a time for change: in honor of Esther and her family

by Kayla Raymond

Today I said good bye to one of the most incredible and inspiring woman I know. Esther King and her family have officially transitioned out of Tytoo gardens and are taking a much deserved and needed furlough. There are big shoes to fill while they’re gone.

The story of Tytoo Gardens orphanage is quite incredible to begin with. The original founder, Ed Hughes, originally planned to build Tytoo and make it into a night club/brothel. In the process of building, hungry kids kept showing up at the gate and feeding them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches became a bigger priority than his brothel project. Over the years he had a change of heart, found Jesus and founded and orphanage. After passing away in 2009, the orphanage became run down with the children fending for themselves. In 2011, the King’s came in to basically save the orphanage. It is quite easy to say that if it weren’t for them, Tytoo’s gates would have been closed a long time ago.

In 2012, Touch of Hope and my family began partnering with Tytoo. What I have learned from them in the past year and a half can’t possibly be shoved into a blog post.

Esther has been like a second mom to me. As I transitioned into living here full time, she was there to offer advice and always let me cry on her porch. She has this spirit that makes everyone feel welcome and needed. She inspires and never stops giving. The amount of lives her and Frank have touched and literally saved from death are enough to write a book about. (I hope someday they do write one!)

This past Sunday we had a “farewell” beach day in honor of Esther. On our way home, I was captivated by this country. It has given me so many opportunities, put amazing people into my life and blessed me with breath taking sunsets. As we cruised down the road, I had a hard time taking it in. I really didn’t want to say good bye to this woman who I admire and quite frankly depend on so much. But, I know that it was inevitable. Another season was coming to an end and life would be changing. So, I’m just so thankful. I’m thankful for the adventures we have been on together and all the things I got to learn from you. I’m thankful for the cold diet cokes, the hugs, the tears, the mistakes, the victories, the tie dye dresses, the books, the advice and the memories.

We aren’t quite sure what the future holds at this point for Tytoo. There are great people on grounds now to fill in the needed leadership and staff roles. We believe there is a season for everything and if it hadn’t been for their initial obedience to come and save Tytoo, so many people would have gone untouched. For that I say thank you to the King’s. Thank you for turning Tytoo into the honorable, life-saving, authentic mission and orphanage that it is today.

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there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun;
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (abbreviated)

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