“The experience of travelling to another country is a transformative one. It helps you embrace the unknown and appreciate the diversity of the world around. This experience helped me overcome my fears and doubts. It helped me discover a strength and resilience I never knew I possessed.

“But to go a bit back, my wait to come to Malta was filled with both excitement and anticipation. I had always dreamed of visiting the beautiful island. I couldn’t wait to explore its rich history and culture. I also looked forward to enjoying the warm weather and stunning beaches, the ancient Megalithic Temples, the medieval city of Valletta, and the Blue Grotto. I also wanted to try some of the local food! My wait became a canvas upon which dreams were painted, each stroke adding enthusiasm to the anticipation. But for me, waiting was also a stressful and anxious experience. Indeed, as I prepared to embark on my first trip abroad, I found myself wrestling with a wave of emotions. The excitement was real, but I was also anxious about the language barrier, worried about getting lost or making a fool of myself. I was also concerned about cultural differences and the possibility of offending someone inadvertently. Doubts accompanied me throughout. Questions swirled in my mind, casting a shadow over my excitement.

“Through it all, however, I felt God’s presence and guidance. There were many times when I felt discouraged and hopeless, but God always gave me the strength to keep going. One way in which God helped me was by providing me with opportunities to connect with other people who were also waiting to move to Malta. These connections were a source of great comfort and support for me. We were able to share our experiences, and to encourage each other through difficult times. God also helped me by giving me the strength to face my fears and doubts. There were many times when I was afraid that my dream of moving to Malta would never come true; but God reminded me that He was with me and that He would never leave me or forsake me.

“Throughout, I had been praying to Mother Mary as I regularly recited the Holy Rosary. I also never missed Holy Mass. There were also many verses from scripture that struck me and accompanied me on my journey. One of the most important is Philippians 4:6-7: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ This verse has been a source of great comfort as it reminds me that I can always turn to God for help and that His peace is more powerful than any worry or trouble that I could ever face.

“Another verse that has been important to me is Romans 8:28, which says: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ This verse has helped me to see that even in the midst of difficult times, God is still working for my good. He is using all of my experiences, both good and bad, to shape me into the person He wants me to be.”

This is the experience of Arslan, a young adult from Pakistan who left his country to seek a better future.

Make time to reflect

  • Do you resonate with any of his longings? What is that change which you are currently longing for?
  • He recalls a time in which excitement was overcome by anxiety and stress. What steals your excitement and joy in life?
  • The narrator acknowledges God’s providence as he met other people with whom he could share such a life-changing experience. Are there any people who remind you of this providential attribute of God?
  • He finally concludes that God uses all experiences, both good and bad, for his very own good. What do you make of this statement? Which area in your life needs to better listen to Romans 8:28?