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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Cheerleader

I’ve never really been afraid of tornadoes. You see, I’m an Arkansas girl, born and raised. I remember the thrilling nights as a kid when my mother pulled us from our beds and we’d spend what seemed like all night giggling under a mattress in the hall with flashlights and teddy bears. It was fun. 

And I’ve seen the aftermath, the piles of rubble, the death counts on the news. But you see, I’m an optimist. And all these things I have seen from an emotional distance. So the prevailing theme to them all is the hope that humans are able to cling to, the stories of survival. So I’ve never really been afraid of tornadoes. 

So on Sunday, April 27, when the weather man said the forecast was a mix for disaster, we decided we’d go ahead with our move to Vilonia anyway. We already had the UHaul. The house was in boxes. The helping hands had signed up. Our new house has a concrete basement. We’ll be safe, we thought. 

We were. 

While 20 people ate hot dogs and potato salad in the basement, the wall cloud blew over our mountain to the valley beyond it. The TV showed the eye of the storm directly over Cody Ln. And I stood on the front porch and saw the sucking black sky twirl in the distance. And for the first time that day, a fear swelled up because I knew that street. Because I’d traveled over the mountain just days before to that street. I’d stood in a house with a red door with my precious friend April, while our sons played in the yard. I’d marveled at her garden patch and seedlings and thought how much I loved her when she’d showed me her Hobby Lobby project, letters that spelled “Smith” above the door jam. “I spaced them out,” she said, “because I didn’t want to copy you.” 

I couldn’t reach her. The storm had moved on but she wasn’t answering. We prayed for them as the minutes passed. Five, then ten, then the rain stopped and the sky stilled. But she didn’t answer my calls. “Call Daniel,” I told Miah. But he grabbed the keys instead. He and Jud got in the truck and left. I don’t know….I think he knew somehow. The way he was praying…it was different. He wasn’t asking for safety but for peace and I found it odd. I was afraid. 

Time passed. He should have been there but the phone kept reaching voicemail. She wasn’t answering and now he wasn’t either. The group of guys that had been unloading our Uhaul left to go help. My texts to him grew in desperation. 

Did it hit them? 

Are they ok? 

Honey, are they ok? 

Please tell me if it hit them. 

Please tell me they are ok. 

Are they hurt? 

Are they alive? 

Miah, please tell me they are alive. 

And then he responded.   I can't.  

A blur. Calls to our pastor’s wife. Praying. Crying. And then another message  

April and Daniel are alive right now but the boys are gone, honey. 

I don’t know what else happened for a while. My face was on the floor and my sister was there hugging me. Stephanie and I, both mothers, both friends of April, wailed. And only one prayer, a prayer more desperate than any I have ever prayed in my life, left my lips. “God, please, not this for her.” 

It’s been a long couple of days. Little sleep. Lots of calls and messages. A group of men from the church went to the site and gathered what they could of the Smiths’ belongings. The house is completely gone.





Back in the fall, April and Daniel were still living in Sherwood. They received a 30 day notice that they needed to move so the owner of their home could sell it. She started to worry but in true April-fashion, she said “I know God will provide”. Just a week or so later she told me about the house they had found in Vilonia, about how perfect it was. The owners wanted to work with them to get them in it. It was just. so. perfect. It even had the red front door she had always wanted. 

So, you see, I was angry. Because I knew God put them in that house. And it was no act of violence or human mistake that took their sons’ lives. It was an EF4 tornado, a mile wide, and it sucked everything that seemed so perfect off the foundation that God had given. I was SO angry. 

I’ve always called her the cheerleader. Because she was one once, in a pom poms and pyramids sense, but because she still is now, in a bible and faith sense. She is who I call when my faith is stretched. And every time I hang up the phone, I’ve been reminded of how big and how good and how strong my God is. 

I spent these angry couple of days questioning why God would take those boys and why he would take the best cheerleader he had. Because who could still cheer for their God after this? 

The thing is though, my faith is not April’s faith. It never has been. 

Last night, we walked in the hospital room to see her. While Jeremiah and I held her hands and kissed her face, she wept. She had questions about that night. She had heard that Jeremiah found the boys and she told him she was comforted it was him because she knew he would have prayed over them. We all cried. A wise, young friend of ours sent us a message of encouragement yesterday that we were able to share with April. 
  
She shared the following scriptures: 
  
Isaiah 55: 8-11 
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavensand stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Jeremiah shared with her what a comfort it was for him to think that everyone is here for a purpose, for God’s purpose not for our own fulfillment. And when their purpose is reached, they GET to go home. He repeated Taylor’s words to her, “How incredible it was that Tyler and Cameron were able to serve their purpose in such a short time, when it takes some people 100 years”. I told her how angry I had been, grappling with the truth that this was allowed, arranged even. 

And my beautiful friend, my cheerleader, laid in the hospital bed with her broken body and battered, beautiful face and held my hands and told me not to be angry because her God is good. She knew that her sons had fulfilled their purpose in life and that they were with the father now. 

Tyler has always talked about heaven. About how he can’t wait to get there. She said she thought it was because he heard them saying how wonderful it would be…some day. But he looked at her Sunday afternoon, before the storm, and told her he was ready to go to heaven. “Will you miss me?” he asked her. “Well yes,” she said, “but let’s not talk like that now.” “How long will you miss me?” he persisted. And she just smiled and said, “I guess until I see you again.” 

“I have peace,” she told me last night through her tears, “I know I have more pain to go through that I probably can understand. But I have supernatural peace. I don’t know what God has for me and my husband that our boys couldn’t be here for, but I do know that He is good. His plan is good.” 

I don’t understand this kind of faith. Because I think every parent who has heard this story since Sunday has wondered, “How do you live through that?” 

For those of you who have been worried about April and Daniel, worried that they would not be the same, that they could not carry on past this loss, please don’t worry any more. I have seen her hope. It is anchored in eternity. It is the kind of hope that saves people. And that’s not just the optimist in me talking. 

For those of you wondering how a mother could serve a God that might allow this, understand that Tyler and Cameron knew Jesus. Just a couple of weeks ago, they led a friend to Christ. They aren’t over. Their story hasn’t reached the end. They aren’t even really gone. They’ve just moved for now. 

We will miss them. Like April told Tyler on his last day on earth, we will miss them until we see them again, April and Daniel more than any of us. While none of us understand it, we must take up her lead and know that even still, God is good. And we must understand that while we may love these boys, God loves them infinitely more. He loves them perfectly. And with his knowledge of the lives and futures of the Smiths, God took them home. 

But he left their mom and dad. Somehow, though every bit of that house was ripped from the foundation, April and Daniel will live. They will tell this story and honor Tyler and Cameron’s lives. Masses of people will know Jesus because of this story. Because we cannot fathom this strength. 

When I left the hospital last night, I just cried and thought “She is so strong. She is so faithful. She is so selfless. She is so beautiful”. And it hit me. April is all of these things because she allows herself, even in the midst of this tragedy, to be a reflection of our strong, faithful, selfless, beautiful Savior. 
They are greatly broken. But they will mend. They haven’t fulfilled what God has for them yet. But they will. Because while she could be angry, and she may be at some point, she is holding tight to the only thing she has left: 

The truth that GOD IS GOOD. ALL THE TIME. 
  
I asked her if I could take her photo, so she could have it later when she told her story. 
She told me to show you all now. And to tell you… her God can overcome even this.  

My friend. Who remains the most beautiful woman I know. 
April, the cheerleader. 



About a year ago, our home church (Thatchurch.com) in Sherwood, AR, told April's life story. This post has gone absolutely viral. Millions have heard the testimony of April's faith. She is showing hundred's of thousands to Christ. Watch the video of her story, and you will understand a little of the plan she is so sure God has. 


Added May 9, 2014- Also, if you would like to watch the funeral services for Tyler and Cameron Smith, please go here






To donate to the Smith family, go here.




367 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. God is faithful. Through this storm, He is using His people to spread His word and love. I'm praying for you all.

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    1. After reading this my heart broke. I've always prayed that I would out live my children and I'm sure that is any parents wishes. You are so right though God had a better place and a different plan for them. Your story has made me realize that there is more important factors in life and to never take anything for granted because you never know it can be taken from you.

