In a short answer I would say because God wanted me to. There are lots of things that were involved in the decision. So first I will say I really wanted to come back – I did Detroit Summer Outreach (DSO) in 2010 and it was a great experience. So I applied for DSO 2012 back in October (yeah, I really wanted to come!). I wanted to have things figured out as well, so if I got an answer by November I could make plans. It didn’t quite happen that way. I prayed to God for everything to be His will, and that he would make the path I needed to take obvious so that I wouldn’t miss it. I prayed for God to take my life into His hands and that I handed Him my complete trust.
Patience: I had my interview in January and they didn’t let me know right then if I was going to be part of DSO or not. I had to wait until April to find out, and they told me there were too many people and it was a ‘no.’ (I know, I am here – just wait!)
Relationships: After my Gap year I was afraid of going back home and having good relationships, because if I came back, I would abandon them. At least that was what it felt like. God was able to help me push that aside and become close to a lot of people, knowing that even if I left we could just meet sometime later and pick up where we left off.
Women’s household: Back home there is no women household and I believe it is an important tool for community women to experience. So I tried to get a house and although it seemed like the timing was perfect, I didn’t have enough support and the project fell through. If it had not, I wouldn’t be here right now. Knowing it was God’s plan but not understanding it at that time, especially when the household failed and Josh said DSO was a ‘no.’ I remember crying out to God, so what will I do? What are you doing? I really want to go back to Detroit, it is my deepest desire, but if it is a no, why isn’t this women’s household thing working? When the owner of the house we were going to try to rent said to me she would rather rent it to a family I thought, ‘it is ok, maybe this is not the timing for this.’ I got in the car with my brother, and we headed back home. My brother said, “Look at the rainbow!” I started crying for it was God’s promise that everything would be alright. When I got home I opened my bible to Habakkuk 2:3. “This vision is for a future time and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”
Change of plans: I received an email from Josh saying that things had changed in Detroit and wondering if things had changed in Costa Rica. So I gave him a call and he said they needed more staff so with an enormous smile on my face that he couldn’t see I said I would talk with my parents. I felt like Abraham. If you know the story maybe you understand, but I will explain anyway. So God had tested Abraham’s faithfulness by asking him to take his son and sacrifice him to the Lord. What Abraham loved most in the world was his son and he had to offer him up to the Lord. He actually obeys and God sends an Angel to stop him because he had proven his faithfulness. I felt like God had taken what I most desired in my heart, to test me to see if I still trusted Him, only to give it back to me when I showed I would follow Him wherever He would lead me.
School: Just in case, I had already applied for Washtenaw Community College in October, and was almost completely accepted. This was the only option if I was doing DSO because I had not signed up for classes back in Costa Rica and I need to finish my education.
Parents: They are loving and kind and I love them very much, and I love my brother a ton. We talked, since doing DSO meant I would need to come to school in the States, being away from home. They supported my decision and my dad (practical and spiritual at the same time, as always!) kept saying, “well, if God really wants you to go then He will open the doors for you. Check to see if there were plane ticket for those dates and if there are, then God is opening more doors for you to go. But remember you need to go to the doctors here first, because it is too expensive in the states. And you need to sort your visa situation and how that is going to work. If you live there you will also need to sort your living situation and how much that will be.” I felt relieved at having my family’s support.
Plane tickets: There were plane tickets for the dates I needed and they where the cheapest! Another sign of God’s direction. Not only that, but when I had to change them, they didn’t charge at all and where completely understanding.
School again: I got accepted!!! Yay!
Living situation: Everything was figured out. I will be living with a wonderful community family in Ann Arbor and will be helping in the house and I am grateful to see how the Lord had provided for all these things.
Visa: I have all my paperwork done and will leave for 10 days for Costa Rica to get my student visa legally. (I even get to spend Costa Rican mother’s day at home J, thank you God!)
Health: God would have everything under control – and I had asked him, too. So going to doctors appointments was interesting. Dentist went well, normal health went well, and some nodules I need to check on every year went well. Because of the nodule situation I had been getting tests since the end of February and the final appointment was on the last week of April. All was good, but he asked me about my moles. “Was there was one in particular you don’t like?” I believe I have more than 600 moles, but I pointed to one in my right leg – not sure why. He told me it was better to have it removed. So I obeyed, and got a surgery appointment for the next week and got it removed. It was exactly one week before leaving to Detroit that I got the results. It turned out to be a melanoma, skin cancer. Somehow I didn’t freak out (I was probably in shock) but at the same time I had peace. So he looked over every single mole to see if there were any other suspicious ones and found two. That was a Monday and we scheduled a surgery for Friday. The surgery went well but the results didn’t come until the following Thursday, three days after I was supposed to leave.
Patience: Waiting for the results was long, but it needed to happen before I left the country. If not, it would be too irresponsible from my part. God granted me patience and perseverance, and most importantly, peace. Peace knowing that whatever happened was part of His plan. The results came, and now I am clear of melanomas - the other two were not as bad but they were changing and would likely have become malignant soon. So being clear and knowing that it didn’t metastasize, I knew I could come and this was exactly where God wanted me to be. If I hadn’t had surgery, the cancer would have spread. God was truly and completely faithful to me, and now I am here doing DSO again, only by His grace and His will. He had it planned all along, ever since I applied for school and DSO, all those little ideas he planted in me, so that I could be here right now. So I can truly say I am here because God provided everything I needed to come and here is where he wants me to be.
“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a brunt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” – Genesis 22:13-14