“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” II Timothy 1:5-7 NLT
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Although these words were written by the Apostle Paul two millennia ago, as he reminded, Timothy, his disciple and son in the Gospel, of the great legacy, spiritual pedigree and heritage of faith bequeathed unto him by his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, the power of their potency echoes across the sands of time unto us today; and serves as a fitting epitaph for the life of another child of Faith in this modern era, our dearly beloved Christina Elizabeth Smith, the “Queen” of our hearts, whose contemporary existence was defined by her Faith and her commitment to God; a Faith, like Timothy, that was imparted unto her by her own mother and grandmothers, and whose destiny and divine purpose was ordained before she was ever born. For, it is her legacy of Faith, Love, Courage and Service that we celebrate today, with thanksgiving unto the Lord. She was indeed our Queen, who reigned royally over our affections, and the majestic beauty of her life resounds and reverberates in our hearts like the melody of a song, profoundly moving and never forgotten; and it is our privilege to have known her and to have been made the better for it.
Christina Elizabeth, whom we affectionately called “Nina” was born on May 7, 1974 to the parentage of Elder Premore Allen Smith, Sr. and Mrs. Bessie Faye Evans Smith in Dallas, Texas. The second of three children given in blessing to that holy union, she was the only girl, a priceless and irreplaceable treasure from God. Her parents named her after her paternal and maternal grandmothers, Mother Christine Smith and Mother Elizabeth Evans, strong, stalwart women of great wisdom and faith, who would help shape her life and guide her into becoming the person we so deeply loved. From her birth she was special, brimming with light and igniting immense joy and laughter. Even in infancy her bright eyes and beaming, radiant, unforgettable smile stole our hearts from the very day she was born. Like the glory of a beautiful rose, she blossomed in the warmth and protection of her family’s love and nurturing. As the only daughter and “Princess” of her household, she experienced the love and delight of her two siblings. At the time she was born, she was the newest and youngest “Baby Girl” of the entire Evans family, and so she was adored and doted over by her all of her Aunts, Uncles and many cousins, who tried to spoil her shamelessly. Then as now, we were all enraptured with our sweet, precious “Nina.”
The recipient of a rich heritage of Holiness and legacy of faith, she was surrounded by and immersed in the Christian experience, where service to God and dedication to His church were the uttermost priorities. Christina was reared in the fear of the Lord, and early on she was taught life’s most important lessons: faith and confidence, determination and responsibility, respect for others and for oneself, hard work and tenacity, the importance of getting a good education, loyalty and loving devotion to family and friends, compassion for others and service to those less fortunate, and above all else – an unrelenting love for God and for His People. These are the lessons that shaped her life from childhood to adulthood, the values and principles that she lived by, and sought both to emulate and to instill in others. Her parents and grandparents nurtured her in the Lord, and molded her young life in accordance to the Word and Will of God; teaching her by example how to walk in the beauty of Holiness and to let the glory of the Lord shine through from the inside. They taught her how to stand in faith and to believe God, and the importance of obedience and faithfulness to God even during hard times of testing and tribulation, imparting unto her all of the foundational truths that she would later utilize in her own life experiences. Her mother was especially influential in her spiritual development, who, after the untimely passing of her husband, continued raising Christina and her two brothers as a single parent.
She received her formal education in the Dallas Independent School District, attending at the high school level the Business Management Center Magnet and graduating from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in the Class of 1992. With a love of learning and a lifelong thirst for knowledge, Christina was a brilliant student and excelled in her studies. She was very engaged in student leadership throughout her school years, participating in a multitude of academic and extra-curricular activities. Continuing her education, Christina matriculated to Mountain View Community College, where she received an Associate Degree in Arts and Science. She went on to attend Texas A&M University at Commerce, majoring in Interdisciplinary Education. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2004, where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education; with certifications in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, General Education for 4th-8th grades, and Special Education for Pre-kindergarten – 12th grades. Later she would also become certified in PMAB (Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behavior).