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    2. I lost my Daughter and Husband in an accident. And I feel the same. God made me so strong so I could get through that time. He is an Awesome God. I share and share how Awesome he is every day. I would love to talk to this woman. I am praying for them.

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    3. I am sadden that you and you're husband lost your precious boys. I two understand THAT pain. I know when my youngest son was killed on his motorcycle I had hate in my heart. I didn't understand why?? What did I do to deserve losing one of my Children. That afternoon I lied in bed crying sobbing uncontrollably asking God WHY ?? wasn't until 3 days later as I sat at my computer while his girlfriend that also was with him at the time but was pushed off by my son so that she would live. We sat there looking at photos of him on my computer and after a few moments my cell phone went off. It was a text. but it was a text from my dead son. How could this be, in shock crying I looked at it. It read, ( Jessie ) I love you all, Ya'll I'm still here.
      As my heart just shattered, I thought HOW is this possible. he's gone, How can I receive a text from my son. but all that mattered was HE let me know he was still among us. That alone I felt good about. A few moments went by and my phone went off again. As my Mother is in another room not handling this very well. worried he was all alone in heaven she just wanted to die herself so he wouldn't be alone. But after I received the second text , I picked up the phone and read it. It said ( Jessie ) Papaw Rick here, we good not alone. I literately started screaming.. I was yelling almost to the point of passing out. They all ran to me asking WHAT IN THE WORLD.. I handed them the phone. they were in Shock again!!! .. Jessie let me know he was with my dad.. You see, My dad passed in 1998. as the time has gone and more and more I think about it. I am not angry with God anymore. He blessed me with Calls from heaven, He let my Son tell me he was ok. he wasn't alone and they were good.. So why should I be angry.. It's been 2 yrs now that this happened I cant say it's easy but It has gotten better. I am able to talk about him and remember the good times we all had. I sometimes still cry, I mean why wouldn't I, He was my baby. But I know God had a plan and he needed my son.
      Since then, I receive penny's all the time, I find them at my feet walking into stores, I find them in places where there should be NO money at. But I simply smile and say Thank you sweets, Mama Loves you.. He's letting me know he's around me all the time.

      I know it's hard, but as mother's our hearts will heal in time. Just keeping the faith and knowing our Children is safe in Heaven. I pray for you and I hope you will heal from the wounds you received that day. I wished I could say more but if you ever want to talk I am always here. I never really believed in the "afterlife" but since this all happened to me. I truly do believe now..
      After all of this, My son came to me in a dream, he showed me where he was and it's Beautiful. Heaven is soooo pretty. I wasn't there long and I didn't meant anyone person, My son was just showing me where he is and for me not to worry. I don't anymore. I am alright !!!

      Some may think I'm crazy but that's alright. Until it happens to them it does sound a little " off " but it did happen.
      May God bless you and heal your hearts. and I do hope you find peace.........


      Bless you ~

      Melissa Holmes Fisher Home state ( Arkansas )
      now resides in South Carolina
      firelissa@hotmail.com

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    4. As I read this story, I got chills. In August, I lost both of my teenage children, Peyton 17, and Zoe 15 in a car accident. Our family had just golfed in an outing to benefit Peyton's basketball team. We had driven separately, and I asked Zoe as she loaded her clubs in my car if she wanted to go with us or her brother. She enthusiastically chose her brother. They were VERY close to each other, and she looked to him to protect her. I didn't think twice about it since they had gone to school together every day for almost 2 years. As they were about to leave, Peyton turned his car around to say goodbye to us and his grandparents, although we were to see them again just a short while later. We compared scores, told them we loved them, and reminded Peyton to be careful. As we neared home about 20 miles later, we saw an accident. Immediately I recognized Peyton's car, and jumped out of our moving car to be with my children. Peyton died at the scene and Zoe was lifeflighted and died within 2 hours. While I will never understand why this happened, I truly believe that God has a plan for each of us. I will suffer everyday on Earth, but they will celebrate and be happy in Heaven!! I will continue to serve my Lord and seek His purpose for my life now. I pray for April and Daniel on what is going to be a devastating, long, never ending journey. God Bless!!

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    5. Thank you for sharing that for I have always had the faith that god can do anything and I have always leaned on him thru the good time and bad times and he has been there for me always, but after reading this I will always know that God is so much bigger. My prayers go out to you and your family and i know you will survive this time in your life for GOD WILL make you and your family stronger. God bless.

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  2. My heart breaks for them, thankful this is not our home and she will see them again..........praying

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  3. I sit here sobbing uncontrollably and can't even imagine the loss of one of my children this way let alone two. I know Jesus is able to mend the broke ness but I am hurting foe theses previous parents. I am praying that you will be restored just as Job waa . Keep up your beautiful Spirit and let Jesus shine through you. God bless you.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing. She is a pillar...a light house...a beacon of love and hope.

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  5. I'd like to touch base with you about a desire placed on my heart about the Smith's. How could you and I get in contact? Could you call me? 501-438-9444. This is my Google Voice number so I may not answer since I won't have your number.

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  6. Completely beautiful! Thank you for sharing in the midst of such a trial.

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  7. Thank you for sharing! Through Tragedy God will shine through!! The Casting Crown's song "I will Praise You in this Storm" keeps running through my head & every time I hear it I see the Smith Family. My son plays ball out at Sylvan hills where her boys use to play & they are remembering them there & I can tell their work on this earth is not done!!! Her faith in God is very very inspiring!!!! Many prayers <3

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  8. Bless you for telling their story and may the AWESOME Father God we serve just pour His peace on this family for years to come.
    Just as Job was restored 10 fold, I pray that the Smith's are restored even more so!

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  9. That was beautiful! My Dear Friend April Smith IS beautiful inside and out! With Jesus in her heart, she is unstoppable! I know...

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  10. As I sit here with tears rolling down my face while reading this amazing story, I cannot fathom losing a child, much less 2 of them at the same time. I marvel at April's faith in God's plan for her boys and can only pray that God's hand will continue to be upon April and Daniel and all of the other victims who have suffered such tragic losses during this horrible event.

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  11. Wow, what an amazing story! They have such great faith. Will definitely be keeping April and Daniel in my prayers for healing to come.

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  12. Thank you for sharing. It really makes me think, and re-think. And I lift you up in prayer. God IS good.

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  13. Thank you for sharing. I do not know the Smith's personally but have been praying for them and their loss - wondering how anyone could cope with the loss of a loved one, especially children. April is a special cheerleader. Thank you so much

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  14. I saw their story last night and I have not been able to get them off of my mind. Thank you for this post. To say they are amazing people is an understatement. Their faith in God is incredible. God bless them!

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  15. I am so sad? rejoicing with your friend...! I pray peace and love and comfort on them -- and you -- and your entire community. Thank you for your inspiring words...

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  16. I can't stop crying. Her faith amazes me. She is the most beautiful woman...inside and out. My prayers of comfort will be continuous for this family.

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  17. Such great faith! Will continue to pray for this precious couple in the coming months. God carry them!

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  18. Thank you for sharing...I have been carrying a heavy heart for this family ever since I heard. This lifted a little of that weight off. Still crying for them, but glad to know they have such faith and hope. My prayers will continue for this family in the months to come.

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  19. Their story has affected me and touched me so deeply. Thank you for sharing. Praying for Daniel and April as they attempt to move forward and put the pieces back together. God be with them.

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  20. such an incredible testimony of faith. Her (our) God is good, all the time. Which means it is not He that took, but He that enables glory to be regardless of the taking.

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing. My heart hurts for this family but is also warmed by April's faith in our Father and knowing her boys are walking with Jesus. God is Good!

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  22. Thank you for sharing this story. I have not been able to get my head wrapped around the parents losing their two children, especially at such a young age - yes, both the mom and dad, and Tyler and Cameron. I am in Little Rock and am so heartbroken over how, again, this monster of nature, can form and take so much from so many people. Love, hugs, thoughts and prayers to ALL of you. In HIM...

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  23. How beautiful! I thank God for her willingness to serve God anyway. God is faithful. April, keep writing your story.

