It is with heavy hearts that Assurance for Life joins with the Smith family, Southland Christian Church, and our entire community in mourning the passing of Wayne B. Smith. But it is with grateful and joyful hearts that we also join in the celebration of his life and its impact on so many.
Each year at our annual banquet we present an award in Brother Wayne’s honor. It is called the Wayne B. Smith Power of One award as it recognizes the impact of one person’s response to God’s call to support life. The Power of One award is about recognizing leadership and service. Brother Wayne was an excellent example of this.
In 1978, Wayne received a note on his desk that had been left there by a young woman who had an abortion. In the note she asked, “Where was the church?” He apologized publicly to his church for not speaking up sooner. After that note and a neighbor, Rosemary Fister, shared with Wayne her concern about the rise of abortion post Roe v. Wade, Wayne dedicated himself to ensuring that his congregation and our community organized with a response and urgency befitting the issue.
As one of our Founders and current Board Member, Shirley Daniel recalls, “Brother Wayne threw his whole great big heart in the effort. He didn’t yet know what would be required of him, but he had made a promise to God that he would be willing to do whatever there would be for him to do.”
He, along with other members of the newly formed Committee for Life, was steadfast in prayer that God would raise up a group of women who could serve those facing unplanned pregnancies. He continued through his last days in faithful prayer for the ministry they founded, known today as Assurance for Life.
At the Assurance banquet in 2013, Brother Wayne told the story of the day those prayers were answered with his usual humor and simplicity. He said, “One day I was sitting in my office and heard a loud clamor in the hall. I looked up and saw four women locked arm-in-arm walking down the hall. They said, “Brother Wayne, we are mad about abortion, and we are not going to take it anymore.” As one can imagine, however, further telling of the story demonstrates that a great deal more was involved.
He was resolute that his congregation and other churches which quickly joined in the effort were prepared to undergird the ministry with prayer, financial contributions, and gifts of their time and expertise.
He was bold in speaking out from the pulpit about abortion and equally gracious and merciful in his response to those who faced unplanned pregnancies. Here are a few quotes from his Sanctity of Life sermon from January 18, 1987:
“One out of three pregnancies ends in abortion…The most unsafe place for a child is not the passenger seat of a car, without harness or seatbelt, the most unsafe place is a mother’s womb.” And later in his sermon, “There are people in this auditorium who have had abortions. I have no idea who you are. The last thing I want to do is to lay a guilt trip on you…The Bible says if we confess our sins, He is willing and able to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Thirty-eight years after his neighbor spoke to him about abortion and he received that note on his desk, we are still experiencing the amazing impact of the power of this one man responding to God’s call on this issue. More than 4,000 lives have been saved and countless more impacted.
In 2014 Wayne’s beloved wife, Marge, went home to be with the Lord. When I attended the visitation to extend the sympathies of the Assurance family, Brother Wayne greeted me warmly, thanked me for coming, and then without hesitation told me to “get back to the office and save more babies.” We are deeply moved by and grateful for his relentless support of Assurance and our clients. Today, we serve in his honor.
Please follow this link: http://assuranceforlife.us10.list-manage1.com/track/click… to learn more about the arrangements, and please keep his children Jana Thore and her husband, Tim; Judy Speakes and her husband, Kenny; and their families in your prayers.