the beginning of a new chapter

by Kayla Raymond

Well folks, the time has come, I’m officially leaving for Haiti tomorrow with a one-way ticket. I’ve been asked all sorts of questions in the last week: are you nervous? are you scared? are you excited? are you really going to go there forever?

While, I may have a mixture of all those feelings, I’m just so at peace with where life has taken me and where I’m headed. My life in Haiti started 3 summers ago when I went there for the first time with my family on a week long mission trip. I was quite anxious for that trip and had few expectations. When we landed, I was overwhelmed by the poverty and didn’t know why my dad had brought our family to such a miserable place. By the end of the trip, though, my heart had been broken and I had fallen in love with the country.

The next summer I returned and met Webert. Webert is the character in my story that changed my life. We immediately became best friends. We talked about all sorts of things, prayed a lot together, and laughed the most. That summer I discovered Webert was running a small school that was built out of wooden palettes. My family immediately knew that we needed to help him and the children there. A year later, God provided land for the school and we have now built him and the 150 children that attend there two brand new school buildings. God has been so active in our lives, we just stand in awe at His plan for us.

Through the school, we also started a child sponsorship program that allows Americans to sponsor a child in the school. The money is used for books, supplies, uniforms and food. With the sponsorship program, we started a non-profit organization and named it Touch of Hope. We have been incredibly blessed by people’s support and are excited for what will happen through Touch of Hope.

Aside from the school, I will be working with a company named ViBella jewelry. It was founded by a lady named Julie Hulstein out of Sioux Center, Iowa. ViBella’s mission is to give women in Haiti jobs making jewelry out of recycled plastic. ViBella wants to equip them to provide for their families and provide an encouraging workplace. I will be a manager of one of the centers in Haiti, with my responsibilities being payroll, checking the jewelry and keeping the place organized. For more information on ViBella, visit http://www.vibellajewelry.com

Lastly, when all the work is over, my last responsibility will be taking care of a 5-year-old, who Webert and I have taken into our custody. We rescued Jeffte last summer from a poorly-run orphanage and I can’t wait to be his mom. If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m kind of in love with this character Webert. We started dating last summer and we are very excited to be back together.

It’s going to be quite the journey. I know there are going to be good days, bad days, and very hot days. I know I will be facing poverty, sickness and sadness everyday, but I know that the  moments of sadness will always be triumphed by so many more moments of joy. Follow me now as I start the adventure.

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