Vladimir is a 25 year old young man who lives in Oruro, Bolivia with his mother and 4 brothers and sisters. His father abandoned the family 10 years ago, and Vladimir supports himself by working as a helper on construction jobs.

Vladimir’s problem began about 5 years ago when he was assaulted and hit in the face. From that time on, he found it very difficult to breathe. He never felt that he could get enough air, and it was especially difficult to breathe when he would lie down to sleep. He was also plagued with frequent nose bleeds. He went to a specialist, who told him that he needed surgery. For Vladimir, surgery was not an option because he had no money.

Vladimir had a 19 year old sister who was attending the university. One day she received a pamphlet which listed international foundations working in Bolivia. Inside the pamphlet, Mission of Hope was listed as an institution that provides free surgeries. So, Vladimir rode the bus 17 hours from Oruro to Santa Cruz to find out about the surgeries. When he arrived in Santa Cruz in January of this year, he did not know anyone. He went to an agency to find work and got a job selling ice cream in the street. In the days that followed, he was seen at the clinic and put on the list for surgery. He returned to Oruro to wait for the team’s arrival in April.

Again in April, he rode the bus 17 hours, which took all of his money. He arrived in Santa Cruz the week before surgery to complete his pre-op lab work and find out if he was on the final surgery list. He walked the streets until he found a man painting a house that was under construction. He offered to help and was allowed to sleep at night in the house that was under construction. The house had no windows or roof, so when he woke up, he found that he was covered in mosquito bites. In an effort to keep the mosquitos away from his face, he smeared his face with toothpaste, which burned his skin.

Finally, he was admitted for surgery. After a successful surgery, Vladimir was able to breathe clearly for the first time in years! It was also during his recovery that we heard the story of how he had overcome so many obstacles to have the surgery he needed. The surgery team gave an offering and Vladimir flew by plane back to Oruro! Vladimir was so very thankful for the love and care he received!