The universal language.

I’m sitting face-to-face with a teenager. I want to talk to him, but I know he won’t understand me. And we’ll both draw strange faces and scratch our heads trying to figure out what the other one is saying. I didn’t know what to do. We just stared at each other for a while. He probably thought I was a strange person for just staring. And then when I was about to leave, the corners of his mouth tightened and a smile began to form.

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“Hi,” he said. I was still shocked that he smiled. In orientation, we were told the students probably wouldn’t smile or open up become that they come from broken families. So, I expected to see him frown and try to run away from me, because I was a foreigner to him.

“I know very little English.”

I found hope. I expected no communication whatsoever. I thought I was going to have to just fast from talking. But this boy gave me some hope by try to speak to me.

“What’s your name?” He then said his name, but I did not attempt to say it because I didn’t want to offend him.

“Nice to meet you,” I said. His smile was just so powerful. It began to become contagious that I started to smile at him.

I learned that I didn’t have to know the language to explain how I felt or to be able to communicate with the kids. I had found the universal language. It’s a smile. I knew that just by smiling, God gave me the sign. That’s how I can show my love to others. It’s how I can just be there as someone to support them.

Who knew that a simple smile could make a huge difference? It’s a conversation starter. It’s a symbol to represent that you’re happy to meet someone. I knew that he was happy to meet me. That not only made my day, but it made my whole trip. To see the simple smile directed toward me made me so happy and appreciated.

Kevin, a student at Texas A&M University in Kingsville served with Go Now Missions in East Asia. His last name is withheld for security reasons.

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