My name is Celia Panades Villaute, I am from Equatorial Guinea. I come from a family with a Christian tradition, we are five siblings, I am the first of three girls and two boys.

Like every young person I dreamed of being important, getting a good job to help my parents, and having my own family; to be the master of my life.

But everything began to change after I responded to an invitation from my school's youth group run by the Salesian Sisters in Malabo.

At first I accepted the invitation, simply to do something different, to change the atmosphere and to pass the time. But, as time went by, it became more interesting, with all the activities, themes, dynamics, sharing, and moments of prayer. My perception started to change, questions started to arise inside me; I became afraid, because I didn't want to feel what I was feeling and I didn't dare to share with anyone what I was experiencing, because I told myself that it couldn't be possible. For me it was just an illusion. Until I decided to cut off and not continue as a member of that group, out of fear.

I was also confronted with the reality of the youth of my time, of my society, my family's project for me, and especially my own: my ambitions, my dreams. It was a real inner struggle.

From that moment on, I was no longer the same, I was confused, I felt empty, I felt that nobody understood me, my life no longer made much sense, I didn't understand many things, because I couldn't explain to anyone what was happening to me, because I didn't know what was happening to me either.

Until one Sunday when I was leaving Mass, I met a Carmelite Missionary Sister and we were talking for a long time, and it was then that everything started all over again, all my worries came up again, but this time with more clarity. And since then I started a process of discernment!

After a long journey of sharing, accompaniment and the witness of the sisters' lives, I felt a great desire to become a religious and to give myself to the Lord. After all my reflections and discernments, I decided to make an experience. It was then that I set out on the journey, with the first stage of formation with the Carmelite Missionary Sisters.

Today I am a Carmelite Missionary, I am now finishing the first stage of formation and it has been the best thing that could have happened to me. I feel good, I feel at home and I am deeply grateful to God for this look of love that he has given me.

For you, young man, who feel this restlessness to know what the Lord wants from you, launch out! and discover the project that God has prepared for you. Open up! don't close yourself in on yourself.

Let us never close our hearts to the Lord's call to proclaim the good news, let us be courageous and dare to take the risk of love.

The path of following Jesus is worth it! If you open yourself to Him, let yourself be guided and accompanied, you will discover the presence of God in the people who accompany you.

To discover God's will in our lives, and to give him an answer, sometimes our environment and our circle of friends do not help much, but we have to look for people who can help us to make a better discernment in order to discover the face of God who loves us and invites us to discover this great love that He has for us.

"When the Lord calls, He gives the grace and strength to respond."

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