Fabiola grew up in Brazil in a family who attended a Catholic church. But rather than baptize Fabiola and her siblings as infants, her mother decided to let them make their own decisions for Christ. Fabiola made that decision at age 12.

“I went to a Christian church and I loved it. I felt like, ‘That’s my place.’ I went to a summer camp when I was a kid and God touched me. I made friends. But then my mother passed away at age 38 years old. She died by a stroke. I felt really angry with God.”

And she walked away from her church and from God.

“I felt there was no reason for me to keep coming back to church,” Fabiola said. Her decision had consequences. “I met everything from the world outside. I hurt my myself. I hurt my family,” Fabiola said. “I was like, “God? What God?”

Unhappy and depressed, Fabiola contemplated taking her own life when God intervened. “I got pregnant. I decided that while I can take my life, I can’t take somebody else’s life,” Fabiola said. Still, she continued to keep God at arm’s length.

Three years ago, she moved to Moss Beach with her daughter and came to the Christmas service at Mariners Church. “The music, the atmosphere at church, it reminded me of when I was in Brazil at age 11,” Fabiola said. “I felt the presence of God there.”

Yet even as she reconnected with God, Fabiola struggled to make ends meet.  She lost her job. Her car was totaled. The high cost of living meant she and her daughter had to rely on the generosity of Fabiola’s sister for housing. But she continued to attend church faithfully. And God has provided.

“I’m very grateful for Mariners Church, because they did support me all the way, financially when I was struggling, and caring about me, praying about me.”

This year’s series of messages on “hope” has inspired her further. “I am God’s daughter,” she said. “If there are situation that makes me feel scared, I have God. I have hope because I am not alone. My connection today with God is take my life and show me how to live.”

By Volunteer Storyteller, Dan Page