“Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints”
(Psalm 116: 15)
Dr. Smith went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 after fighting with cancer for about a year and a half. He worked hard with Mrs. Smith and the Lord used him to make ICAN (International Christian Academy of Nagoya, Japan) much of what it is today. Especially to my wife, The Smith’s are like her mentors. She says, “Much of what makes me a teacher today comes from this amazing couple.”
I know a few selfless people who give their all to serve King Jesus. Dr. and Mrs. Smith never boast about themselves and I think he might not like us talking about him this way if he were here. But there’s a similar passion that my grandma and Dr. Smith shared that I’d like to highlight. They both fought with cancer. They both love the Lord. And they both continued to support us financially in this most expensive and difficult of mission fields.
They were our ardent supporters in their prayers and giving. Though they are cross-cultural missionaries themselves who give their lives away freely for the sake of the Gospel, they also joyfully give to other missionaries. When the Smiths started supporting us they were about to initiate a new school elsewhere in Asia. They were preparing to go to their next mission field and here they are supporting us. And when we first heard reports about his cancer, we asked them to stop supporting us realizing how they might need it more than we do. Rather than keep it for themselves in their time of greatest need, they continued to give to our work.
Like Dr. Smith, my grandma (not in the pic), a poor Indian old lady walked with the Lord and almost never failed to lead us into a time of corporate family prayer meetings everyday. She continued to give generously to the cause of making Jesus known among a people group who had more wealth, better health care systems, and live in relative luxury (contrast the currency rate between Indian rupees and Japanese yen). And like grandma, Dr. Smith, too, was a missionary who knew what it means to be of support to others even in his cancerous bed.
They speak volumes of messages to me and my wife. Both Dr. Smith and grandma didn’t waste their cancers. I’m reminded of the Macedonian churches of whom Paul said in his letter:
“1. We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2. for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Cor. 8: 1-9).
God is glorified not only in the lives they lived, but also by and through their deaths. They both knew Christ has risen and defeated the greatest of giants- Satan, sin and death. They not only lived well, but ended well. One day Dr. Smith will receive a new glorified body which will no longer taste corruption because of Christ’s victory. Hallelujah!