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Sharing her story at a Destino conference - El Paso Texas Destino Faith Story:

By Luz María García-Rochín

Fourteen years ago when I was twenty-four years old, my Mom died in a car accident in Mexico City. I was devastated, and I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was the oldest of five children, and having two younger sisters, I felt responsible for their upbringing. Though my Dad decided to retire early in order to take care of us, especially the little ones, I wasn’t sure what my role in our home should be. At the time, nothing made sense and my life felt like a mess. Six years later, I made a big decision to move to the United States to pursue a degree in English Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

I wanted to start a new life because I thought it would lessen the burden of the loss of my mother. I would be in a completely different place where I hardly knew anyone. However, even after starting school and making friends at school, I still felt empty inside. My life felt meaningless. One day I met a girl named Sarah in a class, and we became friends. We decided to hang out one night, and while we were talking I asked her what she did for a living, and she told me that she worked with a Christian student organization on campus called Destino. When I asked her how she got involved in it, she told me about her spiritual journey which had started when she was in high school. She told me that she enjoyed working with Destino because she could help students get to know God on a personal level. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. The next day we had lunch together on campus, and we talked more about faith. 

Sarah explained that God had created me to have a personal relationship with Him, but that my sin, or things that I did that fell short of his perfect standards, created a barrier between us. She also told me that God’s Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin in order to bridge that gap. I had heard all this before, but then she asked me the question that changed my life forever, “Have you ever accepted the Lord Jesus into your heart?” and I said, “What exactly do you mean?” I thought I already knew Jesus, but I was wrong. 

I used to pray the way I was taught growing up, repeating words that didn’t make any sense to me. After Sarah explained what it meant to know God personally, I realized that I wanted Jesus to come into my life so He could give me purpose, direction, and eternal life. After I accepted Him into my heart, I felt relieved, like a scared child whose mom tells him everything will be okay and there’s nothing to worry about. 

That’s exactly how I felt - safe and protected. It comforts me to know that when I die I will see Him, and I won’t suffer pain because He forgave my sins and gave me eternal life. I know that He is always there for me, and my life has direction. In any decision I need to make, I ask the Lord for advice and I try to listen to His voice. I am confident that He knows what is best for me and that He will take good care of me. 

Before I knew God personally, I had set goals for myself, but I was never sure whether I was going in the right direction. Now with the Lord Jesus living in me, my life has true direction, which helps me to stay focused on my priorities. My biggest goal now is to continue growing in my relationship with the Lord. 

Sometimes I think back to those days when I felt completely lost, as if I were in a desolate place with no one to guide me. Now even my friends can tell a difference in me – they see that I am at peace and that my life has purpose and direction. I’m so thankful to my friend Sarah for introducing me to Jesus. Now I have the joy of sharing God’s love with my family, classmates, students, and everyone around me!

Tell me how to know God personally.

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