Frowns Turn to Smiles

This true account is about a little girl named Abhaya*. One day, when Abhaya was only three, her mother tragically and suddenly died. Her world changed that day.

Shocked and saddened, the father tried to pick up their lives and move forward. Because he had to keep working, he needed to find good care for his little daughter. Grandma moved in with them. She loved Abhaya but, as she grew older, it became very difficult for her to care for her active granddaughter.

Father loved Abhaya and wanted her to have good care in a safe place and have opportunities for a bright future. But how? Where?

Through the help of a kind neighbor, Father was introduced to the Mission. The Mission is a big place where people want to help poor children and people who are suffering. As soon as Father entered the gates, he declared that he sensed peace and joy in his heart that he hadn’t experienced since his wife died. He knew for sure that his beloved daughter was in the right place. Even so, parting with her was heartbreaking. Abhaya didn’t want her father to go.

Three days later, the Mission Director heard a soft knock on her office door. A forlorn face appeared in front of her. It was Abhaya. “Auntie, I don’t want to be here! Take me to my daddy! I hate school!

Who but God could possibly understand Abhaya’s heartache—she had endured the death of her mommy, the separation from her daddy and grandma and her introduction to a ‘strange,’ huge place. Each morning gave rise to Abhaya’s excuses to avoid school: “I have a tummy ache. The kids at school are mean to me.” On and on it went.

The Director hugged her, wiped the tears from her cheeks, whispered some loving words into her ear and assured her she’d visit her that evening. True to her promise, she visited the Sunflower Family that evening. And there Abhaya was: no smile, no brightness, just a confused, dull expression. Taking her close, the Director asked what she could do for her. She said that she would like her to visit her school, the Mission’s English-Medium School, like other kids’ moms did. She assured her she would.

Again, making sure she was true to her promise, the Director marched to school one morning when it was time for recess. The moment Abhaya saw her, she beamed with delight and right away began to introduce her to her friends with whom she was eating lunch. The Director felt so very happy to see Abhaya’s frowns become smiles!

After those first difficult weeks, Abhaya settled into the Sunflower Family in her new home and opened up to those around her. Her housemother grew up in the Mission herself and can identify with the many problems children face when they come.

Like all little girls, Abhaya loves to play. One of her favorite pastimes is climbing on the jungle gym. She laughs and runs with the many girls in the playground. She also enjoys singing and has begun to pray small prayers during her family’s devotion time.

Abhaya’s big, sparkly eyes seem to be full of endless questions, and she is now cheerfully going to school. Best of all, gone are the tears and forlorn face: big, bright smiles shine much of the time.

*Names changed for privacy and security. Images representative.

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