God at Work Blog

Cassie: Haiti

During my time in Haiti, I saw in a new, somewhat unexpected light what it means to walk with the Lord and with His people. There are so many stories I could choose to relate, but I have chosen to share one that is close to my heart, although it is simple in nature. God often speaks through the simple—through the mundane, the ordinary, or the seemingly insignificant. He speaks in the beauty, and in the brokenness, and in all the in-betweens.

It was our third full day of being in Haiti, and we loaded up in the van to head to a place called Cite Soleil—the most impoverished place in the Western Hemisphere. It would be difficult for me to describe to you in full the brokenness we witnessed in this place. There was trash everywhere—you could hardly see the ground. We stepped out from the van and made our way across the street to a little school, where we were going to hold a VBS for the students there. We worshipped—singing and dancing and smiling with these kids, acting out Bible stories and making crafts.

I ended up towards the back of the school room, where I sat down on a long bench next to some girls who were around 13 years old. One of the girls—Rosalinda—and I taught each other how to count in our languages. I struggled with the Creole, but she caught on to my English right away. She was so patient with me, and we had so much fun as we attempted to communicate with each other, using the few common words we knew. She somehow got a hold of a marker, and motioned to my arm, asking to draw on it. I held it out to her, and she began to write. I looked down at what she had done, and tears came to my eyes when I saw that she had written “I love you Cassie”. Right in that moment, on a bench in a small schoolroom, in a city filled with garbage and brokenness and unimaginable inequity and lack of physical shalom, I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else. Being there, with these girls sitting close to me on all sides, as we taught each other language and as they wrote love on my arms—I saw the face of God. I saw His beauty in what was broken. I saw His radiant, perfect, inextinguishable light in the darkness.

In Haiti, the Lord showed me that loving His people doesn’t always mean having the perfect words, the right skillset, or the best plan. Our calling and our purpose is to be the hands and feet of Christ, right where we are. On that day in Cite Soleil, I didn’t have anything special to bring to the table. All I brought was a desire to let these kids know how loved they are—by me, by our team, and by our Heavenly Father. Walking with His people means letting go of our urge to “do” more and focus on “being”—and listening for the whispers of the Lord in the everyday.

This is a story that communicated the power of the Gospel to me in Haiti. We often overcomplicate the Gospel, tainting it with our own expectations and experiences, and, quite frankly, missing it because we’re expecting God to speak with a megaphone. And while he sometimes does choose to speak through mountain-top experiences, I have found that his whispers are always there—in a smile shared between two strangers, in the beauty of a sunny day, or hidden in a corner of a schoolroom in Haiti. 

After the VBS, our team had the humbling opportunity to walk through Cite Soleil and pray over Haiti. We prayed that we wouldn’t forget what we had seen that day, and that our hearts would continue to be broken for what breaks the Lord’s heart. It is the most comforting and beautiful thought to realize that one day, all that is wrong will be made right again. All this brokenness will be made beautiful. And our job, as agents and vessels for the Lord, is to love. To learn and to listen. To pray without ceasing. And to walk with His people—our brothers and sisters—children of God.

Ariana: Before & After Poland

I had a revelation yesterday as our plane flew into Chicago. ‘Shepherd’ by Amanda Cook started playing on my iPod and I was looking down over Lake Michigan meeting the enormous, glistening skyscrapers and I had a thought that took my breath away.

“God wants me.”

I started to feel this overpowering feeling of joy and I could not wipe the smile off my face even though I really tried, because people were starting to stare. God wants me. He chose me. He has planned something spectacular for my life. Do you know what the best part is? I have NO IDEA what it is! I am totally and completely clueless as to what God has in store for me and I could not be happier about it. I decided right then, sitting in seat 28C that I would live everyday seeking the Lord. Calling for Him and listening for Him, not the world.

I keep trying to plan out my life. Trying to shove it into a mold that just doesn’t seem to fit. Convincing myself that I should have accomplished certain things or have had certain milestones in life and then beating myself up over not being “normal”. I’m not normal. I’m not conventional. I’m exactly how God created me, beautifully and in His image. That’s good enough for me.

I think as of now my life has two parts: before and after Poland. Before Poland I was trying to set up all these different paths that I could see my life going, so by the time I got back I could just kind of settle into one and go from there. God had set up another path. The one where I walk alongside Him. I think I prefer that one. My plan as of now is not having one. I have goals and ambitions, but I’m done making “plans”. Poland wrecked me in the best way possible. God changed my heart there, even leaving a piece of it behind, which is why I must go back.

I’m finally open to life. I’m open to change. Believe me, this is a first for me and a very big deal! I want to be used by God, fully and completely. Maybe that’s here in Chicagoland, maybe in Poland, maybe even somewhere completely new. Maybe it’s through missions, or maybe it’s through counseling or teaching. I have no idea, but God is my shepherd and “You make my footsteps and my path secure. So walking on water is just the beginning. Cause my faith to arise, stand at attention. For You are calling me to greater things.”

See Ariana's blog post here