• June 15, 2010

Louis, volunteer in Chile - “Vladimir, a story of Redemption”

Louis, Valparaiso

A few weeks ago, we invited Vladimir to eat at home. Vladimir started doing drugs, about 10 years ago. It remains a mys­tery to under­stand his change and to see how drugs destroyed him in the last ten years. Vladi had a wife he loved and still loves, and two chil­dren. He is a very intel­li­gent poet who never sep­a­rates him­self from his little note­book. Ex-pres­i­dent of the local Communist Youth League, he enjoyed a cer­tain aura in the neigh­bor­hood. Listening to him while he is telling us, during a walk by the sea, how he met the one who was to become his wife, I feel anger arising in my heart against God. “How can you allow this?” And yet, there is some­thing mys­te­rious in Vladi, there is no revolt against God. “Yo sigo mi camino” (I’m fol­lowing my path), as he told me another day. One day, as he was get­ting worse and worse, someone put a Bible in his hands and he started screaming and then reading the gospel in his little wooden house. In the depths of his misery, he touched God. One day as we had dinner with him, someone asked him: “What is your favorite book?”. Vladimir answered without hesi­ta­tion: “The Bible”. I asked him why and he replied: “Because I read my life in it”. Vladimir comes closer to Christ not first because it is good to do so, to please his chil­dren, to please us so that we give him to eat. Christ is his hope.

Three days ago, he came, in need for drugs, to see us at around 11:00pm. “Give me 800 pesos to eat!” "Vladi, you know that this is not to eat “” OK, it’s to get high." Vladi needed help so he came to us. “Where else could I go?” He told us echoing the “To whom shall we go?” of Peter to Christ. We’re all tired, I was thinking of going to bed early tonight, I am falling asleep in the chair. But tonight, Vladi in need of drugs, suf­fering, who comes to visit us, is Christ vis­iting us. Maria offers him to eat, Benjamin (future vol­un­teer from Chile) plays a few tunes on guitar and we pro­pose him to do a little prayer in the chapel, fol­lowed by a short wor­ship. Then we accom­pany him to his house. When Vladi falls and takes drugs, he puts his hood on and stares at the floor, repeating that he is a sinner. Our mis­sion is to tell him: "Stop to look at your­self, look at Christ!". I looked at him from the corner of my eye in the chapel during ado­ra­tion and Vladi has steadily raised his eyes on the host. As Juan, his brother-in-law, told us, Vladi con­sumes much less since we met. Probably... Are we a good reha­bil­i­ta­tion center? I do not know, it’s a bit com­pli­cated for me... It’s more simple to say that Vladi is a friend. And this love, this pres­ence is every­thing Vladi needs right now.

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