Life is always marked by processes that in every instance help man to grow and mature. In this process of growth, we are conscious that each of us has his own cycle; that is, everyone arrives at his destiny. This same process implies a mixture of sentiments, some pleasant, others sad, some happy, yet others melancholy; but all make us feel something in our heart.
I am a man of faith, a man who tries to discern and follow a transcendental voice, a voice that Christians call “the call of Christ.” Following this voice, I came to the USA; it was a tremendous challenge, accompanied by fear and the insecurity that comes with beginning a new life. Arriving at a different culture where I didn’t know anyone and where the language was different was a very strong emotional shock. My first month in Baltimore was extremely difficult. The principal challenge was to communicate; this seemed an almost insurmountable task.
Now, after almost one year, I can say that my growth has been enormous. Neither my grammar nor my pronunciation is perfect, but at least I have lost the fear that earlier had kept me from the person I really was.
How can I repay the Lord for what he has given to me? Here at ELI, I met incredible friends, friends that now are the reason that at times I feel sad and melancholy. Here I met excellent professors, men and women who have left an indelible impression on my life because of the love and dedication they showed to me.
My cycle here is coming to an end, and I am not afraid to admit that I feel sad. Why? It is because I leave here a part of my heart with the people that helped me in this year-long journey. You are part of my history here, and today I pause to give you thanks for all that you have done for me. I take with me your affection, your friendship, your instruction, and your jokes – all of which helped to lighten the yoke that I carried here. I will remember the face of each of you, those present and those absent, those young and old. I can only say, a million thanks.