One Small Smile

by Nicolaj, DTS student


One of the sweet children at the drop in center.
photo by Lauren S.

Anjushri* is a beautiful little girl with short black hair, two small gold earrings, and a lovely red dress. She’s not clean but definitely one of the less dirty kids. If you ask, she says she’s seven, but she looks more like four- or five-years-old to me.

We’re at a drop-in center for children of prostitutes in Mumbai. The drop-in center provides a safe haven for children to go while their mothers are working. My team is there to play with the kids, to show them healthy affection and love, and to teach them about Jesus.

Anjushri is very shy at first. She sits on a bench in the corner, alone. I make eye contact with her and smile. She looks away really fast, like she’s been found when she thought no one could see her. Then she looks back at me and smiles one of the cutest smiles I have ever seen. It lights up her whole face. That smile made my day!

Still, she sits by herself. I don’t want her to miss out on all the fun. So I sit nearby and play with some of the other children.

After some time, she must have decided I’m ok because she comes right up to me. She takes my hand in hers and follows me everywhere the rest of the day.

We return to the drop-in center the next day. I wonder if Anjushri will be there again and if she will remember me. I shouldn’t have worried — as soon as she sees me, she runs to me and gives me a big hug.

Anjushri may only be four years old, the daughter of a prostitute, who is looked down upon and sent away every day. But she is a special daughter of the King, created with purpose, loved, and special. I’m so glad that my small smile and friendship those days let her know she is loved.

I’m learning that even small acts of love—even a small smile—can change hearts and transform lives. We are put here on earth to love God and love people. Our job is to love the best we can and then the Holy Spirit will transform hearts and bring people into the kingdom of God.

* name and photo changed for the story to protect her privacy.