“My daughters saved my life. At the time, I was a single mom working nights as a surgical technician at a trauma hospital, so I could take care of my girls during the day. I sacrificed a lot to make sure they went to a good school and were able to do activities like choir and sports. But I also lived a party lifestyle and struggled to control my drinking. I knew I wasn’t the person or the mom I was supposed to be, but I would quickly get over it when I went out with friends. When my daughters got older, they started attending Gateway with their aunt and uncle. They were only 11 and 15 years old, but they loved it and would come home and tell me about the message they heard. Often, they would invite me to church with them, but I would always say, ‘Not today.’ Things got worse when I was sexually assaulted by a family member. To ease the pain, I partied and self-medicated with more alcohol. I was spiraling out of control. My mom told my daughters to pray for me and continue inviting me to church, and then one day soon after, my girls asked me once more, and my answer changed. I said yes. Because I had promised, I made a point to stay home that Saturday night, so nothing would interfere with me going to church the next day. I remember that morning like it was yesterday. The girls picked out my outfit. They were so excited, but I was angry at them for making me go. Then we walked into Gateway and saw the greeters, and I felt so welcomed. I didn’t know what to expect, but I remember standing up during worship and feeling so free. I felt the presence of God and heard Him telling me I was free from sin, that I was going to be okay, and that He loved me. It’s been seven years since that day, and I’m so grateful. Gateway is my home, my safe place, and I now serve as a greeter, so others can feel as welcome here as I did.” 

Alejandra and her husband attend the NRH Campus. Her daughters, Miranda and Monique, are both in college and attend Gateway when in town.