Craig Smith 26 January 1951 to 30 September 2011
This link has Craig’s Diary 2 pages, Updates on Craig Smith’s Health 6 pages, Livestream of Josh and Charmagne’s Wedding, Livestream of Craig’s Funeral, Livestream of the slideshow and Tributes given at the afternoon tea and Tributes in written form.
1 May 2013
As an update I would like to share the letter that I have just written to those who have supported the Home Education Foundation over the last 12 months:
26 April 2013
I am sorry that I have not written to you for such a long time. As I look back now I see that the last letter I sent to you was June last year. The twelve months after Craig died were very difficult. I felt like I was under a huge cloud then the last three months I was under a very heavy huge cloud. I had not anticipated how hard those three months would be. The cloud lifted as I got more and more involved in fighting the Beneficiary Bill. I still have some hard days but the cloud has gone along with our beautiful long sunny summer.
Thank you for your support of the Home Education Foundation. We really appreciate it. Enclosed is your receipt for the 2012/13 financial year.
I have been involved in many issues this year including:
1. Several people having trouble with the Hamilton and Dunedin MoE offices, and a couple of families having ERO difficulties. There is one issue at the moment with the Dunedin MoE Office where an exemption has been declined twice because the mother is working. There is nothing in the law to say that a mother cannot work and home educate her children. We are holding the office to what is written in the law. I talk about a number of issues referred to in this letter in my overheads from my recent South Island tour: State of the Nation – What can we be doing—http://hef.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/State-o
2. The Beneficiary Bill took up a lot of my time. THE ISSUES, as I saw them, that caused me to fight this Bill:
· State approved curriculum being compulsory for any child
The Government making it compulsory for any mother to have to go to work while she still has children at home
For it being compulsory for any child to have to complete the Well Child Checks
Our freedoms slowly being taken from us.
The Bill passed in Parliament by 2 votes. It will become law in July 2013. I sent out my 25th Media Release on this subject the next day: http://hef.org.nz/2013/media-release-25-families-and-churches-must-care-for-the-unemployed/. I started to get quite a few emails from concerned beneficiaries so I put up the following post on the website about what was in the Bill and what was not in the Bill including my recommendations: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/
We need to be vigilant to make sure that the Government does not try to make compulsory ECE and Well Child Checks apply for the rest of the population.
3. Some overseas issues including the Romeike family, and the Johansson family: I have written a number of letters to the authorities from the Home Education Foundation in support of home education in a number of countries over the last 12 months. Here are some of the letters: http://hef.org.nz/international/. Two families who have taken a bit more of my time have been the Romeike Family—a German family living in the USA and the Johansson Family living in Sweden. Both these families are waiting for the results of Court cases at the moment. The Romeike’s case is particularly of interest to us in New Zealand. They were initially granted Asylum in the USA, then earlier this year their Asylum status was taken away from them. They were in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit April 23. This leads to a case in New Zealand which is of concern (more in next paragraph). Michael Farris of the HSLDA says that the German Homeschool case may impact US Homeschool Freedom. This also applies in New Zealand. We heard tonight that the supreme court of Sweden refused to hear the Johansson’s case.
4. A German family in New Zealand was refused Asylum in NZ 2012. They have recently received a threatening letter from the Immigration Department. We are eagerly waiting to see what happens with the Romeike Family in the USA. In the meantime we have been trying to find a job for the father in New Zealand. Today the father told me that he has two sons also looking for jobs or apprenticeships. The father is a primary school teacher—he can also teach in secondary schools as an English, German or Music teacher. If you know of any job openings for the father and/or his sons anywhere in New Zealand then please let me know. The other option is to find somewhere else in the World that he can go to. At the moment the best lead we have is Mexico. Again if you know of any job openings overseas then please let me know—a long shot I know but still worth asking you all.
6. My workshops in Wanganui and around the South Island seemed to go well. I spoke at 12 different venues in the South Island: Takaka, Reefton, Greymouth, Hokitika, Wanaka, Te Anau, Invercargill, Tapanui, Dunedin, Oamaru, Rangiora and Blenheim. I was concerned about the trip before we left as Craig and I had always travelled together and Craig did most of the driving and most of the talking. This trip I had to do all of it. My two youngest 12 and 7 travelled with me, we left the North Island in Summer, then winter arrived in Te Anau, there was even snow on the hills. We arrived home safely to a colder North Island.
On 28 February I banked a cheque for $230.00 without keeping a record of who it came from by mistake. If you gave this cheque to the Home Education Foundation then please let me know so that I can send you another receipt. If you find an error in the enclosed receipt then please let me know so that I can fix it for you.
