The Shalom community came into my life at the best time, it was a difficult but very beautiful moment. It came to stay in my heart forever.
I met the community through a very good friend, a girl full of energy and noble heart. It was at a birthday party for both her and a Shalom missionary. I arrived at the party and since the first moment they welcomed me wonderfully, and bombarding me with a ton of questions … Where are you from?, What’s your name? What are you doing in USA?
However, they did not bother me at all, on the contrary, I felt welcomed by everyone, even though they were complete strangers to me.
At the end of the party they invited me to the beach day and a camping trip they were organizing. I decided to go to the beach with them, we had “Girls day”, it was fun and full of laughter. Since that moment I found very sweet people that up to this day offer me their support.
I was a non-practicing Catholic. To be honest I was far from God, but meeting the community helped me deal with emotional situations I was going through in that moment in my life. I was far from my country, away from my friends and loved ones, and especially away from my family, which has always been very important for me. I was in an unknown country, without somebody I could really trust.
I enrolled in an exchange program where I had to live with an American family for a year. Since the beginning I knew that it was a family with certain challenges but I decided to help them. During my exchange year the family with which I lived suffered some difficult moments, the saddest one being the loss of one of the family members and even if I didn’t known them as much as I would have wanted to, that loss still hurt me a lot. I never imagined having to say goodbye to the person who opened the doors of her home, the person who entrusted me with the care of her children without knowing me, without knowing anything about me.
This is why the people of the Shalom community and God were my main support throughout that year. I learned from them many things, relating to religion, but also about life matters.
One of the things I liked the most was “Adoration”. I had never done that before in my life, and so I learned a new way of being close to God. As time passed, I became closer and closer to Him.
I learned that if I thought there was no one to talk to, to tell them how I felt. That if my family or a friend was too far away to give me a hug. I could talk to God about that and much more. I learned a different way of loving God, our Lord. Also, if I had a doubt about religion I could count on any of the missionaries, especially one of them, to ask them about any doubt I had. They always explained things to me in the best way and with a smile.
Saturday was a very special day for me. That day I knew it was time to be with my Shalom family including God. We usually do our prayer group and then we hang out all together afterwards always having a lot of fun. I learned that religion does not have to be boring, I learned to listen to people, I learned beautiful songs, I learned that family does not always have to have the same blood as me, because everyone in the community showed me that they are extraordinary humans beings and all of them are going to have a special place in my heart forever.
Back in my country I can say that God is still with me, that I am important for Him and I can trust that He has an excellent plan for me. God showed me that I am not alone and that He puts wonderful people in my life, He showed me that the fun things in life are not in a fight with religion.
I know that I still have a lot to learn. I thank the Shalom community greatly for opening your doors to me, for helping me get closer to God again, I thank you for the great faith that I have today towards God, I thank you for having taught me the meaning of the word SHALOM.
Thank you to each and everyone of my Shalom family for this and much more.
Thank God I met you all.
Eva Andrea González Flores