Growing up, I said I was a “Christian” because I believed in God and I prayed, though it was more out of obligation than a relationship with God. However, I did have a hunger to know more. At my request, my family and I went to church, but only less than a handful of times.
Then my mom got sick. She was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer that had already metastasized to her liver. I prayed every single night for the same thing: “Lord, heal my mom.” During this time, my aunt, uncle, and one of my cousins had also come from Venezuela to live with us. My mother was given four months, but she lived for four more years, which I am so grateful for. Then, after everything, my mom passed away.
That was when I turned my back on God, because it seemed He wasn’t listening to me. What I couldn’t see then, though, was that the Lord was already adding to me. My aunt and uncle legally adopted my brother and I, so they became our parents, and my cousin became my sister. My sister, Jessica, had a more established relationship with Jesus. She began going to church and youth group with her friends in high school, and I saw a light about her whenever she talked about God.
As I entered high school, Jessica went to the University of Tampa. There, she met with a Christian student group. Though she had made the decision to give her life to the Lord when she was younger, it was at UT where she really began to grow. I saw her develop a relationship with Jesus. She was constantly reaching out to me, talking about His love for me, and we even started reading the Bible together.
Because of that, when it was finally time for me to go to the University of South Florida, I wanted to find the same thing. I was seeking God, and He found me and led me to Cornerstone Christian Church. In my first semester I began doing a Bible study with a couple of the girls from church and through that gave my life to Jesus.
Now Jessica and I have hours long conversations about God, and we do our best to encourage each other. I am really thankful for how God used her in my life and for her experience at UT that equipped her to share with me the love of the Lord.