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  24. Thanks for this inspiring testimony of the Mighty God that we serve...Like several times in the past, I went out with the New Life Church AR Dream Center Team to serve those that have lost so much. I ran into a friend of mine, Charles that I knew from NLC. Charles was longtime friend of the Smith's neighbor and he knew the Smith boys. Charles began to tell me the story of what happened there that Sunday night. It broke my heart and was a hard thing to understand and process. So just like in the past, we began the tedious task of cleaning up the mess. Carroll and I were in the field behind the Smith's and the neighbors houses trying to sort between anything salvageable, what to burn, and what to pile up as scrap metal. Some of what we found is what one might expect to find in the rubble of a home where two young boys may have lived. Finding these things affected me deeply and I began to wonder about this family as it started to become more personal. I walked toward the stripped slab and wondered who they were, what were they going through, and as I was walking, I found myself talking to God saying "Lord I hope they knew Jesus." You can only imagine what this post did for my heart and mind for these boys and this family. I pictured in my feeble mind physically and emotionally broken people lying in their hospital beds with no hope. Instead, what I got from this inspiring post was a clearer picture of what it means to be in relationship with a loving God who so loved the world and me, that He would sacrifice His one and only Son, only because He loves us and me all that much! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, it has truly meant a lot to me. I truly felt like God put me in that field behind the Smith's house yesterday for a reason.

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  25. I never thought I would be able to read a story about the loss of two young children and feel inspired. The love you have for God and the faith you hold is beautiful. My heart hurts for your family and even though we've never met, I have no doubt that your story will bring people closer to God. To have such great faith in the midst of such a tragedy is a level of faith I have never known. Thank you for sharing your story. May you continue to find peace and serenity in God's grace as you rebuild your lives together. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  26. Thank you so much for sharing April's story. Being a mother to two little girls, I can't fathom what they're going through. Her strength and faith are inspiring. God bless.
    Lara

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  27. What a testimony! Our God is Good!

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  28. Faithful servant she is to be strong. Prayers with all of you.

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  29. This is the most touching thing I have ever read. You have done a beautiful job telling your friend's story as well as sharing the power and faith of God. Bless you and your friends. Thank you.

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  30. I write this as I am sobbing uncontrollably. I want to believe that my faith is as big as April's, but if it came to experiencing that kind of loss, as a mother, I can't say for sure that it is. Her strength, faith and willingness to trust our Heavenly Father's will is inspiring beyond words. April, her husband and all of those who are grieving the loss of those precious boys will be in our prayers.

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  31. Thank you for posting this. My son and Tyler were kindergarten best friends last year and our family has been so incredibly blessed by those precious boys and April and Daniel. She has always had a heavenly shine about her and I know God has great plans for them. Your words made me cry, but also smile and I really appreciate you sharing!

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  32. God bless the Smith family, may your testimony of faith bring many souls to know Jesus and fill the kingdom of God. Hallelujah is all I can say.

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  33. thank you so much for sharing this. Please hug your family members and remember, you only get one family. Love them dearly, love them closely, love them fiercely!

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  34. Thank you for sharing such a heartbreaking yet beautiful story. The verse Isaiah 57:1-2 came to mind "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness."

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  35. I have always been a believer,but I have struggled with my Faith over the years. I have put getting my family in to church on the backburner for so long. But I will be there this Sunday, visiting That Church to be exact ,thanks to this story. I want to know that my children know Jesus the way Tyler and Cameron did. Her sons are still making a difference here on Earth. What an amazing legacy they have. God Bless this family

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    1. Lea, find me on Facebook. Jessica Lane Sowards. I would love to welcome you with open arms to That Church this weekend.

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    2. God is so good!!! He is using this Jess to bring about awareness in just how fast our lives can change!! PTL!!!

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  36. Thank you for sharing this wonderful but sad story of the Smith Family... my prayers and thoughts go out to them during this time of loss

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  37. I've had the pleasure of being a baseball mom beside this great and inspirational woman. Cameron was such a pleasant boy with a definite love of the game and apparently the same love for Christ. My heart breaks for you but hearing the story from you strengthens my faith in God in personally. No words can make your physical and/or emotional pain any better and in short it just sucks all the way around. Your family will be forever in our prayers. Jennifer and Blake Feagan

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  38. I will continue to pray for this beautiful couple. They are a true testament to having faith in God and His plan for our lives. May He bless this woman.

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  39. Wow! Absolutely amazing. My friends and I were just talking about this family and the boys - talking about how we wouldn't know what to do if it happened to us. Then I found this - it is such a BLESSING. Please know that people are praying for this family - and their friends. How strong you are to have written such a beautiful piece about this family! Our God is awesome!

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  40. My friend and I were helping a neighbor clean up and found a lot of photos and childrens toys. If there is a way to send you those photos to see if they belong to this family, please let me know. God bless

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  41. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Her faith is inspiring, and puts everything into perspective. Amazing.

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  42. I thank you n the good lord for allowing you to write this blog... i lost my niece on easter sunday in a tragic four wheeler accident, she was 18 a senior whom was graduating this May... i know God n she did too n we know he has a plan and a purpose for everyone but sometimes you forget to apply everything you know when ur put in certain situations but this story has put everything in perspective for me... it has given me so much clarity n peace in my situation....my heart goes out to this family and im sending my sincere n deepest sympathy to them.... may God continue to strengthen them n provide everlasting peace...praying :)

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  43. Thanks for the story and you are beyond blessed to have such a friend!

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  44. Thank you for sharing the Smiths unfolding story that God is writing. What a gift from God that conversation Tyler and his mom had that fateful afternoon was. I'll forever be quoting you...When our purpose is fulfilled, We GET to go home. Beautiful. Prayers for all of you in the difficult months to come.

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  45. What a tragic but beautiful testimony of two loves, a parent especially being a Mom and teaching God's Love to our babies, but most incredibly God's Love and Comforts only He can provide for us in times like this. Blessings to you, your beautiful friend, and all of the hearts that are changed in and through this. Thank you so very much for sharing!
    Such a wonderful vision of two boys hand in hand, and their Heavenly Father, "Well done my faithful young servants, well done!"

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  46. Thank you so much for sharing this family's story. Having lost a child myself, my heart aches for their double loss, and in such a tragic manner. My prayers will be center on April and Daniel this evening and in the future. May the Lord give them strength and joy in their suffering.

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  47. Thank you for sharing this story. This story knocked me right in my heart. I know God has a plan and we do not understand his plans for us and I would like to think that my faith would be just as strong in a moment like this. I feel God has big plans for this couple as they share their story and hopefully lead others to Christ.

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  48. Thank you so much for sharing this. When I heard about the boys being gone and the parents lived, I told my husband I dont know if I would want to live without our children. I needed to read this to remember that God is Good and his timing is perfect. I will keep this family in my prayers.

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  49. Trying to overcome the tears in reading this. GOD is so good, that HE let these kids come to Heaven so this story could be told for HIS glory!

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  50. I have to be completely honest, I couldn't finish reading this blog post. I have lost a son, my first baby was born still. It's different, very, very different from what April is going through. But I have buried a son. My heart aches for this family and all of the people who loved those boys.

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  51. Natalie Grant's "Held":
    Two months is too little
    They let him go
    They had no sudden healing
    To think that providence
    Would take a child from his mother
    While she prays, is appalling
    Who told us we'd be rescued
    What has changed and
    Why should we be saved from nightmares
    Were asking why this happens to us
    Who have died to live, it's unfair
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We'd be held
    This hand is bitterness
    We want to taste it and
    Let the hatred numb our sorrows
    The wise hand opens slowly
    To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We'd be held
    If hope if born of suffering
    If this is only the beginning
    Can we not wait, for one hour
    Watching for our savior
    This is what it means to be held
    How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
    And you survive
    This is what it is to be loved and to know
    That the promise was that when everything fell
    We'd be held

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  52. Thank you for sharing their story <3 My heart has been breaking for them since i first learned about it. I am so thankful they know Him and His comfort. Continued prayers for all this touches.

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  53. May God's love & peace be their comfort on thid long road ahead.

