My Call to Ministry
A little bit of background. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Guayama was the city where I was born. It was a place where God was at work through my baptism, and where I was introduced to a church. When I was five years old, I remember attending a Vacation Bible School. It was one of the most significant moments in my life because I learned to sing to God, to worship Him, to help others in need, and the importance to serve God. But also, it was there where I felt the call to ministry. I recall that I saw the pastor talking to us and I felt my heart warm, suddenly I was saying to myself, “I want to do that, I want to tell others about God.”
Around that same age, my parents decided to move to Ponce. I remember enjoying arriving early to Sunday school to learn more about the scriptures. At the age of twelve, my parents decided to move again, but now to Juana Diaz city. There I started serving God by cleaning the church, helping with the offering, and being the Sunday service liturgist. The time when I was a high school student arrived, and then I became the youth leader of the church. When I graduated from high school, I started my bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Mayaguez. In this city, I found a church close to my school, which made it possible for me to attend church every Sunday. Months later, I started to fall in love with Jesus again. Suddenly I was serving Him still by going to the church activities, going to Sunday school, reading the Bible, being a Sunday service liturgist, helping run events, and attending prayer services during the week. Also, I had the blessing of finding a young adult’s Christian group at my university. This group helped me to develop my Christian disciplines and not to be afraid of talking about Jesus to others.
Finally, I finished my bachelor’s degree, and three months later (March 5 of 2016), I married my best friend, with who I had an engagement relationship for over six years. I had to move again, but this time far away from my family and friends, this time to Dallas, Texas. Before I moved, I prayed to God that I wanted to find a church where I can develop, demonstrate, and put in practice my abilities; and he answered my prayer. As soon as I joined Casa Linda UMC, I began to serve by visiting people. During this time, I experienced rapid growth in my spiritual life that I have never seen before. I realized this growth allowed me to mature in my spiritual life, service, and understanding of God’s Word.
Throughout the years, my hometown has changed many times. The same has happened with the relationship I have with God. The difference is that the change had increased more and more my communion with God. All my experiences with God and the church made my relationship with him grow, and the desire to serve God as a pastor began in my mind. One night, I had a dream that confirmed that desire. After that, I started meeting with pastor David Rangel regularly to explore if this was the Call God wanted me to answer. As part of the discerning process, I had to read some literature ("Answering the Call," a candidacy guidebook). During this process, I learned that God gives us skills, abilities, and spiritual gifts for the mission God has for us, “making disciples.” Being active in ministry on a volunteer basis has allowed me to confirm my desire to be a pastor and has helped to discover my gifts and personality.
Through this journey, I have been honored and blessed to work for God's mission through this church, Casa Linda UMC. Honored to give back all the knowledge and experiences I have acquired throughout my time at Perkins School of Theology. Being a student of the master's in divinity program has been a fantastic experience. But I will tell you more about it in my next post. Now, as I think about my life's stages, I can see God's purpose was to serve him and serve others.