Smiling Once More


Her smile is a little crooked, a scar present on her chin, her mouth slightly different. When she speaks there is the slightest slur and I notice her tongue is not moving exactly right. But when she smiles at me from across the church my heart wants to explode. She is so beautiful, so full of joy and light, the opposite of the girl I first met.

Summer of 2012, we were visiting Charye for church with our team. The team’s goal was children’s ministry and we were holding VBS all week. Mary joined the team in faith, with an open heart and mind, even though she knew only one other team member prior to the trip.

When we first met Julian she was broken: head down, the bill of her hat pulled down low over her face, eyes to the ground. Her father practically pulled her to us, pleading with us to help her. At first I thought she was just a sullen teenager until he propped her head up by gently lifting her chin.

The tumor distorted half of her face. Her mouth was pulled to the right, gaping open. Even her right eye was being pulled from the weight of it, as if she had a softball tucked into her right cheek. Her eyes were full of pain, and honestly full of shame. Teenage girls all want to be beautiful, even in a tiny village in Haiti.

Dad explained that they had consulted with a surgeon who was able to operate. The problem was simply the cost: 400 US dollars.  Her eyes pleaded with me, hundreds of dollars might as well be millions. It was impossible without help, quite possibly a year’s salary.

I began to cry, knowing that Julian’s life would be full of pain in her current condition. Mary stepped up and covered the cost of that surgery.  Now, four years later, I see Julian in church, smiling and happy. A few hundred dollars changed her life. It made her beautiful and joyful again.

At home four hundred dollars is not usually life-changing. A cheap electronic, something for the house or a few outfits versus literally changing a life. Julian will be forever grateful, as are we, for the change in her life due to the generosity of a team member.

Who’s life could you change, with just a few hundred dollars? You can give, right here.


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