Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 10, 2012

A Beautiful Thing

Kolkata, India

One of the most important things I have learned by serving at Mother Teresa’s homes is that you don’t have to speak the same language in order to communicate with others. Volunteers from all over the world come to Kolkata to serve in Mother Teresa’s homes. However, not all of these volunteers speak English and even less speak Hindi or Bangla, the two languages spoken by those who reside in Mother Teresa’s homes. What makes the process of communication work is that those who come here to serve have a measure of fluency in the language of smiles. I have once again enjoyed my time with the men at Prem Dan. Whether I walk through the courtyard or the dormitories, I make it a point to stop and engage with the men and make every effort to make them smile. Mother Teresa said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

I appreciate how our students have embraced and cared for the least of these. By so doing they have unwittingly become ambassadors of smiles, not only at Mother Teresa’s homes but also at the aftercare homes and other places where they have interacted with others. They have generated lots of laughter and brought smiles to the faces of those they have met. This afternoon Devon, one of the young ladies on our team, told me about a woman at Prem Dan who refused to smile. Devon told me that she made it her aim to bring a smile to this woman’s face but to no apparent avail. However, when we returned to Prem Dan this morning, the woman not only smiled when she saw Devon, she embraced her — a reminder that you can make a difference in the lives of others if you will just keep trying no matter what.

We should never underestimate the value of making others smile. Doing so may not seem like something that is particularly deep or spiritual, but it is. We can never know the kind of pain, hurt, or despair that others may be dealing with and how God can use something as simple as a smile to bring a measure of relief or to remind others that He has not forgotten them. The great thing about being an ambassador of smiles is that you do not need any money to purchase your inventory. You just have to be intentional about noticing others around you and then delivering your smile to them free of charge. They may not necessarily acknowledge your gift but do not lose heart — trust that God will use it. It may take time, as in the case of the woman that Devon spoke to me about, but it’s worth the wait to see the results. And, as Mother Teresa said, that’s a beautiful thing!

Nate and Jon bringing a smile to a resident at Prem Dan.


  1. This is amazing! Your blog is very inspirational!

    One of my goals in life is to visit, or at least do something for Mother Teresa’s homes…

    Being born and raised in that environment and being in a much more luxurious society now, I realize the pain and gloom these people must feel. After graduating from college, I hope to give back to the homes, inshAllah.

    Btw, do let me know if you ever need help translating anything from Bangla and Hindi (I’m pretty sure you have hundreds of people to do that already, but still…) I’m fluent in both of those.

    Thanks, I enjoyed reading. And also, thank you for doing what you are doing.. You may not hear it enough..But, thank you..

    • Thank you for your kind words, Rifat. I hope that you will indeed have an opportunity to serve at Mother Teresa’s homes some day. It is an amazing experience. Blessings.

      • You’re welcome, and keep it up! 🙂

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