Lenten Series: Migrant Faith Stories – Liliana

  • Mar 13, 2024

Liliana was a single mother from Columbia, who had to juggle taking care of her son, as well as dealing with health issues that affected her ability to work. In prayer, she would sometimes get random promptings about finding the right husband – but that was the last thing on her mind.

However, that changed when she met Cecil at a party. The Singaporean who travels frequently was randomly invited to the party by his taxi driver during his stopover at Colombia.

The pair hit it off, and Cecil took a liking towards Liliana. Despite the feelings being mutual, she was apprehensive on starting a relationship with him due to her situation as a single mother. Still, Cecil was persistent and took the time to learn more about Liliana.

He joined her on a mission trip, and used this time to also deeply reflect on the possible difficulties that would arise should he choose to pursue her. After careful thought, Cecil was certain that he still wanted to give it a go.

Liliana decided to give him a chance on one condition: her son has to give them his blessing. She knew that her most important responsibility was first and foremost being a mother to her son.

She then brought Cecil to meet her son and mother. Surprisingly, they received him with open arms very quickly.

The couple got together, and Cecil sought her son’s permission a month before he proposed to her.

Unfortunately, life after marriage wasn’t a bed of roses. Liliana and Cecil decided to settle down in Singapore, and that meant adjusting to a new environment for Liliana, as well as the cultural and religious differences with her in-laws.

In particular, she recalls how her father-in-law would often ask her to adjust or change her mannerisms and speech. Although Liliana now remembers these moments fondly, she also recognised how these words often brought about some pressure to meet this expectation. Though it was unlike her usual nature, she did not want to accidentally offend them in any way, and decided to make this small sacrifice out of love for them and Cecil.

In these moments, she always reminded herself to not worry, take everything with grace and not to judge. Her Catholic values and her desire to be a good witness to those she meets helped her continue to keep the peace with Cecil’s side of the family and act with love at all times, even when it was hard.

“Love is about looking at the other person in front of you and seeing what God might be saying to you through this person. To love is to see the other as God sees that person. It is not easy, and so it becomes my prayer, too, every day,” she said.

Her sacrifices for the ones she loves still continues till this day. With her son currently in Spain pursuing a career in soccer, Liliana flies back and forth several times to spend time with him.

Even if these trips make it difficult for her to spend special occasions with her husband, such as their wedding anniversary, Liliana continues to trust in the Lord and leans on Him for strength whenever these challenging moments arise.

There are times where the Lord surprises us with different plans and people who may not fit our criteria or expectations. However, through prayer, we allow God to be God in our lives, and in the process, we realise that loving others as they are becomes easier.

Our migrant brothers and sisters are often considered as the “other.”

This Lent, as we spend more time with God in prayer, how are we called to accept and love the “other” in our midst?

If you are moved by love for God, please consider donating to ACMI here. By giving regularly, you can help us continue supporting vulnerable migrants through our various initiatives.

Find out more about the Migrant Faith Stories for Lent here