Hey it’s me, the Daughter!

Hello everyone, surprise! It’s me, Nicki. I know, I know, I’m sure you were expecting to hear from my mother, but I thought I’d take it upon myself to intervene and tell you about the latest writings of my parents before they get a chance to down play what I’d like to think are two of the greatest stories ever lived. The book is called Weaving Sunlight: God’s Tapestry of Two Lives. And I’ll start the way my father would: “Hold onto your britches, cause this is going to knock your socks off!”

The story starts with two love birds from two separate worlds, Colorado and Texas. My mother was born to Robert and Genevieve Smith in 1950, two years after my father. My father came into the world quickly and at the demand by his mother Jody, as she held the nurse in a death grip, that he would in fact be a boy, and so no other paperwork would be required. You’ll have to read the back story to get the rest of that hilarious experience.

Now fast forward to the year 1969. Some of you may remember that was a year that brought of the history’s most memorable moments, such as man’s first steps on the moon, the last public performance of the Beatles (on the roof of Apple Records, by the way. A month later, the world’s largest airplane, the Boeing 747 made its first commercial flight. In April, the movie Oliver won best picture at the 41st Academy Awards and Barbara Streisand was nominated for her role in Funny Girl. In July, David Bowie released his iconic single “Space Oddity”, a ground breaking single that was debuted in conjunction with the moon landing in late July.   Then, on August 1st, to be precise, Tony and Marsha stood in front of their friends and family and declared their love for each other. And from where I sit, that pretty much overshadows anything else that happened that year!

The title, Weaving Sunlight, was inspired by an old heirloom my mother has kept from her childhood. It, a weaver’s shuttle, hand carved back in 1819 by one of her ancestors, and still brings to mind a time of innocence, when hours could be spent sitting on the floor playing with it. It took a lot of imagination, but I think there was a lot to go around back then. Sadly, I don’t believe we exercise our imaginations enough these days. But my mother’s imagination carried her into adulthood, and has helped her kids establish their own “heirloom moments”. One of the most significant, of course, was my adoption, but you’ll have to read the book to hear about that!

I started reading this book long before it actually came into print. When my parents handed me the first draft, I devoured it, story after story. And it wasn’t just because I was a part of tapestry. Seeing their story come alive on the pages, I began to connect the dots, seeing tier after tier, through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood, and I began to see how their lives wove in and around events that I wasn’t even aware of, and yet, looking back, the beautiful picture of God’s Hand at work can’t be missed today. And the beauty of it is, the picture doesn’t stop with them. It’s part of a huge tapestry that started back at Creation and will finally be revealed when Christ comes back. And each and every one of us will have the opportunity to see where our lives have fit into the final masterpiece

The book was especially fascinating to me because there were a lot of stories that I never knew anything about. Like for example, in the 6th grade, my mom got her first “job” as her school’s newspaper editor.  I also learned as I read that as the television entered family homes, her parents allowed her 30 minutes on a Saturday to sit in front of their new TV and devour every moment of one of the greatest shows created, “The Flintstones”. Of course, she was only allowed that treat if her hair was washed and curled, ready for church on Sunday morning. A few years passed, and she was sent to boarding school. Before going, she didn’t know much about it except that her sister had gone there, and that was enough.

Then there was my father, Tony, and that fateful night in 1968 when he sat at his desk in college and studied for a chemistry test. Going through the book and trying to guess what questions might be asked, he sat there and read about the properties of filtrate and hydrogen, and all those chemical mysteries. Then he came across a question that God planted in his lap: “Why not go into full time ministry?” It took him a while to realize the question didn’t come from the chemistry book, and it drove him to his knees. Was this really from God?

Actually, it was a direct answer to prayer from my mother. A thousand miles away, she told her college that she only wanted to marry a man who was going into ministry. Up until now she had kept it a secret from Tony, to make sure he didn’t change his plans for her sake. They prayed, God heard, and a few days later, she got a letter from Tony (remember, these were the days before email) saying, “Guess what? I’m going into full time ministry!” My mom’s first thought was that her roommates had spilled the beans, and the next few days were not a pretty sight! But this story was to be the foundation upon which the next 50 years have been built, so you’ll have to read it to get the whole story!

In 1973 after both my parents, now married, completed their degrees at Colorado State University, they followed another thread in the weave and joined the two-year “Journeyman Program” as short term missionaries. Sticking their toes in the water if you will, they applied for work in Switzerland and Indonesia but both the Mission Board and the Lord had other plans. Sending them off to Zambia, Africa, they experienced life together on the mission field. It was a life they couldn’t have ever foreseen, full of joys and sadness, wonderful lessons and unimaginable loss. Things like malignant melanomas, malaria, and terrorists filled their days. It was there that Trevor was conceived, a fact that would eventually lead to his death 15 years later. Africa helped to weave a strong marriage and a lifetime of skills for them both, before the Lord and the Board sent them off to their big playground of Japan.

Japan is an exciting adventure all by itself, and I know because it was during that time that I came onto the scene! For 40 years, my parents enjoyed a fruitful ministry there. They educated not only their own children, Trevor, Nathan and myself there, but they also led and educated those precious children of God; the Japanese people. Through preaching, helping with English classes, annual church Christmas pageants, and anything else they could think of, they planted churches, made friends and changed lives, becoming more and more “family” than they could have ever hoped for.

Trevor’s ashes are buried there, and we kids have been given the responsibility of seeing that Tony and Marsha and buried there as well. It wasn’t long after Trevor died that I was adopted, which I consider one of the luckiest, more blessed things that could ever have happened to me. Lucky, because they also gave me a brother of my own (Nathan), a role model for life and a friend forever.

As the years went by, a “Wall Of Witness” began to take shape in the form of pictures hanging in the hallway These individuals will forever have special places in my parents’ hearts, and if you ever have the chance to visit their bedroom today, you can still see all of them . My brother and I in later years have named this “The Wall of Fame”.  On the wall are included friends and mentors such as, Kumiko and Shinkichi Ito, Bob and Betty Faith Boatwight, my grandparents and a great grandmother.   I am 100% sure that I have missed a few to say the least but I want it to be known that my parents were not only blessed in Japan with a great mission field to work in but a plethora of friends and family to establish a lifelong friendship with. These people have encouraged my parents and have taught them invaluable things about life. They provided my parents with family when they were away from home, and friends for my brother and myself to call brothers and sisters in Christ. For that I am truly thankful.

Now, I know this blog has gone on far longer than expected but let me share with you this one more thing. Reading about our experiences and journeys will take you to places you never thought God would lead you. I know many of you have spent countless hours with my parents, listening to the life that God has blessed them both with and sometimes you might even have said, “WOW! They really have lived.” But if you get anything else out of this blog, please please, remember that YOUR story is the best one out there because it’s the journey that God has weaved together for YOU!

God blessed my parents with a world full of opportunities but also with heartache and loss. Though I may not have talked about it much here, we all experience the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. But through it all, we are reminded that God has been weaving our journey together for a very long time. We can see a glimpse of our Master’s work and we can look forward to seeing a kingdom chock full our legacys.

SO, as you go out and buy this book or follow the link below, I urge to you read and be excited to read about these two ordinary and maybe a bit crazy followers of Christ whom I get to call my parents.  I also urge you to remember to write your own story down. It’s important, people need to know your story as well!

Till Maybe Next Time,

Nicki

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