Compasio’s decision to say “Yes” when everyone else said “No” has altered the course of a life— and not just one, but all those Moe Joe will come to know. Actually knowing Moe Joe makes the “calculated risk” of welcoming him in and building a friendship with him an easy decision.
You may be familiar with pieces of his story we’ve shared before – they’re heavy, but they are not the end. Fidgeting and looking down at his hands, Moe Joe strokes his fingers as he talks about being a four year old watching his father die at the hands of his best friend, losing his mom to depression, being locked up and not fed by his ‘caretaker,’ being a twelve year old taken and employed by a drug Lord, and being wary still to fall asleep at night. His eyes are red, like they haven’t seen enough sleep in years as he has processed the mistrust, fear, violence, confusion, and nightmares that life has dealt him.
But Moe Joe’s spirit is different than it was when he showed up at Compasio. He has called the Border Equipping Center home for the last nine months— his first safe one ever. Pain, anger, confusion, loss and distrust are as real as ever, but they are being faced head on with love, listening, kindness, responsibilities, and in safety. Moe Joe admits that he used to think that no one was inherently worthy of trust, but in reference to his friends at Compasio, he says,
“This group is totally different.”
He sees them as family. Since he came to Compasio, Moe Joe’s desires have changed. He is completely free from drugs, and no longer bursts out in anger. He is helpful and happily fulfills his responsibilities to clean and maintain the BEC. He wants to take hold of his future, and although he has the same “what if” questions as any nineteen year old, he perks up when he talks about his dream of owning a soft drink factory. He likes the creativity he associates with that job, and the caffeine is a plus, too. Having never attended school before, he would also like to take adult learning courses and is currently learning Thai so he is able to do so.
The most transformative piece of Moe Joe’s story is not even his own healing, but that he longs to offer safety and healing to others. He says he will do anything to find ways to help kids who are stuck in situations like he was. He will not stand to see anyone bullied or taken advantage of. He desires to fight for the safety and security of others. Compasio’s ‘yes’ to befriending Moe Joe has turned to Moe Joe’s ‘yes’ to living his dreams. And there’s not a even a chance that the legacy will stop there.