Greetings April 2012
With heart felt Thanks
Thank you for your very generous help in our fight to overcome Craig’s cancer. We were overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity, love and care. The donations helped towards the cost of our fight to try to overcome Craig’s tumour – which was over $18,500. We also thank those of you who have continued to support us with gifts which have helped us to pay for the funeral and other costs.
Craig introduced our news to you on the 29th of July by saying “the Lord has the best sanctification programme out! We praise the Lord for all the things He is doing in our lives and for all the answered prayer – the good and the bad and there has been a lot of bad.” In fact when Craig was talking with people he talked about “truck loads of bad news” but then he would also go on and talk about “truck loads of good news”. Craig was secure in the knowledge that he would be seeing his Saviour at the end of his life – whether it was to be soon or in old age.
As a young man the Lord convicted him of his sin and his need for a Saviour.
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4v7-8
He knew he was a forgiven sinner and as such longed to be with his Saviour.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3v16
We are very happy for Craig. He is in a place where Scripture tells us that even just one day in heaven is better than a thousand elsewhere! Psalm 84v10
Craig shared what was dearest to his heart in these video YouTube clips:
- What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 1 http://tinyurl.com/7zcbekf
- What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 2 http://tinyurl.com/7c82ut9
- What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 3http://tinyurl.com/7f44jfy
- What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 4 http://tinyurl.com/8xhj5fy
- What is the number one issue I need to settle? Pt 5http://tinyurl.com/85d2x4y
- What does it mean to be a Christian Pt 1 http://tinyurl.com/7g8ghp8
- What does it mean to be a Christian Pt 2 http://tinyurl.com/86g3xfh
- All at this link: http://tinyurl.com/6w4v92d
To read Craig’s diary during his battle with the tumour, see Charmagne’s wedding, listen to Craig’s funeral and the tributes at the afternoon tea via Livestream, read the tributes go to this link: http://tinyurl.com/7kep92k . Updates on life for those who are left behind are posted here http://tinyurl.com/7kep92k
The Lord was so gracious to us as He closed doors and opened others.
A man’s mind plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16v9
Consequently, we look back and are so thankful for His leading. We are thankful that the decision to operate was taken out of our hands. And thankful that Craig wouldn’t have to do radiation and chemotherapy either (we were told they would be of little effect without debulking the tumour) and experience any resulting illness.
The tumour caused a numbness down Craig’s left side which gradually made mobility increasingly difficult and resulted in paralysis. It was hard to see Craig unable to get about as normal but we were so thankful that his mind was as little effected as it was—we could still talk to him and he could still laugh and whistle, lead family devotions, tell Gracie stories, bless us and express his desires for us in the future in case he died. He could praise His Lord, share the gospel and tell Christians to get their children out of state schools!
The last two weeks of Craig’s life were very difficult but we are so thankful for the six wonderful weeks we did have. During those six wonderful weeks we had lots of family around. Craig loved the visit from his sisters and the daily phone calls from his brother. It was wonderful to have our children and grandchildren here as much as we did and especially for Craig to have time with Jackson (17 days old when he arrived) the only Smith to carry on the Smith line, so far, since Craig’s great grandfather. The decision to bring Charmagne’s wedding forward six weeks and from Australia to New Zealand was proved to be the right decision down to the day. The Saturdays before and after her wedding Craig was not well, yet he always made it to Church the following day. He only missed the last Sunday. It was with mixed feelings that we watched Craig “walk” Charmagne down the aisle. And so many people helped make the day a day to remember for all of us: Roy with the horse and carriage; our Church with the amazing catering; lots of guests at very short notice and Bart with the livestream so that Josh’s mum and family (and so many others) could watch the wedding. (This also gave us the idea of livestreaming Craig’s funeral so that his mom and siblings (and so many others) could watch Craig’s funeral and the tributes. Genevieve was on a mission those first six weeks. She would organise everyone so that for an hour or so every morning only Craig and I were at home with her and the camera. During that time Genevieve recorded Craig on 146 YouTube videos http://hef.org.nz/youtube-with-craig/ (I am still putting them up on the Home Education Foundation website). We recorded many conversations with Craig, asking his advice and even recording our family worship times. These times were very precious when Craig would open the Scriptures, read and explain a passage to the family, sing Psalms and great hymns of the faith together and lead us in prayer. We were very thankful to have Maree, John and Suzannah here to help in any way that was needed and for Jessica who would come over every day and juice carrots for Craig and for the many others who bent over backwards here and there to help out in whatever way they could.
- another grandchild due in October to the de Deugd family.
Where to from here? (DV)
I am so blessed. My children have told me that they do not want me to go on the widow’s benefit. They see it as their responsibility to care for me.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 1 Timothy 5v4
If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows. 1 Timothy 5v16
The older ones used to say that Craig and I had eight retirement plans. When Craig received his diagnosis they brought this up again and said we might have to talk about kickstarting these plans earlier than we probably all anticipated. I thank the Lord for faithful, Christian, God-fearing children.
I am missing Craig terribly yet God is my rock and strength as I trust in Him. Psalm 62v5-8. I know many of you are also missing Craig. I hear it from people who ring up to talk to him about their current issues. Craig will be missed by the home education movement in New Zealand for a long time.
I have had to think about what I should be doing now. I have three little ones still at home. They are 14, 11 and 6, and their training and home education must come first. Alanson, our grown up son, has moved back home and has taken on many of the responsibilities with the children. Craig and I were involved jointly in the Home Education Foundation and it has been so much a part of our lives for so long now. I don’t want to give it all up. Alanson being at home now will enable me to carry on some of the Home Education Foundation Functions like: the website www.hef.org.nz; the email discussion groups-hefnetnz, chednetnz, ccednet, dwha and TEACH-eForum; the books we sell; difficult MoE and ERO issues (which Craig was so good at-I have a lot to learn, but have already had several cases since Craig died); and a Titus 2 ministry which would include counselling-home education and family/parenting issues and speaking at a limited number of workshops each year.
Keystone will carry on in the future (DV). I plan to finish the July 2011 issue Craig was half way through. TEACH Bulletin will no longer continue in published form. Material which would previously have appeared in TEACH will now be put straight up on the website: http://hef.org.nz/teach/ without all the wonderful commentary Craig would write.
I have three projects that I would like to begin working on soon:
1. The History of Home Education in New Zealand. Craig has written a bit and several people answered my call for this and sent in their view of the history in their area. If you would like to write something then please send it to me over the next few months.
2. God took Craig home when his work on earth was finished. So there will be nothing new from Craig but he does have a lot of written work on his computer that I would like to publish over the next few months/years.
3. With the help of my family I would like to write a book about Dying Triumphantly.
Thanks again for your support. It is greatly needed for keeping the website going and helping me to keep helping home educators in New Zealand.
Current family at home: Barbara, Kaitlyn (11), Grace (6), Jedediah (14) and Alanson
Updates on life for those who are left behind are posted here