Editor’s note: Victor Martinez, a Henry High School student leader a little over a decade ago, shares a lifechanging 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.

Daylight had given way to darkness as we approached her home. I can remember driving through dirt roads and catching a glimpse of a small stucco entrance. I could not see much as it was really dark and there was no light-post on the streets. I remember walking into her house, looking up and noticing that there was no roof and assuming that they were poor. Then we walked a bit further in and I discovered that they had roofs and the building outside was just the courtyard.

I walked into the room I was given, closed the door and let it all sink in, the fact that I was there, in Lima, Peru having travelled over so many miles to visit a lady I had never before seen in my life.

When I came out of the room, I saw Cecilia sitting by herself at the table. I walked over to where she sat and took my seat. All I desired at this point was just to build a friendship with her; I had already taken my mind off her being my woman. I then realized that she was still quite nervous.

She opened her mouth and with her exotic accent told me, “I can’t believe this.”

I looked into her eyes and then took out my cell phone. I pretended to call her and converse with her the way we had been doing for the past six months.

As I pretended to talk to her on the phone, I was able to lessen her tension and make her less nervous. Cecilia looked at me with amazement (the first time that a girl had looked at me with such wonder and awe in her eyes and to be honest, it felt amazing).

She then told me, “You are amazing, you know.” And that statement, coupled with the adorable accent and look was what it took to push me over the edge. I started to fall in love with her again. That is what interest in a person can do. It can make them feel loved and good about themselves, almost invincible.

A man can accomplish anything, go any number of miles to achieve something, even conquer the world when he has the respect and belief of his woman, a woman that deeply loves her man and supports him greatly. That support is setting him up to achieve great things because this does a great deal for the man’s self-confidence and belief in himself and his abilities. Support for a man by his woman fills him with almost superhuman strength. This belief in him then translates to determination to achieve whatever it is he sets out to do.

The next two days that I spent there in Lima, Peru were some of the best days of my life up to that particular point. I fell in love with Cecilia with every part of my being; it was like a fairy tale come to life.

By the 3rd day of being there, I had succeeded in convincing myself that she was God’s gift to me. I convinced myself that she had been handed over to me by him, to marry.

But I knew deep down that she did not fit my list. There were many red flags that I was ignoring, but those red flags would soon reveal their true face. There were plenty of warning signs but I chose to ignore them. I was completely in love and utterly infatuated with her.

I could have heeded the warning signs and gone on my way; stopped the direction things were going and kept to my plan but no: I was too stubborn and fixed with myself to take note of anything, I just pressed on like a blind fool going into traffic with no guide.

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