While the quarantine and stay-at-home orders continue, we remain thankful God is on the move. Today’s story comes from Mabelis, one of our Women’s Sports Site leaders in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. We continue to be amazed at the different ways God transforms lives!
As quarantine was about to start, Noemi, one of the girls in our Women’s Sports Site, began opening up her heart and shared some struggles going on at home. Noemi is a bright, 16-year-old, who applies herself both academically and on the volleyball court. Still, I had noticed that she was always very reserved anytime we brought up spiritual things. On this day, Noemi told me that she didn’t share the same beliefs as her parents, who were Christians, and this was causing stress for her. She would always make up excuses at home and at volleyball practice as to why she couldn’t pray with everyone else. I knew that she often refused to participate during any of our devotional times. She told me that there was little point in being a Christian and that she didn’t care much about such things. However, she enjoyed volleyball because it gave her a place to be herself. But every day on the way home, she felt like she always had to put her “mask” back on to pretend. She was tired of the same situation.
As we entered quarantine and were no longer able to have practice with our girls, the Women’s Sports Site decided to continue being “together.” We had our teams doing workouts from home, and we started reading A Purpose Driven Life together. For whatever reason, God began moving in Noemi. She started to participate in our devotionals, expressing the purpose that God had for her and her desire to follow Christ. The first week of quarantine, we also had each of our girls watch the movie The Shack. Noemi expressed her deep-seated frustration with the man in the story as God patiently talked to him, but the man, in his anger, ignored God almost as if he wasn’t there. God began using the story to reveal to Noemi the similarities in her life. God kept showing up in her life both at home and volleyball in so many different ways, but she kept ignoring him. Her heart was distant. But through the story, Noemi experienced God’s patient care and love for her. In one of her recent reflections for me, she wrote, “My life is really changing. I feel happy despite everything going on. God has used this time so that I would begin searching for him.” She also wrote that this has changed the tension she has felt at home. No longer does she feel the need to pretend but is actively praying alongside her family and parents. While we as people feel so many uncertainties during this global pandemic, we are thankful to trust a God that is actively at work and knows exactly our needs.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”