Strengthening a Relationship with God

Alondra Zavala

Alondra Zavala

Attending a university whether its public or private is a daunting task, especially when people tell someone that it is impossible and they’ll never be able to do it.  This was the circumstance that Alondra Zavala, junior education major, had in front of her.

“Southwestern really impacted my life a lot because it was all I had my senior year in high school,” says Zavala. “I was told that I wasn’t able to attend Southwestern because it was too expensive, and since I was born in Mexico, where was I going to get the money? They even told me that I didn’t have the opportunities that other people had, so why should I spend my money on a university like Southwestern.”

Through God’s grace, Zavala got accepted into Southwestern Adventist University and now enjoys everything that Southwestern has to offer.

“Coming to Southwestern gave me a chance to be more involved,” says Zavala. “I felt very limited in high school since most of the activities were on Friday night or Saturday. But my first freshman year at Southwestern I was in all of the clubs: Missions club, Enactus, you name it.”

Not only does Zavala get involved with the clubs because she like to help, but also because she knows that they can potentially help her out in her future.

“All of these clubs help me in a sense that we don’t just focus on material things but we focus on our spirituality as well,” says Zavala. “It really helps me get a perspective of how I should be living my life even after I graduate.  I could be one of those people who start a small group on my own after I graduate. It really gives me a feeling of being involved and how I can help more people and spread the word of God to them.”

In summer 2015, Zavala was invited by one of her friends to participate in literature evangelism.  Zavala had to choose between either working in literature evangelism or going home, so she put it to prayer.

“I gave God two weeks to tell me if He wanted me to go work in literature evangelism,” says Zavala. “I didn’t want to do it for the money, even though I needed it. I wanted to do this because I felt God calling me to go.  So I prayed about it. While I was reading the Bible I stumbled across Isaiah 61:1-3 where it says that God has anointed us to go help those who are mourning. God answered my prayer and I felt the call to go. I decided to give it a try, not because my friends were going, or because I needed the money but because I wanted to help people know about God.”

When Zavala got to the literature evangelism site, she didn’t know what to expect or how to react to that situation.  Coming in, Zavala thought that her spiritual life with God was already great and that she had nothing to work on, but the Holy Spirit taught her otherwise.

“One day while we were out canvasing, I got dropped off in a community before lunch. So I did a quick prayer asking God to help me.  I knocked on several doors and I got no response from them.  I asked God what was going on, and I felt a little discouraged that day.  I started to question why I was in the literature evangelism program and thought of going back to my family, who missed me.”

Zavala asked God for a sign to let her know that she had made the right choice of working as a literature evangelist.

“I asked God to at least have someone open the door and shut it in my face because I wanted to see someone and do something,” says Zavala. “As I went along feeling discouraged I knocked on a door and a man opened it. I said my opening line, then I handed him The Great Controversy.  As I was telling him what the book was about, he cut me off, asked me who wrote the book, if I’d read it, what it was about, and why I was at his door. In my head I was praying, ‘God, please help me respond to him.’ We started talking and he turned out to have a psychology degree so we started talking about psychology.  He told me about his daughters and how he had raised them and I showed him the storytime books for kids.”

Zavala knew that this was God’s response to her because she was looking just for someone to open the door. But what the man did next took her completely by surprise.

“Before I stepped out of his house he called me back and asked if he could tell me a story,” says Zavala. “The story he told me went like this: There was once a Lutheran pastor who decided to go do mission work in a different country.  As he was in that country, he questioned why he was there and felt like going back home. The Lutheran pastor decided to write a letter to his family that said: what am I doing here and why am I here? A few weeks later he got a letter back with a response and it said: forget about yourself and just do the work.  When I heard those words I felt that the Holy Spirit through this random stranger gave me a sign that I’m doing a good job and to keep on going.”

Through literature evangelism and all of the clubs she belongs to, Zavala has formed a greater relationship with God, which is why she chose to attend Southwestern Adventist University in the first place.

“One of the main reasons that got me to come to Southwestern was that I didn’t want to go to a public school because I know what public school is like,” says Zavala. “I know the struggle is real but I wanted to strengthen the foundation I had with God in my life.  I truly felt that Southwestern was going to give me a bigger opportunity to get closer to God.  With all of the small groups we have on campus and teachers praying before classes start, what else could you ask for?”

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