February/March 2014 - Vol. 72

Acceptance and Forgiveness
by Ana Aragon

The reason why I am here again with YouthWorks-Detroit is just because God wanted me to be here. I have fallen in love with the city of Detroit. I placed my decision to come back in God’s hands; truly praying that I would accept whatever He chose. I wanted to go home, see my family, be there for my brother’s 11th birthday; be in a place of comfort and relaxation. I remember praying, “God, if you want me to go to Detroit; you will need to give me motivation and energy, because I have none. I don’t know if I’ll be able to endure it after this hard year but here I am, send me.”

This has been a difficult year for me; with lots of trials. The hardest trial came in December when my best friend Andrew died from brain cancer. I never thought he would die; God can save him; God will heal him. He did not. In my mind I had a lot of “what if’s:” what if I had boldly prayed over him for healing, what if I hadn’t come back to the states for school, what if I had visited more often….

During Detroit Summer Outreach (DSO) last year I was praying for him to accept his condition and to have a deeper relationship with God because he was in denial and wanted to hear nothing about God. I prayed for him constantly. I wished he would someday – when he was healthy again – do DSO and grow in his relationship with the Lord, particularly because he loved serving. After DSO 2012 I visited him and he told me, “Vic, I have been able to see God’s hand in the midst of this. I think everyone thinks I will be healed, but I don’t know God’s plan, and I’m ok with that.” God answered my prayers and even though that was the last time I saw him God blessed my time with him. We had pizza, talked, joked, laughed, had Fanta. He was awake over 3 hours, when he normally fell asleep every 15 to 20 min because of the medication.

This semester I’ve felt sad, guilty and jealous. Why? Because I was diagnosed with skin cancer in May 2012 and yet I am well and Andrew died. I didn’t “suffer” like he did. I only had surgery and needed to stay away from the sun. I was, and still am jealous that he got to heaven first. A stupid thought, but however it was there and it was a barrier between me and God. I felt guilty because I am here, alive and serving, and he is not. All the “what ifs” made me feel guilty as well, thinking maybe there was something I could have done to “save” him.

DSO has been a process of Acceptance and for there to be Acceptance there needs to be Forgiveness. I had to forgive myself, even if it wasn’t my fault, and come to accept the things that are. In the words of Andrew, “God has a perfect plan. Life is a mountain range, with lots of ups and downs, and wonderful views. It doesn’t matter what people see or think, what matters is that God is always by your side and will never leave you.”
I had always thought about the words “Here I am” in the context of “Here I am, send me,” but now I have a new point of view. God tells us many times “Here I am.” So what has God doing in my life during DSO? Well, pretty much just showing me time after time that He is here.  

Bio and update: My name is Ana Victoria Aragon and I am 24 years old. I was born and raised in Costa Rica. (I lived in Ann Arbor when I was 1 till I was 4 because my dad was getting his PHD at the University of Michigan). I first came to Detroit on December 1st 2009 to serve 3 months and ended staying for a year. I wanted to do the gap program, but I couldn't because it wasn't in my region. God made everything work and I got into the program officially September through November 2010. My first Detroit summer outreach was the summer of 2010 and I loved it and wanted to come back. I did DSO again in 2012 but could not stay in Detroit the rest of the year because I was focusing on my studies. I did DSO once again in 2013 and am now serving as a volunteer with Youth Works whenever I can with the Girls Youth group. At present I am getting a Liberal Arts Associates Degree in Washtenaw Community College and will graduate this summer. I love serving and I try to finish all my homework and go to Detroit on the weekends. 

See related stories from YouthWorks-Detriot >
(c) copyright 2014  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com