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  54. CANCER: My little girl's father has brain cancer. She is 10. He lives in Sherwood too. We used to live in Vilonia. She has heard about these boys in passing and we both we very sad for the family. I hadn't mentioned to her again until this blog.
    The faith, grace, strength and love of this family is moving mountains. April Smith, thank you for your bravery. I read this article to my little girl. I cried the whole time her wiping my tears. I told her I shared it with her because I know there are times she asks herself why does her daddy have to be sick. I told her I shared it so that maybe she could take some of april's strength when she was scared for her daddy and it would help her be faithful and strong. she put her head on my chest and we both looked at you picture, you never looked more beautiful to me as a person, even though we never met.
    My prayers are with you and your family. Big Hug! Bobbie Green Dameron

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  55. Thank you for sharing this story.. These tornadoes that came thru sure left a lot of tragedy but someone with the faith like the Smith's makes the sun shine even brighter on this situation. God is good all the time, and All the time God is good. Love this quote from the movie God's Not Dead. Praying for everyone affected by the tornadoes and the Smith family..

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  56. God is good bkess her heart now she has to beautiful angels watching over them this made me cry abd sad i live in springdale ar and the thought of a tornadoe is horrible feeling bless her heart praying for a fadt recovery

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  57. This story......their faith.......our God..........no words......

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  58. Wow--this blog post just made me cry--because it's so horribly sad and completely beautiful as well. Just donated to the family--praying for all of you!! <3

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  59. Blessings and peace to your friends. What a faithful servant she is... my sympathy and woes are with them. God bless!

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  60. I have only read this three times in two hours as this story is being shared over and over on my page on Facebook and I cry every time. April, just now I was reading this in my bible as you just lay heavy on my heart and in my prayers:

    O Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
    You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners' stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt.
    Therefore STRONG PEOPLES will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you.
    You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.
    Isaiah 25: 1-4

    Thank you, April, for your faithfulness even in the midst of your dark storm. You are the strength that shines through right now through the inconceivable grief you and Daniel must be feeling. Continually praying for God to hold you tight in his arms. Thank you for being so strong; you have spoken volumes to many of us.

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  61. As I read this I was holding back tears. I do not know this family but have been following the story since it came out. To read and simply see through the words the trust and love this family has for God is inspiring. You are right this story, their strength, and trust in God will lead so many to him.

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  62. Tears and prayers for hope and grace. What an incredibly sad story. But, our God is a good God.

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  63. I reached my hand out to my computer screen and I touched her. I touched each little scar on her face and I trust that Jesus sees. He knows. He heals. Wounds and hearts. She is the hands and feet of Jesus. I will forever be touched by her story of faithfulness.

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    1. omg ,i have never read anything so SAD and also so UPLIFTING,at the same time .if there were more APRILS and DANIELS in our world we would have a much better world.....my heart is saddened for you and your husband ,but i have faith with GODS help ya will pull thrugh. me and plenty more are praying for ya....keep holding on for GODS sake........

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  64. I am in complete amazement at your friend April's strength and conviction and peace. I watched what my mother went through when my brother passed. I watched her be angry with God for many years. I was angry with God for many years and I am just the sister. I couldn't imagine what it would be like for my boys to pass. But I have found my way back to God. I pray that she and her husband continue to find peace, as much as they can right now.

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  65. Ifeel like those boys will win millions to Christ. How you will app when they have gone on to meet their Savior. Because this will empower a powerful woman the counter story and their family and the house with a little red door. Bless you.

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  66. I cant think of anything to say, and I sometimes talk for a living. My best bet is simply thank you for sharing.

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  67. My name is Greg Gilbert and my grandson played ball with Cameron.

    I do presentations for companies, organizations and churches. One of the stories I tell is that as a Christian, people should want what we have. Our joy and peace should shine through even in bad times.

    I compare it to two skunks walking through a town with a paper mill when the aroma is present. One skunk raises his nose and says "goodness, what is that pungent aroma?" The other skunk looks at him and says "I don't know but I've got to have me some of that."

    After reading this wonderfully written blog, if I didn't already have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I definitely would want to have me some of that. Wow! Thank you for sharing this.

    God Bless,
    Greg Gilbert

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  68. My heart aches for this family and their loss but my soul knows that God makes no mistakes. The future is filled with prayers, from so many, for these that have lost so much.

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  69. I am so sorry for their loss. I have seen first hand the ravages of monster tornadoes. I am originally from Greensburg, Ks. and though I wasn't there the night of that 1.7 mile wide EF-5, my wife daughter and I were supposed to be there that night to visit my father. I decided not to go that night because my lower back and hips were hurting badly (damage from my military service), and I couldn't make the 100 mile drive. I knew about half of the people there who lost their lives that night. Then, two years ago on the night of April 14th, my house here was hit by the EF-3 tornado.
    I can't imagine the pain they are having to deal with, and as a parent, I hope I never have to deal with it. God, and close friends are there to help them through it.

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  70. What a testimony! We are in Piggott and I have thought about all the families that were touched by this. I have prayed many times daily. Please tell April we here in Piggott are praying for her and her family and friends. God IS good and is the best comfort we could have. God bless you all!!

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  71. I've been praying for those affected by this week's tornadoes. And searching out stories. You see, I am often awakened early, early, early in the morning (1 - 3 am Pacific Time) and drawn to prayer. Most of the time I don't know who I'm praying for... but the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf. I truly believe that my prayers this week have been for those in Oklahoma and Arkansas... I'm praying for this entire community! "We will praise Him in this storm..." (Casting Crowns)

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  72. Tears streaming......So amazing! Such an amazing family! Even though this is a tragedy in it's own right, what a victory for God!! And love that she has the knowledge that at least one of her boys just knew he was going to Heaven. I am truly blessed by this - thank you so much for sharing this. Praying for their family & for you too!

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  73. Wow! talk about a "Christian faith that is not a blind leap of faith. It is a reasoned trust in the risen Savior, based on compelling evidence." -Colin Smith.
    My prayers are with you as you heal here and await your reunion there.

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  74. My prayers are with April and Daniel and their families.

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  75. Your friend is truly an inspiration, not only for you but for all of us with whom you've shared her story. Her sons are definitely in their new home, sitting with their Father as He helps their parents here on earth. We had an associate pastor in our parish who used to make a game with our kids in elementary school, using the "God is Good, All the time" like a cheer--one side said "God is good" and the other side would answer "all the time"--the first time I heard them do this, I was so impressed. Please know that your friend is and always will be in God's hands. God bless you and your friends.

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  76. Thank you.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    It goes beyond inspiring.

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  77. Thank you for sharing. My name is Dave Douglas. The home this family shared together belonged to my daughter and her husband. My two grand daughters, age 9 and 7, same age at Cameron and Tyler, lived in that house just 6 months ago before moving to Springdale for work. I now praise God that they moved but at the same time feel guilty, sad and pain for the Smith family. I know God has a plan and sometimes we don't understand why things happen as they do but we must have faith and keep faith in God. God bless you and the Smith family...forever in my prayers.

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    1. Dave, I've been having similar feelings. I spent 17 years in that part of Arkansas. I raised my daughter there, owned two homes-one in Vilonia, one in Mayflower, and saw my daughter graduate from Mayflower High School. I live in Dallas now and while I praise God that we moved, at the same time I feel guilty and heartbroken for all those families who remain there and have lost so much. I think it's survivor's guilt, something I've never experienced before. Thanks for sharing your part of this beautiful testimony of faith and endurance.

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  78. My heart is breaking for you April and Daniel, if you are reading this. I cannot imagine your pain. April you are a shining example of the kind of witness we should all be for God. I am so very sorry for your loss. I will pray without ceasing for you and your family and I will never forget your story.

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  79. Speechless... heartbroken... amazed at their strength and faith... humbled at your beautiful way with words. I cannot begin to imagine what this family, and this town are going through. Praying for God to touch each and every life affected by this devastation. This world is not our home... Those precious boys will never struggle or suffer another day. May God use April and Daniel in a mighty way to minister to those who are without hope. God bless you and keep you...

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  80. Tears filled my eyes at the end of this post when you shared April .... this post is life changing. With God - anything is possible and there is a reason for even this we just don't know know why and may never till the day we walk with Him. Your family and friends are in my prayers and thoughts today in Ohio. Thank you for having the courage to share your faith.

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  81. I am sitting here crying looking at my 6 beautiful children thinking am I there? Would I have faith like April?? I would hope but I just don't know. I need to be in prayer because this has opened my heart, mind and soul. Thank you so much for sharing this. What a story you have. Praying for y'all.

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  82. Ever since I heard of this family losing both children, God has placed it on my heart to pray for the reality pf Heaven to buen in the parents heart. I had heard they were believers bit wasn't sure how deep it went. This testimony just goes along with what I have been praying for. Also I keep hearing the song sweetly broken for her. Please let her know that a sis she has never met has been praying earnestly for her. And also let her know that I am honored to have her as a dear sister in Christ.

