“History has its eyes on you”. I had the privilege of seeing the Broadway musical phenomenon, Hamilton, last year. It is a gripping story of flawed people trying to create a new home, trying to work together, and trying to be free. Alexander Hamilton was born out of wedlock, left by his father, and orphaned as a young teenager when his mother died. That’s just the beginning of the story.
My name is Shelly Casale, and I live in Redmond, Washington. I have worked in Christian education for the past ten years and my husband Paul is a marriage and family therapist. We have two sons, Jake and Jonah. I’d love to tell you how ROWAN came into my family’s life, and what it has to do with Hamilton! My father was a United States Army Chaplain so I lived and moved all over the USA. My dad was gone from home for a long time during both the Korean and Vietnam wars. My parents and I also lived in Tehran, Iran, in 1978-79, during the Iranian Revolution, which is a whole other story! These formative experiences both strengthened and challenged my faith in God. As a parent, I encouraged my kids to engage with the world for Christ but I also wanted them to be safe. While I love God completely, I also want to be in control of things—can anyone relate to that? When our oldest son Jake was at Dartmouth College, he told us there was a ministry called ROWAN, in rural Africa. He had prayed, and felt God clearly leading him to go on a student mission trip there. I was thrilled for him—grateful that he wanted to serve, but honestly a little nervous. That was 2014. We did our research into ROWAN and were amazed. Kelsey and Pastor Paul have created this smart, honest, innovative ministry where lives are changed. Most of their resources go directly to the widows and orphans. We trusted God and prayed. Jake did go to Uganda, we became sponsors, and there are more stories to tell. Which brings me back to the orphan Alexander Hamilton.
“History has its eyes on you” is a lyric from the show. God has His loving eyes on us, calling us to be part of His story, and history will tell what we’ve done in His name. God gives us opportunities every day to be strong and courageous for Him, even if we feel weak or unsure. If you’re not already a part of the ROWAN family, I hope you’ll consider joining us. And keep reading here for more stories!