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Charles Renzo Smith was born June 28, 1925, in Bartlesville, OK to Charles J. and Edith Smith and was savagely beaten to death by
person or persons unknown in Oklahoma City, OK, on May 11, 1989, at the age o f 63 years, 10 months, and 9 days. On September 10,1944, he married Betty Jean Tait in Shawnee, OK. Together they had seven children w ho survive him, namely, Merrill and Derrill, twins, David, Chuck, Betty Jane Nicholson, all o f Shawnee, OK, Anna Jantz o f Sapulpa, OK, and Theresa Madden o f Bristow, OK. One son, Charles Milton, preceded him in death. He also has two living sisters, Iva Fay Smith o f Shawnee, OK, and Ida May Bocock o f Bristow, OK; 17 grandchildren, 2 great-grand children, a number of nieces and nephews and an enormous number of brethren in the Lord and friends.
Bro. Smith was a Church o f God minister virtually all his days. When he was seven years old, he taught his first young people’s meeting. When he was nine years old, he was at a tent meeting with a number of other children of saints. While With them between services, he saw an aged gentleman who was chewing on tobacco and in an unkept condition approaching down the street. He told the other children, “ Maybe that man doesn’t know the story of Jesus. Let’s go tell him.” The old man was soon down at the altar seeking his Lord and the ministers in attendance asked Bro. Charles, even though he was so young, to finish the work of dealing with him. At last the old man arose from the altar, and with a face wreathed in smiles, handed his snuff can to Bro. Charles and said,“ Son, I can’t throw this as far as it needs to go any more. Will you do it for me?” Bro. Charles did. It was his first convert, and so began the God-ordained career o f a man who was to be a very effective and lifelong evangelist Within two weeks the old gentleman died leaving instructions to Bro. Charles, who led him to the Lord, that he was the person who should preach his funeral; so that at the age o f nine, Bro. Charles had his first experience with that duty which was also a function he frequently filled in the Church in years to come.
Bro. Smith was a man o f tremendous energy, personal courage and personal magnetism. His enthusiasm soon affected every project he worked with and nearly everyone who met him. He was the kind o f m an w ho, if he had opportunity, almost certainly preached to whoever took his life, even from beneath the blow s, and who would most likely have met his death without terror.
Bro. Smith’s first tour as an evangelist began not long after he graduated from high school. W hile he was still a teenager, he had many invitations from congregations near his home to hold revival meetings. During one revival, the scool children made a practice of coming to the bus stop fifteen minutes early each day for singing and prayer. The bus driver became so convicted he could scarcely see the road through his tears and he came to the meeting and got saved. Many years later he died, still with a strong testimony o f salvation.
Bro. Smith was by practice and doctrine a minister of the Church of God. Once he responded to an opportunity to hold services in a sectarian meeting house. After a number of messages, the pastor of that congregation caused a notice to be read in the congregation forbidding any more Church o f God meetings there, effective immediately. Sis. Pike typed a letter in the function of her office as secretary in that congregation but refused to sign it saying she feared God would strike her dead if she did. A man attending the meeting volunteered his peach orchard which was directly across the road for services to continue. Bro. Smith procured a tent and went right on with the services. During that meeting, a man who had terrible injuries from military service to his leg and could scarcely walk, came forward for prayer saying he had had five surgeries and was living to all he understood of God. Prayer was offered and he was instantly healed and was able to leap and run. This miraculous healing was typical of many that Bro. Smith saw during his life. Sis. Pike and a number o f other folks at this meeting subsequently took their stand with the saints.
Bro. Smith, him self, experienced a great deal of affliction in his lifetime, and had his life divinely extended many times. When only six years old, he had his first symptoms of heart trouble. He was born with rickets and also in his early life stuttered badly. He was instantly healed of stuttering. He was restored from near death due to heart attack in 1952 while a number of ministers were gathered praying for him. Several o f them heard a voice say, “ Let it be so, Father.” Immediately he regained consciousness (a friend says he was comatose at the time) and was soon able to resume his active ministry. He had back trouble since a child but persevered in carrying out the gospel work despite it. For nineteen years before his death he had suffered from Hodgkin’s disease but God had extendednhis life against nature and made him able for duty.
Bro. Smith was the founder and moving force behind The Golden Rule Home, an aged care facility in Shawnee, OK. He became heavily burdened for this work after observing the pitiful case of Sis. Harmon in CA who was widowed to two saint ministers, and in a
commercial home to live out her days in squalid conditions. She as unable to receive visits, even from saints, for more than five minutes at a time. She testified to Bro. Charles when he came to see her, “ Bro. Charles I don’t understand what’s happened to me. They’ve taken away my glory. (Her hair had been cut very short.) I’ve washed the saints’ feet.” (I Timothy 5:10). Bro. Smith devoted the rest o f his years from that time on to making a nursing home a reality, for he was always a man with a great interest in the elderly.
Bro. Smith was a man who practiced enormous personal sacrifice to the benefit of anyone in need. His home was a haven for saints and visitors and was always (or so it seemed) busy. His family was raised and accustomed to sharing their father and their belongings with others. One o f his favorite sayings was, “Others, Lord, others, let this my motto be. Others, Lord, others, that I may be just like thee.” Bro. Smith will be sorely missed by his family, friends of The Golden Rule Home, by the ministers and by the saints.
Funeral services for Bro. Charles were held in Shawnee, OK on May 16 with an estimated number o f 1,150 people in attendance. The officiating ministers were Bros. Ostis Wilson, Ed Wilson, and Charles Elwell. Interment was in the Fairview Cemetery, Shawnee, OK.
Another day has come and gone,
That never will return;
And can we o’er it look with joy,
Or are we caused to mourn?
With joy because the love of God
Has kept us pure within:
Or grief because in some small way
We let the tempter in.
Did we not, when we rose thismorn,Say,
Lord, keep me this day;
I ’ll do your will at any cost,
I ’ll walk in the narrow way ’ ’ ?
And as in various ways we strove
Our temporal needs to supply,
Can we tell God, who knows our heart,
W e ’ve kept a single eye?
A single eye to all God’s will,
In word, in thought, and deed;
With confidence we now draw nigh,
And ask for what we need.
— B. A. Soules Faith and Victory June 1934
My Roots and Lineage
I’m not a Jew by outward kin, Nor was I born of Isreal; My lineage is not linked back then By earthly birth what man can tell.
My fam’ly record does not show- My roots afar I cannot trace; I may be Russian, I don’t know, Or Greek, perhaps some other race.
I may not know my fam’ly tree Nor what my flesh consists of; I cannot trace my history: I know I’m born from up above!
For I am of the Heav’nly line, And Jesus is my elder Brother; Our Gracious Father’s love is mine; The Church of God, My precious Mother!
By grace I am a special kind, In fleshly ties is not known; On earth you do not look to find What only comes from Heaven’s throne
I am a spir’tual Isrealite Through faith that dwelt in Abraham His blessings in truth and right Comes down to us through Christ the Lamb.
Oh, praise the Lord! His wond’rous grace
Has made me now a happy part, Of such a stronger lasting race With all the blood-washed, pure in heart!
My name is entered and enrolled In heaven’s holy Book of life; An inward Jew, in Jesus fold, I am set free from earthly strife.
No hope or longing have I here The Old Jerusalem to see. For in the Church of God so clear Forevermore my home shall be!
Bro. Leslie Busbee
INDEX TO 92 YEARS OF BACK ISSUES OF FAITH AND VICTORY: PRINTED AT FAITH PUBLISHING HOUSE IN GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA
18 missing months