the beauty of redemption

by Kayla Raymond

The word redemption has been on my mind and heart lately.

redemption: 1. an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed. 2. deliverance; rescue. 3. deliverance from sin; salvation

I wrote about finding redemption in my family and through my kids over a month ago, click here to read that specific post. So, it started then, this search for the real meaning of that word.

You see how I have been redeemed – set free – by the truth of the gospel. Before marriage, before kids, before our non-profit, before Haiti, I was lost from this truth. The world had shown me its ways and I believed in them. Walked its ways, talked its ways and believed that happiness could only be found in the American dream. What I really believed in was the truth at the bottle of a tequila bottle.

But, the gospel set me free from these lies.

Jesus taught me – little, lousy me – what its really meant to be set free and to be redeemed in Jesus’ name. He set us free on the day His hands were nailed to a cross and how can your life not be changed and renewed by this act.

I stopped believing I had to meet all the protocols of our society and my heart was set on fire for the poor as my eyes were opened to the realities of the poor in Haiti. I never meant to move to Haiti, but the Lord does crazy things with people who find redemption.

So, having myself found this redemption through the gospel, I set out for the Caribbean. I settled in a home with a handsome man and we took in three children. These three children, again, painted a clear picture of what redemption and being set free from evil looks like. My faith grew as our family did.

The first initial dreams were dreamt up on the mountaintop, where our school would be built. I learned, realized and concluded that the only way to raise a generation out of poverty was to educate them. Webert was already at work on this and our non-profit Touch of Hope was founded to help Webert grow his school. I have a notebook full of stories (obviously, this is a figurative notebook in my head, because I’m too lazy to actually write them all out) of children whose lives have been changed because they have found a school to go to for free and are no longer bound by their poverty to abstain from getting an education. After 3 years, nearly 900 children enter through our gate. They sing a hymnal by the flagpole each morning before the school session begins. I stand in the kitchen, which is full of women cooking and humming along, and see how redemption has come.

Another lady announces to me she will be getting married in October. “Will I be her godmother?” she asks. Of course.

Another ViBella employee starts the foundation to her new house – with the help of over 30 people – and I wrap my arm around her, boasting how I am so proud of her. Over lunch break, the rest of the artists stand in a line and toss rocks into the foundation.

Don’t you see, we are being set free. Marriage, jobs, houses. Poverty no longer reigns, redemption has come.

And in God’s perfect timing, I have been offered a new job that will require me to go to the city twice a week. After a year of also searching for a new car, God plopped a car made just for my family on the side of the road the same day I accepted this new job. What’s the new job? I will be working with Papillon Enterprise in Port-au-Prince, managing all of their loose clay beads. Sounds boring, maybe, but not at all! Shelley, the founder, has redemption seeker written all over her and I can’t wait to learn from her. Papillon Enterprise employs over 200 artisans, making jewelry from cereal boxes, clay and aluminum. There’s a pottery project, sewing project, a boutique and a daycare. The managers at Papillon also have the opportunities to learn english, typing and excel.

As Shelley shows me the daycare and computer lab for the first time this past week, a woman walks out of the lab with a printed out chart of something. She shows it off to Shelley and is literally glowing with dignity. Redemption has come.

I will be working alongside the artisans at Papillon and also working with all the customers who place orders. I’m going to be challenged and the opportunity is going to allow me to grow in so many ways. I see it everywhere, people being set free from the poverty, and I am excited to get my hands into this with the hopes I can provide more jobs and bring redemption to more people.

I see how redemption is first and foremost found through Jesus as He offers us eternal salvation. But, I am also seeing how redemption comes as we relieve people from their sufferings. For me, it is relieving them from their dire needs caused by poverty. For you, maybe it means breaking an addiction, clearing all debts, recovering from depression – evil wears many masks – but redemption has one name and one face: Jesus.

I believe Jesus has not forgotten about the poor. I believe His heart is for them and as believers our hearts should be for them as well. I believe He will bring redemption to all people who believe…someday. I think He could easily overlook the village of Simonette and its occupants. Tucked down off the main road, right by the ocean, there just isn’t much to our little village. There has to be much bigger problems out there than the hurting people down here. But, He doesn’t forget about us.

And, what I am most humbled by is that He allows me to live and work where I do and be witness to His many works of redemption. He allows people to be set free even by my works. He places specific visions on my heart and He remains faithful, allowing redemption to come yet again. I come asking and seeking, time and time again, and He, the God of the universe, hears my cries and He provides. I ask for school buildings, people to sponsor our kids, houses for families and jobs for the hopeless. I seek wisdom, peace and contentment. He remains faithful as He has worked wonders on the mountaintop providing so many children with education. He has sent many new families to sponsor children this past month for our sponsorship program. He provided all the money for me to build six new homes for families (three of them are officially finished, the final three to be finished this month.) He has created jobs and ministries like ViBella and Papillon Enterprise, and so many more people I could list here as I have ventured with my boutique, Rosie’s, for a year now.

*enter here another figurative notebook full of miracles, provisions and stories*

And what amazes me is that He continues opening doors, always allowing me to grow and discover Him more. Learning that redemption is never a finished work. It will always be showing up in new ways and at work.

My prayer is that my heart will never be hardened to the truth of redemption nor my eyes blinded by the beauty of redemption. May I see the wonders of His works in the smallest of details in this life; may I not take them for granted; and may I always give glory to the Creator of all things good, the one who makes redemption real and new everyday.

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