pm on Friday the 30th of September 2011 our gracious God took Craig home to Heaven.

We have all felt so completely surrounded by the Lord’s peace and love and the support and help of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ, family and friends. We will miss our husband and father yet we are thankful to know his eternal state with such certainty and look forward to seeing him again in Glory. We so appreciate all your prayers and support. With love from Barbara and the children.

The funeral service will take place, Lord willing, at 1pm on Friday the 7th of October at Central Baptist Church, 190 Church Street, Palmerston North. 

Here are a number of YouTube videos that Craig made when he almost died at the end of August. He shares his heart with you all here:

What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 1

What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 2

What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 3

What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 4

What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 5

What does it mean to be a Christian Pt 2

What does it mean to be a Christian Pt 1

30/9/11

(John Briggs here)  Over the past twenty-four hours, Mr. Smith has slipped into a semi-conscious state.  The peaceful atmosphere that fills the house is truly something to behold and can only be from God.  It seems that when some of the nurses come in the morning and evening, they are somehow struck by the serenity of the household.  They have been real troopers and help with the care of Mr. Smith; the insight they bring is invaluable.  For instance, they have provided us with very handy, basic techniques of moving Mr. Smith in and out of the bed/ chair.  Everyone has been pressing on in their daily duties and gladly assists in anyway they can at any moment.  With Charmagne, Alanson, and the usual gang around the house, it is busy and lively.  In addition to this, the odd visitor and phone call throughout the day has been a great joy.

John 10

7So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock,one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

29/9/11 – 10:56pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Maree and I look at each other rather often these days and wonder why we don’t feel more busy. I think things have quieted down for everybody. The girls are settling well into their studies. Laundry is still a daily task, but not hourly. And Mr Smith has had his nasal-gastric tube for over twenty-four hours now and it’s working like a dream–Mrs Smith especially appreciates not having to spend every spare moment trying to keep Mr Smith hydrated and fed. And it’s a real joy to have Charmagne here–although sometimes she isn’t all here! Let’s just say her mobile phone is a fixture on her person, and blood pressure rises to dangerous heights when it burbles.

In fact something like a routine has now emerged. Mrs Smith, of course, still often needs to get up in the night to see to something or other, but usually I’m first up as I have proofreading/editing work to see to. Then as the rest of the household begins to stir, breakfast and various household tasks get done. Around midmorning the conservatory is all warmed up. I start the girls with their studies and Mr Smith moves out from the bedroom to sit in his La-Z-Boy chair, donated by the Cancer Society of New Zealand. Lunch and dinner follow in due course and Mr Smith will usually be moved to bed around eight or nine in the evening. Meanwhile visitors and phone calls brighten the place up, and we’re flexible enough to take a walk or go for a picnic in the park, soaking in the glorious sunshine and spring flowers.

The days are calm and sunny–it’s wonderful to have this chance to slow down and enjoy them.

28/9/11 – 10:00pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Another wonderful day today! As previously mentioned, Mr Smith was able to have a subcutaneous water drip installed last night. Then this afternoon we were able to obtain a nasal tube for food! Nurses came over this evening to demonstrate it, and we should be able to start giving Mr Smith food tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile Mrs Smith has been online researching exercises to help Mr Smith regain the use of his throat muscles over the next couple of weeks. He is also scheduled for an MRI scan on the 5th of October, a week away. Hopefully that will turn up some encouraging results.

In other news, there was much joy and excitement in the Smith household this evening! Who should return–received as if back from the dead–but the lovely Mrs Charmagne Downes! Alas, I doubt we will be able to keep her for long. Something tells me she is missing Tasmania already! In the meanwhile, she has hardly stirred from her father’s bedside for two hours. I heard them talking together–yes, Mr Smith is able to speak today as well!–and know how precious this time must be to both of them. It will be a great blessing for the Smiths to have her here again.

28/9/11 morning

(Suzannah Rowntree here) “His mercies are new every morning.” The
Bible verse Mrs Smith most often quotes these days comes from
Lamentations 3:23–one of the most intensely hopeful passages in the
Bible, coming as it does in the face of so much despair:

And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:
remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his
compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

The Lord has proven this so abundantly in the last few weeks that one
hardly dares to hope for more mercies–but they keep on coming!
Yesterday was a wonderful day. Mr Smith was able to swallow a
surprising amount of thickened water, with most of his medicines and
even some nutritious egg custard! Information on how to rebuild his
throat muscles came pouring in from every side. And then last night we
were able to have a drip installed for water.

But Mr Smith saved the best surprise for family devotions in the
evening. As usual we gathered around him in the conservatory to sing.
A verse or so into one of his favourite hymns, “I Love to Tell the
Story”, Mr Smith started singing! Then afterwards, when Mr van der Wee
dropped in for a visit, the two of them had quite a chat. Yesterday,
Mr Smith was quite unable to speak more than a few words, so this was
very encouraging!

Then this morning, for the first time in nearly a week, Mr Smith was
able to take a full dose of LifeOne. What an encouragement!

There are plenty of thanks to be returned to our Lord–for this
improvement in Mr Smith’s condition, for the doctors who have been so
understanding, and for the incredible help and assistance rendered by
the Smiths’ church family and others in the wider community. Today a
special thanks to the Wanganui Home Educators who raised $358.80
busking!

Please keep praying that Mr Smith would fully recover his ability to
swallow and continue to improve as far as the pneumonia is
concerned–and that there may even be positive signs that the tumour
is shrinking.

Also, for the seamstresses and fashion buffs out there, Boutique
Narelle has another behind-the-scenes look at the Smith-Downes
wedding: this time, the bridesmaids!
http://boutiquenarelle.blogspot.com/2011/09/charmagnes-wedding-bridesmaids.html

27/9/11 – 11:45am

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Just a quick update to say praise the Lord! Mr Smith is swallowing really well today and has taken in a most encouraging quantity of gelatine/water. Thank you for your prayers–they are certainly being answered. Please keep praying!

