Samantha Smith made worldwide news in the early 1980s when she wrote the Soviet president, Yuri Andropov, pleading with him to end the “Cold War.” Her letter was reprinted with Russia, Andropov replied and invited her to his country, she and her parents visited the communist country, and she was an instant celebrity there. She became a peace activist, calling for the United States and Soviet Union to end the threat of nuclear war. In 1985, at the height of her very public campaign, she and her father were among eight people to die in a plane crash in her home state of Maine. She was an optimistic and enthusiastic advocate. She reached millions in life and was remembered by millions more in death. The Soviets posthumously issued a postage stamp in her honor and named a mountain after her. Her mother, Jane Smith, started The Samantha Smith Foundation, “dedicated to fostering international understanding,” to reach out to especially children from the Soviet region and participate in various exchange program activities. Jane wrote, “Each generation contributes a building block for the next generation. As individuals, we are particles of earth from which the blocks are formed. I hope Samantha and Arthur have helped us realize how important each one of us can be. Samantha couldn’t accept people’s inhumanity to one another. She stood fast in the belief that peace can be achieved and maintained by humankind. Our Foundation named in her honor will work in that spirit” (www.samanthasmith.info).
What a difference one person can make! Samantha was only 13 when she died, but she was a factor in reconciling to warring nations. Christ came to this earth to bring peace between God and man (Eph. 2:14-17). Having brought us together, He expects us to reconcile the world to God (2 Cor. 5:19-20). Perhaps you think you cannot make much of a difference in this world as only a single Christian with whatever your perceived limitations. Just remember how much one person can do! There was the apostle from Tarsus. There was Alexander Campbell, Marshall Keeble, Gus Nichols, and many others. There is you and there is me. Who knows the good we can accomplish as ambassadors of Christ? Let’s work our hardest to find out!