Some good conferences are coming up at the end of May and Beginning of June in Christchurch and Auckland: http://hef.org.nz/2013/building-a-god-centered-family-conferences/. Of particular interest is a leadership meeting on June 4 in Auckland—more on this soon watch www.hef.org.nz
I am very thankful to the Lord for continuing to provide for all of our needs. I do not have the gift with the pen that Craig had, infact I am the opposite of Craig with the pen. I am very thankful therefore that the Lord brought Suzannah Rowntree in contact with our family. She came over from Australia to attend Josh and Charmagne’s wedding and stayed on to help run our home while we nursed Craig. Since going back to Australia Suzannah has been “my pen” for all my official documents. Suzannah has written letters to the MoE, ERO, letters to the MPs, to officials in other countries (some are here: http://hef.org.nz/international/) Media Releases, the brochure and other letters and documents regarding the Beneficiary Bill for me. More recently she has expanded to helping the Johansson family get their son Domenic back by putting up this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domenic_Johansson. As Suzannah’s circumstances allow, she has told me that she is available to continue helping me with MoE and ERO cases and any other issues that may come up. The Home Education Foundation has been able to pay Suzannah AUS$15.00 an hour for all her work.
Please pray for me over the next four months as I seek to complete the July 2011 Keystone Magazine. I would like to be able to get it in the post to subscribers by the end of this year. It is a huge learning curve for me. Craig was half way through compiling this edition. My children and I would like to dedicate the rest of this edition to Craig and the work he was doing for home educators.
Thank you again for your faithful support of the Home Education Foundation.
From the Smiths:
Updated 1 May 2013: One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
This link is motivational:http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online:http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/
2 February 2013
Dreams, Dreams, Dreams, Dreams
Some are good and some are not so good
Then I awake in the morning to reality
Last night I dreamt that Craig and I got married
Oh what a wonderful dream
Other nights there is such a separation
We can’t get close to each other
Sometimes there is a deep canyon or narrow chasm
Or a body of water to keep us apart
Those are the difficult nights
But there is hope and a wonderful morning to wake up to
One morning I will awake to be with Craig and the unspeakable bliss of heaven
I am reminded of Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain
Oh, how glorious it is that Craig is rightly related to God
That his sins have been forgiven by grace and so Craig has been made fit for heaven
How marvelous is God’s grace!
The most wonderful thing to happen in Craig’s life happened when he died
and Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints
Craig has gained and is enjoying the blessings of heaven
For to me, to live for Christ…I have a lot of work to do yet
Until I can claim Philipians 1:23 I am torn between the two:
I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far
But for now I have a lot to do 3 little ones at home give me a great desire to live
A Social Security Bill to fight, families to encourage and a garden needing work.
I am not alone; God is with me and He is giving me rest and peace
as I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
19 December 2012
Psalm 66:16-20 (ESV)
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
RC Sproul says what is in my heart so well:
highlandsministriesonline.org/ ask-rc/ ask-rc-one-year-later-after-the -passing-of-your-wife-what-hav e-you-learned/
That time heals some wounds. It is natural as we enter into that season of the year, and now the very anniversary of her passing, that the pain would grow more acute, more insistent. And it is certainly possible that my expectations were terribly naïve. But the truth is not that I thought I would be done by now, but that I thought I would be feeling better, that there would be by one year some kind of improvement. And it just isn’t so. It hurts, and I am sad.
Time does heal some wounds. As I travelled through the anniversary of the last three months of Craig’s life the pain grew more acute, more insistent. And I think I can say as RC said that my expectations were terribly naïve. It was a very painful time and the pain was all consuming. Like RC I was expecting pain but not to the degree that it hit me during those last 2 – 3 months. I had mentioned to several people that I felt under a cloud for the 12 months and it became a thunder storm in the last 2-3 months leading up to the anniversary of Craig going to Glory.
I am sad, if this makes any sense, not because my wife passed away, but because I miss her. I miss being with her. I miss her as the very framework of my life. Though I am a rather minnow sized fish in something more like a large puddle than even a small pond, most of the world that knows me knows me either as a guy giving some sort of talk, or as a guy publishing some sort of writing. They, perhaps you, think that’s who I am, that the public ministry defines the private person. As much as I love my work, as open, honest, and vulnerable as I aspire to be, as much as I give thanks for all the opportunities God has given me, as much as I love to exercise my gifts, it’s still what I do. What I am is Denise’s husband.
I can say with RC that I am sad, not because Craig is not here – I am happy for him, but because I miss him. My life has an emptiness without Craig.
This sadness is rather like a localized rain cloud following Charlie Brown around. It is always with me. Now when I smile, when I laugh, I mean it. It’s genuine, real, and something for which I give thanks. Hugging my littles before I go to work, teasing my bigs on Facebook, catching my students at Reformation Bible College in a formal fallacy, all these things I delight in. But they are rays breaking through the cloud. They do not drive the cloud away.
Yes, I had already identified with being under a cloud. I still laughed, was thankful and was joyful but as RC said they were rays breaking through the cloud which was always with me. With the intensity that I have fought the Social Security Bill over the last 2 – 3 months the cloud has lifted. I have been fighting a battle that Craig would have fought had he been alive. The first stage of the fight is over, we go into the second stage of the fight in the New Year.
