He's a boy with no address, who lives in a nondescript mud hut... Just like the other ones in his village - down a long, winding gravel road-- on a street with no name.
It's a school with no walls, a school with no phone. A school made up of four poles, a roof, and a dirt floor.
I'm 1,500 miles away.
But the boy with no address has a one in a million smile that would light up a room. He has a spirit that transcends language barriers. The boy with no address has a permanent home in the hearts of all the people he meets, and somehow, without even speaking the same language, he's convinced me to do everything I can to help him succeed.
The thing no one tells you about missions is that they are hard, frustrating, can be excruciatingly agonizing. Behind the smiling, perfect pictures is hard, unending work - countless phone calls, sleepless nights, tearful conversations. Going on a mission trip changes most people. You don't come back the same person... Brooke Frasier sings "Now that I have seen, I am responsible" after her mission trip to Rwanda. How can you not want to do everything in your power to help when you may be someone's only hope?
But progress is hard. My Haitian friend TB reminds me, "step by step. Have patience, my sister."
I'm trying to get Vilanio enrolled in school. When I met Vilanio and his mother Madeline in December of 2013, I asked her what I could do to help. With a little prying, she shyly told me that because of Vilanio's accident (he's paralyzed from the waist down after falling from a mango tree) and the accompanying financial strain on their family, he hadn't been going to school. She said she needed help getting him enrolled in school and I promised to help.
A year later, Vilanio still isn't in school. We traveled to see him in September. It was a wild trip. We couldn't get ahold of his family, but decided to chance it and travel halfway across Haiti on a wild ride including using motos, a public bus, and a tap tap. I didn't know if we'd make it, honestly. I was nervous that we were wasting a day and a lot of resources on a wild goose chase that may not pan out. But it seemed like God was encouraging us to go. So we did. And it did pan out. As soon as we pulled down the rutty, dusty road where he lived and immediately saw Madeline standing there (what are the chances?), I was like the Grinch whose heart grew three sizes.
And I know this will work out too. But in the meantime, it's so incredibly frustrating. Each day brings it's own challenges. At first, we couldn't get in touch with the school. The number painted on the side of the school didn't work. Madeline's number was lost. Along with it, hope. But the number magically re-emerged, and along with it a renewed sense of purpose. Each (painfully slow) step brings us closer to getting Vilanio in school and a brighter future. It'll all be worth it, I know it will. Because I know that one day the boy with no address will be a big part of mapping out a brighter future for his village and for Haiti.
"I have learned that I will not change the world, Jesus will do that. I can however, change the world for one person." Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie