One Day at a Time

"Hmm... Where to begin??"

To be honest that's the question that's been causing me to delay doing this for so long. It's been exactly 3 weeks since the day I got home from New Zealand, and things are basically back to normal. I really didn't know what to expect coming home. But one thing I was sure of from the moment I left: I didn't want to come home the same.

Let's go way back for a moment... hashtag throwback if you want to make it cool... back to my first semester of 3rd grade. I was the little homeschooled girl coming into public elementary school after spending the first seven years of my life glued to my mother's hip. To say I was naturally independent would have been a straight up lie. I spent many days of that first semester in the bathroom crying because I missed my mom and I hated spending 8 hours away from home 5 days a week. And this homesickness wasn't a new to me. Anything that required more than an hour's separation from a relative equaled total terror for me. I didn't go to my first overnight youth camp until the summer before 7th grade. It was only two nights, People, and yes, I cried there, too. Now, please know I did not spend every day of my three years in public school in tears. After that first semester I got over it and ended up loving school. But just let that show you that not every plan of the Lord is evident in a child from birth. No one told me at that 7th grade youth camp that three and a half years later I'd be spending sixteen days on the other side of the world with a team of dancing adults. It's a good thing, too. I probably would've laughed...or cried.

And yet, in all of that, there's been something else deep in my heart since I was a little girl. For as long as I can remember I've loved the world. That sounds weirdly hippie but it's really the only way I know to explain it. I love learning about other countries and cultures. I always have. I used to read an atlas for fun, writing down poverty and religion facts about the countries lowest on the chain. I used to say I love the nations. Now I realize I just love people, and "nations" is just a word the Lord uses to clarify my vision.

All that to say I sometimes have to laugh at how the Lord works. And most of the time I just have to get on my knees, release my fears and agendas, and thank Him - thank Him that He chooses a little unassuming "young one" like me to taste the fruit of surrender so soon, thank Him that He wants to bless and prosper my vapor of a life, and more than anything thank Him for His steady hand day after day guiding me, freeing me, loving me endlessly! This is why I go when He says "Go." Not because I think I'm ready or that I've gotta do something big for Him to be pleased, but because I know that anywhere He wants me to go is where I want to be! And if I'm the youngest, if I'm the oldest, if I'm the greatest, if I'm the least, if I'm the wisest, or if I'm the most foolish it doesn't matter, I just want to be with Jesus and love whoever ends up in front of me as I go.

I went to New Zealand in a blur of nervousness, giddiness, shock, and praise. I couldn't look back after saying my goodbyes at the OKC Airport. I could feel the lump in my throat beginning to rise but I told myself that if the God I serve in America is the same in New Zealand then I had nothing to worry about. I had no clue what to expect. I had never danced on the streets before. I had never been in charge of all my own costumes, luggage, passport, tickets, everything. I had never been jetlagged before. It was a time of many firsts for me. I wanted a plan. I wanted to know exactly what was gonna happen, exactly what I was gonna see and who I was gonna meet, but I realized pretty quick that's not how Arrows International operates...and honestly, that's not really how life works, either.
Day by day, my Sweet Jesus began a new work in my heart, a masterpiece I like to call "Living one day at a time".

I wanted to think I knew what to expect, when, in actuality, I had no idea. I thought we'd get there, minister in a lot of kid-focused places, see a lot of white people, do some sight-seeing, and all get tan. I was beyond excited at the thought of two weeks of hands on ministry, but I didn't know where exactly we'd be.

And that brings me to my favorite place in New Zealand, a beautiful melting pot of every tongue and every tribe. Global Church is an ever-expanding open door for the foreign students studying English in this country where I only expected to find white people. College-aged students from all over the world seem to congregate in this beautiful country to learn English and get an English education. And that's where my mighty Lord had us, the team and I, four days of our time there. Haha! Imagine me, obsessed with anything that has to do with another country and culture, completely in love with anything related to refugees and exchange students, and here I end up on the stage of this rare church, where on just one Sunday the eleven new visitors represented nine different countries.

Never have I seen a place so full of young, passionate Christ-followers from so many countries. SO many counties! It was like the Lord was whispering, "You thought I was taking you to one country in the world, but really I brought you to the world in one country." AH! Guys, this is the heart of the Father! He'd do it all for one person! It's not about covering all the ground you can. It's just about GOING, even if it means going into your backyard and loving on your next door neighbor! But in that moment! In that moment, sixteen flying hours away from home, my Sweet Jesus affirmed something in me so tenderly! He loves the world more than I do! And He knows my heart better than I do!

God is for people. He's for humanity! All this talk about "God has forsaken __________". No! His heart is for His children! EVERY SINGLE ONE. It doesn't take going overseas to serve God! Serving God is just loving Him and loving people one day at a time.

People keep asking me what the best part of the trip was and here it is "Knowing that I was exactly where I was supposed to be in that moment and that Jesus was there with me."

I'm sure I'll have more to write eventually as I process things one story at a time. There's so much to say! But I'm gonna leave it at that. All I know is that at the end of the trip I came home with more things than I had  when I left: More stories. More friends. More treasure stored up in Heaven. And more sureness than ever before that there is no life apart from Jesus.

Be blessed, Reader, and never be afraid to say "Yes" to the Lord. He's worth it.
Cassidy Litz
Mark 16:15


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