When Mindy Bryant went to Karaganda for a short-term missions trip, she discovered that it lives up to its nickname, “The City Where No One Smiles.” She saw hopelessness and hardness on the faces of those who passed by her in this major city in Kazakhstan, which had been part of the former Soviet Union.

Of all the casualties of the communist system, perhaps Karaganda has suffered most. Graft and corruption touched all aspects of society. Today, jobs are few, money is scarce, little food and medicine are available, and stores are empty. No one, including governmental leaders, knows what to do next. It’s a city without hope. No wonder it seems that no one smiles!

But Mindy discovered that there are some people living in Karaganda who do smile. Their faces reflect the joy that is in their hearts because they have trusted in Jesus Christ. Knowing that they will dwell forever with the Lord in the place He is preparing, they have hope.

What about your city? Even though its people have jobs, food, and goods in abundance, many probably are not smiling because they do not have hope in Christ. Perhaps the joy in your life and in your words can bring some of them to salvation and give them something to smile about.