Monday, December 9, 2013

Letter to Benjamin Smyth

Dr. Benjamin G. Smyth
 Dear Benjamin,

I am glad your letter found it's way to me. You were only a sprout of a fellow when I last saw you.  I figured that you would probably remember little about your Papa and Mama, seeing how you were so young at the time.  It's impossible for me to write this letter and imagine what you would look like today.  If memory serves me, you favored your father in the face, possessing the color of your mother's eyes.  It's been a long time, but I loved the Smyth family and wished in this life that I could've done more.

Let me tell you that you come from a kind and generous people. I have always had a great appreciation and affection for you family.  Your father Graham found me gravely ill in my tent at my claim and rescued me from a most certain death.  That is how we met, him saving my life.  I was then welcomed into your household, nurtured back to health and invited to stay until I could build a more suitable dwelling to survive the merciless seasons of that country in which you were born.

I often wonder if that old cabin that your father helped me to build is still standing.  I left it all behind after my encounter with John and Murdock Westbrook.  I have many memories both bitter and pleasant of my years there.  The most pleasant are the times spent with my friends the Smyths.

You asked many questions in your letter about your parents and that time, the tragedy that befell your family.  You were very young indeed and I count it a blessing that you remember little of it.  I don't mind answering these questions as to what transpired regarding your family, the Westbrooks, and myself.   I was there and can bring to light what happened or at least details that you may not have been told.  Forgive me if I get to chasing rabbits and not stay on topic here and there.   So much happened then and all I could do was take life one day at a time, each trial as it came, being the best servant this bewildered soul could attempt.  I hope I can put my memories into words clearly and in order.  To answer your questions as forthright at possible, with minimal detours, I will respond in the following manner.

John and Murdock had many experiences with the vampir sort long before their encounter with your family.  I learned in time that they too were survivors of this curse.  They like you, were children orphaned by like demonic activity.  They were saved by a cousin who was a Christian, who removed from them from their home and community that had been plagued by the same type spirits.  Those who had tried to help before, who did not have the blood of Christ within their veins, were ignorant to the danger and found themselves and their families vulnerable to attack.  John and Murdock were saved by faith, by the cleansing power that is the blood of Jesus Christ.

What a great blessing to me to read that you are a Christian.  Like you, I did not come to know the Lord through fear of the demonic, nor because of the fires of hell, but rather introduced to God's reality and the reality of his love for me through John and Murdock's ministry.  I am forever grateful for God have putting them in my path.

I spent three years riding with them, much like one of those disciples of old who dropped all they had and knew and followed Jesus.  I became a believer because of what I had witnessed that day on your father's farm.  I realized in order to help your parents situation that I needed to open my eyes to this evil and equip myself for the duration.  Your Papa and Mama helped me when I was in need and I so direly desired to help your Mama, and the surviving children.

John stayed for a week at my cabin and then left to attend to his circuit.  Murdock remained with me through the Spring of that year to help raise me from milk to meat.  There was not an emphasis on teaching about dealing with the vampir sort, but rather strengthening my knowledge of the Gospels, giving my faith a solid foundation and instruction on putting on the whole armor of God.

Do not hold any animosity toward John and Murdock for leaving your mother that day.  They knew what they were dealing with more than I did at that moment in time.  The accessed the situation correctly.  I was there.  If it were not for John and Murdock, I would not have been able to have helped you and your siblings in the way that I did.  You must be grateful and give thanks to God for these good men to have been sent your family's way.

Your mother did not want to believe her husband and your older brothers were already dead.  I went back to her to speak and reason with her.  There was something different about her after she fainted that day at the root cellar door.  She was deceived by a familiar spirits and was lost to us.  She could only see the face of her husband, her children and not the distortion that death had brought upon their pale features.  There came a time when not only my pleas were rejected, but I was ordered to leave and to never return. 
I realized later that she too had been possessed by a spirit.  
 
The paper of that day reported that your mother died by your father's hand.  In the world's view this is true.  But I know the being that attacked your poor mother was not in reality your father.  The beings that fed off her flesh were no longer members of your family.  It was a sensational story for that day and countless rumors were born from it.  I knew your family.  I loved your family.  This tragedy is just the same as if a pack of ravenous wolves were allowed into an unprotected home.  I do not write this to unsettle you, but with hopes to ease your mind after all these years.  I am merely trying to answer one of your questions.

I remember Graham and Stella Smyth.  Though their deaths were tragic, they were a generous and good people.  They were not Christian though, and it breaks my heart.  I too at that time did not believe.  It could have just as easily have been me to have been attacked this way.

I do not advise you go back to that valley of death.  There is nothing there for you, or your sisters to see there.  What was once your childhood home place is no more.  It was burned down long ago by neighbors who feared the evil thing that once happened there.

Burning down the Smyth farm did not help them.  I can only surmise that it was like throwing grease on a fire, causing a vampir outbreak to spring from it.  When I heard of the rumors, I was led by the Lord to depart from John and Murdock's good company, to return to the valley and surrounding communities to deal with the problem.  It is for this reason that I eventually helped to establish a church that was soon to be given under the charge of the Methodist Episcopal denomination.  The church came about due to the need of a constant fellowship for families dealing with ongoing demonic attacks.   The community was in need of more than what traveling clergy were able to provide.  The believers were fighting a difficult battle if pastors were rotated in and out and having to travel about their circuit.

Clearwater County was infested with the enemy and we were at war.   We could not afford to spend time dealing with the politics of church - praying that inexperienced clergy coming in were equipped to lead in such conflicts.  We were grateful that the Presiding Elder, after an interesting Quarterly Conference visit, saw to the matter that our congregation allowed special provision for our unique need for a full time pastor, that which I was eventually appointed.  Need I mention that this was indeed a very peculiar fellowship. 
As terrible a time we all had then, we became a very close family.  We were not just survivors, but became more than conquerors.

I know I have rambled a little, but thought it necessary that I let you know what transpired after your parent's deaths.  It is my hope that you don't look back anymore than necessary.  Do not dwell on the sadness, but rather "may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

Faithfully Yours,
Pastor Tom Campbell
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