From her childhood to the end of her earthly life, Christina loved music and singing. It was during her young formative years that her love and devotion to the praises and worship of God in song was deeply embedded in her heart. Even as a tiny tot of a girl she would sing solos at church or duets together with her big brother, Premore, Jr. and also with the Children’s Choir. As she grew older, her musical abilities increased, and as a prodigiously talented and anointed Gospel songstress, she blessed the hearts of many as she ministered unto the Lord with singing. She was a very popular vocalist, who was often called upon to sing for churches in many concerts, musicals, conventions, convocations, conferences and special occasions throughout the North Texas area and in many places across the United States. While still just a youth in school, she develop one of the great passions of her life for which she was immensely gifted - choral singing - and she became the one of the vocal anchors for her high school’s nationally acclaimed and award winning Gospel Choir, with whom she traveled and won many choral competitions at the District, State and Regional levels. In addition to her high school choir, over the years she sang with a number of renowned choirs and groups who greatly valued her talent, faithfulness and dedication, including: Mountain View Community College Gospel Choir, Texas A&M University at Commerce Unity Choir, Greater Harvest Sanctuary Choir, Greater Harvest Mass Choir, Jesus Only Evangelistic Choir, Free Church National Mass Choir, J. JeVon Jackson & Spiritual Attitude, and The Harvest Ensemble. The Lord anointed her greatly, and she was blessed to travel around the nation and use her voice to minister in song.
It was as a very young child that Christina heard and believed the Gospel and the message of Apostolic Holiness, as it was preached under the ministry of her beloved grandfather at the historic Free Church of God in Christ in Jesus’ Name, the church where she was born and raised. Repenting of her sins, she received Salvation and was baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ according to Acts 2:38. Christina loved God and served Him with all of her heart. She was totally committed to Christ and lived a life of faithful service to Him. Born into a family of Pentecostal pioneers, she sat under the uncompromising teaching and preaching ministry of her legendary grandparents, the late Senior Bishop Earl and General Supervisor Elizabeth Evans, founders of the Free Churches of God in Christ in Jesus’ Name, Inc. and other spiritual giants of the church, who imparted the Word of the Lord into her young life, anchoring her in the faith. As a life-long member of the Free Church Headquarters congregation, Christina worked faithfully under all who served in pastoral leadership of the church, including its current Pastor, Elect Lady Peggy J. Davis. Christina loved the People of God, and delighted in fellowshipping with the Saints. Whether it was for worship or for fun and good food you’d most likely see her there. She rarely missed the National Conventions and Holy Convocations and was faithful in attending her local church services.
Over the years of her tenure, she served devotedly in a number of leadership capacities and labored tirelessly wherever she was needed and whenever she was called upon, including as: Director of the Children’s Choir, President of the Sunshine Band (Children’s Ministry), Sabbath School Secretary, and Sabbath School Teacher of the Children’s Card Class. She was a member of the Usher Board, the Church Choir, the Culinary Ministry (where she was renowned for her Banana Pudding), and was a Church Van Driver. She supported untiringly the church’s Annual King & Queen Pageant, and was proud to win the Royal Crown as Queen on more than one occasion; she worked even harder to see her son, Evan, crowned as King, and he has won the Throne for several years, including just last year. With a gift and calling to reach youth in a way that was both unique and unparalleled, Christina served for many years in the Youth and Children’s ministries of the church, gathering boys and girls to her side and engaging them in the Sunshine Band and Wee Willing Workers. She assisted with Vacation Bible School and helped to lead the Annual Youth Explosion, organizing scripture drills, plays, skits and recitals for the youth, keeping them active and involved in the life of the church. She also served diligently with the Women’s Department, and worked with the National Supervisor of the Young Women’s League to help create and implement strategies that empowered and equipped the young women of the church for spiritual growth and enrichment. They organized workshops, seminars and other forums to strengthen young women, enabling them to make better physical and emotional health choices.