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  83. And now God has used YOU to pass on a message of hope. Only in this present world...God bless your family and their family.

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  84. Wow, amazing testimony! It touched my heart! I have been thinking and praying for you all since it happened. Hugs!!!

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  85. Sending love and prayers to this beautiful mom and dad and all those who love them and will be walking beside them in their grief. Do not leave them. We lost our precious son Jack in a freak storm. God has held us close ever since and He has used people to comfort us too. It is so very comforting to know these dear children are in their true home with God, but it is also so very, very hard. aninchofgray.blogspot.com

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  86. As a mother, I can't even imagine the worldly pain of losing a child. The greatest thing is knowing that your kids WILL or ARE in Heaven and you WILL be reunited with them there for ETERNITY. What a story to tell. GOD's love is so empowering and so healing. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  87. The link doesn't work correctly to donate. It is going directly to tithes and i can't seem to find a designation for the smith family. Do you have a direct link?

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  88. I was so sad when we found out that this had happened. I didn't know the Smith's but my son Reese and Tyler were classmates and friends. We were told they played together at school and we've heard Reese mention his friend Tyler.

    I don't know what or if that has to do with anything, but I didn't know Tyler and he has touched my life. I don't know if I will ever meet the Smith's but I wanted to put this out there and let them know their Son is touching more than they know through this tragedy. God Bless y'all and I will never forget Tyler and I never met him.

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  89. This is so hard to read but we all need to. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been so utterly sad the last few days asking WHY?! But this gave me peace. When tornadoes hit our area, my parents will call us and say "Just pray about it..." but April and Daniel prayed...I have a hard time with people saying "Just pray about it...it'll be ok." We have to know THIS reality. God is GOOD, ALL the time. We GET to go home when the time is right and our purpose is fulfilled. What a beautiful legacy those sweet boys have left. I will be praying about the tremendous void and loss in your life, that you will have peace. Thank you again so much for writing this.

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  90. Please tell your friend her sweet boys have already touched lives as mine will never be the same having read your post. Sharing with my bible study ladies . . .

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  91. This story didn't bring a single tear to my eyes. Does that make me not compassionate or empathetic enough? I don't think it does. Because I've been blessed with overflowing compassion for all living things since I was a tiny child. And this woman wanted her story shared, not to bring tears to people, but to bring faith & love & strength to others. I've always wondered why people would say that a child's dying meant that their life was cut short. But according to April's & my belief, it means that they fulfilled their purpose here in a very short time & it was time for them to leave, that their job here was done. God bless this family for understanding how important this event is to share & to help others to understand that just because someone we love is taken from us in the blink of an eye, it's not a good reason to be angry at God or to stop believing that he is good. Thank you for sharing this!!

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  92. Please contact me. A friend found a Bible in her pasture with Daniel Lee Smith on front. Could this be theirs?? nmeredith01@yahoo.com

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  93. wow. This touches me so deeply. What a beautiful understanding person she is. God has something in store for that woman and her husband. I cant imagine how losing a child feels.

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  94. This story is just heartbreaking, and breath taking as well. But, with the Understanding that Our Lord is wonderful, her faith, oh how I wish that many more of us could have this kind of faith, I love Our Lord, and all he has and will do for me. I tell everyone all the time that I love them, because we just never know what is going to happen with in moments, I will pray for her, her husband and all of you. May God Grant us all the Faith that she has.

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  95. As a perfect stranger who saw this story passed along on facebook, I know that she is right. I myself have lost two little boys and have a slight understanding of what she is going through. My two angels are with me every hour of every day. Her sweet boys will be with her always as well. Continue having your strong faith. It's the only thing that will save you during this hard time. My prayers are with this precious, eternal family. She will see her boys again one day. I have no doubt. Sending all my love from New Jersey.

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  96. I am so thankful that I am friends with Diane Bethea Haddox, a close and cherished friend from my junior high and high school days, as her friendship led me to this beautifully written, sorrow filled but comfort filled story, learning of the horrific sad loss of your two son's Tyler and Daniel, yet knowing that through this, Daniel and April, you hold steadfast onto God; we do not understand this loss, nor can we hope to fathom why you were spared, only God knows these answers, and he never leaves us filled with doubt about what he does, or for the reasoning; in his time, he somehow lets us know, and one thing that stands out for me is the fact that they were both Christians, have had strong influence on others prior to their leaving this earth we live, and now after this tragedy to we as human beings, with human wants and needs! I read through these many comments and I can feel the endless strength of the Holy Spirit, flowing through the words penned so well here; hearts are in need of a word from God, in times we live today, where so much is changing, that points to the end times, a time when our heavenly father shall return to earth for his church/and people.
    God woke me from a deep sleep once when I questioned his taking two close friends from me in a tornado, and answered my question, and he gave it to me in scriptures in the bible, in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5; this explained to me, to be absent from our bodies on earth is to be present with the Lord; I am sharing this with you below!
    ◄ 2 Corinthians 5 ►
    New Living Translation
    New Bodies
    1For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.a 4While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

    It is with deep sincere, and heartfelt condolences that I offer my prayers for you, April, and Daniel, for God to show you what he has left for you, other than doing what you always have...loving and serving him, as he does have a tremendous work ahead for you to do or you both, looking at your home place, and you, April, in the hospital would be with your beautiful son's right now; God is telling each of you...Not this time, as I still have a work for you to do. My prayers are with you, for your healing according to Isaiah 53:5, as by his stripes we are healed...I ask God in the name of Yeshua, according to John 14:13-14, where Jesus says to his disciples, ask anything of my father that is in heaven in my name, and my father in heaven "WILL" give it to you, according to your faith in him! I pray for your comfort and peace, and my heart goes out to you and all of your family, and many, many friends, as we share deeply and profoundly in your loss!

    Respectfully,
    Michael Rayford Powell

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  97. My heart breaks for this family and these friends...I tried to go to the link to donate to the Smith family, but it was to a church and then there was a choice to which church to choose from...but I don't know which church that they have membership to...can someone help us to know which church the Smith family attends so the donations go to the right place? Thank you!!

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    1. if you click the Give Tithe link, and choose the That Church Sherwood campus, it will bring you to a screen where you can choose what you want it to be applied to. The Smith family is listed in the drop down menu.

      Thank you, I'm sorry for the confusion. I've edited the instructions for clarity.

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  98. Thank you for sharing! We will be praying for them and lifting them up often for continued supernatural peace.

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  99. This story is amazing. I would like to think I would have this kind of faith, but the truth is I am not sure I would. I ask the question of the Lord why to such a person that loved you so.... and the answer came because of her selfless love for Me she could go throiugh this and share without hate and anger. Anyone else would not have been able to continue praising me in the valley. April I do not know you personally, but I want you too know you have inspired me and so many others by your wonderful faith. I see Christ in you and how much you have encouraged me and many others and we should be encouraging you......only a true servant of God could be such an inspiration. I continue to pray for your body to heal and your days to be filled with peace and all the things God has planned for you and your husband.

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  100. For those asking about the link to donate, if you click the Give Tithe link, and choose the That Church Sherwood campus, it will bring you to a screen where you can choose what you want it to be applied to. The Smith family is listed in the drop down menu.

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  101. Oh my goodness. What an amazing testimony. What a devastating loss yet an immeasurable faith. Thank you for sharing this story. I will be praying for comfort and recovery. Isaiah 55:8-9 happens to be my life verse and I wholeheartedly cling to this verse in the face of tragedy. I am glad this scripture is there for comfort for her (and you) too.

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  102. A friend posted this on Facebook and after reading it, I clicked on the related link below the posting. It was April's testimony, presumably recorded for her church long before anyone could have ever known that this tragedy would strike. In the video, April mentions a man named Joel who prophesied that she would would become "a mighty woman of God one day and that [she] would save hundreds and thousands of people." We might never be able to fully understand God's will or wrap our heads around the loss of two beautiful, young lives...but I can't help but think that through her faithfulness, April's story will save thousands of people. And her boys will be dancing joyously in Heaven with the "protection and security" of our Father. Here's a link to her powerful testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2K3vSM0A8r4

    I live in Yorktown, VA, and would have otherwise felt very distant from the reality of these tornadoes that ravaged so many communities. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for helping those in other parts of the country realize that these storms had real effects on real people. Lifting April and her husband in prayer!