26/9/11

(John Briggs here)  Today has been a fairly good day.  It started off with Alanson coming by early to take Mr. Smith to an appointment.  This morning and afternoon, Mr. Smith has been resting peacefully in his Lazy Boy in the sunny conservatory.  Suzannah spent time reading Biblical Economics by R. C. Sproul, Jr. to Mr. Smith, which both of them no doubt enjoyed.  Mr. Smith is still having difficulty swallowing and taking in liquids.  It is believed that he cannot swallow because his muscles are not working properly.
What has everyone been doing?  The three Smith kids have been studying ardently, and with three people overseeing their different lessons, hopefully they will grasp the information well.  Maree and Suzannah have been doing a terrific job keeping the Smith household running smoothly.  Suzannah has been sure to keep all of the troopers fed and energized (while singing cheerfully)—if I had to make dinner for seven to eight people at one time, I wouldn’t be able to sing; Maree always seems to be busy making sure the house stays neat and tidy (one of her projects has been pulling everything out of the respective cupboards, making sure every jar is clean before putting it back.)  With everyone doing their jobs, the household has been operating like a well-maintained machine.  Alanson—or L-Man as everyone calls him—arrives in the evenings and attends to anything that needs to be addressed around the house.  After dinner, he leads the family in devotions.  He has definitely learned well from Mr. Smith how to be a biblical patriarch of the home.  Jedediah has been faithfully accompanying me on the morning truck run, and we have been enjoying traveling around the Manawatu each day, seeing the different towns come to life each new morning.  Mrs. Smith is truly incredible.  Night and day she is focused on caring for Mr. Smith.  Whether she is organizing medicine or getting Mr. Smith to swallow some water, she has been doing all she can to restore Mr. Smith’s health while praying that God will do what He determines is best.  Cromwell is believed to have said, “Keep your faith in God, but keep your powder dry.”  This is definitely what Mrs. Smith is doing day in and day out.

Last night, we received some exciting news!  Charmagne is coming back to Palmerston North on Wednesday to help with the family.  The Smiths definitely thank Josh for allowing Mrs. Downs to come back so soon.  In fact, only a week after leaving, she is returning.

Please pray for Craig:

1. If it is time for God to be taking him home that it would be quick and peaceful, and that the Lord would continue to be his comfort and joy.

2. If God still has work for Craig on this earth then please pray that God will help him to become rehydrated and that it would become easier to swallow his food.

Philippians 1

25/9/11 – 10:45pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Not such a good day today. Please continue to pray that Mr Smith will be able to fight the pneumonia and swallow more easily.

As she headed off for some well-earned rest I asked Mrs Smith what I should say here tonight and she said just to make sure I mentioned what a wonderful patient Mr Smith is! She also wanted me to tell you about devotions this evening. Well, we gathered around Mr Smith in the conservatory to read the last chapter of Daniel:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,

Some to everlasting life,

Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Those who are wise shall shine

Like the brightness of the firmament,

And those who turn many to righteousness

Like the stars forever and ever.

[...]

But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of days.

We sang hymn after hymn. Our voices each told something about us. Maree’s is beautiful, but quietly unobtrusive. Grace sings all her favourite hymns with a joyful shout. Alanson prefers the bass, but leads the melody with gusto. And Mr Smith didn’t sing at all, but he tapped his good foot and waved his good hand and it was better than a full choir. There is one thing Mr Smith will do with joy until his dying day, may it be many years in the future: the thing for which he was created, the thing for which he was redeemed, the thing for which he has been granted his life thus far–to give praise to the glory of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:6).

I’ve asked the question before in the last couple of weeks–what is it that enables each member of this household to contemplate the realities of life, of death, and of eternity with such steadfast contentment? The answer is that we don’t live for ourselves–or even for each other. We live to the praise of the glory of His grace. That is why we were created and redeemed: to become blazing mirrors of the glory of the God of creation. Nothing can threaten us, because nothing can threaten Him, and He is our highest good. We, especially the Smiths, can rejoice in this time because we can see with a joy more poignant than grief how He is being glorified in us and through us. So may it be all the days of our lives.

24/9/11 – 9:30pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) It feels like it’s been a long day. In some ways, that’s a good thing. When you’re battling against time and tide, the days rush past without a pause. But although today was just as busy as any other day, there was a sense of urgency missing.

A vignette from today. Early this morning I had to go to the market to buy fresh fruit and vegetables; when I asked Kaitlyn and Grace if they wanted to come, I found them sitting by Mr Smith reading the Bible and singing to him; “Onward Christian Soldiers” and other hymns. They both refused to come with me! So I left them with someone who appreciates their company far more than I do…

Mr Smith has lost a lot of weight and strength, it seems, since Charmagne’s wedding two weeks ago. But today was particularly good. Mr Smith has opted not to take painkillers, preferring to be fully aware and cognitive. Today he seemed more alert than he has been in over a week. Mrs Smith suggested that I could read a book to him–together we picked out Biblical Economics by RC Sproul, and we’re very much enjoying reading that. Also Josh Couperus visited and arranged to visit on Monday evenings to read What to Do on Thursdays by Jay Adams.

23/9/11 – 6:00pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Today Mr Smith also spent much of his time sleeping in a recliner in the sun. He’s getting plenty of rest and is still very comfortable; his headache remains consistently low. The problem is that the pneumonia has given him a sore throat which makes it difficult for him to swallow, so it is long and hard work getting him to drink liquids.

I have not described how this works. Mrs Smith is only able to feed him or give him water by the teaspoonful. Each mouthful is difficult to swallow. As you can imagine, it takes hours of work to give him just a few cups of (thickened) water. So please do continue to pray that the pneumonia would leave Mr Smith and that he would be able to swallow without so much pain.

23/9/11 – 8:15am

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Just a quick update to let you know that Mr Smith has been sleeping like a champion, waking a couple of times in the night to take water and medications, which is great! He isn’t up yet this morning, so we cannot report on his current state, but he continues to sleep comfortably.

22/9/11 – 10:30pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) The fight goes on. We had a quiet night last night and Mr Smith took in a good amount of thickened water this morning. This afternoon, however, he began vomiting again and after Mrs Smith had administered honey and ginger to quieten his stomach he fell into a deep sleep from which she has been unable to wake him.

More than once over the last day or two Mrs Smith has said that she feels we are at a crossroads as far as Mr Smith’s health is concerned. We are praying that Mr Smith will wake from this sleep refreshed and ready to go on fighting, but obviously it’s a concern that he will be unable to be hydrated while he sleeps. This evening Mrs Smith prayed for healing if God would be gracious enough to give it—and for peace if God should be pleased to take His servant home.

Three nurses walked in the back door after dinner this evening to make a quick check on Mr Smith. They walked into a quiet, warm, orderly home. Seven of us had gathered in the kitchen: Jed washing the dishes, John and Maree drying, me sitting on the sugar bucket with my knitting, the girls buzzing about in the hinterlands, and Alanson on a chair, feet up, reading Bunyan’s “Holy War” aloud. I can only wonder what they thought of us, this little Christendom full of harmony in the face of a troubling eternity.

Give thanks for the generosity of John de Vries, an elder at the Smiths’ church, who has graciously arranged for me to stay longer in New Zealand to continue helping out down here at Smith Central.

Please pray that Mr Smith would be refreshed and strengthened by this sleep, that the pneumonia would be eradicated, and that swallowing would no longer be so painful.

