For as long as I could remember I have always believed in God. God was mentioned in our household all the time. Although we didn’t go to church regularly, God was still there. I don’t remember ever going to church with my mom, but I do remember attending church with my dad. When my parent’s used to alternate weekends, my dad would take me on Sundays to a small church, and it was always packed with people, so we used to stay outside. I don’t remember how often we went, but I do remember going. After my parents separated and I moved in with my dad, my grandma, aunt, and uncle, I remember attending my grandma’s church. It was a Christian church, and I remember I didn’t like it because it took, what felt forever, for the service to finish. I did like that they had lemonade and cookies after service. We would attend, but not every single Sunday, and if they had like a celebration or a Christmas dinner, we would go. I briefly remember going to Sunday school a few time, but I felt like I never knew what they were talking about.
Once my dad remarried, and we moved in with my step-mom we starting attending the Catholic church. Most of my friends in elementary school were Mexicans, so they were Catholic. I remember one of them being so excited because she was going to do her first communion and her soul was going to be cleaned, again this was back in elementary school. I remember thinking, I want my soul to be cleaned too. My step-mom had asked my dad if I had been baptized, he told her no, she was shocked. To me baptism was something that had to be done, it was mandatory for all babies to be baptized. And it seemed like it was a big deal because my grandma used to make a lot of cakes for baptisms, but again I didn’t really understand what it was and why, all I knew was that they poured water on the babies heads and there were “Padrinos” or God-Parents, one male and one female.
My step-mom had asked me if I wanted to get baptized and I said yes, thinking that it was something mandatory. So, since I was 11 years old I got to pick my God-Parents, usually, babies are baptized so they don’t really have a say, but I had picked my uncle Carlitos and my step mom’s mother as my God-Parents. I did all the classes that I was supposed to do, I remember they were really boring because all they had us do was watch videos. And I was getting baptized and doing my first communion. Looking back I wish I understood more of what I was doing because I felt like no one really explained it to me.
I remember going on and off to the Catholic church and never really understanding the religion but I had no say. Once I turned 17 I started going to a Pentecostal church with my friend Cassy and her family. They had a lot of rules, the woman couldn’t wear jewelry, jeans/pants, and barely any make-up and some others that I cannot remember right now. I stopped going after a while and I moved to Florida in the Summer of 2012. I met this girl named Mia at school and she invited me to her church. The church was Christian nondenominational but it was at the movie theaters. They rented out the movie theaters on Sundays for service, which I thought was pretty cool. They were the nicest people ever! I remember the pastors, husband, and wife, took me out to lunch one day after church to get to know me better and they were just the sweetest couple I had ever met. I loved this church and I actually ended up giving my life to Jesus and getting saved at this church. I moved back to Michigan in December 2012 and I started attending Res Life Church. This church was huge but I enjoyed going, I didn’t want to get involved, I just enjoyed attending and receiving the message. I would attend this church with Cassy and her cousin Ralfi and we sometimes would go out to eat afterward.
I ended up moving to Florida again in February of 2014 to Miami but I never looked for a church to attend there, too much was going on at the time. Once I moved to Orlando I was told by Lia’s father that there was a church here as an extension to the church he grew up in the Dominican Republic, it had the same name and everything Luz y Vida, Hispanic Evangelic church. I attended this church faithfully every Sunday but again, never got too involved. It was also a small church. I don’t remember when exactly, but I was invited to Focal Point Church and I really enjoyed this church. The people were friendly, the vibe was nice, you didn’t feel any pressure. So, I was attending the Hispanic church and Focal Point Church, like alternating weeks. Until I stopped going to Luz y Vida all together. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2017 that I said I was going to fully devote myself to God, as in go to church every single Sunday, change the music I listened to, read the bible every day, pray every day, and stop socially drinking. In 2018, I started to attend growth group on Monday nights and I have met some pretty incredible ladies.
It has been 2 years since I decided to really live out the “Christian” life or as best as I can but I’ve never felt closer to God than I have been right now. I’m still attending church every Sunday, still attending growth group on Monday nights but now I’m also volunteering for the Rise Youth Ministry for middle and high schoolers. I am still reading The Bible every day, praying every morning and night, and sometimes throughout the day, I also started reading Our Daily Bread and still only listen to Christian/Positive music. Sometimes I’ll listen to other music but Chrisitan is the main one I listen to. I love the relationship I have with God right now and I just want to get closer to him.
Everyone has their own spiritual journey and sometimes things that happen in life might have someone shy away from God but he will pull us in and he will always be there ready to receive us whenever we seek for him.