Christina was a lover of children. She had a life-long unquenchable passion to reach and nurture youth of all ages. Thus, she chose Education as the pathway of endeavor for her professional career; and for 25 years she was blessed with a number of diverse opportunities to fulfill her calling. From the very beginning of her quarter-century teaching career Christina was an extraordinary and exemplary Educator, motivating and inspiring her students, whose lives and future she impacted and gave hope to. She wanted to work with those whom others could not reach, and she was endowed with a vision to provide quality educational experiences to all children in her care, regardless of their needs. It is no wonder then, that over the course of her tenure as a Special Education Educator, she became known as one of the best and most effective in her field, working with the learning disabled, and teaching children with special health and medical needs and those with emotional and behavioral disorders. With her kind, compassionate - but FIRM and DETERMINED - manner, along with her skilled expertise, Christina could work miracles with her students, and could instill calm and order in the most difficult of settings. She set rigorous goals of achievement both for herself and her students, and maintained an unyielding expectation for educational excellence irrespective of any challenge.
During her many years in the classroom, Christina dedicated her all to the teaching profession. She spent her entire educational career in the North Texas area, employed by the Denton State School, and with the Dallas Independent School District starting in 1996. She was assigned over the years to several DISD campuses, including: Joseph J. Rhodes Learning Center, Leila P. Cowart Elementary School, Pearl C. Anderson Middle School and Thomas A. Edison Middle School. In 2012 she was promoted to the DISD Central Staff as a Behavior Itinerant Teacher in the Special Education Department, working with students throughout the entire District and providing specialized training and professional development for other Special Education Teachers, which was a position she relished and performed effectively for 9 years until the very day of her demise. Throughout her professional life, Christina maintained the highest standards of decorum, excellence and productivity in the exercise of her duties, and was greatly respected and admired by her Principals, Supervisors and Directors, along with her peers and professional associates. At every campus where she was assigned she become a Pillar of the school and its community, laboring to improve every aspect of the school, and supporting the students, teachers, administrators and staff in every way possible. Everyone loved Christina and her work was highly acclaimed throughout the District. She was the recipient of many awards and accolades for her outstanding professional performance and achievements, far too many to list here.
Despite all of her other accomplishments in life, the one that Christina was most proud of and held most dear to her heart and soul, was that of being a Mother.....a mom to her only beloved son, Evan. Without exaggeration, Nina was a PERFECT mother – there is just no other way to describe it...PERFECTION. As a “single mother” our Queen was devoted completely to Evan, whom she adoringly nurtured from the day she birthed him until her homegoing. Inseparable, and always together like hand and glove, their bond as mother and son was both unique and unbreakable. Like a lioness with her cubs, our Queen fiercely and unconditionally loved her only son with unrelenting fervor, and worked hard and unceasingly to provide him with extraordinary childhood experiences. Whether it was drum and guitar lessons, or participation in almost every sport imaginable, or traveling to Disney World and every other tourist spot around the country, there was nothing she wouldn’t do to ensure his childhood was lived to the fullest. Yes, our Queen loved her son above all others and that love was returned unto her one-hundred fold. While she lived - every single day of her life - she stove to rear her son in the fear of the Lord, and to teach him life’s most important lessons. She considered it her greatest calling - her destiny - to prepare him for his future. We now know that is was for a future that he must experience without her. However, the Grace and Mercies of the Lord saw this day coming, and that is why He allowed them to be so close and to bond so tightly, because she had only a short time to finish her work...the work of a mother raising an only son.
But Christina didn’t only just raise Evan, her heartfelt love extended to many other children and young people, whom she helped to bring up and mentor as a role model. Children flocked to her like bees to honey. Nieces and nephews, children of friends, neighborhood children, church children, one and all, were brought up under the embrace of her loving arms, and grew up under her watchful and protective care. With wholesome and nutritious meals, lots of fun and a good dose of discipline, our Queen provided a home away from home for all of the children who were placed in her charge. She shopped for them and made sure they had good holidays and birthdays; she supported their education and encouraged them to set high goals and achieve success. She admonished them to be thankful and appreciative even when things were difficult, and to praise God in spite of their circumstances. She supported their goals and aspirations in life, praising them in their achievements and encouraging them in their difficult seasons. She helped rear them as if they were her very own birth-children and most of them still adore her and consider her as their “surrogate” mother; with hearts filled with love and appreciation to her for her kind affection, tender care and firm discipline, to this very day.
