12/30/2017: Awakening Smiles in a Sorrowful Land

Awakening Smiles in a Sorrowful Land

A young missionary shares hope and Jesus’ love in India.

India. All of the sadness and pain here really gets to me sometimes. So many don’t know Jesus. When I look into their faces, I see pain and hardship. I try to smile at all the ladies and children I pass, but rarely do I get a smile back. At times I feel so burdened with the work that needs to be done. Then I remember that the Lord only calls me to do my part faithfully, and let the circle widen from there.

My girls have many struggles, so at times it can be hard to know how to help them as their dean. But God somehow uses me. One by one, I have been taking each of the 23 girls to buy clothes. They glow with happiness as they twirl around in their new skirts—but I think I get the most joy from it. Because of my frequent visits to the little village market, people have begun to smile and wave when I walk by or stop in at their little shops. I love making them laugh at my attempts to communicate! It’s a fun way to make friends.

One day I took a student named Sikha to the doctor for help with an infected eye. As I sat down in the waiting room, Sikha lay her head on my lap. As usual, it felt like everyone stopped to stare at the strange-looking white girl. A young woman sitting next to me kept casting glances my way until she finally got up the courage to ask me what I was doing here and where I came from. I could make out some of her broken English, and since she had been to college she seemed to understand me fairly well. What we couldn’t understand, little Sikha translated. We had a good chat, and after our appointments, she and her mother helped us get a taxi. As I waved goodbye, I wondered if I would see her again.

One week later, I found myself back at the hospital. At the check-in counter, I turned and there she was! We both had huge smiles as we hugged each other! As we sat in the waiting area, she shared that she had been married five years, but had not been able to have children. She told me that her in-laws were angry, but her husband was so good to her. She looked as if she could cry.

I told her about women in the Bible like Hannah and Sarah who had the same grief in their hearts, and that God sometimes has us wait so we can learn to trust. I told her that I’d be praying for her, and said, “I know the Lord will bless you! I think God planned for us to meet again today!” Even though she is Hindu, she agreed. I never saw her again, but I pray God will use our talk to touch her heart.

One night, as I was having goodnight prayers with the girls in the dorm, one of them said to me, “Miss, please pray for me that I can tell my family about Jesus!” My heart did a leap! I said to her, “Heaven is rejoicing to hear this prayer of yours!” Oh how she smiled! Another girl asked the same request another time. Even though her Father is a drunk who beats her and her little brother, she wants to share Jesus with them both.

I am so blessed, happy and grateful to be working here at this school! The challenges are many, but the Lord always, always gives strength and wisdom sufficient. He awakens smiles in this sorrowful land!



Cortney Johnson

Cortney was a volunteer missionary at a school in India when she wrote this story.




Pray for the dear children attending missionary schools in India and other non-Christian areas. Many of them come from sad homes, and they need Jesus!

Pray for missionaries to be sent into Earth’s dark places.

Donate to the work of a volunteer or student missionary you know, and send them notes of encouragement. Give them smiles to share with sorrowing souls around them!

Leave a Reply