21/9/11 – 12:30pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Mrs Smith asks me to thank you for your prayers. Last night was somewhat worrying as Mr Smith was unable to swallow any water. We have now thickened the water slightly with gelatine and he has been able to swallow a good quantity. So praise God that he is now getting rehydrated!

This morning Josh and Charmagne left for Tasmania. Although their stay was brief, it was wonderful having them here. Last night especially was good, with some invigorating theological discussions with guests! While everyone else was absorbed in the ins and outs of covenant theology, I glanced over to where Mrs Smith sat by Mr Smith. She appeared to be asleep, bowed over the table (not an uncommon sight, given the sleepless nights!). Mr Smith had his arm around her shoulders, stroking her back. It was a beautiful sight!

It was sunny and warm when Josh and Charmagne left. Mr Smith was well enough to see them off and pray for safe travelling. “Take care of my daughter, Josh,” he said.

“I will,” said Charmagne’s husband.

He is sitting out in the sun now with Mrs Smith. He’s quite comfortable, in no pain, although a little groggy with painkiller.

Mrs Smith asked me to mention that she’s looking for someone who can do lymphatic massage—or failing that, deep muscle massage—on Mr Smith’s left arm and leg. Please do let us know if you know someone.

Thanks again for your prayers. Please continue to pray that Mrs Smith will be able to keep Mr Smith hydrated and comfortable.

21/9/11 – 8:30am

Philippians 1 (ESV)

Greeting

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Please pray for Craig:

1, If it is time for God to be taking him home that it would be quick and peaceful, and that the Lord would continue to be his comfort and joy.

2. If God still has work for Craig on this earth then please pray that God will help him to become rehydrated and that it would become easier to swallow his food.

19/9/11 – 9:21pm

(Suzannah Rowntree) What a wonderful day this has been!

The newlyweds arrived shortly before midday, back from what appears to have been a very agreeable honeymoon! Lunch, for the ninth day running, was a replay of the wedding feast: hot bread and cheese.

Josh read aloud to us from the book of Daniel, chapter 4. Then, just as we had reached down the hymnbooks to sing, something wonderful happened: Mr Smith began to expound what we had heard! I dashed for pen and paper to record his words:

“This is the key question today: Whence cometh power? King Nebuchadnezzar thought it was himself and God wanted Nebuchadnezzar to learn what he had to learn. And when he did, the Lord returned his kingdom and his glory to him. It just shows that God’s glory comes from himself. It grows and develops through His creation according to His will and His timing. He does not like sharing His glory with others, especially if others intimate that they’ve got a deal going with God and think that God’s going to share some stuff with them.

“We draw near to God and point out some of His powerful characteristics and they may or may not be at our disposal. Words of power and glory are at His disposal and ?not at our disposal at any time. But I suspect He makes them available to us to demonstrate His power and glory on earth and to direct people’s attention to the source of all power and all authority. And of course that is the Lord God Himself. He is the source.

“Of course, we like to think we are the source of power. We collect all the people together, get a big group, start conferences, throw our money together, and it looks like we’ve got something going. We say, Look at this guy! He’s got all this property. We think if we can get the big guys on our side, the big guys on the other side will back down.”

He then led us in prayer to close. It was incredibly encouraging to us to see him feeling so much better: just the day before yesterday he would have been incapable of such a long speech.

Right now this home feels like a little outpost of peace in a stormy world, an outpost of Christendom. Claire Sandbrook is playing hymn tunes on her flute while Josh, Charmagne, and Mr Smith listen. Meanwhile sounds of industry float in from the dishwashing team in the kitchen. An evening to savour and remember.

A huge thank you to those who provided us with celery and aloe vera! We were recommended the aloe vera to help fight the pneumonia and prevent it from recurring. “Cold-pressed Aloe Vera,” said the US doctor; after ringing around and finding that the health shops in Palmerston North did not seem to have just exactly what we wanted (and that it was on the pricy side) I suggested that we could perhaps prepare some ourselves. Here’s how I did it:

Ingredients:

4-6 large aloe vera leaves

Distilled water

  1. Trim the spikes off the aloe leaves (not essential, but those things can draw blood!)
  2. Slice the leaves open lengthwise and scrape out the clear gel part of the leaf.
  3. Put the gel into a blender with distilled water—one part aloe to five parts water. Blend briefly, for no longer than 30 seconds.
  4. Strain through cheesecloth and refrigerate. Administer 1 tablespoon every 8 hours.

19/9/11 – 10:41am

(Suzannah Rowntree here) We need a large quantity of fresh organic aloe vera. If anyone has a plant or some freshly-picked leaves to donate, that would be most appreciated. Thank you.

19/9/11 – 9:0am

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Because of the pneumonia Mr Smith is having to cough up a lot of phlegm–which caused another busy night for Mrs Smith. Please pray for a reduction in the phlegm.

This morning Mrs Smith realised she had not sent anyone to the flea market for celery on Saturday! It was such a busy day that it slipped her mind completely–so we will soon need fresh organic celery for Mr Smith’s juice.

Mr and Mrs Downes are expected today, back from their short honeymoon! Exciting.

18/9/11 – 10:19pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) And now, over at Boutique Narelle, you can get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Charmagne’s wedding dress, which comes with many hidden features: The Bride.

18/9/11 – 9:55pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) It’s always busy here at the Smith household, but some of us are still getting time to read something! Here’s what all the members of the household are currently reading:

Mrs Smith is reading “What do to on Thursday: A Layman’s Guide to the Practical Use of the Scriptures” by Jay E Adams and “Cancer-Free: Your Guide to Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing” by Bill Henderson. I also just succeeded in sending her to bed with “Huntingtower” by John Buchan!

Maree Sandbrook is reading “Mover of Men and Mountains” by RG LeTourneau. She says, “Fantastic book!

John Briggs is reading “Hope When the World Falls Apart: Daniel and Revelation’s Message of Hope.”

Kaitlyn is reading “The Hidden Jewel” about Amy Carmichael by Dave & Neta Jackson.

Jedediah is reading “The Road Code” by the New Zealand Transport Authority (what else!).

I am attempting to read “Beric the Briton” by GA Henty. Before I leave I’ll probably also try to get through a rare Biggles book: “Sergeant Bigglesworth, CID.” Yes, I’ve a fearsome intellect.

And how is Mr Smith? Much brighter than he has been in days! He attended church twice today, much to his joy and is now resting peacefully.

9:11am

(SJR) Mr Smith is in his wheelchair! All set to go…

18/9/11 – 8:30am

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Many smiles this morning! Yesterday Mr Smith was unable to open his eyes, speak, or eat; this morning he is awake, alert, and hoping to attend church! Late last night he made a good (mainly liquid) meal thanks to magnesium chloride rubbed on his neck which enabled him to swallow his food. This morning once again he reports no headache at all.

