Conchis: The first thing that the Virgin Mary did was to put Fra Pablo on our path. We shared work at a foster home. One day Fra Pablo told us that he learned to pray with the heart in Medjugorje and I had never heard about Medjugorje before so I asked the Virgin Mary and God, “Please take me there because I don’t know how to pray with the heart.” And that year on Mother’s Day, I was gifted a free flight to Medjugorje.
José Manuel [my husband] realized that I really wanted to go. I had faith, I was a believer, but I used to pray by myself, whereas José Manuel was far away from God. He would attend mass only because he was expected to go. So I used to secretly pray, because in my house it was not acceptable to pray, to be in an adoration for 3 hours, or to go to mass every day. It was perceived as if you are leaving behind your family.
My husband wanted to please me so he offered me the trip to Medjugorje. I was so happy, but I felt I had a burden. I was bringing him and I knew that he could be an obstacle in my journey to learn to pray with the heart. What we did not know is that this gift was not only a gift for me but also for him.
José Manuel: I was happy to come to Medjugorje but I did not know exactly where I was going. I had learned from Fra Pablo what Medjugorje was but it was still not clear for me. I was happy because I was offering this gift.
Once we got here, we prayed a Rosary at the Risen Christ statue and this Rosary for me was awful. I felt horrible and I started to say to myself that this was not my place. I was thinking, “What I am doing here? What am I going to do?”
The next morning I woke up with this feeling again of what am I doing here. God was waiting for me. My life took a 360 degree turn and he made me realize that the gift that I gave to my wife is also a gift for me, and the Virgin blessed me back well beyond the gift I had offered to my wife. Because before when I used to pray I was only repeating words, I did not pray with my heart. At the Risen Christ, I experienced God’s presence, and I felt that this changed my life. I started to pray the Rosary everyday. I started to go to mass everyday. We did a prayer group and since then our life changed.
We had been married 24 years, and since that week we were here in 2019, we try not let a day go by without praying together and reading the Bible. My children noticed that they lost the father they used to have. All the things that used to be a priority, now they are left behind. My children were astonished and they still are.
Conchis: Before this trip I used to go to a prayer group with Fra Pablo and this helped me to learn pray, but here I felt a presence of God that I had never felt before. I saw the image of the Lord, I saw how He was hugging me. The presence of God is there and He has always been present in my life but I had never felt it as I felt it when I came to Medjugorje.
This trip also changed my life, in the way I behaved, the way I pray. You come back with a lesson. I came back here again with a problem and I asked the Virgin to help me because I did not see things clearly. And the Virgin Mary gave me a clear vision of the problem I had. Lately, I have been overthinking, I’ve been having a lot of doubts. She made me realize that sometimes She speaks to us but we do not understand Her. The Virgin Mary knows what is the best for us and when it is the right time for us.
José Manuel: It is clear that when you are a little bit lost in the faith and you do not feel the love of our Lord and the Virgin, even if we get it, we are so blind that we do not see it. You have to seek the Lord, go to the Lord or to adoration.
For me personally, this is the ideal place to come. Before, we had done many trips to other places, but since two years ago, this is our unique and favorite destination. Here I have found a tiny spot from heaven on earth lost in Bosnia Herzegovina. I encourage everyone to come here, at least the minimum 4 or 5 days, whatever you can. You will find peace.
Conchis: Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and I did not understand. I was desperate. I used to say “I am dying,” but right at this moment I was having cancer, he gave me life. I am very thankful for that. When I got cancer I had distanced myself a little bit from God, but I had always been a believer and I had always depended upon Him. So that’s what I did, I put all my trust in God, and I told him, “Do as You please! I just want to be close to You! My life is in Your hands, forgive me for all I have done!”
I got closer to God again, and that’s why He brought me back to life. I thought I was going to die. The truth is that before I had cancer I was already dead, but I was just not aware of it. I was born again because I got closer to Him again. Faith will allow you to carry your cross with strength. And although you may be in an extremely difficult or painful situation, you always trust that God is with you in the midst of your suffering. Later on, you can see how God heals you, how God helps you and how God gives you strength to overcome the challenges. Then I realized that it would have been impossible for me to able to go through cancer with this strength, you know that this strength does not come from you, because for me this is divine strength.
José Manuel: I would like to highlight the great power of prayer. Later on I realized that my wife had been praying for my conversion for so long and I saw the fruit of her prayers. I must say that prayers are very powerful. Sometimes it may take a while for you to see your prayer is answered.