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Teacher, Beauty Queen Embraces Faith

By Staff | Apr 27, 2016

Photos by Miles Layton Following Melissa Smith’s testimonial, Sistersville First United Methodist Church Pastor Bill Dawson anoints people with oil to underscore the power of God’s grace.

SISTERSVILLE -When Melissa Smith stepped up to the podium Sunday morning, she didn’t have any prepared remarks for the congregation at Sistersville United Methodist Church.

A teacher at A.I Boreman Elementary and a former Mrs. West Virginia, Smith said she wanted to speak from the heart about the miracles she experienced through the power of prayer.

Smith suffered complications from an epidural and began experiencing intense headaches immediately following the birth of her son in late March. During the next few weeks, Smith’s health status diminished considerably. She was temporarily blind at one point.

Smith she said was never afraid.

“I thank God so much for saving me from my fear,” she said. “I was never scared at all. The whole time it was OK. I can’t put it into words, but I know I gave all the glory to God for carrying me. He literally carried me through all of it.”

Melissa Smith, a former Mrs. West Virginia, speaks about the miracles she experienced to the congregation gathered Sunday at Sistersville United Methodist Church. A few weeks ago, doctors gave Smith a 10 percent chance of survival. Smith, a teacher at A.I. Boreman, said she embraced her faith and that made all the difference.

Smith knew to embrace her faith.

“All I knew to do was pray,” she said. “God literally put his arms around me, carried me and helped me through the whole thing.”

Sistersville UMC Pastor Bill Dawson visited Smith in the hospital when her life was hanging in the balance.

He carried with him a small wooden Cross that had carried with him during a recent trip to the Holy Land. The Cross was made locally by Jack Pancake. At every Holy Site, Dawson would place the Cross and pray for God to use this cross as an instrument of healing and change.

While Dawson was at the hospital visiting Smith, he was not alone.

“God told me to lay that Cross on her chest,” he said.

Smith knew her prognosis was bleak. The family joined Dawson in prayer.

Smith said to God, “You’re in control.”

Doctors said Smith only had a 10 percent chance of survival.

“Thankfully, this is where God intervened,” she said.

A battle was waged between light and dark.

“The devil tried to take me out and didn’t win. I refused it,” Smith said. “God carried me and protected me throughout the whole situation.”

Smith recovered.

“I thank God so much for saving me,” she said.

Things appeared to be looking up for the young family when the Smith’s newborn baby Greyson came down with what was initially diagnosed as a cold. The family found themselves back at Ruby Memorial in Morgantown last week where Greyson was admitted to ICU. He was very sick.

“I felt like hope was sucked out of the hospital,” she said.

After several sleepless nights Greyson was released to come home last Thursday and he was in church on Sunday.

“This was a miracle God saves lives,” she said.

Dawson added, “That’s the kind of God we serve.”

When the tragic events passed, Smith said she took a moment to reflect on God’s grace.

“God carried me and protected me throughout the whole situation,” she said. “I’m thankful for that. It makes me sad that my family was close to facing what they could have. Because of God, I stand here today full-heartedly giving Him the glory. It’s amazing. It’s overwhelming to stand here and that He chose to give a second chance.”

Smith said that because of her experiences, she hopes to make a difference.

“I always pray that God will use me as vessel to everyone around me, even the little ones in my class school,” she said. “I always believe that you have a purpose. I never imagined it would come to this. I never imagined that being so close to death would be what filled these church pews, but I’m OK with it. I really am because He is going to take care of me.”

After Smith spoke, there were tears in several people’s eyes as they had grasped her testimonial. Dawson used special oil from the Holy Land to anoint members of the congregation.

“After hearing Melissa’s story, it was important to offer others the opportunity to come forward for prayer and anointing with oil,” Dawson said. “This allowed everyone the opportunity to experience hope and opportunity to experience the power of God in a powerful way. Here was a woman who had little hope, but through faith and prayer, she had life and a deeper understanding of what Christ can do. For Melissa to stand up and share her story and offer to pray for others on Sunday morning, was a reminder of what every Christian should be doing.”

The Smith family will be having a benefit dinner between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. May 1 at Tyler Consolidated High School. The money raised will go to medical bills, expenses incurred through multiple hospital stays and daily expense as the couple is off work. At the benefit, members of the community will be providing a spaghetti dinner with a silent auction for those that are present. Food will be serving spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, and desert. The Smiths ask for assistance in contributing to this event either in the form of money or through a donated item that could be auctioned off. On behalf of the family and the community we appreciate your generosity. God bless you!

Adults are $10, children 3-10 $5, and 3 & under are free! All proceeds go to Melissa and Joe Smith. For more information, contact 304-652-2794.