We would like to specially thank a few people: the Browns and the Briggs for the magnesium chloride they gave, Joe Rumbull for his contribution of Monty’s Surprise Apple Flower Essence, carrots and many other items and Ian for services rendered in a hurry yesterday!

Thank you for your continued prayers.  Please pray that Mr Smith will be able to attend church this morning. Please continue to pray that he will fight off this pneumonia and be able to swallow and retain his food; now more than ever because of the encouraging signs with the tumour.

17/9/11 – 9:30pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Mr Smith had a more restful day today, although once again we had trouble getting food and water to stay down. The hopeful news is that this morning upon waking, he told us he had no headache at all.

Apart from this, the news has not been particularly good. Mr Smith was unable to keep his breakfast down and afterwards complained of a severe headache, which may be either from the tumour, vomiting or from dehydration. He was given some more morphine to deal with the pain but Mrs Smith was worried that he would become dehydrated as he was having trouble swallowing. Unfortunately the local health care providers were unprepared to give Mr Smith intravenous fluids unless he was admitted to hospital! Thank God, Mrs Smith had some success administering water with a spoon, so his treatment can continue at home. However the swallowing is still a problem.

Please pray that Mr Smith will be able to swallow and retain food and water, remain strong, and be encouraged. Please pray that he will be able to attend church tomorrow as he wishes. Please also pray that we will still be able to access a treatment which the US doctor recommended on Thursday.

Give thanks that Mrs Smith had a good rest last night, that the phlegm no longer appears to be a problem, and that we have been able to source a number of supplements (manuka honey 15+, spearmint oil, &c).

17/9/11 – 10:18am

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Morning finds the Smith household still operating. After a busy evening Maree Sandbrook sat up with Mr Smith all night so that Mrs Smith could get some sleep; Maree is now sleeping where she fell about 7:00am, on the couch. The rest of us are back on deck: Mrs Smith is giving Mr Smith his morning doses, encouraging him as she does so and reading Scripture. He has aspiratory pneumonia, which seems very treatable; his blood pressure remains low and the honey and ginger was an excellent remedy for the phlegm and vomiting. He is in a stable condition.

Meanwhile for the rest of the household life goes on as usual–if that’s a word that could be applied here. Maree, John, and I have been teaching Jedediah, Kaitlyn and Grace between us, focusing on our strengths: Maree in maths, John in science, and me in English and history. That has been going on for the last three days; today being Saturday is a good day to focus on other things, but I feel very happy about our progress so far. After their little enforced holiday, Kaitlyn and Grace have really risen to the occasion and tackled their studies without complaining.

Meanwhile it was exciting on Thursday to see Jedediah on the television. If you missed the program, you can still see it here.

16-17/9/11 midnight

Praise God for ginger and manuka honey. Our USA dr suggested grinding the ginger root very finely and adding the manuka honey until it was a syrup. We are giving Craig a tablespoon of this every 2 hours. It is fantastic for stopping the vomiting and phlegm. Craig is also sitting up in his wheelchair all night.

16/9/11 – 9:36pm

(Suzannah again) Mr Smith is still having hiccups again and the phlegm is still very troublesome. Please continue to pray for him.

16/9/11 – 9:10pm

Just a quick update: Thanks for praying that the hiccups would stop and that there would be a reduction in his blood pressure. These prayers have been answered already. Please continue to pray that God would keep the hiccups away as they are very stressful for Craig.

Craig has a lot of phlegm that is bothering him. Please pray that this will settle and that he will be able to get rid of it. Thanks.

16/9/11 – 7:52pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Over dinner Mr Smith complained of a headache and began to have hiccups again. His blood pressure is also quite high. Please pray that the hiccups will stop and that there will be a reduction in blood pressure.

Please also pray for a quiet night especially for Mrs Smith, who very much needs a rest.

15/9/11

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Yesterday Mr Smith appeared to be doing much better. However last night he developed some difficulty breathing and was taken to hospital for the night, where he was diagnosed with a lung infection. He is now on antibiotics to fight this.

He is resting peacefully and does not appear to be in trouble as far as breathing goes at the moment. However this is bad news as it makes it more difficult for his body to fight the cancer while his immune system is fighting the infection first.

Please pray that the lung infection does not develop into pneumonia. We are also praying that sometime today Mr Smith will be able to get a treatment which the US doctor advised yesterday.

15/9/11 – 4:15pm

Craig and Jedediah are on the John Campbell TV show tonight sometime between 7:00 to 8:00pm DV. We have just been rung and told that it should be going ahead tonight. Other nights it was bumped off because of the World Cup and 9/11.

Thanks for praying for Craig over the last 24 hours. He is much better now. His headache and backache have almost disappeared.

Thanks to the wonderful person who left coupons and parsley at the Organic Shop. Our next need was going to be fresh organic parsley. Thank you for meeting this need before it was even made known. Matthew 6:8 …for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

14/9/11 – 10:15pm

(Suzannah Rowntree here) Mr Smith has not had a good day today.

Yesterday morning the De Deugds left for Australia, home, and beauty! The Zach Smiths left later in the afternoon and silence fell upon 4 Tawa St: with all the babies and toddlers gone, there are no more sticky fingers transferred from cake to hair, no more splashes of bubble mixture on the floor, and no more blocks left thoughtfully underneath every chair in the lounge room. Also no more sweet babies to kiss and rock, no more silken curls to brush into pigtails, no more trampoline parties. I think I preferred the twenty-four-hour paper towel race!

Mr Smith has been on a strong steroid to reduce swelling in his brain since the bad weekend he had on the 27th of August. We had been cautiously encouraged by the overall state of his health: little or no pain, low blood pressure, and a spirit encouraged and uplifted by the wonderfully happy event recently celebrated!

Yesterday before the Zach Smiths left Mr Smith took his youngest grandchild and first Smith grandson in his arms for a blessing over this tiny boy’s future life and walk in the Lord. Then a blessing followed for each of Jackson’s older sisters. From the kitchen I heard him praying for their future husbands and for generations yet unborn.

It is good to remember that whatever God has in store for the Smiths, His larger plan encompasses many generations far into the future.

Last night, further to some discussions with the US doctor, Mrs Smith reduced the steroid dose and was about to reduce the blood pressure dose at noon today (since Mr Smith’s blood pressure was at an all-time low). Unfortunately at lunch Craig complained of headache and back pain and was in a good deal of pain all afternoon. He was given morphine to relieve the pain and the day’s dose of steroids was brought back up to the previous level. Kaitlyn, Grace, Maree Sandbrook, and John Briggs all took turns massaging his head with Hemp Oil and reading aloud from Scripture when Mrs Smith was called away from the bedside.

