Oliver Smith Biography, Iowa Preacher - Recollections of Oliver Smith

Appendix 1
The following are recollections others had of Oliver Some of these appeared previously in the magazine Words in Season.

Oliver Smith was a man raised up and fitted of God for a special work amongst the farmers of Iowa. In this work he was mightily blessed of God and many souls were saved, also a number of assemblies gathered "unto the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ" which continue to this day in humble, scriptural fashion.
lie was a man of tremendous zeal, untiring energy and had a passion for souls. These qualities far outweighed anything he may have lacked in the way of ability or eloquence. He was at his best in personal work. It was not uncommon to see him start out at seven in the morning to visit people and preach the Gospel to them in their homes, barns or fields wherever found. He had a way of approaching people that disarmed them and gained their confidence. They then came to hear him preach.
His passing is keenly felt by the saints in Iowa and the unsaved there have lost a true ambassador for Christ, who besought them with love and tenderness to be reconciled to God. His race is run and his reward will be great.

The Lord's people feel deeply the loss of our beloved brother Oliver Smith who will be greatly missed among the people of God at Stout. In 1922 he came here (we believe he went out fully in the Lord's work about this year). He pitched a teat by the railroad tracks and preached the Gospel for about a year. He saw many led to Christ. Soon after this an Assembly was formed which continues to this day. He spoke to everyone he came in contact with about their soul and many will be in heaven as a result of his labors. The main object of his life was to see souls saved and the Lord's people encouraged to go on. His life was dedicated to the Lord. We can say with David . . . "There is a prince and a great man fallen this day." 2 Samuel .3:38.


I have known our dear brother Smith for about 42 years. I have never found anyone who could visit like him and keep at it all day. I believe his great success as a soul winner was largely because of this. He had a great love for sinners. He told me before he was out entirely in the work (for brother Smith farmed and preached some years before he started out entirely in the Gospel-Editor), that many a time when following the team working in the fields, he would weep as he thought of poor sinners going to Hell, and he would stop the team. Many a time, when hearing him at a Conference, I could feel the drawing in his preaching as he presented the Gospel in all simplicity. Many in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, will bless the Lord that they ever had the privilege of hearing him tell of a Saviour's love.
May the Lord of the harvest raise up others with passion and love for souls and with care in his heart and sympathy for the lambs and sheep of the flock. Another mighty soul winner has fallen-the eternal glories gleam afar and nerve our faint endeavour.
I was saved under the faithful preaching of Oliver Smith, whom I heard more than any other of the Lord's servants. He didn't like long prayers, or much time spent in singing before a Gospel meeting, and would say . . . "Let's get at the preaching." Another frequent remark was . . . If we can only speak with love in our hearts for souls." The chief feature of his life in preaching was his love for precious souls and his greatest gift seemed to be a God-given wisdom in approaching people and talking to them about their souls. He was a powerful preacher at street meetings and loved it. He was a tireless worker, "sowing bountifully" and "reaping bountifully." "The memory of the just is blessed." "Whose faith follow."

"The harvest is great, and the labourers are few." Our departed brother was a real "labourer." He had a real love for souls and how often, at a conference, we would see him talking to some unsaved sinner, seeking to point them to the Saviour. His departing is a real loss, not only to the saints, but also to the unsaved.

Brother Oliver leaves behind many unsaved he spoke to and prayed for. Many are his children in the faith that mourn his homecall. He was a beloved brother of all. His testimony, zeal and labor leaves us with great responsibilities. The same grace that was his, is ours. It is His untiring labors and zeal for the salyation of the lost have been only a "little while." Maranatha!

When I think of brother Oliver Smith's life, I am reminded of the words of Paul in Phil. 2:17 . . . "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." signally owned of God in a rich harvest for his Lord and Master, and great will be his crown of rejoicing whep many will rise up to call him blessed in that day when Jesus comes and He rewards His servants.

