The following is a blog written by Liz Bacon, a current Squad Leader on the World Race Expedition Route that launched in January. This story comes from her time on the field as a World Racer in October 2017. You can follow her journey at elizabethbacon.theworldrace.org
For more information about Beauty for Ashes visit adventures.org/beautyforashes
The Lord sent me on a divine scavenger hunt, and I adore the treasure I found— a barista with tattoos and fortitude.
Fortitude (n): strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.
My hunt started during the third week on the World Race. I was in a coffee shop in Uganda, Africa when I randomly met a couple, The Pearsons, on fire for Jesus. Our short conversation led to them writing on the back of their business card a name of a coffee shop and name of a specific girl to look for when I go to Nepal. The mission was to find her and love on her.
So I slid the business card into my journal and went on my way. It wasn’t until 7 months later when I was cleaning out my backpack that I found that business card again. “Oh yeah! I have to find this coffee shop and girl.” Once I arrived in Nepal, a local friend suggested to eat at Kairos Cafe. It sounded so familiar. It was THE coffee shop the couple suggested months previously. And it was 2 blocks from where I was currently staying.
I had lunch at the cafe, and guess who was my barista? Anugra— the girl whose name was written on the card. (Oh and guess what Anugra means in Nepali? Grace. How perfect.) So I gave this stranger a huge hug and explained to her the entire backstory, and she couldn’t believe it. The Lord took great favor in orchestrating all of this randomness for great purpose many months previous and in a different continent.
Several days I kept going back to the cafe for my daily dose of coffee and simply to see Anugra, and the Lord kept nudging me to spend time with her. My last few days in Nepal, Anugra and I connected deeply. She confided in me her testimony, fears, heartaches, passions, and dreams. Tears streamed down her face as she said, “I knew the Lord sent you here to me— I needed a friend at this time. I didn’t think my story was worth telling. Liz, you valuing my story has allowed me to value my own.” Little did she know, her powerful story was changing mine.
How did you come to know Christ?
I grew up in a Christian household, but then I started asking why am I a Christian? That’s where it started for me—the genuine faith. When I started asking questions, I became more aware. God has made me curious by nature.
I was going through hard things, I was down in my life and depressed. Not having an identity plus having problems made me hopeless. I doubted and questioned Him, but at least I was talking to Him! I was sitting in my room so sad and suicidal. I cried out to God, “I want to believe you’re real. Change the situation in my life and show me You.” And He moved. I went through the earthquake.
How did the 2015 Nepal earthquake affect you?
It forced me out of my room and my family and I fled to live in a tent in a field. It was shock and trauma. But after a week I said I didn’t want to be a victim anymore, I wanted to do something. So my friends and I helped cleared the rubble and clean an area. So when I started to work with providing aid, I met with a lot of people who had a strong faith in God. And at that point I was questioning mine. So in between all the works we were doing, the miracles we were witnessing I would wonder what about my healing? One of the best things I received during that time were the people who were willing to listen to my doubts and troubles. I would ask them, I don’t know what is to come next and that makes me very anxious. And each one of them always said to me, you don’t have to know. You just take each step as it comes and learn to trust God when you do. I was so confused because I wanted to know, I wanted control and clarity but it made me so frustrated that I didn’t know how my life would unfold. I didn’t know how to trust, I didn’t even know if I wanted to. I had such a good support system who always encouraged me, loved me in a way that I didn’t think I deserved. For the first time, I felt the love of God reflecting on me. And it was so powerful, that exposure to his love, it helped me build my trust in him. And when I was able to do that, I was able to build my faith. This is how the earthquake impacted me. It opened doors and pushed me into finally finding my identity.
What is your advice to others?
No one should stay limited. For me growing is such a big thing, not just skills but also in perspective. People should always challenge themselves. You never know what that will do for you and others around you- you don’t know till you push yourself. Each person has something to give and if you don’t challenge yourself, the world is missing out on what you have to give.
What is your definition of hope?
Believing and trusting in Jesus is hope. Believing Him and acknowledging He is powerful and the almighty God. When you know someone is taking care of things, it brings so much comfort!
What are your dreams?
I just want to make a difference. Doesn’t matter what scale, I just want to do my part. I might not be a legend but I want to leave a legacy. I also want to go back to school to study business. I’ve been in a safe bubble and I want to expose myself and be vulnerable. I feel it’s the right time. I’ve asked myself, “How can I share the gospel if I’m always inside the circle?” What I want to do is influence the outside community. That’s why I want to get into the business realm, there’s so much corruption there but I want to do good with it. I also want a creative space to encourage others to step outside their realities and consider bigger things in life.
Why the love for coffee?
Coffee is the first skill I really worked hard on in life and it’s what helped get me out of depression. Yeah sure, God gave me gifts but being a barista didn’t come naturally, it gave me discipline to achieve things in my life. Then it became a passion and it pushed me. The tattoos are reminders for me that it changed my life.