It has been a busy few days for me, with many new faces. But I remembered then as I remember now a visitor saying to Mrs Smith, “You seem so calm and collected…Is that really how you feel?” She replied: “What you see on the outside is the same inside.” The peace of God which passes all understanding, indeed! And it seems to have come upon the rest of the household as well.

Mr Smith is sleeping now. Although this seems like a setback, it was encouraging that he remained stable, with low blood pressure, throughout the ordeal. The restored steroid dose seems to have taken effect and DV the time will soon come that the dose can be lowered indeed.

Prayer requests:

Praise that the LifeOne has arrived

Pray that the US and NZ drs will be able to work together to right the problems in Craig’s latest blood tests which the US dr thinks are contributing to the brain tumour.

Thanks

 

14/9/11 – 2:30pm

Please pray for Craig. He is having a bad day. He has bad pain in his head and back.

We are very thankful that the LifeOne arrived today.

13/9/11 – 11:00pm

(Genevieve here again) These last few days since the wedding have been excellent family days. It has been a perfect opportunity since Zach and I are in the country to discuss with Dad and Mum and Alanson how to put into place Dad and Mum’s retirement plan.

When we were growing up Dad would say that he didn’t have a retirment plan. He didn’t intend to retire. He intended to work until the day he died. We’d all say to him, “We’re your retirement plan! We’ll look after you when you can’t look after yourself.”

It has been wonderful to discuss the implications and the practicalities with Dad and Mum.

I’m so proud of my brother Alanson. He is shortly to be promoted to Corporal in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Along with his promotion he was supposed to take up a new position in Auckland. About a month ago, however, he spoke to his superiors and explained the situation to them, requesting to be able to remain at Ohakea so that he could be available and accessable to Dad and Mum. His superiors agreed and also said that they would like to continue to promote him. So he will be Corporal Smith at Ohakea. And shortly he intends to move back home. I referred to him once before as the ‘emerging head of the household.’ This is indeed an accurate description.

As to the truck run, two young men have offered to help us with this for a period of a year. This is a great blessing especailly since we do hope and pray that within a year Dad will be recovered and able to drive it again himself until Jedediah can take it over (in the event that Jed doesn’t get a special license!).

Zach and Megan and their little ones leave today for the long haul back to Illinois in the USA. They are doing a beautiful job with their three who are just so delightful and enjoyable. I am going to miss them.

As to myself, I leave today with my wonderful husband (who has been so gracious to request me to be in NZ to help Dad and Mum all this time) and my three precious little ones to journey back to Victoria, Australia. We have a lot of work and a huge backlog to face, but it will be good to be together as a family again.

As a daughter, it is hard to leave Dad and Mum, but as always, the Lord’s timing is perfect. Alanson has set plans in motion to be a real pilar and tower of strength to Dad and Mum, right here at 4 Tawa Street. This gives me great confidence and assurance. Dad is doing well and Mum also is doing well. Charmagne is married (such a joy!). Suzanna Rowntree is here helping Mum and has taken Kaitlyn under her wing to give her additional training in the workings of a household so that she will be better able to step up a few extra notches in her ability to help Mum once Suzanna departs. And John Briggs is here helping with the truck run and mentoring Jedediah. He is going to be tutoring him in math and science and I don’t know what else. Suzanna also is going to help tutor Kaitlyn and Grace.

These are all such heartening developments. Zach and I especially are proud of and grateful to Alanson. He is a good, good man.

So from me, goodbye!

13/9/11 – 10:15pm

(Genevieve here) Rev David Waldron was the MC. He did a terrific job ensuring a smooth running of the reception. Here is an order of the events:

1. Charmagne and Josh arrived.
2. Opening and welcome.
3. Cake cutting.
4. Speeches: Craig Smith, Geoff Downes, Sam Downes and Josh Downes.
5. Devotion.
6. Lunch.
7. Desert.
8. Virginia reel.

It was in the middle of the Virginia Reel as Josh and Charmagne danced down the line that when they got to the end they threw up their hands waved to everyone and danced out the door!

The day went so well. It was such a testimony to the love of a local church community. When Dad was diagnosed with a tumour and rumour had it that a wedding might be moved to New Zealand the church went straight to Charmagne and said, “Let us do the reception for you.” What a blessing this was and what a beautiful job they did. We were all humbled and overjoyed at the effort they put into making the reception truly special. Karin Dykstra took the lead and organized all the details. Michael Huizinga baked multitudes of different varieties of luscious bread (dark light, with seads, sourdough, turkish loaves, buns, garlic breads and more). Renee Huizinga did all the flowers. Everything was lovely.

The night of the wedding Dad was terribly sick, but he has recovered now and his hiccups are a lot less significant.

12/9/11 – 11:30pm

(Genevieve here again) Josh and Charmagne were transported to the Esplanade in the horse drawn carriage to have wedding photos taken. Half way there they pulled out a cream coloured parasal, popped it open and disappeared from sight behind it.

Happy sight!

I haven’t seen any of the wedding photos but I hope that some will capture the beauty of Charmagne’s wedding dress. It was a spectacular production. Charmagne designed and drafted the pattern and executed the dress in such a short time. It had a square neck, cap sleeves, princess lines at front and back.The dress was fitted around the bodice and then flowed out over a netted underskirt and ended in a curved train at the back. The skirt split at the front up to waist level to reveal a gathered netting fabric underneath. The split and train were all bordered by a braid containing a hint of gold. The dress itself was a white silk. The netting was curtain fabric – a hallmark in everything Charmagne creates. It always contains curtaining somewhere! Charmagne utilized a gold and crystal broach at the top of the split and sewed gold and crystal beads over the front of the dress in a spray pattern from the broach. It was all absolutely beautiful!

After seeing Josh and Charmagne safely to the esplanade I went on to the reception.

What a sight met my eyes. Tables containing beverages and slices of chocolate cake (with cream and chocolate “J”s and “C”s bedecking them) greeted me in the foyer. As I entered the reception hall I saw many tables and chairs set out to my left where people were already seated and enjoying one another’s company. The tables all had nibbles, dip and a large vase of daffodils on them. Straight ahead someone had made a lovely orange and yellow fabric sign celebrating the occasion, “Josh and Charmagne’s wedding!” Straight ahead also was a table with many, many slow cookers filled with soups of many descriptions. And then off to my right was a large table piled high with fresh bread of all descriptions, garlic butter, cold meats, sun dried tomatoes and apricots. Directly to my left was the ‘wedding cake’.