A true “Jewel” in every sense of the word, our Queen’s keen and insightful wisdom, generosity of spirit, and unassailable strength served as the cornerstone of her family, whom she loved, nurtured and sustained all of her days. To Christina, family was everything, and the love of her family was the anchor of her life. Her love was a special gift and was the delight of many, especially of her son and mother. With her warm and beautiful smile, her personable manner and compassionate spirit, she touched the lives of many. Quietly and without fanfare or the spotlight she gave generously and unselfishly to others, taking pleasure in seeing them happy and making sure they always had what they needed. Whether it was taking her Aunts shopping or helping to prepare for the Evans Family Thanksgiving Feast, our Queen was always right there, getting the job done regardless of the task, taking care of others and never focusing on herself.
Yes, our precious Nina was an exemplary woman, beautifully unique, who lived life simply and humbly, but with stately grace and queenly elegance. She was the epitome of confident, competent, capable womanhood, the quintessential “Proverbs 31 Woman.” She maintained an unyielding devotion to her family, her church, her students and the many children and youth she cared for. At the close of a phenomenal life, she leaves a rich and unparalleled legacy as a passionately committed Mother, dedicated Daughter, and highly capable Educator. Most of all, she leaves a spiritual legacy as a faithful Servant of the Lord. Both the tangible and intangible effects of her influence and her indelible touch upon the lives of others transcends time and spans generations. Though it seems her years with us were far too few, her life’s impact cannot be measured in physical concepts nor assessed in numerical terms.
Indeed, time and space does not allow today for a thorough recital of Nina’s many milestones and achievements in this abridged accounting; neither could it be possible to tell of all the many joys and wonders of her blessed life. Simply let it suffice to be said of our beloved Nina, our Queen, that she was the heart and soul of our family, our standard bearer, the keeper of our flame. And although she will no longer dwell with us in body, her spirit remains alive. Yes, it breaks our hearts to let her go, but the fragrance of her memories will abide with us forever. Sleep now, our darling and precious Nina ….take your rest. Lay down your sword and shield, to study war no more. It’s been a long day and we must say farewell….but we will see you again in the morning.
Christina is now reunited in eternity with: her father, Elder Premore Allen Smith, Sr.; her paternal grandparents, Mr. Jack Smith and Mother Christine Smith; her maternal grandparents, Bishop Earl Evans, Jr. and Mother Elizabeth Evans; uncles, Earl Evans III, Clarence Richard Evans, James Frederick Evans, William Earl Evans, Deacon Bracy Austin Anderson, Elder Freddie Trudie Cleveland; aunts, Pastor Charles Etta Anderson and Evangelist Fannie Ruth Cleveland; cousins, Joan Anderson, Bracy Charles Anderson and James Earl Evans.
Our Queen leaves to celebrate her homegoing and to await for her in the First Resurrection: her beloved son, Evan Jeremiah Smith; her dear mother, Bessie Faye Smith; her brothers, Premore Allen Smith, Jr. and Earle Lafayette Smith; her aunts, Mother Lillian Earlene Wallace, Mother Mary Elizabeth Seymore (Tommy), Elnora Yvonne Wilkerson (R.B.), and Gloria Jean Love; her uncles, John Robert Smith, Melvin Smith and Marvin Smith (Sharlotte); her nieces, Nataya LaTrice Butler, Alanna Monet Smith and Ava Grace Butler; her nephews, Keenen DeWaine Motton and Landen Avery Butler; her first cousins, Deacon Alvin Earl Anderson (Alice), Pastor Peggy Jo Davis (Charlie, Sr.), Dr. Richard Charles Evans, Donny Ray Walker (Brenda), William Frederick Cleveland, Fredrick Lincoln Evans, Jamie Frederico Evans, Serena Elizabeth Bland (Adrian, Sr.), Clarence Raphael Wallace, Jason Wilkerson (Benita), Jermaine Wilkerson (Akillah), Jasetta Wilkerson, Jessica Wilkerson, Premore Smith, Keshia Smith, Candace Smith, David Smith, Tranae Smith, Fedelia Smith, Lanette Fike, Christina Smith, Jermaine Smith, Terry Smith, Eddie Love, Erica Gray, Tomiko Derricks and Sunsearay Jacobs; a great host of other relatives, loved ones, wonderful friends, DISD colleagues, current and former students, sons and daughters of the heart and her beloved Free Church family.