an interrupted life

by Kayla Raymond

I don’t like being interrupted. I guess, who really does?

I’ve been noticing lately, God likes to work that way, though. Interrupting my life. Sending shockwaves when I least expect it. Putting something in my path that I don’t necessarily even want. Pushing me out of my comfort zone.

I remember very distinctly a phone call I received from my father that has forever interrupted my life. My dad traveled to Haiti for the first time in February 2009. He was excited and the trip had him all pumped up about Haiti. At the time, I was a freshman in college, being true to freshman college ways. I loved where I was, my new friends and everything the college experience was about.

The day my dad called me when he returned from Haiti, I was studying for a big midterm in the student union on campus and to be quite honest, didn’t really care much about his trip. I gave him a few minutes to talk before cutting him off and saying I needed to go, but the conversation ended with him announcing that the whole family was going to go to Haiti that summer, June 2009.

“Whatever dad,” I thought in my mind.

I think you get it, though, we went on that trip and it ruined me. That phone call was the beginning moments of God interrupting my life. The rest is history.

God has interrupted my life many more times since that phone call. He did it just the other week and today I realized that my life will yet forever be changed again because of it.

I was walking through the plantain garden of Simonette headed to Tytoo. The walk is an adventure all of its own, skipping over mud puddles and ducking around trees. I like the walk. Makes me feel more Haitian!

On this particular day, I was walking and had a million and one things on my mind and was in another world. I was stopped in my tracks and someone yelled my name from behind me. So, I snapped back to reality and turned around to find a middle-aged woman short of breath. She had something urgent to tell me and she had my attention as we stood in the hot Haitian sun among the plantain trees.

She told me of her niece: an eight-year-old who couldn’t walk. She pleaded, “Will you just take her?” (always a scary request) I was caught off guard. I said before I could commit to anything I needed to meet this little girl. I was willing right there in that moment to go and meet her. Of course the little girl didn’t live around Simonette, so mom and child needed to travel here.

Regardless of how the conversation ended, this woman hadn’t just interrupted my walk through the garden, God was interrupting my life, even though I had yet to realize it.

Today I finally met Miss Amelisa. Within moments my heart melted.

Three years ago Amelisa and her family’s lives were shaken to the core by the earthquake. Their house crumbled to the ground and both mom and dad were caught in the rubble. The father suffered severe head injuries and left the family. Mom suffers from trauma and hasn’t been mentally stable or healthy since. Little Amelisa survived, but has suffered from a severe bone disease since birth. Her legs are brittle; her arm bones bow out in all directions and her back hunches over quite drastically. She can’t walk or run around like a normal child, but her spirit, seriously her spirit, will make you believe in miracles.

When you ask Amelisa how you can help her, she doesn’t ask for a new body, medicine or help. She says, “I just want to go to school!”

So, trying to make this request possible, I offered mom a job at the school. To show how unstable she is, she said she can’t work with children nor wash dishes in the kitchen. She told me she needs to go to the hospital. Which hospital? The psychiatric hospital. It didn’t seem right at first, but the mom really is in poor conditions. Our conversation was long, filled with way too much adult talk, and Amelisa just sat there patiently with a smile on her face. I stopped the conversation, not thinking the child needed to hear adults talk about details about her and asked her again, “What do you want?”

“I want to stay and go to school!”

Well okay then, school it is!!

We got her a uniform, introduced her to the school pet goat, showed her which classroom she would be in and got her a new backpack. An hour later, after figuring out the rest of the details, Amelisa was admitted into Tytoo’s rescue program. She will be living there until mom returns from the hospital, with a job still waiting for her at the school if she chooses. Her aunt, who interrupted my walk a week ago, will also be working at the school as an aid and to help her get around.

She proudly counted to 10 and showed how she can write, so she’s going to start in first grade. My friend Gerard said, “I want her to go to school because I think she’s going to be the smartest student!”

Gerard is also going to make her a special table fit just for her and our hopes are to find her a wheelchair. Another idea Esther had was to find her an iPad or tablet to allow her to learn with different apps, since her hands do work so well considering her disease. She played around on Esther’s this morning and loved it! If you have an iPad lying around (I know people usually don’t, but just saying…), consider giving it to Amelisa!

I’m so excited for tomorrow, not just because opening day of school with over 900 children will full of excitement, but because I’m going to be able to watch Amelisa’s dreams come true tomorrow.

As my best friend from back home wrote me last night, “It makes it worth it, ya know,” it does…it truly does.

I thank God for interrupting my life and allowing me to tell incredible stories like these.

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And you can be a part of it all, too! Sponsor a child through Touch of Hope for this school year and allow God to interrupt your life through providing hope to these young lives.

(See the Touch of Hope link above to get started on your sponsorship today.)

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