Editor’s note:

Victor Martinez, a Henry High School student leader a little over a decade ago, shares a life-changing message of life lessons he learned as he searched for the love of his life. He reveals a framework for getting everything you want out of life and more. Martinez now pastors a bilingual congregation at North Minneapolis’ New Generation Church. His book is available on Amazon.

I felt really good about myself while descending from the plane, confident like I had a million dollars. It also helped to boost my morale and self-esteem that I was taller than most people there. Part of me felt like a famous basketball player walking among the much shorter locals.

I wish I could say that it was love at first sight. I wish I could say that the moment I laid my eyes on Cecilia, I felt wowed and taken with her. As I stepped down from the plane, I looked out to the crowd of people waiting for their loved ones at the airport corridor. I scanned through them searching for a nervous and beautiful girl. I never expected to feel what I felt next. I was expecting to feel ecstatic and stunned but as I scanned the sea of people I noticed a young girl who was around the same age as I (age 24 at the time) that fit the description of Cecilia. She had an extremely nervous look about her and the first thing I noticed about her was the nose, it seemed to be off a bit, like it was broken. It had a bump and appeared tilted.

She also had braces and this did not help my opinion of her at that point at all. Her face had a distinct Peruvian look, which I was not used to seeing, and the first thought that came to my mind was that she wasn’t as attractive as I expected. I wasn’t too disappointed since I had prepared myself for the worst.

I also noticed a nervous looking grown man beside her, whom I could easily tell was her father. I briskly walked over to them where they were standing and introduced myself first to her, after which I turned to her father and did the same.

He quickly walked us out of the airport to a taxi. My initial plan was to stay at a motel near their house but Cecilia gave me a heads up that her father planned to host me in their spare room so that he could keep a close eye on me and properly monitor me. As I sat next to Cecilia in the taxi I told myself that we were just friends and that this was going to be a nice trip that I would enjoy. I was in a foreign country after all and I had never been there before, I would go out and soak in the sights. This made me feel relaxed.

By this time, I had decided to get things done by myself as I felt as if God was taking too long to answer me again and so I would make it happen myself. I remember telling God once to just give her to me and that even if she was not ready I would deal with the consequences and cope with her while he works on her. That advice was not me on a normal day, it is not something I would normally support ... but it was how I felt on that particular day. It was my rebellious side coming out and rearing its head for the umpteenth time.

I felt relaxed as we got in the taxi and headed to her house. As I sat in the taxi I looked over at Cecilia as she sat there silently. I noticed how nervous and scared she was and I began to have compassion for her. She was wonderfully made by God and she was beautiful in her own way. I began to notice features on her face that were different, but beautiful.

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