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The Mountains Above the Fog


Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo shares a revelation she had about God’s omniscience and goodness after her first few months serving in Bolivia.

I live in Cochabamba, the fourth largest city in Bolivia. We are in something of a fish bowl, surrounded by the mountains, and with all the emissions from cars, trucks, and buses… sometimes I get caught in a bit of a foggy haze. As I walk through the streets, the music of an unfamiliar language pours into my ears, and I am twirled and spun into the crowds of people on the sidewalk. On any given day, I am probably lost—even just a little bit—on often unfamiliar or unmarked streets.

In all transparency, friends, not much is “clear” to me these days. In a moment of raw humility last week, I finally admitted the truth aloud: “I do not even know what I do not know.” I am not sure if my life has ever been less clear than it is right now. These past three months have been this tumultuous roller coaster ride of incredible highs and desolating lows.

Every day, I am honestly thankful that I am here, and I have not lost touch with the deep-rooted conviction within me that I am exactly where I am meant to be. However simultaneously, as I walk through the bustling streets in a foreign land, still wary of my Spanish communication abilities; still in the dark 90% of the time when it comes to societal/cultural norms; and still without a set ministry to call home, it is easy to get lost in: what exactly is God’s purpose for me here???

But then, something beautiful and simple happens. I look up. I see the Andes Mountains. Above the overwhelming sights, sounds, and smells of Cochabamba are these sprawling green peaks that throw me backwards in awe. The cascading hills, stretching miles and miles, hugging the city I now call home—reaching to places I have never visited, or nonetheless even dreamed of. The majesty, might, and holy grandeur of these rolling green hills, reaching up to the clouds, and far beyond, are a presence that simply cannot be ignored. They uphold a sheer force simply by being.

The revelation of size immediately hits me, and I am reminded of the largeness of this world; and, more importantly—of the infinite and immeasurable size of Our God. The Holy Spirit glides over these monstrous mounds of earth, and I am gifted with a whole new perspective. Looking at their magnificence, I do not feel swallowed whole as I do when my nose is so closely pressed to the ground— so intently focused on me, myself, and I lost in these new streets. When I look up, I feel liberated, realizing the magnitude of The God, Designer, and Sculptor. I experience peace as these truths are revealed to me:

  1. The size of these mountains point to the power of the Almighty God, and my doubts and fears—that God could be here, present with me, working in my life too—are crushed.
  2. The same Artist of these mountains is the same Creator of me. He sculpted and designed me too…
  3. And so, if He is continuously shaping and changing these mountains through the evolution of time, how can I not trust Him to continue to shape and change my life, and the lives of those around me?

By zooming out from the menial and temperamental fears and successes of my day to day, I find a stable and concrete peace. God is present, whether I feel Him or see Him. God is working in my life, whether I see the changes or feel the same from one day to the next. In the timetable of an Infinite God, the three months I have been here are hardly a single spec on the timeline. He is a God that works in slow and unpredictable ways—actually, more often than not, working in the fog.

Looking at the mountains helps me see above this fog; helps me look up to God; and helps me hear Him clearly when He whispers gently to my heart in prayer: “Like the mountains, you are being slowly and delicately crafted for My Purpose. Trust in the process. Keep looking up! Take your eyes off yourself, and retrain your focus on the grand majesty happening all around you. Remember, I am here, always here, always working. Whether you can see me or not, I am here.”

In my outward and tangible appearance, I am still walking in a fog. I cannot see far down the road I am walking on—and, I am probably still “lost” on a street of which I do not know the name. But, I know that when I take my gaze off of myself—off of my own fears—I can see the grandeur of God. I see Him in my community mates, in the market, in the strangers I meet on the bus, and in the mountains. I see the progress I have made in three months, and I can see the hope I have in the future He is preparing for me. He is present; the same Holy Spirit that is sailing through the mountains is also guiding me on my path, slowly, but surely through the fog.

Reflection question: How might God be calling you to raise your head and change your perspective on something you may feel lost in?

SarahJane Cauzillo sought various opportunities during her college years at Grand Valley State University to learn more about pressing social justice issues. Mission trips to Detroit awakened a special interest in working with youth, particularly young women. Serving on mission will be a hands-on opportunity to build relationships with others through sharing the Gospel and ministry of presence. Joining an intentional faith community with other lay Catholics was an essential element in choosing to serve overseas with FMS. SarahJane's hobbies include reading, writing, hiking, camping, kayaking, swimming, discovering new music, drinking coffee, and engaging in rich conversation with loved ones.