by Kayla Raymond
The past few weeks have been quite a blur with 16 different visitors coming to visit my little world here in Haiti. It was three weeks full of work, laughter and great fellowship. As I downloaded and clicked through all the pictures, I’m reminded how blessed I am to have the family and friends that I do. Especially family and friends who are willing to travel thousands of miles to see me!
Here are a few of my favorite moments from the past few weeks:
A 10-year-old girl from Rock Rapids had gathered gifts for her sponsored child instead of receiving presents for herself for her golden birthday. It was a blessing to deliver the presents, along with my pastor, his wife, my mom and Webert. We met Wilna, the sponsored child, and her two brothers standing outside their tent, which they call home. They invited us in, to only find a small pot of rice steaming on a small open fire and a stuffy tent being help together by ropes and scraps. Inside were two small beds and a shelf holding their belongings. In the corner, I recognized three neatly hung school uniforms. We all gathered and scrunched inside, got down on our knees and watched as their eyes lit up with joy. Mackenlove, the oldest, separated all the presents and was most excited about the brightly colored sunglasses. Wilna couldn’t believe her new beautiful clothes, and Ismaelove, the youngest, held on tight to his new stuffed toy.
Pastor Dan and Sue also got to meet their sponsored boy, Lorguens. I had recently noticed an absent Lorguens in school and finally got the opportunity to get to the bottom of the situation when Dan and Sue arrived. We were informed his school uniform had been stolen, hence his absence in school. We are getting him a new uniform sewn and hope to see him back in school after Easter break!
Three friends from Omaha also visited and two of them ran a clinic at Tytoo, seeing over 120 patients in 3 days! The first night they got here, we went to a worship service and the lights were out, so spent 2 hours worshipping in complete darkness. I remember feeling so alone, not being able to see anyone and knowing no one could watch me except for the Creator himself. Worshipping in complete awe, one on one with Him.
On our way home, we rode in the back of the truck with a group of teenage girls and laughed the entire way. Riding in the pitch dark, with nothing but the stars and moon lighting up the sky. Haiti has a way of striking me in moments such as these.
Julie, founder of Vi Bella, also made her way to Haiti with a group. My favorite moment with them was having a worship time up at the school and praying over the land. As we prayed, all I could think about was all the miracles that took place to make our time together possible: ownership of the land, my mom’s recovery from Hepatitis A, the dreams of Vi Bella, the visions for the mountaintop, the growth of our school and the chance for believers to gather in a place where the Holy Spirit sweeps through the wind and before you is the ocean and behind you are the rolling mountains.
In the past few weeks we have also begun construction for our third school building, which of course is amazing too! Major renovations have also been happening at Tytoo, including a new kitchen, new sidewalks, new team rooms, a new baby room and a new apartment for staff!
My biggest adventure was with my brother and his friend, Ben. We left to go kayaking, Luke pulling me on a floatie behind. By the end of our trip, we had a broken paddle, tipped kayak full of water, a lost floatie and total surrender. We luckily had some passing by fishermen who we paid to bring us home!
Other favorite moments included herding goats; shopping in a market full of art made of tin; learning how to clean, gut and grill fresh shrimp; feeding baby goats; playing pegs & jokers (board game); being a translator; listening to my boys pray before meals; watching the sunsets; eating cake; having movie nights; playing sand volleyball; learning how to fly a kite; building a chicken coop; meeting newborn babies; seeing prayers be answered; being with old friends; making new friends; and being fully captivated by an all-knowing and all-loving Father.
All in three short weeks! God is good.
Love from Haiti