My first impressions of our beloved brother Smith confirmed the fact that he lived to make Christ known to all men. With him, preaching was not merely a nightly exercise. Every contact with the unsaved was an opportunity to speak for Christ. He not only grasped the opportunities but was most adept in creating them. Zeal, abounding energy, and enthusiasm, put him in a class by himself. He was one of whom it could be truly said . . . "The lamp of my life burned out for Thee."

I intimately knew Oliver as he was always endearingly called, since I was about seven years of age. He often spoke to me about my soul and I was sure that I would get saved when he was speaking to me. However, God deigned it otherwise. Oliver had a love for souls and worked much in the farming area. A lot of his preaching included incidents of the day. His many contacts provided illustrations which made the gospel simple and plain. He was also very musical. His father who was saved in old age, had been a music teacher. Oliver loved to sing and often sat at the piano, singing and playing heartily. We all loved to hear him.
"Though he had seen hundreds of souls saved and a number of assemblies started, Oliver always felt that he was just an 'unprofitable servant.' Such men are rare and I feel it was the highlight of my Christian life to have spent time with him.
"In 1959, I went to Iowa and visited Oliver and I will never forget the experiences we had. Following the conference in Gamavillo, I said 'good-by' to Oliver and started my joumey home. That was the last time I was to see him until we meet in the glory. When I came home, I told the believers I had seen a lot of things in Iowa, but the biggest 'sight' I saw was in Hitesville: an old gray-haired man, sitting in the front seat of the Gospel Hall, while men and women filed in whom he had seen led to Christ."

"I got to know Brother Smith and his wife in 1957, when under the burden of doubts, I traveled by bus from Vancouver, B.C. Canada to Iowa, hoping to get rid of them. From the Words In Season magazine I had leamed that he was preaching with Paul Elliott in a country schoolhouse one hour north of Cedar Falls. I was already inside when the brethren arrived. Oliver invited me to go along with him and I stayed in his home for the next three weeks. During this period, I observed a genuine gospel worker at work. I noticed that he often preached from the Gospel of John and that simplicity and sincerity marked his messages. Yet, while he loved the gospel and longed for the salvation of the lost, he never by-passed the saints, especially those who were incapacitated. With a short word and prayer, he sought to bring some cheer into the lives of His people. My doubts persisted the full three weeks, and finally Brother Smith said, 'Andrew, the same God that is in Iowa is in Vancouver too. Maybe, you should retum home.' He encouraged me off with this Scripture; 'And Ye shall seek Me and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart' (Jer. 29:13). Thank God the day arrived when I did enjoy the full assurance of faith."

"Mr. Smith left impressions on my life from my boyhood days. He was always warm and friendly and often spoke to me about my soul. I remember him shaking hands with me on a Saturday night in Waterloo after a gospel meeting we had both attended. Although the meetings were not his, I knew he was glad that I was there. The following Monday night the Lord saved me.
"In the spring of 1952, I took Brother Oliver to visit some neighbors of ours whose land joined my parent's farm. We were barely off their driveway when Oliver told me to find a place where he could have some meetings. When I informed him later that I had rented an old schoolhouse, Oliver arrived within the week and told me that he had put an advertisement in the local newspaper announcing that 0G. Smith and Rober On- were to begin gospel meetings. He hadn't mentioned any of this to me beforehand. Oliver had a way of getting others involved in gospel work. The meetings continued for nine weeks with a few professing. Brother Paul Elliott arrived at the end of the first week and I wanted to drop out, but the brethren wouldn't hear of it. So the meetings continued with a trio of speakers. Oliver and Paul would rotate opening and closing the meetings, and I was given fifteen minutes in between."
"My first recollection of Oliver was in the fall of 1931. My brothers and I were retuming to our farm after school and saw a black Hudson Terraplane sitting in our front yard, covered on all sides with what we percieved to be Bible verses. When we entered the house, we found a very friendly, easy-going man talking to our parents. I was eleven years old at the time and he put me on his lap and showed me how he used to massage his front teeth when he was young so that they would straighten out. My folks, who were pillars in a local denomination, later attended his meeting and were surprised by what they heard. My father was especially impressed with how a plain, ordinary farmer like himself, could preach like he did without any theological training. My father and mother were saved that fall and I was saved in the spring. The day of my baptism, as Oliver was leading me back to the shore, I remember him saying 'Say it's for Jesus!' But alas, I was too bashful for that."

