My name is Gladys Nalvarte and I am originally from Peru. I am married to Carlos Eduardo and we have a daughter, Mariana, 10 years old. When I was 24, I went to Brazil to study for my master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering. After finishing my studies, I started working for a Norwegian company in Rio de Janeiro. It was during this period I first contacted Shalom, almost 12 years ago.
I went to my prayer group and was part of the Shalom Work, participating in the daily mass. It was in the Community that I had my personal encounter with the love of God. I experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and my life gradually became more meaningful. By attending retreats and courses in the Community I learned the meaning of personal prayer. Although this was a time of great learning, I never felt really part of the Community. I was like a satellite that runs around the Community, never inside.
In 2011, our little family left the safety of our home and friends in Brazil and moved to Norway for work purposes. I was especially attracted to Norway because it seemed a family-oriented society. Generally, people work until 4 pm, they pick up their children from school and then go home. I thought this new way of life would solve the difficulties I was experiencing. But that was not to happen. Even after about 3 years when I found and attended Spanish Mass on Sundays in Oslo my heart could not be consoled. During all this time of spiritual solitude and silence, God has accompanied me, despite all my difficulties in listening, understanding, praying and surrendering.
Eventually, I decided to contact the Shalom Community in Rome to see if I could confess or talk to someone, even by phone, because here the Church does not have many organized lay groups or if they do, they are isolated and/or in Norwegian. Soon after contacting the Rome Community by email, I was offered the opportunity to receive four missionaries to organize a retreat for the Latin community in Oslo. It was a period of great graces for me. By the mercy of God, the Community has reached me here in this existential periphery. God wanted to touch me in a complete, concrete way and without any other support. Here, where economic problems have been solved, the lack of faith in God’s consolation does great harm to people’s lives.
A special grace that opened the door to all the other graces that followed, was the sharing of goods, not almsgiving, but something one willingly gives to others. And in this dynamic of sharing, God has found a way to bless me and give me the strength for great struggles, not only new ones but old ones that were abandoned or lost by other struggles impossible to be seen by human eyes. This experience gave me the grace to trust everything in the Kingdom of God.
When we give everything, when we do not attach ourselves to anything, God finds a way to bring us to deeper waters in spirituality, to the the depth of those who experience and accept the old invitation: “Come and see”.
For me, living in Norway, the bond I have with the Community is like having a compass on the open sea. I am far from the shore but it guides to the true way. By the grace of God and with Shalom as my compass, I know that I can keep to the path of holiness and to heaven. Now I have roots and I do not feel alone even if I’m on the other side of the ocean. Shalom!
Traduzione: Jhoanna Climacosa