Feature Friend

My “Rae” Of Sunshine

This is my incredibly beautiful friend Rachel “Rae” Birdsall.

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Rachel is pictured in the middle with her sister-in-law, Kasie (left) and sister, Nicole (right) in July 2012.

We met many years ago here in Forest Lake. She is an amazingly talented hairdresser. Rachel has a daughter, Kira, who is 14 years old. She has raised Kira on her own and Kira is the sunshine to her every day.

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Kira and Rachel at a Haiti fundraiser February 2013

In meeting Rae, you’ll find that she is one of the most God-filled people around. Her heart is huge and the warmth radiates from here to where her heart really resides- Haiti.  She has taken an active part in following her passion in serving the less fortunate and has felt called to help the Haitian people and their communities. Rae has traveled 15 times in the last 3 yrs; of those times Kira has accompanied her 5 times.  As they say the apple doesn’t fall from the tree, Kira is proof of this.  Rachel has given so much of her time, talents, and treasures to the least of these.  Her love for this country is unending ❤ She has worked a lot in the orphanages and in 2010, she was asked to be a Godmother to a baby girl by the name of Sherlanda.

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Rachel and Sherlanda only hours after her birth.

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The day Sherlanda was born.

 November 4, 2010

Maria (mother), Rachel, and Guillaume (father)

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Shersunny (sister of Sherlanda), Rachel and Sherlanda at a playground of an orphanage their parents used to work at.

Rae was in Haiti right after the earthquake hit January 2010. Her pictures are some of the most amazing pictures I’ve seen. To see first-hand the devastation is pretty eye opening.

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Can you imagine carrying your only water supply on your head? She is only 12yrs old and this bucket of water weighs 50+ lbs.

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 Having fun amongst the hard life they are about to face getting older.

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Kira’s first trip at the young age of 12.  Here you can see her helping lift water buckets onto the childrens heads. She jumped right in. You would have never guessed it was her first time there.

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A nice cozy bed…. How would you like a bed held up by cement blocks?

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One of Rae’s favorite pictures…its says so much with no words.

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Life is neither easy nor clean in Haiti; you make do with all that you have.

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Water is like a pot of gold…we take so much for granted.

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A mother bathing her children in the street with the water we deliver for free.  Usually it’s about $0.60/ 5-gallon bucket and 80% of the population makes less than $2/day. Hard decisions…

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Mother/daughter walk on the shoreline of Cite Soleil, the poorest slum in the world.

Wikipedia calls it the most dangerous place in the world; Rae calls it her favorite place in the world.

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Kira in her element. Joyfilled….spreading the love and shining her

light.

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A child in Cite Soleil roaming; hoping to bring her family something home amongst the ruble.

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It’s a hard knock life….

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Some days are tougher than others. You wish that you could just love them all up.

 

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Playing games…. making light of the hard life they live.

Most of the children in Cite Soleil are “restavecs”…a Haitian word for a child slave.

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One of Rachel’s special children, Malahika.  She asked Rachel if she would take her with her because she didn’t want to be “sold”.  Rachel sends her family money, so she is able to attend school, with hopes of changing the outcome of living life in the slums.

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Haitian’s take everything they have and put it to use…this child is taking this broken crate and making it a riding machine. Would your child want one?

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Praying with some school children in Cite Soleil. To God be all the Glory.

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Kira & Rachel- The adventures of “Kirachel”

Rae even has a tattoo on her wrist.

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“Bondye Beni’ou”, which translates to, “God bless you” in Haitian Creole.

 

The very first tote I made was for her and I embroidered scissors (hairdresser) and the saying “Bondye Beni’ou” on her pocket, I knew with all of the travel this would come in handy.

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Another fun fact about my dear forever friend, she is able to marry people- how cool is that?!

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Rachel got ordained on her 30th birthday.  Her best friend from high school asked her to facilitate her wedding.  She was honored but will only marry people she believes will honor their vows and truly loves one another.

There are many wonderful elements to my dear friend Rachel- I love this girl and I pray for her to continue her work and that she will be blessed ten-fold ❤

Some things Rachel would want to make sure everyone knew…Life isn’t always easy; her trials have been more than the average. It is what we do with our experiences that we can make good out of them. And her work here on Earth is not through her own strength but it’s through the greatness of God that she has been given gifts to help the less fortunate. She gives the glory to God and only Him as this life is not about us but about living a life that will glorify His name…Jesus.

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2 thoughts on “My “Rae” Of Sunshine

  1. Love your article and descriptions of our dear friend Rae! Thank you for highlighting the love Rae and Kira have for Healing Haiti and all the people they can touch! Wow! Thank you!

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