Catch Up with LA UP - July 26, 2013

"Hello, my name is Ariel and I would like to give glory to God." That is how each Thursday meeting would start with LAUP(Los Angeles Urban Project).

So this summer has been quite a journey with God to say the least. Every prayer has been answered but many are not in any way answered in the way I imagined. Going to Egypt, I had obvious expectation to stay the full 6 weeks, but we, as a team, were pulled out of country early for safety reasons. I had prayed that God would make my faith stronger and oh how He did. Confusion, sadness, anger, and tiredness overwhelmed me when I heard we were leaving Mokattam. None of these feelings were toward God, but towards the systems that led to this occurring, such as the American news for poorly communicating what was really happening in Egypt and InterVarsity for making the decision for us to leave. God has spoken a lot of truth into my life since leaving and has definitely brought peace into my spirit about leaving Egypt "early" as it was all in God's timing. My faith in God has, in no doubt, grown exponentially this summer. Coming from seeing political unrest due to the injustice of Egypt's government before and then returning to America and learning how to grieve the injustice of racial discrimination that many, including myself, have experienced. Going from the global urban trek to the Los Angeles Urban Project was overwhelming at first, but I really fell in love with my internships. Every morning, as part of the Lincoln Heights team, I would scrape paint off a house we wanted to eventually repaint. This task seemed very tedious at first, but as we scraped the house, we each began to find out that God was really speaking to us through the task. People began to feel convictions, affirmations, and have truth spoken into their lives while working on the house. The walls were saturated in 20+ years of prayer and they were really opening me up to hearing what God had to say into my life. I personally felt God's overwhelming love pour out over me as my Father and Savior whom lives inside me. God spoke love over me by verbally telling me He loved me, showing me through the people around me and through a book I am reading with my leadership team at school. God speaks in many ways and I was able to experience 3 of them just in the few hours of scraping paint of a Spirit filled home. After scraping paint in the morning, the Lincoln Heights team and I would work with kids in a tutoring program. We played games, did crafts, and would teach them for the rest of the afternoon. The kids were so welcoming and excited for us to be there. The kids made the transition from cultures more smooth for me as someone who speaks some spanish. Learning Egyptian Arabic was extremely difficult for me so speaking spanish was a much more friendly foreign language for me and the kids loved when I would speak their language with them. Working with the children and working on the house may have seemed like insignificant tasks at times, but I met God through those times and I am so thankful.