We come into this life not fully coherent of the world around us. From the moment we were conceived in our mother’s womb, we are dependent. As we age, we become “independent” beginning with our first steps as children. And as we continue in this life, our first walking steps becoming running ones, society deems us fully “independent” when we can pay the bills by ourselves.


This is where I disagree. We will always be dependent, and there are some who realize this. We will always need someone or something to provide our essential needs, but we try looking for it in all the wrong places. Instead, we buy things, or get into empty, needless relationships. We try filling this void, but the truth is, there is nothing earthly that will fill the void. And that’s how I know God is real.


I’ve spent almost all my life, though I have walked this earth for almost eighteen years, looking for things to fill the emptiness inside of me. I’ve tried many things and none were satisfying. And as I sunk to the bottom, my desperation grasped at God. It wasn’t immediate salvation, but I slowly found myself rising back to the surface with God’s help.


This trip, this blessing, has helped me remember how good, faithful, and loving God is. This past year was the worst year of my life, and I relapsed back into depression and became bitter. What did I do? Why did God put me through all this pain and let the bad things happen to me? As months flew by, I still pondered this question, it wasn’t until a friend pointed out something that I hadn’t thought about.


God cannot control the sins of others because he gave us free will. But what he can do is take the bad things and turn them into something good. He desires the best for us, he is our father, he is my father. Even when I turned my back from him, even when I messed up, his love never wavered.


I was able to share my testimony in Uganda to help those know that they’re not alone, and that there is always hope. I cannot fully express how much this trip impacted my life, and how much God has broken me and built me back up. For the first time in my life, I experienced true peace and acceptance, and the void that I had, filled up with God’s love. If it wasn’t for my new team of sisters, and their love for God, I don’t know where I would be right now. I love them dearly, and I know I’m going to miss them.


I really don’t know where I’m going with this, I guess I just wanted to share that God is amazing, and that you realize it too.



-Malia Contreras, 17.

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