I learned as well that because life is short, life is long. My beloved did not get her three score and ten. She was welcomed into her reward earlier than many. And here I am. The wait that I have has now multiplied, because I am without her. This past year has been not just the hardest, but the slowest of my life. I wake earlier than I wish, and lie awake at night while wanting to sleep. The things I once looked forward to no longer appeal. Isn’t half the blessing of a blessing having someone with whom to share it?
Yes, Craig did not make his three score and ten. We had less than 2 months from diagnosis until he went to Glory. They were two glorious months that we are very thankful for. We had lots of wonderful family time with overseas family coming home, a very emotional wedding, and Craig made 146 Youtube videos. It would seem that Craig’s life was cut short especially when we see the things that need attention that he was so good at. Yet God’s Will is perfect. He took Craig Home in His perfect timing. One day we can be living life to the full – the next facing death. It seems Craig’s life was short and as RC said “Life is long …And here am I”. Those first 12 months after Craig went to Glory were the hardest and slowest of my life. The nights were short, the days long. Even though I had some of my children living with me the gap was too large and the cloud to heavy. There is One who has sustained me through this time and when the gap got too large and the cloud to heavy He would carry me during those times. So I echo the words of RC below:
By God’s grace I have not had to struggle with anger. I remain confident in His tender love for me, His assurance that what He has begun in me He will see through to the day of Christ Jesus. That work hurts. And it will continue to hurt. That doesn’t mean something has to change. My sadness is not a sign that something is wrong, that I need counseling or pills, or even a change in perspective. It means I have received the wounds of a Friend. He is ever with me, and there is no one, no one, I would rather have near.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.
5 October 2012
It is now 12 months since Craig passed to Glory. This Sunday will be the day that so many of you gathered to support our family at his funeral. We want to thank you all for your continued support towards our family, I wanted to write a personal note to every one who contacted us since July 28 last year—the day of Craig’s MRI. I wrote this enclosed letter back in April and have sent it out to a very small number of people so far. It now looks like the coming months are going to be very busy for me. I have decided not to send this letter with personal notes so that I can concentrate on this issue that would have been very dear to Craig if he was still alive:
New Zealand is taking the first step in making preschool at registered ECEs for 3-5 years old compulsory.
Craig always lamented the fact that in 1877 New Zealanders lost the freedom to educate 6 –15 year olds at home without applying for exemptions. He would say that our forefathers let us down by not standing up for their rights. So now in 2012, will we be the generation that begins to lose the freedom to preschool our own children and to make our own decisions about health care for preschoolers.
That is right, there is a Bill going through Parliament now, at the submission stage, which wants to make these things compulsory for beneficiaries—DPB, Unemployment, sickness and Widow/widowers: http://hef.org.nz/20…or-3-year-olds/
- attend 15 hours a week Early Childhood Education (ECE) from age 3
- attend school from age five or six
- enrol with a General Practitioner .
- complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks
It is clearly part of an agenda to separate children from parents and to break the family ties at the earliest age possible. This is merely a stepping stone. This Bill MUST be stopped. I have enclosed a Pamphlet. Please put in a submission. (Pamphlet for printing out)
So for now I would like to thank you all for your very generous gifts to our family—money, organic food for Craig, meals for the rest of our family and helpers, herbs, medicines and vitamins sent to us, flowers, cards, links to good websites, books, visits, phone calls, emails and many other things as well, especially verses and your prayers. God is faithful and he has been faithful to us every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Hints for printing the pamphlet:
(choose 2 sided print flip on short side)
(For some people this pamphlet wont print direct from this page, so you will have to save this page to your computer, then open the pdf - then it will print just fine.)
1 October 2012
We have two days of remembering every milestone so it is the same with the 1st anniversary of Craig’s death. Today is the 30th in the States. We as a family are planning to try to have our first combined SKYPE talk – trust we will be able to make it work.
2pm in Australia (1 October) – 2 family connections
5pm in NZ (1 October) – Family Home
10pm in Illinois (30 September) – 2 family connections
We will be sharing a Memory Book that Charmagne put together for us. It was Genevieve’s idea for us all to write up some memories we have of Craig to be shared with each other.
30 September 2012
Isaiah 57:1-2 (NKJV)
57 The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
2 He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness.
I wrote this letter earlier in the year. I want to send it out to everyone that I have had contact with since 28 July – the date that Craig had his first MRI.
I trust that it wont be too long before I get your personal copy of this letter to you.
I have been very busy over the last few days with a new Bill going through Parliment – the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, Here are the concerns that I have with this Bill: HUGE Concerns over the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill and Q+A: Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. By Thursday 4 October, I trust, I will have information all fixed up to help us fight this Bill. Submissions are due in by 1 November. Here is a link (still to be completed) which I trust will make it easier for people to make submissions: Submissions for Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.
1 Peter 1:1-9 (ESV)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.