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
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.
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.
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.
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