“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”  I Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV)

Rick and Shelby are some friends of mine and Jase’s, whom we have known most of our lives. They own a cemetery just a few miles from our house. Before building a new home a couple of blocks away, they lived directly on the cemetery grounds for many years. Along the front of their cemetery home was one long wall of windows that faced these large and quite beautiful grounds, which included a pretty pond and rolling hills. It also faced the majority of the hundreds and hundreds of headstones and graves. We visited them quite often through the years, and each time I would imagine Jesus coming back while they were home and what an awesome sight that would be! Of course, I just visited every so often. They had to actually tuck their children in and go to sleep themselves every night in that quiet creepy little spot of the earth. However, I always told them if we are all alive when Jesus makes his return, they would have a front row seat to an amazing and miraculous show! Can you imagine?

I usually try to stay somewhat light-hearted with an encouragement or simple challenge each week. However, this week has marked a milestone in my life as I lost a dearly loved mentor to old age and the failing of the human body. His name was Bill Smith, and he made a huge impact on my life ever since I was a baby. He has been an anchor to my life as well as my family’s life and my church family’s life. I’ve actually never known my life without him. Not only was he a mentor to me, but he was a mentor to my dad, my husband and recently to my son Cole. He was also the one who shared Jesus with Phil when Jase was only 6 years old.

I’ve heard many times in my life that you learn most about the character of God through your parents, whether good or bad. It is said that children get a sense of God by watching how their own parents or caregivers treat them starting at a young age. While this may be true, I believe I also learned about the image of God through Mr. Bill. You see, when my parents moved to West Monroe with me when I was just a few months old, Mr. Bill was our preacher. He continued to be our preacher until I was in the 7th grade. During those early childhood years, when someone would talk about God or I would pray to God, I would picture an older man with a very round face and sideburns. I pictured that man with a kind smile and a patient demeanor. Later in life, I realized I was picturing Mr. Bill when my mind pictured God the Father! Not only was his character in line with the character of Jesus, he was wise in the fact that he was always open to learning new things the Bible was teaching him. If he wasn’t clear on something Biblical, he would spend weeks, months and even sometimes years studying it out until he was confident of it. He and Jase debated a certain subject for 25 years! Both of these godly men would study, commentate, discuss, argue, laugh and keep on loving each other. We thought we were going to lose him about 5 years ago, but he surprised all of us! He has been very weak and has walked with a cane ever since. And you’d better watch out, because if he didn’t poke you with it last Sunday, you were on his list. Despite his body failing, he never lost his spunk, wit, or positive spirit. He was actually teaching class the Wednesday before he passed away. He challenged me and our entire church family consistently to walk closer and closer to our Father and to never stop learning. He absolutely adored his Father in heaven. He also loved to share the message of Jesus with everyone he knew.

He created this drawing to show the simple message of the gospel of Jesus which is engraved on the podium at our church. I Corinthians 15:1-4 states, “Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed onto you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Today, as I post this devotional, I will be singing at Mr. Bill’s funeral while Jase helps carry his casket down the aisle. We all knew this day was coming for quite some time, and even though we mourn the absence of his physical presence (it’s unimaginable at this time how our church family will be without him), we will celebrate the incredible life he lived. No, it was not one of great riches or worldly fame. But it was one of great value to me and the thousands of people he directly touched.

Is heaven awaiting you? The Bible clearly says that not all of us will be there. Only God’s children, those who have put on Jesus as their Lord, will inherit eternal life. Death is real. As much as we don’t want to think about it, we must acknowledge that it is imminent for each of us. Don’t go to bed tonight without getting your life right with God. He’s waiting for you. If you want to know more, please visit https://wfrchurch.org/contact-us/. Someone will be happy to talk to you, pray with you or study the Bible with you.

Heaven is even sweeter because I know Mr. Bill will be waiting on me. And I still secretly hope I’m at Rick and Shelby’s house when those skies bust open.



Wow is all I can say as I read this it’s like reading what we have been through since last Friday when we lost a great man of God named Gary Dempsey he also was buried today I’m sure their both shouting in heaven now.

Feb 24, 2016

Mike Kellett :

Great words in your blog and great singing at the service. Thanks for helping the day go better.

Feb 22, 2016


Missy: what a beautiful message. I also knew Mr Bill Smith and I have some great memories…not only of him, but many others at WFR. My sister and I were in one of the “child care homes” that WFR supported many years ago (50 years ago…ouch, I can’t believe we are that old). I know that my faith in God and my Christian walk is because the “Church” was obeying God’s commandments when He said that the Church is to take care of the widows and orphans. I am pleased to see that WFR is still doing God’s work and making a difference in many lives. I also love that Camp Ch-Yo-Ca is still going strong. Those were the best days of my childhood! God bless you and your family.

Feb 22, 2016


Praying for Gods peace to be with his family and friends .

Feb 22, 2016


My heart hurts for all of you at WFR because I know how much he meant to all of you. What a mighty man of God! I did not have the opportunity to know him personally, but I know he loved people and shared the Gospel with all. When you think of all the people he touched in his lifetime, it is amazing. And then when you think about Phil, how your family’s life changed because Brother Smith was willing to share Christ with him and all the thousands impacted by your family’s teaching…well, it’s mind boggling. But that’s how God works.

I only know Kim from the Smith family. Please give her a hug from me. I know how hard it is to lose a dad.

Lifting all of you up in prayer! Risa

Feb 22, 2016

Sherry Ledtke:

Thank you for the reminder of the blessed hope in Christ Jesus! What a reunion we will have!! Thank you, Missy, for this break from all the news and politics of the day. God bless!

Feb 22, 2016


I too grew up with a wonderful preacher. My granny told me one day as we were leaving church he walked by and I said “there goes Jesus”. What a comfort knowing they await us in our eternal perfect home!

I’m looking for a good women’s personal study and was wondering what you might recommend. Thanks, Christy from Okla

Feb 22, 2016

Leah huckabee :

Missy that was so beautiful. I just watched the celebration of Mr. Bills life. He was such a blessing to all of our lives. Can’t wait to see him again! Thoughts and prayers! Love and miss you all!!!

Feb 22, 2016


I feel so blessed by this message about Mr. Bill. I have been struggling with my faith the last few years and am in a terrible place right now. My daughter is making life choices that are against our beliefs and I had been praying for her. However, she continues on this path. After reading your post I realize that I cannot give up on her or God. Yes I still wonder if heaven is real but through posts like yours I gain strength and faith. I want to be nit only in the front row for the beginning of the show I want to be a part of the final act with my whole family.

Feb 22, 2016


That was awesome! Made me tear up. Thanks for everything you guys do. Me and my kids love your show! The fact that all of you are followers of Christ makes it that much better! God bless you.

Feb 22, 2016

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