This is my friend Ariel.
His family and closest friends call him Chapo.
I wish I could explain it….but sometimes down here, people are just called a certain name, and it doesn’t mean anything, and that’s just how it is.
Ariel has been so dear to my heart ever since I’ve been down here. We’re the same age, he loves to sing, and he is just a hilarious person in general and I am super close to his family. That shirt he’s wearing in the picture? I bought it. We’re great friends.
Ariel is a driven person. He’s only the 2nd person in his large family to graduate high-school. He is going to University right now to study Law. It wasn’t his favorite at first, and he even thought about changing his major, but he stuck it out and is now starting to put what he’s learning into practice and it’s interesting and fun.
Ever since I came here and started working with the worship program, Ariel was always on my heart and mind about it, and was one of the few youth who stuck it out with me all these 9 months that changes have come and gone and growing has happened.
It’s a beautiful thing to see him worship. He sings with all his heart and soul. At the top of his lungs, Ariel praises His Savior.
The problem was, there is no way to serve two masters. No one can serve God and praise him with all their heart if their mind is thinking about how people will view them. If your heart is in a place where you don’t want to give absolutely everything over to God – your relationships with others, judgement, grudges….your mind will not be completely concentrating on where your praise is going. I always knew Ariel had it in him to worship with everything inside, a limitless potential to be a devoted man of God, but the enemy was fighting against it. The enemy was trying to convince him that he could do both things, lead his congregation in worship and still act like all the other youth of his village – holding grudges and caring about peoples’ opinions of him.
Last Wednesday for youth group, we had a bonfire under the stars with some extended iPod worship time. Cadence taught about forgiveness. About how being the bigger person pays off and love always wins. No matter how you are received, being right with God and forgiving will always be the best thing for you personally.
After the message and some more worship, Saul opened the night up for the youth to share what was on their hearts and what they thought about everything that had been said.
Ariel stood up right away, hands shaking, but with a determination clearly visible, and said that he had something to say.
He started talking about how for years, he would get angry about small, stupid things and then just not talk to the person he was mad at. He had ruined friendships for his pride and didn’t like that that’s who the person he had become. He said sorry and asked forgiveness from the entire group of youth for any way he had hurt them in the past and told everyone he really wanted to change. He even singled 3 people out and personally apologized for things he had said and done in the past. One of these people used to be his best friend. For more than 3 months, they hadn’t talked and had just avoided each other like the plague.
This person didn’t want any of Ariel’s apology.
But Ariel pursued him. He didn’t give up after the first time he asked forgiveness and tried to talk with him. He didn’t give up after he got shot down the second time. He tried a third time and this friend finally broke down to talk, just the two of them.
They’re back to being best friends now, talking, laughing, joking, hanging out, and whatever else it is that 20-year old guys do here…I’m still not completely sure what that is.
As Ariel walked back with me to my house under the moon and stars, I got to hear more of his heart and what God was changing in him. He was a different man, walking with bravery and FREEDOM. I know that worship will now be a new and more wonderful experience for him as the Lord shows him how much he delights in his vulnerable heart.
I am so incredibly proud of his courage to do something as big as what he did in front of so many of his peers.
I wish I could just explain how huge this was and how RARE that one of our youth would confess like Ariel did.
It was a great encouragement to me that this could be the future of the men in Candelaria and Nicaragua.
My prayers have only gotten stronger for a new generation of men that are full of the Holy Spirit and willing to be VULERABLE and ENCOURAGING to those around them.
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Thank you for your continued support of the journey God’s put me on! If you would like to see pictures, feel free to add me on FaceBook. They upload faster on there. If you feel led to make a donation, there are a few ways you can go about that:
1. Write a check and send to Life Church. Make check out to Life Church, put Haille Krieg in the memo line, and send to 7001 Haggerty Rd, Canton MI 48187
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