raise your hands
by Kayla Raymond
I guess the story starts with a brave soul raising her hand in the midst of a crowd. She raised her hand as a declaration to accept Jesus into her heart.
Viola is a single mother of four, living in a tent house with a dirt floor. The father of her children left her with no reason at all and I’m not sure what gave her the courage to raise her hand on that warm summer day. Since accepting Jesus into her life, she has gotten a job and just recently found out her family will be receiving a new home, as part of a government project. Her story is a testimony of the Lord’s faith to his wandering sheep.
I haven’t been the same since the day Viola accepted Jesus. She’s not just a friend, but more of a sister. When she fell and hurt her arm, I made sure she had what she needed. When I was tired, I laid my head on her shoulder. When she had a fever, I grabbed her cheeks and asked what’s wrong. When I had a stomachache, she brought me cold water. She looks to me for provision and hope. I look at her and see the hope.
Some of my favorite moments in Haiti are when I’m welcomed with open arms into homes. Not the kind of welcoming we are use to in the United States. There’s no foyer to kick off your shoes, no comfy sofa to make you feel at home, no kitchen table to gather around, no pot of coffee or coke on the rocks. But, there is a spirit of hospitality all of its own. It’s an awkward moment of trying to fit into the tiny homes to begin with. Then taking a moment and realizing the amount of nothingness they possess. They’ll offer a wooden chair or a sunken bed to sit on. You will feel almost guilty if you don’t sit. So you make yourself comfortable, or as comfortable as possible.
Yesterday I went to visit Viola and was welcomed precisely this way. A group of 10 of us, including many children, gathered inside her house to pray. A house that holds three beds and a table neatly organized with cups and bowls. A house with a dirt floor, the cleanest dirt you’ll ever see. A house with just one little window, to let in a little breeze. A stack of clothes packed in the corner, but other than that, not much…not much at all.
We gathered there and I shared with visitors how the Lord was working in her life, then we prayed for more provision, more faithfulness and more grace. We said “amen” and I tickled a little girl on our way out. On the path leading back to the truck I noticed another little girl with a large bandage wrapped around her chest and shoulder. I knelt down and asked, “Kisa ou genyen la cheri?” What do you have there, sweetheart? Boule. A burn. I peeled back her bandage just for a peek and realized it was severe.
I searched for the mom and asked how did it happen, how long ago, have you seen a doctor.
It was from a candle.
One month ago.
Doctor David (a local medical remedy doctor, so no doctor at all)
I took mom and daughter, 5-year-old Magdalie, to a close by nurse. As we peeled back the bandage, I could help but turn away in horror. Complete raw skin across her chest going under the armpit. She cried out in pain, not trusting anyone. As the nurse went to clean the wound, she cried “mwen vle fe pou kont mwen” I want to do it by myself.
She’s got more bravery in the tip of her fingers than I do in my whole body. She cleaned her wound and put on the cream all by herself. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Today as I went to her home to change the dressing, it was the same thing. I got on my knees, with shaking hands and watery eyes as she bravely tore away the bandage and applied the cream. I held back the tears just for her sake, but I was so scared, so sad, and so worried for this small life.
Tomorrow Magdalie and mom will be seeing a burn specialist. After one month, she will finally be getting the care she deserves.
I thought of Magdalie today as I sang in Easter service church. As I read scripture about Jesus being whipped, beaten and nailed to a cross, I thought of Magdalie. I read about the resurrection and the healing and the hope.
I read that he died for me.
And for you.
I read that he will bring healing to those he loves and if we dare to raise our hands to accept him, he will grant us eternal lives in heaven.
I believe he died to save me. To save Magdalie. To save Viola. To save you.
I believe, by prayer, he will heal Magdalie’s body.
And I believe, by faith, someday we will all dance and sing with our Heavenly Father in new bodies. In new and perfect bodies.
And what a day that will be.
But, today my heart is heavy, so please pray with me for the healing of Magdalie’s body.