An Interior and Exterior Earthquake
Itziar, 22 years old. Traveling to Ecuador and discovering God.
Last summer, Itziar Albañil, a 22-year-old law student, felt the desire to go on a mission trip. From her teenage years, she had slowly moved away from an authentic life of faith. Although her family had kept in contact with the missionary congregation of the Home of the Mother, her first idea was to go with others who were “less spiritually” committed.
Everything changed when an earthquake struck Ecuador in April 2016. Among the victims was Sr. Clare, a young religious sister of the Home of the Mother whom Itziar had met years before and with whom she had formed a true friendship. Sister Clare had encouraged her many times, although with little success, to seek God and draw close to Him. The news of this sister’s death “was as if someone slapped me on the face and said, ‘You have to wake up; you have to do something important with your life,’”’” says Itziar. That is how, through a series of providential circumstances, she decided to go a mission trip with the Home of the Mother to Playa Prieta, the area devastated by the earthquake.
During three weeks, Itziar worked in a soup kitchen for families who had nothing after the quake; she helped to rebuild a school and taught classes. The simplicity, humility, and joy of those people were a lesson to her.
When she came back, the experience helped her to put in order her priorities, rethink her future, and “do
without the things that I thought were necessary, but now see that they aren’t.” The biggest discovery of this interior and exterior trip was that she drew close to God: “It impacted me that those people never stopped thanking God even though they had lost everything. There, what sustained me was prayer and discovering God’s presence in the Tabernacle.”