By the look of that smile, you would never know that Mirna Mendez had a lonely past.
“I was born in Guatemala. My mom had left us with my grandma. I met my mom when I was six years old. She came for us and we moved to Los Angeles in 1982.”
Prayer for a broken family
She was in a new country, and felt lonelier than ever. Mirna didn’t get along with her mom, and her dad wasn’t always present.
“My dad used to drink a lot. He [used] to make promises that he would take us to eat pizza and we used to wait for him. He never came home until probably 5 or 3 am. He didn’t even know where he parked the car or where he put the keys. So, he was drinking a lot and I was really afraid of him.”
“And we always prayed for God to protect [ my dad]; for Him to change his life.”
Can Catholic priests forgive my sins?
Like a “good Catholic girl,” she confessed her sins to the priest. But she always wondered how telling a priest her sins could help. She questioned her priest and was surprised by his reaction. “He told me go away and pray 7 Hail Marys.” Without any solid answers, Mirna and her sister, Elba, decided to leave the Catholic Church.
It’s not uncommon to see people leave. A study reveals that young adults start leaving the Catholic church at a young age because of weak attachment to the Church and of disbelief in religion.
Mirna and Elba continued to pray for an answer to her question. “We started praying for two weeks. We prayed and prayed and prayed.” And then two weeks later, they were invited to attend a worship service in the Church Of Christ through a friend, Pakito.
Only God can forgive sins
Mirna, Elba and her dad, Guillermo, accepted Pakito’s invitation to listen to the teachings taught in the Church Of Christ.
“It clearly answered all my questions. I learned you should only pray to God; pray for Him to forgive you. That’s who you should confess your sins to. That lesson made me continue Bible studies. All the questions I had, [were] clearly answered that day. [Whereas] I felt that we were following man’s rules in the Catholic Church, instead of God’s commandments.” They were intrigued and continued to listen to the Bible studies. What they learned shaped them.
Healing a broken home
The words of God taught inside the Church Of Christ inspired Guillermo and healed his relationship with his family. “If you would see him now, he’s a totally different man. He stopped drinking. We started hanging out with him and we’ve grown closer.”
Mirna was deeply inspired.“Seeing my dad, how he was before, and then after you know. He started listening to Bible studies and [was] baptized, how his life changed a lot. I said to myself, “Maybe my life would change too.”
Mirna decided she wanted to take steps toward becoming the best version of herself and joined the Church Of Christ in 1996. “And since then, I’m happy. I’m happy I made that choice.”
It was the most life altering decision she’d ever made, and she has no regrets. “And now that I’m in Church Of Christ, I’m complete. I mean, I feel complete because I know that God is with me. I really, truly know that God is with me. He answered all my prayers. I’m in a happy marriage and my family’s relationship has grown stronger. My mom has listened to a few Bible studies and I feel God’s love is getting to her. She has apologized for everything that she has done to me, and she’s nicer and sweeter to me. “
Since then, Mirna has never looked back. “I started with little faith and now, it’s getting stronger. I’m learning more every day to be faithful to God by showing Him how important He is to me and living with His words deep in my heart.”