celebrating coming home
by Kayla Raymond
Five months ago I came to you with a God-sized vision…today I celebrate, with you, how this vision has come true.
I am so humbled and amazed how all the pennies trickled in and amounted into a total much greater than I expected. How God used your dollars and multiplied them into answered prayers and new homes. How it only took days for us to reach our goal, when I thought it would take weeks or months. How compassion filled me and nothing but grace and miracles poured out into the occupants of these new homes. And, how so many more miracles continue to happen in these households and through the people inside.
Over the past five months, foundations have been poured, concrete blocks have turned into walls and keys to new homes have been given away.
Over the past five months, six beautiful families have been given a secure and dry place to call home.
And now the time has come to celebrate all of these homecomings.
You have broken me and driven me since the day I met you in your ragged blue dress. I’m sure you remember that day. You were hiding under a small tree, trying to catch a break in the shade from the hot sun. I was busy passing by on a moto and barely noticed you. You popped out and said you needed me. I said I was too busy. I told you to come to my house later. You came. I had nothing to give you and I was sorry I even told you to come. But, you came again. You came every week for about six months straight. I never had anything to give you. But, there you would be again, at my gate, hopin’ for a miracle. I could see the look in your eyes: you were tired. Tired of working so hard, but never having enough to feed your children. I saw the desperation and I wanted to take it all away. I saw your tiny frame and that blue dress became too familiar as you wore it every time you came to visit me at my gate. But, the miracle finally came. God built you a house and I got to be the vessel. We celebrated on the concrete floor as you danced like a child on Christmas day. I wanted to capture all the joy you resonated as you opened the door to your new home to show me inside. I wanted to put all that joy in a bottle and hold on to it for all the years to come. There wasn’t a glimpse of fear or hurt in your eyes and how I loved seeing you like that for the first time since I met you. Nata, dear, I can’t tell you how happy I am that God made a way for you to have a new home for you and your babies.
I have cherished you since the day I met you. I will never forget when you raised your hand in the crowd of people to accept Jesus as your Savior and I learned your name. I have loved getting to know you and see you grow. We have had so many conversations about building you a new house and I never knew if it would be possible. But, the day has come and we celebrate in your new home. No more will we pray together in a house of blue tarp with dirt under our feet, but now we have a solid foundation to bow our heads on. And, I love how you have opened your new home to your sister and her four children. You are using your gifts to take care of others and I cherish you even more for that. We will pray for your sister and the unknown lump in her throat to be healed. Thank you for your heart. You inspire me to be a better person.
You too, have inspired me since the day I met you. Remember when you abandoned your daughter Daphta at an orphanage gate because you couldn’t take care of her? We then gave you a job at the school as a cook and you have been able to care for your babies ever since. Three years later we celebrate all that God has done. You now have a home with a bed for you to rest your head on at night. I see how you have become so fragile from the tuberculosis and we pray for continued healing. I hope this house is a house of healing and comfort to you and your family. May you no longer worry about nights of rain, but are renewed every new morning.
I see this picture of you standing in front of your new house and am nearly speechless. You, too, came to my house looking for a glimpse of hope and on that day I had nothing but a jar of peanut butter and the change in my husband’s pockets to give you. I remember you telling me how the only food your children ate most days was what they were given at school. I appreciated your honesty, but your honesty also broke me. I wanted to put together all the pieces and have life give you a break. Today, we celebrate the break life has given you. I like to think that first jar of peanut butter was the start to something new and beautiful. I see you now, as you wash the dishes at the school and am so grateful you’ve been given that job. You teach me how joy can come from all circumstances, even when washing dishes for hundreds of school children. I loved welcoming you into your new home as you prepare to have your sixth baby with your husband. May this baby not know what hunger is. May this baby know how beautiful, strong and wonderful his mama is, too. Clivianne, dear, you deserve mother of the year.
Your smile is so contagious. Your faith and joy, as well. God has taught me so much through you, do you know that? I remember how you came to me with nothing but a cooler full of Coke and 7-up, explaining you needed a better way to feed your six babies. The pop business just wasn’t cutting it. I remember how warm your hug was when I asked if you wanted to come on staff at the school as a cook. I’m so happy you won’t have to worry about rainy nights anymore, either. I won’t ever forget the innocence in your daughter’s eyes when she told me she gets wet every time it rains. Do you know how badly my heart ached for your family? Not knowing if I could help you in your disintegrating house. But, God showed up. I asked for five houses and He made a way for six. He has not forgotten about you, Yolin. You’re a daughter to the one true king and He loves you, even though I know you already know all of this. You may not know, but I watch you in church. I see how you leave it all at His feet. Your faith humbles and teaches me. Thank you for being you.
You are one of those mamas I just don’t know what to do with. Life has been hard on you and I am sorry for that. But, today we celebrate the new home that has been built for you. For you and your four children. And, may they, too, not know what hunger means anymore. May their childhood be filled with memories of school and play. May they always remember how mama walked them to and from school every day, loving them all the way. Even when you had nothing to give, you stayed by their side. I see how you’re tired, too. My prayer is for this new home to bring you rest. May you feel comforted in this house and have the strength to carry on.
Friends, stories of redemption have been written. Your faithfulness and giving has spoken measures and lives have been changed. What’s so awesome is that these mamas are going out and making a difference in their communities. They’re inspired by what’s happened in their lives and they want to touch people. They want to make this world a better place, too.
I’m a mama and this Sunday I’m celebrating that. Along with all the rest of the mamas in the world. So many mamas are hurting, but these last six mamas are relieved from so much of their hurt because a roof for their babies have been given to them. Thank you for making this mother’s day a day to celebrate for us in Haiti. But, before we go, there’s of course one more mama I want you to meet. Her name is Denise and I’m wishing for another story of redemption to be written for her and her babies. She lost her home in the earthquake five years ago, too. She then lost her husband two months later. She was pregnant with her fifth child when he passed away. She sold most all of her possessions to pay for his funeral. Denise and her five children now live in a broken home made of tin and cloth. Her children have never gone to a day of school. A new home would mean a new beginning.
Can we do one more? One more house? Write one more story of redemption?
We have no day but today to make a difference in this world. Denise is waiting. I need $3,500 to give this sweet family a home.
I know it’s hard to just keep praying when that is all you have been doing for the past five years. I’m sorry you lost your home in the earthquake and lost your husband two months later. My heart aches for you. I see your babies, their tiny frames and how they light up when I ask them if they want to go to school. I want that glimpse of hope to last. I want them to know God has not forgotten them. I see how your house is falling apart, how can we actually expect the tin and cloth to hold in the Caribbean heat and the hard rains? How your body must always ache from sleeping on a piece of plywood. I can’t imagine how tired and worn you must be. Sweet Denise, I hate that this is your reality, but believe me, God has not forgotten about you. Do you see my friends? Have you seen their homes? God did that. And, I believe it’s your turn for Him to do that for you and your babies, now. I’m praying for you. I’m praying for God to make a way. It’s time for your story to be heard and I can’t wait for the day when I write you to celebrate how He made a way.
Until that day,
Donations can be sent to
Touch of Hope, 205 Old Mill Lane
Rock Rapids, Iowa 51246
or click here to donate through PayPal
leave a note or memo: house for Denise
*all donations are tax deductible*