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Raymo's Story

ARCPOINT CHARACTER | RAYMO shouldn’t be blamed for his deep prejudice against the Outsiders. He’s a product of his upbringing, as most people are who despise those they’ve never met, or been harmed by. His ancestors are a different story.

His great-great-grandmother was a homeless girl of seventeen, walking the back alleys of East Los Angeles. She was discovered by roaming members of the 18th Street gang. Her screams were heard by a young man passing by. He was big enough to take on any one of the gang members, one-on-one. He was no match for them all.

The two were left for dead, but both survived, thanks to a middle-aged man whose apartment overlooked the alley. The man apologized profusely for not intervening sooner. They thanked him for not leaving them to die.

The young black girl—Aniyah—visited her defender often while he was in the hospital. For weeks he was a John Doe—having been robbed of his identification by the attackers. With a damaged larynx he couldn’t speak, but eventually wrote his name—once his bruised brain remembered it. Gerhard was a tall, husky Swedish immigrant, with no family in America, but—as Aniyah found out—a very large one in Sweden. Once his family was contacted, Gerhard received better hospital care.

The hospital chaplain took interest in these two battered young people. Asking questions with yes-or-no answers, he discovered Gerhard believed in God. Asking Aniyah similar questions revealed she wasn’t—but that didn’t last long. He determined to visit Gerhard every day. Aniyah was always there when he arrived. He began to think she lived there—somewhere.

Word on the street was these two were in trouble. The gang discovered they were still alive, which meant they could identify their attackers. But they couldn’t. Aniyah was attacked from behind and never saw their faces. Gerhard didn’t remember the incident, or even where he lived. The chaplain feared the two would soon be homeless, and vulnerable. He contacted a street preacher friend of his—Jim Dennis— who pastored a church just across the river.

After talking with the chaplain, and discussing the situation with others, Pastor Jim visited the two in the hospital. He told them of a place where they could be cared for and never found. It could be risky due to Gerhards injuries, because there were no hospitals near this place. But there were skilled medical people there, and the hospital said Gerhard should heal without permanent damage. He just needed a peaceful environment for a while. They wouldn’t find that on the streets of Los Angeles.

Gerhard and Aniyah were skeptical. Aniyah had nothing to contribute, but had no family to stop her. Gerhard’s family was insisting he come back to Sweden to get the care he needed. They had developed a fondness for each other that neither were willing to break. They would think about, and talk about it. Pastor Jim suggested they also pray about.

Raymo heard that story often as he grew up. Even though they were a mixed racial couple, even though a child was born to Aniyah that was half Hispanic, the story was told with nothing but praise to God—and to ArcPoint. Their family—Raymo’s family—had now swollen to over fifty people. Left to the world—to the Outsiders—that family may not exist. Raymo owed his very existence to ArcPoint. He vowed in his heart to be a defender of the helpless, just like his great-great-grandfather Gerhard.


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