If there’s something I’m sure of, it is that the Magdala Volunteer Program has changed the life of everyone who has lived it. This experience truly marked my life in a dramatic way and I’m sure that God brought me here for two precise purposes: to grow in intimacy with Him and to meet my second family.
When I first arrived in 2018, I volunteered for eight months and I never imagined that coming to Magdala was going to be the greatest experience of my life. Magdala is one of those stages that you never want to end, because what you experience here, brings such fullness and happiness.
At this holy place, you feel God’s affection and love all the time and everywhere; this is reflected especially in each one of the volunteers who comes to serve here. I still remember the day while I was cleaning the coffee shop when a pilgrim came up to me with her eyes full of tears and said: “This place has touched my heart, but especially, its volunteers. I’ve realized that God resides in each one of you who serve with so much dedication and joy; you all make us feel like we are home.”
In that moment I realized that God is acting in each one of us as we serve in Magdala, and although we don’t always notice it, the pilgrims do. That’s the magic of this place. Each one of us, with our own abilities, gifts, and shortcomings brings a seed that, little by little, starts bearing fruits. God’s love is reflected in all we do. He makes us His instruments in order for the visitors to experience His love.
Not only did I fall in love with Magdala and the volunteer program back then, but this summer I decided to come back for another two months coinciding with the first Magdala Volunteer Reunion. I was so excited just thinking about the opportunity to meet so many people that, like me, had been able to experience Magdala and became part of its extended spiritual family. My expectations have been met.
If there’s something that impacted me deeply during this new experience, it was the fact that we loved and respected each other from the moment we first met. I think that’s because we knew we were all part of the same family. It’s a feeling that’s not easy to put into words but we all understood that God was the key piece in bringing us all together in Magdala.
As I get ready to return home, I have been reflecting on these experiences as a volunteer, knowing that soon I’ll be back to my daily life. One thing I am sure of is that I’ll be forever grateful to God who, through Fr. Juan, gave us the chance to be part of this amazing project and has made me a part of the extended Magdala family. I think that all of the volunteers, past and present, all agree that by serving in this special place we have all been able to experience a little piece of Heaven on Earth.