Hazel’s Testimony of Conversion
Last Sunday, April 24, we celebrated the feast of the Conversion of St. Augustine. That is why we present to you the precious testimony of Hazel, from ARCORES Costa Rica:
“How many times we have longed to have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, how many times we have been commanded to fulfill one of the main commandments, love our neighbor, and how difficult and complicated we make it.
Volunteering with the homeless
That door to conversion goes back five years ago, when I was invited to take my first workshop at CEAR (Centro de Espiritualidad Agustino-Recoleta), the Enneagram of Personality. At the end of that course, we were asked to put into practice what we had learned. I decided to accept the challenge. We were offered to volunteer with the homeless. I had no idea what God had prepared for me.
On the first visit, without God waiting any longer, I came face to face with Him. I met a young man, Cristian, 27 years old, with a very good education and who, due to life circumstances, fell into the clutches of drugs. At first, he asked me how we saw them. I didn’t manage to answer anything. That’s when I realized how those of us who think we have everything, in the end have nothing either. How much emptiness accompanies us. Cristian and I were the same. Why do we sometimes feel superior to others? Cristian’s question kept circling in my mind.
It was from that moment when the seed that God planted in my heart began to germinate. I began to put my gifts and talents at His service, but not for them to see me, to see the ‘great work’ I was doing. In every conversation, in every story, in every glance of those people I got to know, I was becoming more human, more sensitive to the pain of others. I learned more from them than what I could offer them. Through them, God allowed me to see it.
Tools for the trials
From that moment on, I decided to take other workshops on self-knowledge, prayer, spirituality and healing. In each one of them, God has put wonderful people in my path. Without knowing it, they are part of my conversion process, which is still ongoing. These workshops prepared me for the trials that I am going through today; they are my tools, to go through the fire, where I am being molded by the best potter.
My mother died very young, which left very deep scars in me, as well as the loss of my grandparents, who were a very important pillar in my formation. I grew up in a family with very strong Christian values, but it is now that I put these virtues into practice.
Today I find myself going through one of the hardest trials. I have a daughter, now of age, who at the age of 16, out of rebellion or I don’t know for what reason, left home and decided to break off all relations with me. I know that, at this time, many mothers are going through similar situations, and they know all those feelings that accompany us: pain, anguish, fear, sadness and, mainly, guilt, a guilt that first falls on us, on what I did wrong and, later, on looking for someone to blame.
God molds me
But today I know that, through this trial, God continues to mold my patience, my strong need to be in control of everything, my character, capacity for forgiveness, practicing true love and many other feelings and situations.
I hope that God, through my testimony of conversion, will come to move many hearts. Whatever problem you are going through, you are not alone. He gives us strength, He is eager to transform our lives. Although sometimes it seems that the situation does not change, he works in silence and with unconditional love.
Let yourself be touched by Him, He is eager that we have the willingness to let ourselves be molded by Him. We do not know when, how, where or through what situation He will knock on our door, so that we can have that face-to-face encounter with Him.
Tears of happiness and pain
Even today I still shed tears as I write these lines, sometimes of happiness and sometimes of pain. If through my life story, someone may be called to conversion, for me it will be a pleasure to have been able to put that grain of sand.
I thank God for having placed on my path this great Augustinian Family, which opened the doors of its workshops to me, and now forms an important part of me. Thank you, Augustinian Recollects, thanks to ARCORES and the Calle Esperanza project. Thanks to the facilitators, friars and companions, for being part of my conversion and witnesses of my growth in faith”.
Hazel Miranda Chinchilla
ARCORES Calle Esperanza
CEAR Costa Rica