an unexpected neighbor

by Kayla Raymond

We are gathered in a circle. Hand in hand, complete strangers but now new best friends. She prays, “thank you Jesus for Webert’s school and for bringing us together.” Goosebumps ran up my spine as I witnessed this beautiful circle close. It is a circle full of children, miracles, grace, provision, sponsors, and real relationships.

This past weekend Ron and Sandy had the opportunity to meet two of their sponsored children for the first time. They brought gifts and showered them and their families with love. We visited the children’s homes, met their parents and saw an ugly puffer fish being prepared and cooked. We got dusty and sweaty, but I was inspired by the love they had to share to their neighbors.

Ron and Sandy with Klinesha

Ron and Sandy with Klinesha

Maybe they are not the kind of neighbors you expect. Ron and Sandy are from South Dakota and ClaudeBensky and Klinesha are from a small village called St. Gerard on an island in the Caribbean. They come from a land of wealth and these children live in poverty. Their skin colors are different and they don’t speak the same language but there was something deeper that brought them together.


Ron and Sandy with ClaudeBensky and his family

Ron and Sandy with ClaudeBensky and his family

It’s the best part of my job: bringing people together. People who wouldn’t have ever met had it not been for a school built on a mountaintop. People who wouldn’t have ever met had it not been for miracles and a lot of grace. People who get to have real relationships with their each other. We get to witness God’s faithful provisions by providing us with sponsors for our children.

Sponsorships keep our school running. It keeps close to 900 children educated and fed. It allows more than 50 people to be employed. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s real. I know it seems like we’re far away and my stories seem so wild, but I believe with all my heart that these are the neighbors Jesus talks about. These are the least of these. They are the ones we aren’t supposed to just walk by and ignore.

Ron and Sandy rocked my world and truly blessed me this past weekend. Realizing, yet again, that there is always more love to give. There are always more ways to be a blessing to our neighbors. It’s a beautiful circle and a beautiful thing when we join in His work together. The relationships are pure, honest and simple. Nothing better than complete strangers hugging and praying together all because a school was built on a mountaintop and a God who made it all possible.

Be a part of it all. It’s a beautiful thing. See the Touch of Hope link to start sponsoring a child today.