The wedding cake was actually four cheese rounds piled on top of one another, tied with ribbon and covered in grapes. The bottom round was 10kg of  cumin cheese, the second 5kg of garlic and herb cheese, the third was a 5kg gouda and the top was a round of blue cheese.

The first order of the day when Charmagne and Josh arrived was to have them cut the wedding cake so that it could be taken out to the kitchen, sliced up and placed with the lunch. A great idea! We didn’t finish all the cheese, but everyone made a fine effort at polishing off most of it!

…more updates later…

12/9/11 – noon

(Update by Genevieve again)

Dad
On the night of the wedding after the reception Dad was VERY ill, vomitting constantly. He brought up all the bread and cheese and cake he had so enjoyed at the reception. Yes, he did partake of the wedding feast! We were so glad that he could. Interestingly I don’t think it was the food that caused Dad to vomit. For days Dad has been battling with increasingly difficult to handle hiccups (you may have noticed these on some of the last Home Education Q and A YouTubes). On the night of the wedding the hiccups escalated to the point of causing Dad to throw up. Apart from that he was not experiencing any nausea or illness. Eventually his diaphram settled down and he was able to go to sleep.

The next day he was well enough to attend church, a very great delight to him and something he is always loathe to miss.

Prayer
We are running low on the LifeOne protocol and our next order has not arrived. Please pray that it does arrive within the next few days and that it wont get caught up in customs.
For Dad that this tumour would shrink.
For travelling mercies for the Zach Smith and Pete de Deugd families as they return home tomorrow.
For Mum and the family that they will be able to fall into a good routine, work together well and thrive together here in the absence of the rest of the family.
Thanks for the many young ladies who have offered their assistance to Mum: Jessica Rademaker, Maree Sandbrook, Suzanna Rowntree, Megan Briggs and Lisa Boessenkool. This is such a testament, such a blessing. It gives me such peace as I return home with my family. From the fullness in my heart I thank you all.

12/9/11 – 10:15pm

(Genevieve here) As the time approached for Grace to lead the bridal party up the aisle she turned and said, “I’m too scared!”

Uh-oh!

“Let’s pray, Gracie.”

We prayed for courage and the next thing Gracie is walking up the aisle back straight, head up and a beautiful smile on her lips.

That is just one little example of the prayers the Lord answered on the wedding day.

Dad responded loudly and confidently to the question, “Who gives away this bride?” He followed his answer with comments to Josh and to Geoff and Ellen about Josh, his sterling qualities, and how confident he was in giving Charmagne to Josh when he saw the support Josh had in his parents.

Geoff then stepped forward and addressed Josh and Charmagne and together with Dad they presented Josh with a family Bible.

At this point the minister, Rev Flinn, described the purpose of marriage.

Then came the vows. Followed by the kiss – their first.

The bridal party were seated and Rev Flinn gave a sermon on Ephesians 5v22-23 in which he challenged the world’s misunderstanding of submission and exhorted Josh to love Charmagne tenderly and gently and exhorted Charmagne to submit to Josh, “as unto the Lord.” I appreciated his point that the passage was much less about husbands and wives as it was about Christ – notice how many times Christ’s name is mentioned.

The register was signed and Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary rang out through the church from the organ. We sang, “This Earth Belongs to the Lord” and when the hymn came to an end the music continued and Mr and Mrs Josh and Charmagne Downes exited the church!

So right, so good!

They were followed by Grace escourted by Sam Downes, the best man and Kaitlyn escourted by Geoff Downes and Mum escourted by Dad and Genevieve escourted by husband Pete and Caleb and Natalie.

They were followed by the rest of the congregation made up of friends and family and members of our local church and homeschooling community. Thank you everyone for coming!

The All Saints Verger rang the bells as Josh and Charmagne exited. And everyone filed past them with congratulations and hearty hand shakes, kisses and hugs.

Little girls could be seen here and there at the Church and Reception blowing bubbles. Some of the leftover bottles have been VERY much enjoyed by Kaitlyn, Grace, Cheyenh, Dusti, Natalie and Caleb ever since the wedding! Not to mention the rest of us! Such merriment.

…more wedding updates to follow…

11/9/11 – 1:00pm

(Meagan here, a visitor from Christchurch.) This is the way Sundays are meant to be. After an amazing day yesterday, celebrating with Charmagne and Josh, witnessing the beginning of their life together, here at the Smith’s home, everyone is gathered again, laughing, talking, and bouncing on the tramp (well, the grandchildren, that is!) It is a beautiful scene of the joyous unity of family.

From his seat at the head of the table, Mr. Smith is joking and smiling as he awaits lunch. Lunch stretches out before him, a banquet, surrounded by more silverwear than I can count. How everyone will fit, I don’t know. But I do know how precious and beautiful this family time is, and I’m grateful that I can join with them and witness their joy and their togetherness.

Then, after lunch, it’ll be off to church again! Between yesterday and today, this is a weekend that the Smiths will never forget, filled with blessings innumberable.

11/9/11 – 8:40am

(Genevieve here again) Hair dressers arrived at 5:50am. And the day had begun!

The carriage arrived at 4 Tawa Street much to the delight of all gathered there waiting for the wedding vehicle.

Dad had said to Charmagne earlier in the proceedings that she should organise a horse drawn carriage to transport them to the wedding. Given the timeframe before the wedding was to happen (two weeks) and all that had to be organized prior to this she didn’t have the time to pull off something like that.

Mr Sandbrook didn’t know that this was Dad’s suggestion and desire when he thought to make enquiries. The Lord was so good to make this desire of Dad’s come to pass!

On another occassion Mr Sandbrook had discovered that there weren’t any horse drawn carriages in the lower North Island. But then he discovered one in Martinborough – about a three hour drive from Palmerston North. They had a beautiful black horse and an exquisite carriage.

The horse was on winter feed and so in preparation for the wedding, the owner began exercising it every day for a week or two prior to the wedding and did practice runs with the horse pulling the carriage.

In the meantime, Mr Sandbrook was busy contacting the Palmerston North City Council and police about whether permission was required to have the horse and carriage drive around town. He was charting routes, timing them and gathering together a team of young people who would be able to help with directing traffic so that the carriage could navigate the city centre safely.

There was one intersection he was particularly nervous about. “If you believe in miracles,” he said to one of his team, “we will be first in line at the lights.” And there we were! First in line at the lights! The Lord sure went ahead of us all the way.

The weather was perfect. Charmagne was wearing her dress and a cream, velvet cloak she made especailly for the occasion (I managed to convince her she would need such a garment without her suspecting anything!). Dad was delighted.

