“Former students amazed me over and over again,” said Smith, who also taught at the university for 10 years. “They could tell me exactly what I said and the stories I told — verbatim. Many of the young women became teachers. They are a wonderful group.”
Even families that were at first reluctant to the Gospel message sought her out to tell their story. One mother was completely opposed to her junior high son’s desire to come to a Bible study. She told Smith that because he did, four generations have become Christians — including herself and her husband.
Another man who had been accepted by the group despite mental difficulties brought Smith to tears. Out of his pocket he pulled a letter she had written him 50 years ago telling him that God loves him and that she is proud of his faith. The letter is falling apart because it has been carried and read so often.
“I stand in awe before God, who can take such feeble efforts and multiply them,” said Smith. “I learned so much on this trip.”
Group members expressed concern because they knew she would to be sleeping on the floor during part of the journey.
“I only had to sleep on the floor five days,” answered the 88-year-old woman, as if it was no inconvenience at all. “Most of the time I had a bed.”
During the trip, Smith spoke six times at large gatherings, but also spoke in small groups. During one of the engagements she talked about choices.
“I’m 88 years old and I’ve made three choices that have enormously impacted my life,” she repeated for the local group. “I would make every one of them again. Follow Jesus, marry Nathan and go to Japan. It has so shaped my faith journey.”