Mariah de Oliveira
I grew up as the only child of parents who had a broken marriage. I remember always having the feeling of being sad and alone. My parents worked all day, and when they were not fighting at home, they would each get busy separately, working on their own projects. I remember playing alone at home and in the school, day after day. My mother came from a Methodist tradition, so I remember going to church since I was very little, but only to Sunday services.
When I was five years old, I was invited to go to a Vacation Bible School. My mother motivated me to attend, so I ended up being in one of the days of VBS. I remember they told the story of Jesus coming to this world, feeling what we feel, and giving his life for me. I gave my life to God that day and I remember the teacher saying that when we invite Jesus into our lives and ask him to forgive our sins, we have a new best friend, and he will never leave us alone anymore.
Those were the words I needed to hear. I needed someone by my side that could help me go through everything and would never leave no matter how bad I was and how many wrong things I had done. Jesus was this person. Going back home from VSB, I remember telling my mom about my Best Friend and sharing what happened. She gladly wrote the date in an old Bible, so we could remember it.
Growing up, I struggled a lot to grow in faith in a context where there was no support for a child to grow up in a relationship with Christ. It was then that I decided to replace Jesus in my life for music, instead. I was involved in instrument competition, practiced several hours a day, and had several friends who also were students. Until one day, something happened. God decided to take away anything that was related to music. This way, He taught me how He should be the only one in my life and how I should dedicate to cultivate my friendship with Him each and every day.