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  103. God bless them....I can't even imagine. (((Hugs)))

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  104. Praying this family will continue to hope in the eternal realities to come because of our Savior! Thank you for sharing!

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  105. God's plan is perfect. And our peace with that plan is so...peaceful. All our love and support are coming your way. May God be with April & her hubby as they grieve. My heart aches for you all, but it is magnificent to think of the day that she will be reunited with her boys! God speed!

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  106. God does have a plan. I do not know what it is but I can say this God is being pushed out of this country and he needs to be let back in and the Smith family has opened that door for him to come back in again. The outpouring of love and faith for all those who suffered loss of life and property has been amazing. People are praying and showing their faith in God. In the midst of this tornado outbreak 2 young children and an adult were baptized by cell phone lights because the power went off after the tornado hit Mayflower but the baptism went as planned. I lost a friend who was very dear to me from the one that hit Vilonia. At one point in my life I let life get in the way of our friendship and I am truly sorry for that and I cannot even tell her that now. I will now have to wait until God takes me home to tell her how much I have missed her. We were cousins by marriage and divorces caused us to go different ways. So you see God has a plan and he will see us through anything that happens in our life. My friends I believe Jesus is getting ready to come back so we have to get ready and stay ready.

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  107. God's plan was complete before time eternal and we have to live in the center of His will..........Abiding in brokenness!!

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  108. Thank you so much for sharing. It is faith like that, that helps renew my faith. You have no idea how much I need to hear these words.

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  109. I'm sitting here ugly-crying. Never have I heard such a powerful testimony. This story will lead so many to Jesus - how can it NOT? Thank you for sharing April's story. I shared it on my Facebook page and wrote, "Please join me in honoring this mom's strength, and the One who gives her that strength, by reading and sharing her story." ...At least that's what I think I wrote. I can't see the keyboard, the screen... Amazing how something can be so heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

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  110. This story is amazing & sad at the same time. Goes to show you that when you love God & raise your children to love God that He will give you the faith to get thru even the most devastating stuff. I pray for this family & for every one else who was effected by this storm. This story will touch many lives for years to come. God Bess You!!

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  111. This is truly comforting, My sister lived in the last house on Cody Lane. When I first got there Monday morning I had heard that none of the family survived, then me being a mother thought atleast the parents wouldn't have to live through loosing both children. It is nice to know that they are here and such Godly people. The first word's out of my mouth to my sister, through my sobbing, was "how did you make it"? Much like April and Daniels house there house also was leveled. My sister said God had is hand over them all, (sister, brother, neice, three dogs and two cats). That can be the only answer I thought and it doesn't matter how or why but that he did are they are here. I know this will be a long road to recovery for everyone affected, but knowing that they have such strong Faith I am comforted! Thank you for sharing!!

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  112. I have just been crying reading this story. We live in Arkansas as well, and we were in our basement. It was flooding and even though storms were coming, we were just "waiting it out" so we could move on to get to getting the water down. But when I had heard that people were dying in this...my heart began to break...I realized that I could lose my girl's in all of this as well. I was at peace knowing we were all ready to go if the Lord called us home...
    But it is completely different to be left behind and watch your children die. They are supposed to bury you, not the other way around. This is a great reminder that we need to take our focus off of this life and keep our eye on Heaven. When we do that, it's easy to be happy for those around us who have gone on into Heaven. We will genuinely rejoice for them, despite our grief in missing them. We tend to think of death as a bad thing, but for the Christian, it's joyful.
    I am so thankful that this family is choosing to trust God's Word even when they have no idea why it had to be one day. One day, it will all make sense, but in the midst of it all, it is very easy to become angry and bitter. Especially when it's your young, innocent children. I am so thankful they were ready to go, and I'm so thankful they now have a platform to, hopefully, lead others to Christ.

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  113. Psa 116:15
    (15) Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.

    When I consider the implications of this verse it becomes clear that God has a far different perspective on death than must of us. It sounds to me like April and Daniel get it. It's still painful. The boys will missed. But, praise God, they get it.

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  114. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. I am a nurse at a children's hospital in Memphis. I used to live in Vilonia and I was sharing words with a minister from Mississippi this morning about this tragedy that has affected many. God has a reason and plan for everyone. We may not understand why things like this happen, but in another life we will get those answers. God speed.

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  115. Thank you for writing this beautiful story about your friend. April's faith has allowed my tears to fall that I have been holding onto, until now, over these storms.

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  116. This takes my breath away! So thankful that you took time to share this story with us. I have cried everyday since the storms passed over leaving pieces of the Vilonia homes scattered in my yard. As I picked up the insulation off my girls trampoline I broke down bc my family was safe and this family lost their precious gifts. I live in Hopewell AR and I was soooooo scared of the storms, as a little girl growing up in Arkansas I was always terrified of them. Wish I had not ever been scared like you but I get so sick to my stomach when the dark clouds roll in. I have cried over and over worried and sad for this family. It is amazing to me the faith April carries with in her soul. I have 3 little girls and could never imagine being as strong as she is! Those two precious boys were so lucky to have such an amazing woman for their mama! SO much love to you and your family for the hurt you have endured. Soooooo much love to April and Daniel, I will never forget them or the message April wanted to share with the world. They have a place in my heart forever.

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  117. I have no words. None. This was beautifully written. I am not sure I would have the strength to have this kind of faith after losing two children. This song came to my mind (Casting Crowns- Praise You in this Storm) http://youtu.be/uHdcyue0bSw. God's many blessings, it is clear He has bigger plans for this family.

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  118. It's almost 6 am in Sweden and I saw this post on Facebook, a friend shared it. I'm reading and crying and I ask my husband if he knew that there is tornadoes and stuff going on in arkansas and he replies that he heard something about it on the radio. We're a world away, in a country that doesn't get tornadoes or earthquakes or floods. We're also in a a country where people would not turn to God if something like this would happen. My family are Christians but Sweden is a very secularised country. I can't even begin to understand the pain you're going through right now but I marvel at this strong testimony of faith. My heart and prayers go out to you all. Gud välsigne er. /Beata

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  119. God has used you in a very special way here to tell the world of this tragedy. Vilonia has many such tragedies to write about but none are more poignantly written than this as you have told it. April has drawn strength from you and from her other friends, no doubt, even as she has from God Himself - as will you. I have no doubt that Ms. April truly meant it when she said "They have already served their purpose for Him here and they are home now". God bless you for telling the story so wonderfully. You could certainly write a wonderfully inspiring book from this story while encouraging Ms. April, even as many friends blessed another lady, Ms, Jean Mize, who suffered a tragedy in another time in the town of Vilonia, Arkansas. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. I posted the above comments to you and it appears I posted it as "ThirdSon" - probably copying someone else's moniker. My name is Sam Sayger and the posting I'm speaking of was posted at 9:08 PM. You may delete this at your discretion. Sam

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  120. I am confused about the link to donate to the family. It doesn't lead me to believe that it is going to the family, but to a church. Is there a better way?

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    1. Choose give, Sherwood Campus, then The Smith Family. I'm sorry I've edited the instructions for clarity.

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  121. What an amazing story. Although I don't live in Arkansas I have lots of family there. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone affected by this horrible horrible storm. My God Bess

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  122. I'm posting to say the same thing as what Momsmom said above....

    This has gone viral and there is a great opportunity for help for the Smith family. But the link is unclear on how the money gets to them, because when you give and have to choose a recepient for that donation - they are not listed.

    I think I understand, from going back and reading other comments that this is their home church. But, I don't know if it's the Sherwood, Conway or Cabot campus.

    I hope it can be fixed quick, because I bet there are a lot of people who would love to give and are just confused.

    Thanks for this beautiful post. You honor your friend greatly by telling this story.

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  123. As I read this post I cried tears streaming down my face the words were blurry , but I could picture your beauty April and Daniel. The gift you gave to God, those beautiful babies. I have felt anger at God for my life of bodily pain. You inspired me to look in my heart and realize that I need God. I will begin my life anew tonight, Praising him because of the faith you have instilled in me. I promise that I will teach my children about the beauty of God and his Beautiful servants Thank you for sharing and blessing me. God is Good.

