By: Helen Yi
The Lord is constantly at work and He is constantly revealing pieces of the puzzle that we call our lives. For me, a big part of my life puzzle is my calling and assignments related to overseas missions. The Lord clearly called me into missions work the summer before my senior year at Toccoa Falls College. The Lord then clearly assigned me to spend time serving in Aliquippa the summer after graduation, and it was there that He revealed that He wanted me to stay longer. I had no idea what staying in Aliquippa was going to entail, but I knew that God was speaking and I had to listen.
I have lived in the area for almost 2 years now, and God has been using my time here in Aliquippa to equip me, prepare me, soften me, teach me, and guide me for the future. My time in Aliquippa as a whole has been a serious season of growth, maturity, healing, joy, and preparation. I have been strategically placed in ministries that have been able to give me access to communities and people who directly reflect the ministry I will be doing in the future. My heart burns for the city of Aliquippa, and my heart also burns for the people all over the world who have never heard of Christ, and who do not have the freedom and access like I do.
I took on the job of executive assistant here at Uncommon Grounds Café about a year ago, and during my time here I have learned so much. I want to spend time to reflect on what the Café has taught me and what I have learned during my time here. I would like to preface this by saying that the Café is not a perfect ministry. The people are not perfect, and the day-to-day is not perfect, but God is and has been faithfully using the people and this ministry to bring light and joy to Franklin Avenue. There are many things that the Café has taught me, but one thing I have truly learned is what family looks like.
Family is not perfect, but when you have a loving group of supportive people, you know you can freely be yourself. The Café has been a safe haven for many, and a place that many have called home at one point or another. This place is truly a family filled with crazy uncles, loving aunts, wild siblings, and most importantly, a loving Father, God. The family that I have gained from this last year has been a family I would never want to forget nor leave. The regulars we have, the estranged visitors, and the consistent staff make a place where laughter saturates the walls. This building is a source of tough love and guidance. This space is a safe place to trip and fall over and over. This Café is an oasis that brings life to all who enter. It is filled with wild, crazy people and it has its downs and faults, but families always have those. This place would not feel like family if everyone was polished and perfect. What I love most about Uncommon Grounds Café is that we all are unique people with different pasts, broken pieces, hidden secrets, and sinful hearts, but we are all covered by the blood of Jesus, and His blood is what unites us stronger than what divides us.