My father, Ed, often told of the times Mr. Smith came to the schoolhouse two miles west of Buck Grove. He stood outside on the schoolhouse steps and preached the gospel to neighbors who walked to school. My dad said they could hear him from their farm a quarter mile away. My parents first attended meetings in Coster where they were eventually saved. I remember as a little boy, sitting on Mr. Smith's lap and steering the car on the way home from meeting. I was often stirred by his preaching, but was not saved until later. As a boy, I esteemed him highly, and knew he had a love for my soul.

- MRS. RICHARD (NANCY) ORR - Oliver's daughter
I would like to reminisce a little about my grandfather Oliver. When I was born, my grandfather came to the hospital to see his daughter and new baby. "Grampa" said, "What did you name her? "Mother replied, "Nancy Velle." Grampa said."

I used to have a horse named Nancy."
As I grew older I helped him in the basement. We would cut up rubber hoses and wrap tracts around them secured with a rubber band. Off to the country we would go with hundreds of these tracts. If we saw someone in their yard he would honk his hom and I would throw them a tract. This was just another way he spread the gospel.
As a small child Grampa had made me a little wagon which I played with for many years. The wagon was wearing out so my folks took it to the dump. A few days latter he came home with my wagon. He knew he had made it because my name was painted on the side. Grampa asked, "Who took this to the dump?" My mom and dad had to hang their heads and say, "We did." Grampa always brought more home from the dump than he took there.
When Richard and I were going together, Grampa would take us to conferences with grandma and himself. On August 26th, 1955 he united us in marriage
at the Waterloo hall. Grampa was so proud of his first great grandson, John. He always had him in his arms at conference "showing him off'. After our marriage he lived for five more years. It is with much joy and pride I write a few memones of my grandfather, Oliver G. Smith.

- JUDY KAMPMAN - Oliver's granddaughter
It is with much joy and pride I write a few memories of my grandfather, Oliver
G. Smith. Grandpa loved to see souls saved. I well remember as a child of twelve I called him in Vancouver to tell him I had gotten saved. To this day I like to hear the tape of him speaking with Mr. Ramsey in the gospel. With his voice cracking he says, "You tell me there is nothing to this being saved. My twelve year old grandaughter just called me from Iowa. She said, "Grandpa, I just got saved.""
As a young child I would help him in the basement "putting" aroundEvery
corner was filled with his pastimes. He rigged up an old pump organ to run on a vaccum cleaner so I wouldn't have to pump to play. I enjoyed it even though it was so loud you could hardly hear the music. Grampa loved music and we'd spend many winter evenings side by side on the piano bench singing hymns.
I remember riding in the "Gospel car" on many occasions and throwing out
tracts. We'd make it a little game of who could throw them the closest to a farmers mailbox. If I made a good throw he would say, "The farmer will see that one for sure." When I became a teenager he would say to me, "Lets go to Stout tonight, or lets run over to Hitesville." Away we'd go singing down the highway throwing out tracts and just having fun.
One time near Stout he asked me, "Want to learn to drive?" What an offer! I got behind the wheel and started driving. He forgot to tell me that after you turn a corner you must bring the steering wheel back around, and whoops, right into the ditch. Grampa said, "Don't tell your mom or she won't let you come with me any more." It was our secret for many years.
I can still see Grampa starting a hymn in meeting and cupping his hand over his ear to make sure he would have the right pitch. I have many fond memories of him and know that he is now singing in the heavenly choir.