"He was here, and I didn't know it."

Eduardo, a young man from Córdoba

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Perhaps you are wondering: "Well okay, and God?" I think the answer was given to me a long time ago by a Xaverian missionary friend, Rolando, in one of the formations that I shared with him: "He was here, and I didn't know it." I honestly thought that God was taking us to a different culture, a different religion, but no. God was already waiting for us there, in the faces of the children of Nour, in the constant gratitude of the mothers, in the words that always left you thinking about Father Ángel, even in the early hours that we hit each other to pray. He was there, I could feel it, every second was a reward that He gave me and I felt deeply grateful for it. They live, they fill you with life and they make you forget any type of concern that you previously brought.

I have to admit that one of the fears I was carrying was arriving at the association and not knowing where to contribute. Wanting to contribute disappears the moment the children enter the school door. Those children fill you with energy, and not only because many of them did not stop still, but because there is no better battery than the smile of a child.

E xplain this missionary experience two weeks with words is quite complicated. I would be lying if I said that I did not have a mixture of respect, uncertainty and, why not say it, some fear before arriving at the port of Algeciras. Once there, and as the motto of the experience says, my gaze did not stop changing. I had a constant feeling of being very lucky, that God had gifted me to be there as if it were a prize.

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As I have already said, it is not easy to structure this testimony, but I will start with our group, the OMIs. Fifteen strangers living 24/7 together, sharing everything (but everything) and with a very good atmosphere. This caused us to create a family in a very short time. The general feeling was of being with a group of friends who had known each other for a lifetime and I think that a large part of the fault that this trip of emotions has been so special comes from these fourteen strangers wanting to soak up another culture, from other people and of course from God.

I had a constant feeling of being very lucky, that God had gifted me to be there as if it were a prize.

I want to highlight one of the last formations in which we had to reflect on what had changed within us during the experience, and summarize it in one sentence. I leave you what is perhaps the phrase that sums up my experience: "It is important to explore reality, even without staining yourself, so that reality itself breaks your schemes and you end up unprotected." I arrived keeping my distances and ended up soaking up everything, opening up to the experience and enjoying like a small child during the two weeks we were in Tetouan.

Regarding the volunteer work, I was with the Nour Association of Children with Cerebral Palsy. I think that what most people usually do is imagine what they can contribute in the place they go before arriving and I was not going to be different. I have to admit that one of the fears I was carrying was arriving at the association and not knowing where to contribute. Wanting to contribute disappears the moment the children enter the school door. Those children fill you with energy, and not only because many of them did not stop still, but because there is no better battery than the smile of a child. Children, most of whom have been expelled from their schools due to their disabilities, come wanting to listen to you, to meet you, to play with you. Alien from the reality they live, they fill you with life and make you forget any type of concern that you previously brought.

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Finally I only get one word: THANK YOU. Thanks to each and every person I met on this trip. You all changed something within me, you all contributed so that this experience remains forever in my memory and I will always be grateful for it. See you in the next one which we hope will be soon.