I was raised in a closely knit family, where we were what the world considered a good Catholic family. We attended Sunday mass together and prayed the rosary daily. My parents joined the CFCI Community when I was very young. Even at that age, I could definitely sense the change in our family. Eventually, my sister joined the community, too, and I saw a major transformation in her as well. I could hardly wait to see what the community had in store for me. The moment I completed my intake camp and joined the Youth I was blessed with such zeal and love for both Christ and the community, and I knew then that there was no turning back because Christ had captured my heart.
My journey through the years in the Youth was not always easy. I had friends in the CFCI Youth and a different set in college. The two groups did not always share the same beliefs. Very often there would be a conflict and I’d have to make certain difficult choices but being in the community offered me the support I needed to stand firm on my values. My commitment to Christ through the community only grew as the years went by. I suddenly found myself sneaking away during my college break for mass in the tiny chapel and eventually brought along one of my friends to attend with me. The community taught me that if I focused on God, everything else would follow. I knew the Lord was calling me to a greater sacrifice. When CFCI Youth Bombay decided to take up a mission area in Valsad I jumped at the opportunity. It wasn’t easy spending my weekends travelling in trains, packed like sardines. We would often find ourselves crammed into a little space with three other people trying to share our seats. On a couple of occasions, I remember having to carry my textbooks along and studying for examinations with a bunch of people breathing down my neck. All of that never mattered because I knew God was calling me to be a young missionary. Even though those times were challenging, I now look back at it all with fond memories.
As I was nearing graduation it was time for me to make major career decisions. I knew that I loved travelling, exploring and I was always inclined towards serving people. I just needed to find a job that would be suited to my personality and that would make use of my talents. I was blessed with the desire to become a flight attendant. I knew nothing about what it would entail and wasn’t even sure how to go about looking for a job in the aviation industry. That very year, Jet Airways (which was the most well-known airlines in India at the time) had experienced such a massive crash in the industry that they had to retrench a large number of employees. When I read of this news in the papers, I knew that my only possible opportunity was gone. When I expressed my desire to be a flight attendant to a close friend he turned around and told me, “These airlines take only pretty girls. You need to be fair to be recruited by them”. I felt so discouraged that I decided to let the idea go. However, the desire had not left my heart. One day my sister came home saying, ‘Hey, you know this international airline is hiring. Why don’t you put in your application?’. A quick search leads me to discover I was too young to apply for that airline. However, I learned that Qatar Airways was the only international airline that had a minimum age requirement that I qualified for and they happened to be accepting applications. I decided to put in my application even though the chances, if any, would be very slim. As I walked into the auditorium to submit my CV I saw about a 1,000 smart looking girls, all dressed in formals and perfect makeup. I stood there watching in my simple salwar with no makeup on and with bags under my eyes, as I had late nights preparing for my university examinations. As I looked at all of them, I felt a sinking feeling in my heart and wanted to turn back. On my mother’s insistence, I mustered up the courage to submit my CV anyway. The recruiter informed me that only a hundred would receive a call back for an interview and should I be selected, I would receive a call that afternoon itself. I was not really expecting them to call as I had seen a lot of other girls that seemed more appropriate for the job.
That afternoon I was jolted off my siesta to a call from the airline inviting me for an interview the following morning. My parents accompanied me to the venue for the interview, and as the elevator doors opened I saw about a 100 girls there. Among all those strangers I saw the familiar face of a school batchmate. After a brief chat with her, it came to light that Qatar Airways only recruited people with aviation experience, reminding me once again that I would stand absolutely no chance against all those lovely veteran ladies. Slightly discouraged, I completed the test for the first round. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I sailed through all the rounds. The group of girls was now down to 6 candidates who would be personally interviewed. However, the personal interview slots clashed with my examination timings and there was no way my parents would allow me to skip my exams for an interview. I said a little prayer at that moment. I thanked the recruiter for the opportunity but declined the personal interview on account of my exams. They looked at each other and with a quick exchange of whispers, they created a spot for me to have my personal interview on a day and a time that was convenient for me. I went in for that personal interview with no real job experience to talk about. All I could talk about was my experience in the CFCI Youth and dealing with various people in the community. I least expected that they would even consider me, but at that point, I was just happy to have the experience of going for an interview.
Weeks passed and suddenly I received an email from Qatar Airways telling me that I needed to send in a copy of my passport. The trouble was that even though I had already submitted my passport for renewal, like all other documents in government offices this too was moving at a snail’s pace. I can vividly remember in between my examinations frequenting the passport office begging the officials to hasten the process. None of them, however, seemed to want to assist me. I was under pressure from Qatar Airways to send in the passport copy quickly but as I could do nothing to help the situation, I just surrendered it in the hands of God and asked Him to make it work if it was His will. During this phase, I spent a lot of time in the blessed sacrament. I could distinctly hear the Lord telling me He would honour my hearts desires. I didn’t quite understand what He meant, but I held on to the promise. After waiting for almost two months, one fine day a courier man delivered my passport to my doorstep. I wondered if Qatar Airways was tired of waiting for me and had moved on to replace me with a different candidate. I sent it in nonetheless. As I completed my last examination, I received my ticket and visa from them and was asked to join within a week.
God honoured the desire of my heart. He worked miracle after miracle to give me an opportunity I could not even fathom. While I was thinking about the opportunities in my hometown, God had already opened up doors for me internationally. Even though in the eyes of the people around me I was not worthy of that opportunity, God ensured that He reserved a spot just for me. He knew that I was seeking Him and His Will above my own. God taught me so many things through this entire process. He taught me to seek Him first in everything I do, and the blessings were mine to follow. He taught me to not let the discouragement of the world bring me down and to believe that He is the God of the impossible. He helped me realise that as insignificant as I am or think I am, He is always watching over me. He taught me that His timing is always perfect. Often we want to hasten things but had my passport come in even a week earlier I would have had to choose between the job opportunity and my examination.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, ‘Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”. I will continue to give the Lord the best years of my life because the Lord only deserves the best of me.