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  124. This story touched me n definitely makes me appreciate people and the things I've been blessed with A LOT more!!

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  125. Thank you for sharing this! A beautiful story and reflection of our Savior! It was such a blessing to read a post pointing all the glory to God alone and not toward man—which I'm sure is what your friend desires and what glorifies God. It seems so many people these days direct the attention to the "hero" and not to God. This was a refreshing contrast and a huge encouragement and rebuke to read. Once again, thank you for sharing. I can not fully express my gratitude for everything in this post. You, your friend, and all those around you will be in my prayers. God bless!

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  126. I have edited the post with a different link for the fund. There are two fund, both are official and since the church one was proving difficult, I have now routed the link to the GoFundMe fund. There was question at first if it was authentic but I have confirmed that it is. All proceeds will go to the family.

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  127. I too cried tears. Tears for the pain, which I understand, as I too lost a child.....but tears that know the Hope of a Good God. I have been doing an essay on 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. Paul is talking about suffering and pain, but we should not do anything in our strength but in the power of the almighty. I know from what we have been thru, that there is joy in the morning, that God is faithful, and if you allow Him, like you already have, He will use you, for the Glory of the Kingdom. The boys, with my boy, are safe in the arms of Jesus, until we meet again xx

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  128. Thank you for sharing this :) This is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.. All the heavens shout His name! be glorified and magnified our King!
    May I post this on my blog?
    Praying for you all and the family.
    blessing
    Delvalina

    delvalinatuanger.blogspot.com

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  129. Thank you for sharing this. I just lost my 50 y/o husband last month and have been asking "why" all the time, even though I know I shouldn't, that God has a plan for all of us. The part about everyone has a purpose, and when they've served that purpose.....really broke through to me. I needed to read that. You see, my husband was a flight medic at a children's hospital. He was a medic "on the streets" for many years before that. I couldn't understand why someone who helped so many would be taken, when he still had so much more to give. I guess I still don't understand. That was his purpose in life, to help people in this way, or so I thought. His purpose must have been something else, or he'd served enough of his purpose, I don't know, but God was ready for him.
    Anyway, this was somewhat comforting to me now when I really needed it. Thank you again for sharing.

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  130. I am also from Arkansas but don't live there now, although my original family are all there, my sister and her husband and all her kids and grandkids and my dad, and this disaster has affected me greatly over the last few days. I so saddened by it all, but I have to say I don't have the faith that you all talk about, I don't see how any of this could be for anybody's good and I don't understand a God who would take someone's two children and leave them behind, especially after arranging for them to move there just a short time ago. I just don't. And I am angry. I wish I could say something more uplifting, but I will not lie about it. I never see the point of a world where pain and suffering are allowed if God is supposed to be loving. I wish I could, it would be simpler and I would be happier, I suppose, but I don't. It just all seems so pointless and horrible to me. I cannot put a happy face on it.

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  131. Thank you for sharing your sweet friends raw and painful story...and yours as well. I know personally that Jesus will be with them and never leave them alone. We can cling to him and rely on him to carry us through the pain. As your friend is doing...Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
    I will be praying for you all. I can't imagine how difficult the days ahead will be.

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  132. Thank you for sharing & thanks to your friend for allowing you to share. I am very touched by the story. What a powerful testimony April & Daniel will be to believing absolutely in the power of our almighty God. You all will most certainly be in my prayers.

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  133. Wow this story has touched me and so many she is already serving purpose her courage and faith and words inspired me for I lost my mother 5 yrs ago I for 4 1/2 years never faced that she was gone keep busy to keep mind of it till last year October my grandma which is my moms mother passed away that first furnel I been to since and being my mom family they had a slid show of pics of my mom us with her her and her brother and sister it hit me that she is really gone I was dealing with it want to our not now told my husband over 2 month period I was slipping into bad depression he didn't listen thought I am to strong that wouldn't happen Dec 26 he went away for few months and 10 min after I found out he not coming home I lost it I cried balled for he's none stop couldn't think sleep eat function the pain was so bad my heart hurt like someone was really stabbing me it was so real I went in dark deep depression lost 4 pant size in 2 weeks I want to die to talk to her to see her I had pills in hand and my 13 ur old daughter walked in to give me a kiss and tell me good night she loved me I could never do that to them be so selfish every one says I not acting like me they want the girl that always smile out going talk a lot active with kids I told them how do I suppose to act when I lost my best friend I would love to go back to the happy girl I was angry why she had to be taken so young these few wks I have seen that smile more and learning to live with the pain your words just helped me make peace with this thank you so much your a Angel from god

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  134. I am truly humbled and greatly touched by this story. To April and Daniel, I cannot imagine what you are going through! My heart goes out to you! I am believer in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit but battle with my faith at times. I am recommitting my life to Jesus in honour of your sons, Cameron and Tyler! Prayers and love from South Africa.

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  135. There are no words to express my emotions after reading this beautiful post. I hope that the Lord will wrap His arms around these wonderful people and provide them with His comfort and strength. I only wish that I would have an iota of that faith and fortitude. Praying for them all.

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  136. I am truely in awe of the faith and hope that is presented here. What an amaxing testimony. One of the best I have ever seen demonstrated as to how selfless and dependent we are to be on the love of God who so freely gave his only son for us sinners. Im so thankful you shares this and prayers will be sent up as this family continues to heal. So thankful there are still those true and faithful christians serving in this battle field we call life. God bless you all.

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  137. Please let them know that we are praying for them here in Tennessee. Her faith in our Father is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us! She is the mom I strive to be! Sheis the kind of smom I hope my babies see in me. God bless you all! We too will praise Him in this storm!

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  138. My thirteen year old son died a little over a year ago. I still can't forgive God. She's lucky she has her faith. I'm sitting here crying for her and her husband as I think of what they will be going through.

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  139. This is so heartbreaking. I'm originally from Conway but now live in Stockholm, Sweden. I've been following the devastating news from the tornado and I'm so sadden by this story. What an amazing friend you are and a courageous mom she is. My prayers to this family and yours.

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  140. God grant me that kind of faith... I haven't needed it yet... almost. but not yet.

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  141. How grateful I am to read your story. You have sparked a faith renewal in me and I thank you. Because my faith has been so stagnant. I needed this.

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  142. Thank you for your commitment to Jesus! It is so refreshing to hear someone praising God in the storm. We love the song, but no one wants to live it! Praying for you as you grieve and as you witness!!! Thank you from Missouri!!

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  143. Gives new meaning to... "I'll praise you in this storm!" I can not even fathom. If April's faith is still this string, imagine how strong here boys' faith was!!! God is faithful! Many prayers will be said.

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  144. Thank you for sharing such a heartbreaking, yet somehow, beautiful story.

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  145. To whoever wrote this. God didnt kill her sons. The THIEF comes to steal, kill, and destroy....christ came so that you may have life and have it in abundance. It youre going to be angry with anyone. It should be satan.

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  146. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K3vSM0A8r4&feature=share Testimony filmed 1 year ago. April Smith you are a true example of how to be a light in the darkness.

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  147. She is an inspiration to all! The sadness that this story has is tremendous but the FAITH she carries on is even GREATER! I wish I could say I was like that, my faith that strong. It would be an honor to meet her on day. My prayers go out to her and her husband and to all the families that have been effected by this storm.

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  148. I shared this post on my blog today, via a link. Thank you for posting it and please thank April for humbling me. I have been whining this week about much of my life...how weak my faith looks to me today. I will be praying for them and am in awe of their faith. I pray that my faith will be strong enough to praise God in every storm.

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  149. God bless her...and you. Thank you for sharing this:)

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  150. May our Lord and Savior forever give you the comfort that only He can. May your two sons dance with Jesus as they sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy"! Oh, what a glorious day that will be when we get to see Him face to face. Much love and prayers for the coming days.

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  152. Edited:

    What an incredible story of faith! I, too, have lost a child suddenly and tragically, and I can tell you that April and her husband have a long road ahead. But God is indeed good and brings us the strength we need when we feel all we can do is give up.

    We serve an awesome God, and I have no doubt that He will pull April and Daniel through this time. She will need her friends for weeks, months, years to come. Parents who lose children are never the same, but in many ways are better. Stronger, more compassionate, more giving and forgiving. (I do not claim to be all of these things myself, but I have observed it in other parents. I am a work in progress!) From what you have written about April and her spirit, I have no doubt that she will use this tragedy to be a servant to people who she never imagined helping.

