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I was born in Mexico, but have lived in the U.S. most of my life.  I grew up in the Catholic faith, attending Mass faithfully, and have known about the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  What I realize I didn't have, however, is a personal and direct relationship with Jesus, and I did not have an understanding of Grace.  After graduating college, I married and moved to Seattle, where I lived for 20 years.  I thought my life was full and that all was good.  However, my husband and I did not have a Christ-centered life. I went to Mass alone, and we rarely prayed together (although he was Lutheran and had also grown up in the church).  I worked in the high tech investment and start-up industries and traveled internationally extensively. Our lives coasted along.

After 16 years of marriage, tragedy struck, and I experienced a traumatic event.  My husband attempted suicide in our home — a horrific, surreal, life changing scene for me to find.  My ability to perform CPR on him had to be an act of God's help, but I did not see it that way at that time — or for a long time. I thought God abandoned me. From that time on, I used alcohol to absorb my pain, my fear, and the crazy thoughts that I couldn't or wouldn't deal with.  A few months later my husband left me.  In the past seven years, I have woken up in various hospitals after having passed out from alcohol, always thinking God was nowhere to be found in my life.  (I now know He WAS there — I woke up after all, right?)  I have tried to continue to create a life for myself but finally surrendered to the fact that I cannot create anything without God.  My faith needs to be not just restored but actually established.

During my first week I entered Adult & Teen Challenge, an evangelist was speaking at the center and called me up to the front of the chapel.  He spoke in Spanish and led me through a prayer to accept Jesus into my heart, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was an amazing experience.  I am learning so much every day.  I am in relationship with my Savior.  He is healing the broken parts of my heart.  I feel as if I cannot get enough of the Lord, especially since learning that it is in His presence that I find freedom.  My heart is becoming lighter each day as I surrender to the Lord my life.  I have a new hope and His grace overwhelms me. I am forgiven, He paid the price for my sins. I wake up and find myself thanking God for a new day and the breath that I breathe and the gift of life.  I had thought it was too late for me in so many areas of my life, but I am learning now that those are lies from the enemy and I am following hard after the voice of Jesus now.  He is directing my steps.  I am being established by the Lord. I love this promise from the Lord to me:

"...and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."
— Isaiah 61:3

God is planting me in this new faith and I am not the same woman. I am so grateful for this ministry, the discipleship, and the intense biblical knowledge and application that I am receiving. We worship the Lord almost everyday, and I cry just about every time. The community of love and encouragement is exactly what I needed in my life. Thank you.

— Silvia