Monday, September 22, 2014


Zuri is a dear friend and former team member.  We love Zuri with all of our heart, and continue to pray for her.  She was one of the two Venezuelans we had intern with us last year.

But her life has been quite a grind over the last year or so.  Recently, Zuri moved with her family to Italy, which has brought it's own obvious challenges as well.  I'm sharing her post-stint thoughts so you could join us in prayer for her, and perhaps we could all learn quite a bit from her processing:

Not exactly another prayer letter

 Hi everyone, i hope you are doing alright. I know i said i wouldn’t send more prayer letters, since my STINT year is over but i kind of miss doing that, so i decided to write a little bit about life after STINT. I think it can be healing for me right now because i need to tell people how i feel before i go insane and i know this is a safe place for me to express those feelings with honesty since you have read all of the stories of this year and have gone with me through this journey.

There is something that has been echoing my mind lately, i can’t stop thinking about this part of:


The Sermon on the Mount

5 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

I remember one gospel moment this year, we were at a bible study as a team, and a dear friend of mine Bart Shadle was leading this bible study and we talked about this, i remember sharing my thoughts about this, i was just angry and sad, i couldn’t understand how in the world i was supposed to be happy while suffering (I was going through a very dark time of my life and my team knew it because I would share it in every bible study we had) I just couldn’t comprehend, that didn’t seem like a blessing to me. And I remember Bart saying something like: “Blessed are you Zuri when you feel like you are feeling now, for you can stand with your head high and believe God’s promises.  It is in precisely this moment when God's pleasure rests on you”. I was holding my tears and I will never forget that moment.

Guess what, I am still angry and sad because I still don’t understand it, in my mind it doesn’t make sense, tears fall down and I shake while writing this because having to leave Venezuela has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, I am homesick all the time, I think I will never get over it, and that’s ok. But I have almost two months here in Italy and things are hard. Italy is going through an economical – political crisis I was not aware of, I was not expecting, when I first got here people I would talk to would say: “Non che lavoro” which means “there are no jobs, it is hard to find a job”, I thought they were over reacting but now after searching for almost two months I believe them. And if you don’t have a job it is almost impossible to find a house, they need to see you are working to rent you something so, we are staying at an aunt’s house by now but things can change at any moment. There is no security, no stability, and no assurance.

There is just something about not having a stable place to live and having no stability that gets me out of my nerves, in one of the multiples breakdowns I have had being here I started cursing and saying horrible things to God, I was just so tired. A little bit after I was done heard a clear voice in my head saying: “¡STOP, you need to STOP NOW Zuri! Can’t you see that is me all you need? I am your security, your stability, your assurance, I am your Father and I am not going to let you down, I have been with you before you could even say my name and I am going to be with you until your very last breath”.

I shut up, just sat in silence and cried inside because the tears wouldn’t come out. In that moment I realized of my blindness and my selfishness and how far I was from finding emotional rest if I kept putting my hope on those things, things that aren’t bad, that are for sure a need but they are things of this world that will not satisfy my being like God does.

While I was reading the return of the prodigal son I came across this part where Nouwen says: “The farther I run away from the place where God dwells, the less I am able to hear the voice that calls me the Beloved and the less I hear that voice, the more entangled I become in the manipulations and power games of the world”. I cried inside again because I know I have been running, since a long time ago. One of the things I was scared of while doing missions was to serve God and forget to have a relationship with him, at some point it started to happen, it was easy to be busy but it was hard to rest and spend time with Him, just because, it was easy to do things for him but it was hard to hear His lovely voice, it was easy to scape, so easy and that of course makes you restless, numb, and broken because there is nothing we can do apart from him, but we think there are things. In the moment we think we rule our lives we are lost, and this happened to me, I lost myself along the way and I don’t know how to bring myself back, I don’t know how to deal with the hurricane of emotions that are inside me.

Later in the same chapter Nouwen says: “He was truly lost, and it was this complete lostness that brought him to his senses. In fact it was the loss of everything that brought him to the bottom line of his identity”. Real tears started to fall when I read this part because I came to understand that there is Hope, that even if I hate it, this is a good place to be, because is here where I am vulnerable, broken, burned out, depressed, lost and have nothing left that I can find my way back to my identity, back Home, and my Home has the name of Jesus, He is our only Home and our only Hope. The God of the Universe wants you and me, right where we are at. Isn’t that crazy? For crazy at it seems it is true and it will always be, and this is why I know God has called me to live for something beyond myself, I want to live for his cause, even if it kills me, live for eternity because it is worth it.

Doing this and following Jesus is never going to be easy, in fact it is hard and really painful. My dear friend Natalia told me a few weeks ago: “Remember that when we follow Jesus we have to take our cross every day, and remember that you have to take yours too, even if you are in another country, with other people, with things you don’t like or don’t understand”. She is right, only few have the courage to do that. Only a few have the courage to decide to live the gospel, im glad I met lots of them this year and im glad im friends with them.

Would you continue to pray for me?
For everything I shared with you and also pray that I can find a community that can be healing after all of this year craziness.  
Also, let me know in what ways I can be praying for you.

                     I’m still angry and sad about the Sermon on the Mount, I might always be, but this is my favorite part: 


Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

                                                                                                       With Love, Zuri


Judy said...


Bart and Melissa Shadle said...

Thanks Judy for your prayers! They have been so precious to us. We really appreciate it.