    For April's friends, please continue to be there for her. For a long time. Even when you don't know what to do, tell her you love her. Bring her gentle reminders of things that you remember about her boys. And please, please continue to pray for her. Even years from now... speak the names of Tyler and Cameron to her. Many people are afraid to do that for fear of "bringing up the subject." But believe me... every day for the rest of her life, their names and faces will be on her heart. Knowing that her children are not forgotten by others will bring both her great comfort.

    Please assure her that there are many, many parents out there that remember the pain of those first few days, weeks, and months and are on their knees before God's throne RIGHT NOW praying for strength for her and her husband. May God bless you, as well, as you minister to her!

    God Bless each of you!
    Bonny Coxwell
    Summerdale, Alabama

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  153. reminded of this older song by Ray Boltz
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL_BnW1LAg0

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  154. What a great testimony this is of trusting God. I work with FamilyLife, a ministry in Little Rock, where we also suffered a loss Sunday night with the death of Rob Tittle and his two daughters. I'm an editor here at FamilyLife, and I'd be interested in posting this article on our website. I think it would be encouraging to a lot of people, as you've seen by the comments to this post. Could you contact me at dboehi@familylife.com ?

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  155. Our God has a plan for each of us. There is a book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers. The most inspiring and enlightening book I have ever read. Great read for anyone that has lost a loved one. My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the Smiths. And my admiration for their deep faith.

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  156. This broke my heart and mended it at the same time. A beautiful testimony and her Faith is going to see her and her husband through this time. God is in control and her boys are playing in Heaven now with their other Father. Inspiring and so touching.

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  157. As I read this tears roll down my face. I have always been taught about a faith that could not be shaken and now I know what that truly means. My heart goes out to you both. You have inspired me. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband during this time.

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  158. Thank you for sharing your story of faith and hope.

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  159. We heard on Monday of the two little boys that had not made it. On Tuesday we read in the paper how this couple was from Rogers, AR and had worked at JB Hunt. My heart had a terrible ache for this mother and father. I prayed that God would bring them comfort somehow and help them through this horrible loss. This morning I read your story. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this. April's faith is amazing, and with that faith God will hold her hand and see her through. I shed tears for her and family as I don't believe my faith would ever be so strong. I do not know her but through your story I feel I do, and her story has been and will be a great inspiration and a reminder of how Great Is Our God!

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  160. Prayers for this mother and father....may God bless them for their strong faith, grant them much peace and strength in the upcoming days,weeks,months........may he supply all their needs according to his riches in glory, and may God be glorified through their testimony. I am encouraged and amazed at Apirl's faith in God! Thank you for sharing their story.........blessings to all

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  161. Thank you so much for this. I donated and have encouraged my church to as well.

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  162. I don't know how you and your family are so strong. I am weeping for you, from one mother to another and all I can do is shake my head "NO" because I have had these same conversations with my babies and cannot fathom being able to love a god that would dictate this sort of ending; a god who can protect but chooses to not.....I am so, so sorry for you all. Those words just seem so empty. How do you comfort someone you've never met with words? But from the depths of my heart, I truly am.

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  163. This story is beautiful!! It is humbling and amazing to read this story. As I was reading two things stood out like a sore thumb. No matter how strong the winds, how wide the tornado, or sheer brutality of the storm the two foundations that stood could not be torn apart. Everything you had was taking away, lost and not returned. That's the beauty of God, the amazing and over joyful nature of his being that radiates through your family. No matter where you are at now, the foundation of that house and your foundation in Christ still stand. He left them standing for you to rebuild. God is so good! My condolences go to you April and Daniel, but most importantly... Thank you! Thank you for living your faith and showing the world who God is, not just speaking about what he is. Inspirations that can relate to Job you two are, thank you!

    24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

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  164. My heart goes out to April and Daniel and everyone else in Vilonia. What an amazing story and test of faith. Thank you for sharing.

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  165. What an incredible woman with incredible faith! They will see each other again <3

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  166. Faith such as this goes beyond human understanding because it is not from us....it is from God. Thank you for sharing and for what you are doing to help them through this blog.

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  167. My heart does out to April & Daniel and all others who were affected by this terrible storm. April you are a woman of amazing faith in the Father and his plan for your and your family's life. I am in awe of your beautiful faith and want to have a faith like that! I have two son's of my own (along with a daughter) I am doing my best to raise them to love and fear the Lord, I can only hope that they are as courageous as your beautiful boys and bold enough to share the Lord with their friends, they are hero's in my eyes , now angles in heaven, and there is not better place for them to be! Stay strong my dear and press on for your work here is not done! God bless you!!!!

    Philippians 4:7
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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  168. This story is beautiful and so true. This beautiful woman lost her children, but she knows that God is in control, as He always is and there is a divine purpose for the loss of her two children. They lived a Christ centered life here on earth and are now in heaven. The peace she gets only comes from God, it is supernatural, and it is one you can only get through knowing the most powerful God that we serve. He will give this couple the strength to go on in the walk that we call life, and will continue to use them (as they allow), so other people will be lead to Jesus through their own story. I know this because I have been there, my daughter was taken in a car accident, she too was a believer and she is in heaven with Jesus waiting for us to come home. We were left here to share our story of how she lives and though her life here on earth was short, we will see her again. I am thankful and gracious to God for all that He has done for us and for all that he will continue to do for April and Daniel. My prayers in the days to come will go out to them and to all the victims of these storms that have passed and left so much destruction. That they will continue to cling to our wonderful, God and to what He has done and continues to do for us. I also pray for each of you who will stumble across this story, that through this story you will find a renewed sense of faith if you are a believer, if you are not a believer, I pray that you will come to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, realizing that we can not get to heaven on our own accord, it is only through the saving Grace that Jesus Christ gives us, by His blood we are saved. Life is short, where will you spend eternity?

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  169. I am so so sorry.I know what it's like to loose someone cause i lost both my parent's in 2002.But this is so very much different here for you thow.it is a storm that took them,at a very young age aslo.This even hurt's me hearing this story.I know this as you do to.They are with jesus now and are safe in his hand's forever.Only he know's why this happened cause nobody else will.But it still leaves you in so much pain thow that will never ever go away.I will keep you in my prayer's for you are gonna need them for strength.May Jesus be with you every waking day.

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  170. What a powerful post about April and Daniel and about her strong and sure love for Jesus. Hard times today and ahead but she has her faith in the right place.

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  171. Through my tears I can hardly see the keyboard to type...thank you for sharing. I have several friends that have lost their young children & I will definitely be sharing this story with them. I know God is good & I will be praying for April & Daniel.

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  172. This made me cry my prayers are with yall that was affected my god bless u yall

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  173. I have read and re-read this emotional and honest story, and can't thank you enough for writing and sharing it. I feel such sorrow for April, but am so encouraged by her faith and love for our Heavenly Father.

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  174. This is by far one of the most moving and beautiful things I have read in years. I wept as I read this, marveling. It asks and answers the questions that go through everyone's hearts during difficult times so beautifully! Thank you. God bless you. Praying for you all!

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  175. Wow! I know God loves us....but what a beautiful testimony of their love for God. Inspiring and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing!

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  176. As I read this, I couldn't help but think of my Facebook friend James Soto and Ashley Bain, the parents of baby Gavin who was killed in the tornadoes that raged through Chowan County in northeastern NC. Baby Gavin, who would have been 1 year old today but instead was laid to rest yesterday. I think of how Ashley threw herself on top of that baby and tried her best to shield him from the storm. I think of how James works so hard as a cook to provide for them and his other child, Gabby and how young she is to see such a tragedy befall her family. I think on all this and I pray... for them, but most of all for understanding for I am not yet at your friend and cheerleader April's faith yet. I hope to be one day <3

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  177. I can't think you enough for writing this story. It is sincerely beautiful and the holy spirit had a major hand in delivering this story. I believe with my heart and soul that God is going to do great things through this family starting with this story. God's peace prevailed over me just reading this story and I can only imagine what it will do in the hearts of others. May God bless your families both and we serve a mighty God. God IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME, GOD IS GOOD! :)

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