The logistics were tricky getting Dad up onto and off the carriage, but these were handled so well. Ramps were set against the carriage and Dad was simply wheeled on and off and then helped to stand and manouver onto the seat.

On arrival at the church (20 minutes early!) Dad and Charmagne entered a private entry with the Matron of Honour (me) and the bridesmaids. Dad was transferred to a very special wheelchair on which he could drive himself down the aisle, veritually standing up! Kaitlyn, one of the flower girls was stationed to walk behind Dad and Charmagne to keep an eye on Charmagne’s dress and ensure it didn’t go under the wheels of Dad’s chair.

All went very well.

The bagpipes started. Gracie began down the aisle.

The organ joined in. Genevieve started down the aisle.

A chord change and Dad takes his daughter down the aisle.

A very emotional moment.

Most entrances at this point are focused on the bride.

This entrance was about much more than the bride.

It was about a courageous father.

It was about a virtuous daughter.

It was about the support of a loving community.

And, it was about a FAITHFUL God!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

He blessed us so much on this wedding day. Thanks, honour and praise belong to Him.

You can watch clips from Joshua and Charmagne’s wedding here:
http://www.livestream.com/smithdowneswedding2011?t=92375

11/9/11 – 8:30am

(Genevieve here) I am so proud of my sister, Charmagne.

She doesn’t has a selfish bone in her body. Her life for years past has been consumed with serving others. She has spent time with Dad and Mum, strengthening the family, helping with the younger children, learning many home maintenance and DIY skills and has spent time in the USA with my brother Zach and his family, working with them and spending time with their family and she has spent time in Australia with my family and I, investing in us, helping us to build a huge shed for our business and helping me during times of pregnancy.

In all this she has built a life of purity, of pursuit of her Saviour and has had a mindframe of preparing for marriage to be a skilled help meet to the man the Lord was preparing for her. She contentedly waited for this man and yesterday that wait came to an end as she said, “I do” to becoming that man’s wife.

11/9/11 – 8:20am

You can still watch clips from Joshua and Charmagne’s wedding here:
http://www.livestream.com/smithdowneswedding2011?t=92375

11/9/11 – 8:15am

How to be ready for a wedding…(read this article about Josh and Charmagne’s wedding)
http://www.boutiquenarelle.blogspot.com/

10/9/11 – 6:30pm

I couldn’t have imagined a better start to the day.

Charmagne walked out to the road to get into her wedding car. She sees a blue car with wedding streamers on it pulling up to the curb. “Oh, I thought we were going in a cream car.”

“There is the cream car, but you are not going in that. Look!”

“Oh!”

She is delighted as she watched a horse drawn carriage clip clop down the street, driven by a couple in tails and top hats and white gloves. The carriage is bedecked in black and white ribbons – very classy.

“So this is the surprise!”

“Yes. We wanted your ride to the church with Dad to be very special!”

I had the privilege of driving in the cream car, a Chevy Impala, to the church. We rode right behind the carriage. The blue car drove right in front of the carriage.

The drive there was perfect. The logistics handled seamlessly.

Let me tell you about these. At every round about, cross roads and intersection a car pulled up, and people with orange vests piled out and stopped/directed traffic from all directions so that the horse and carriage could proceed.

As they approached the church, Dad took Charmagne’s hand and he prayed for her and her upcoming marriage – a special moment even for us observing in the car behind.

Mr Sandbrook was the driver of our car and the man behind organizing the surprise. It took a lot of doing and the Lord answered many prayers to make it happen. I commented to him as we drove, “You must be very satisfied at how well this has turned out and how well your team is managing the traffic.”

“You bet I am.”

….more about the wedding later.

9/9/11

(Genevieve here again) The family has gathered!

The sun is shining!

God is good!

The household is bursting at the seams between the Craig Smith family, the Pete de Deugd family, the Zach Smith family, the Geoff Downes family (minus Ellen who we miss) and all our helpers/friends: John Briggs who has come to help with the truck run for a period of time, Maree Sandbrook who quietly works in the background and keeps the household functioning and Suzanna Rowntree who is coming for the wedding and will be staying on for a couple of weeks after the wedding to help Mum with the household.

Yesterday the television news programme, Campbell Live, followed Jed and John and filmed them as Jed trained John on doing the truck run. They were still filming Dad at home when Zach and Megan with Cheyenh, Dusti and Jackson arrived from travelling all the way from Illinois. The reporter, Natasha, indicated Jed might feature on their programme on Tuesday next week after things had calmed down from the rugby and the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

We’ve fielded calls by other news programmes and magazines about Jed and told them all to call back after the wedding, after all the family has left. We want to guard this family time closely.

Most everything is in place for the wedding. Charmagne and Josh are going to do some shopping this afternoon to put the last pieces in place for the cake.

The only hiccup is Natalie: she woke up unwell and has been vomitting all morning. She has been bouncing on the tramp since, but is still lethargic.

Prayer:
Thanks to the Lord for the change in the weather report (good weather expected now!) and the lovely day today.
Prayer that it may indeed be glorious tomorrow.
Prayer for Natalie that she will recover quickly and that nobody else will come down with the bug (especailly not tomorrow).
Pray that we can all be together tomorrow and will get some sterling family photographs.
Pray for Josh and Charmagne for their marriage that they will truly glorify the Lord and that their marriage will be a wonderful reflection of Christ and His Bride, the church.
Pray for Dad that he will be able to walk Charmagne down the aisle (he has a wheelchair that will walk him down the aisle!) and that this tumour will shrink and disappear!

Thanks

8/9/11 evening

It is wonderful to have our whole family together in Palmerston North: 8 children; 2 spouses, 1 spouse to be DV; 6 grandchildren. Our youngest daughter has just turned 6 and our oldest grandchild is 4. The little ones are having a great time together. Our youngest grandchild is 16 days. He lost a day – he left the States on Tuesday and arrived in Palmerston North Thursday – every day counts when you are that age.

Thanks for praying with Craig for the issue that was on his mind this week. We are very thankful for the results of the vote. Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow.

8/9/11

Our family is gathering. Pete arrived last night with two children so that completes Genevieve’s family here. Zach and his family arrive here at 9:30am. They should either have landed in Auckland by now or be landing shortly. Please pray for them as they go through customs and transfer to a plane for their last flight today. Soon all our six grandchildren will be with us.

Please pray especially for Megan and Jackson – Jackson is only about two weeks old.

Please also pray with us for the issue Craig is praying about this week. This morning there is to be a vote. Please pray for those who are voting that they will understand all the issues in a very Biblical way and that they will vote according to what the Bible says and not according to man’s persuasion. Our desire is that God will be glorified through this vote because everything is done decently and in order and according to God’s Word. Thankyou.

