Featured Racer: Ruby Lopez
It's not always easy to believe you are who God says you are.
Sometimes we tend to think missionaries are people that have it all together, joyously and unwaveringly believe every word in the Bible, and have no struggles. That's just simply not the case. We'll just lay it all out there - World Racers are human beings. (We know, surprising, right?)
But even in the midst of all our imperfections, we've got some stunning people on the field that are walking in freedom, joy, and hope, still leaning on Jesus to remind them of who they are each day.
One of those stunning people is Ruby Lopez of the July 2013 T Squad.
Ruby is a fun, vivacious, world-changer who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Though she has an incredible immediate family, life wasn't perfect. The cycle of anger and violence in her family ran strong, but her parents were committed to ending that with their generation. Still, many of her younger years are marked by cops on her doorstep taking her brothers away, fighting, anger, and the emotional leftovers of generations of abuse.
She was also teased about her looks by classmates and her family joked that she was found in the trashcan because she didn't look like them. But those seemingly harmless jokes made Ruby seriously question her identity. And because her family had been so committed to ending the cycle of anger, she held a lot of that hurt inside. It ate her away.
The hurt, confusion, and perception that no one cared about her was so deep that the idea of suicide came on the table.
We praise God that it remained an idea.
That's about the time that Ruby started to see Jesus for who he really was.
Though she'd gone to church as a kid and knew about Jesus, when she was 16 he became real to her. And while she was interning in Puerto Rico, without her normal family and friends surrounding her, he broke through even more lies that were still trapping her. He brought her hope.
With none of her familiar surroundings, she had to learn to rely on God and surrender to him. As she read the Bible daily, she grew to know her savior at a deeper level and experience all the freedom he had in store for her.
She learned that her identity wasn't about what went wrong in her past, but what went right on the cross.
It was all about Jesus.
"I want people to know there is redemption despite anything that's happened in your past. In order to walk in true freedom, we need to release these things to the Father. The Lord speaks into our lives with truth of who we are but we decide to believe in who he's called us to be. I still struggle with believing those things - we all do - but redemption is there for us to hold on to."
We can't tell you how glad we are that Ruby found out about the Race from a friend in Thailand. Even though she had the normal fears going into it (as she says "living in community, getting sick, and gross rats), she decided to believe in who God says she is, face her fears, and experience a ton of great cultures along the way.
Ruby's dream is to be a motivational speaker, traveling around the world and speaking into the lives of teenagers. She wants to give them hope to face another day in confidence, love, and boldness.
And we're really excited, because she's already doing that.
Stay tuned for part two of Ruby's story to see how she's using her voice to bring so many people hope. We promise you won't be disappointed.