Before joining CFCI I didn’t really know how to pray. I wanted to, but I didn’t have anyone to guide me. I used to treat God more like a shopkeeper. I would only turn to him to ask for favours, and even if I would pray a little, I felt I was doing God a favour.
While I was in Goa, I was shy to pray in front of family or anyone else. Even when I would go for retreats I would never be able to close my eyes, but I would laugh at the others praying. If anything would go wrong in my life, I would end up blaming God for it and felt it was useless to pray.
After a while, I started observing some of the CFCI Youth and Singles who would go to the Blessed Sacrament and pray from their heart which struck me because it was very unusual to see youngsters praying. Seeing this, motivated me to want to join the CFCI in Goa. However, due to certain reasons, I was not able to join the community there. A month before leaving Goa I got in touch with my friend, who happened to be a part of the CFCI Youth in Goa, who told me more about the CFCI community. He also told me that there is a CFCI community in Mangalore, too.
This was a challenge for me as I didn’t know anyone in Mangalore. After reaching Mangalore, whoever I met I tried inquiring about CFCI, but many didn’t know that CFCI exists in Mangalore. I didn’t give up. I began to check Instagram and by God’s grace I found Mangalore CFCI Youth formator’s number on the intake camp’s post. I quickly called him on a Friday evening and he asked me to come the following Sunday.
At that time it was my first month in Mangalore, and I was feeling homesick and felt pretty lonely as I couldn’t find anyone with whom I had shared common interests. Everyone would speak in a language I couldn’t understand. I felt lost, like an alien. Every time I would call home my mom would end up crying, hearing my voice as I was really close to her. Therefore, I couldn’t share my struggles with her as I knew it would upset her. So, I used to pretend to be enjoying Mangalore. I would tag along with any group, as an observer or would spend my time alone.
Elenore was the first person I met, who guided me to where the meeting was to be held. We spoke a lot before the meeting started. It was then that I felt that I found a sister in her. As I was standing in the hall before the meeting started, all the CFCI Youth came to me with bright smiles on their faces, introducing themselves joyfully. I felt the presence of God in each of them. For the first time in Mangalore, I did not feel lost. I felt I had my family with me. Looking at all the youngsters, lifting their hands and praying inspired me to pray the same way. I saw most of them praying deeply from their hearts.
Every CFCI Youth that I’ve come across has been so kind, loving, with amazing hearts. They treat one another like family, and I’ve always seen them supporting each other and encouraging others to grow into better human beings. They are truly examples of being the followers of Jesus. I now enjoy praying, so much so that I feel so incomplete if I don’t do my daily prayers. And now in Mangalore, I know I have a huge family that helps me grow and encourages me every day. I thank God for leading me to this community.