7/9/11 afternoon

Craig on Youtube

http://hef.org.nz/youtube-with-craig/q-a-with-craig-smith-recorded-2-august-2011/

Recorded 23 August 2011

Please click on links below to view video.

Should I foster in New Zealand?

What are the long term effects of fostering on your family?

Does home education and fostering mix?

What is the adoption process like in New Zealand?

6/9/11 – 5:40pm

A new guest has arrived, John Briggs from Christchurch, he will be staying in the caravan that our friends Stefan and Hester have loaned us for as long as we need it.  John’s first task: listening to Craig quoting Romans. They are up to chaper 5. It is wonderful to have a few more hands to help out with little tasks like this, which mean so much to Craig.

6/9/11 – 2:15pm

Jedediah’s fight to obtain a license has gone up a notch or to as the media has embraced his desire to support the family.

Read the story here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5570613/Son-13-ready-to-support-family-as-dad-battles-illness

Craig Smith has been teaching his son Jed to take over his trucking business. 

WARWICK SMITH

DRIVER ED: Craig Smith has been teaching his son Jed to take over his trucking business.

A 13-year-old is seeking a driver’s licence so he can support his family as his father faces a terminal illness.

Jedidiah Smith wants to take over his father Craig’s morning delivery run of chilled goods to supermarkets in Feilding and Palmerston North.

The eldest of his siblings still living in the family’s Palmerston North home, Jedidiah wants to be able to provide for his mother and two younger sisters.

A month ago his father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour; doctors have told Mr Smith he has several weeks to live.

“If I can’t support my family, they will have to go on the dole. I don’t want that,” said Jedidiah, who is home schooled. “A friend of my father’s has offered to give me intensive driver training. After he is done with me, I know I’ll be competent enough to drive safely. If I did a test I know I’d pass it.”

Jedidiah has spoken to the NZ Transport Agency, police, Palmerston North District Court staff, a lawyer and Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway in his quest for a driver’s licence.

Mr Lees-Galloway said Jedidiah had impressed him with his maturity and he would do what he could to help the teen explore his options.

“He’s an exemplary young man who wants to take on the responsibility of providing for his family.

“This obviously needs to be balanced with the safety of road users, his safety and the precedent that might be set,” he said.

Now confined to a wheelchair, Mr Smith said he had confidence in his son’s ability to do the job.

A transport agency spokesperson said there was no provision in the Land Transport Act for exemptions to the driving age. The legal age for obtaining a learner’s licence increased last month from 15 to 16.

5/9/11 – 11:55pm

(Genevieve here for the last time tonight) Many women have Kitchen Teas before they marry or Hen Parties. When I asked Charmagne about this she said she didn’t want either. “I’d like a Titus 2 Evening. I’d like older women who have been married to encourage, exhort and challenge me in my coming role as a wife and mother before I get married.”

So a Titus 2 Evening we had. Just this evening. There were nearly 50 women and young ladies present. Each one of the married or widowed women shared a story or a lesson learned or Scripture or an exerpt from a book with Charmagne. They encouraged her to love her husband and to submit to him. It was really, really lovely. Thank you ladies for making it such a special time.

5/9/11 – 11:50pm

(Genevieve here again) “Can you tell me a story about your life, Dad?”

I’ve overheard Gracie ask Dad this every day now for several days running. It is such a privilege to overhear. Dad jumps into a story straight away. Gracie looks up into his face and nods and “uh-ha”s at all the right places. It is very sweet.

One time he started in on a fishing story.

“Can you tell me a story about some other animals?”

“Nope, today I want to tell you a story about catching fish.”

I was so amused.

She was massaging his left arm (being completely numb, he wouldn’t have felt a thing, but it was a nice gesture) and he is telling her about throwing out the line and pulling in a big one and the reactions of people around.

It makes me smile to think of it!

5/9/11 – 11:45pm

(Genevieve here again) “The numbness will become more complete. Then comes paralysis, comba and death.”

That is what the hospital said to us when we asked about a month ago what the future holds.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot today because I have been noticing that Dad can’t move his left side. Even when he tells his arm to move, “Come on arm, move!” It doesn’t move for him.

Is this paralysis?

He is not doing so well with his thinking either. He is uncertain what day it is. He can’t remember little things.

And yet in other ways he is perfectly able to communicate perfectly lucidly. It really depends what time of day you get him, how tired he is and almost more importantly, what topic you tackle.

Please pray that he will be well enough for the wedding. It is only days away now.
Please pray that he will remember it, that he will be able to give the blessing to Josh and Charmagne he so much wants to give.

Please continue to pray for the issues that Dad is concerned about that are happening at the moment through to next Friday night and will be praying about a great deal. He would love you to pray with him for a Biblical outcome.

Thank you for your prayers and concern. Your love is so humbling. I’m so proud to have a father who has touched so many lives.

5/9/11 – 11:30pm

(Genevieve here) One of the Cards that Made My Mum Cry

“Dear Craig, Barbara and family,
Wanganui Home Educators organised two fundraisers to assist your family in this time of need – a photo fundraiser brought in $750.00 so far and some young home educated musicians collected $261.40 through busking. This is a small ‘thank you’ for the GREAT job you have done and continue to do to support and promote home education in New Zealand. We continue to uphold your family in prayer.”

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper., the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil, He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and coming in from this time forth and forever.”
Psalm 121

3/9/11

Ty Bollinger the author of Cancer Outside the Box puts out a newsletter.

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Free CancerTruth Newsletter

click on this link and then you can subscribe to Ty’s enewsletter

Ty has just sent this out in his latest newsletter. So if you subscibe to Ty’s free enewsletter first then you may be able to get his signed book for 25% off:

“For my loyal Cancer*TRUTH subscribers only, as a Labor Day special, I am offering a 25% discount on my best-selling book, “Cancer-Step Outside the Box.”

But not only will you get a discount on the price, but (in honor of Labor Day), I will personally autograph each and every printed book that you purchase. I have never made this offer to my subscribers, but I wanted to say “thank you” for all of your support, encouragement, and for helping me spread the TRUTH about cancer.

Click HERE to obtain your own personally autographed copy of “Cancer-Step Outside the Box” for US$24.97, which is a 25% discount off the retail price.

This offer will expire at midnight on Labor Day.

3/9/11 evening

Can’t make it to Josh and Charmagne’s wedding?

Watch it live online!

Our dear friend, Bart van der Wee, has organised internet streaming of the wedding. On 10 September 2011 at 10am log in here to watch the wedding live online:

http://www.livestream.com/smithdowneswedding2011?t=92375.

Lord willing the reception will be streamed live at the same link too. Check it at 1pm or more likely 2pm on the same day.