I’ve known Ana since we were 12. She came to my middle school at the beginning of seventh grade after moving to Miami from Iowa. We became friends pretty quickly and we’ve been friends since. She’d come to my house almost every day after school along with my other two closest lifelong friends and my mom would help us with our homework. It was the one point in the day I felt I could truly be myself and we got to know the parts of each other most people never really got the chance to see. Over the years, we went through phases of being really close and others of not really seeing each other and being distant, but I think we both always knew that we could count on each other. When I found out about what was going on with Ana’s uncle, I was shocked. I remember so many times I’d sit praying with my grandma that he’d get better and that Ana and her family could stay strong. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really be there for her. This happened at a point in time when Ana and I didn’t really talk much. We were friends with different people and I had hit rock bottom with my own struggles and I realized I couldn’t directly help anyone while I was in that situation. I don’t think she knows this, but I was always praying for her. She never stopped being important to me despite the distance. It really wasn’t until after we went the retreat she talked about that we got close again. I began to see her radiate light and joy. I always knew Ana was special, but she hadn’t reached her fullest potential until she gave God her heart. Watching her grow into one of the most beautiful and faithful people I’ve ever known has been a huge blessing. She always tells me that I inspire her, but in reality she is the one who inspires me. I once saw this saying, “if you have no faith, borrow mine.” Ana has let me borrow her faith so many times in my life. Every time something goes wrong, she reminds me to turn to God and recognize all the beautiful things He’s given me. Our friendship lies on the foundation of our faith. Not just faith in God, but faith that there is good because of Him. She has made me a better person and us getting close again has been one of the greatest gifts God has given me. She’s always kind, generous, humble, and ready to help whoever needs it. I believe she is an incredible example of what everyone should strive to be like. Imperfect, but faithful and willing to do whatever she needs to do to show others the good and spread God’s love. I hope she was able to inspire you through her story just as much as she’s inspired me.



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