I was born in Merida, Venezuela. I was raised in a Catholic home, where we went to church only for weddings. I am the oldest of 4 siblings. My parents divorced when I was a teenager. I saw my mother and my youngest sisters suffering from his absence. This caused feelings of abandonment and rejection in me, resentment and lack of forgiveness toward my father for many years, I felt empty inside of me.
I graduated as a Pediatrics Doctor, married my husband, Daniel, and had 3 sons. I had a successful career and life, but with my heart was still empty and broken. At that time in my life my priority was my career. Everything was around my work, which was my "priority" in life. I always had a vocation to serve and help people; however, my heart was empty and without meaning in my life. I felt alone and sad most of the time.
It was during a marital crisis in 1997 when I attended a local Christian evangelical church in my country. I was looking for answers to my successful but empty life. And that is when I met Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
After that, changes began to take place in my life. I realized that the transformation must begin within me, That I must persevere in my marriage and hope that God would restore it, and He did.
In 2005, my husband and I made the decision to come to the US because of the political situation in Venezuela.
So, here we were 15 years ago, my husband, my 3 sons, and I, beginning a new life in this country, leaving behind, our country, our family, careers, house, properties, friends, dreams – we lost everything. But we came with faith, hope and trusting God and looking for a better future for our three boys.
I had the sense that God was calling me like He called Abram in Genesis 12:1-2
"Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
For the first two years my husband worked as a server in a restaurant, and I worked as baby sitter. I cried everyday those years.
Later I worked as a teacher assistant for five years, and Daniel went to OSU to get a masters degree in Environmental Engineering.
We went through very difficult times, facing language barrier, financial hardship, loneliness, worry, and stress. But God never abandoned us. God always provided for us.
We attended Vineyard Columbus for the first time in 2006. We fell in love with this church! We felt welcome as immigrants, and this church has been our home for 14 years. God began a process of restoration and transformation in my life since the first day we came to the church.
In 2008, I had the terrible diagnosis that I had breast cancer. For almost two years I went through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. This was the hardest experience that had happened to me. It was after my first chemotherapy that I found myself crying out to God and in prayer saying "Lord, I need you, I cannot get through this without you. Today I surrender my life to you. If you want to take me to be with you, take me. If you want to heal my body, do it Lord. But I want you to do your will in my life. Lord, do what you want to do with me. I am in your hands. From now on you will be first in my life. Here I am, Lord."
Since that day, where I totally surrounded my life to Jesus, I just want to love Jesus with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. This scripture has become alive in my life (Luke 10:27). I wanted Jesus to be my Lord.
I never missed a Sunday service at VC. We became involved with a Hispanic small group and with the International Ministry. I volunteered every chance I could, and I attended ESL classes at VC for almost two years.
As I regained energy and my life went back to normal, I continued to ask God for direction in my life. I began looking for a job, but job after job failed to work out. I was desperate and without purpose in life, I cried out to God for direction and meaning. After one week of fasting and praying, I felt a very clear sense that God was telling me: "Stop looking for a job, I want you to serve me full time, and I will provide for you and your family."
A few months later, God opened doors that I never imagined. I was invited by this church to attend Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI) to do an internship with International Ministry and to lead the Hispanic small group.
In my first day of class at VLI, I heard the Lord speaking to my heart, saying "Let your light shine before others." It was then that I began having the sense of calling to be a pastor.
One day, in the middle of a cross-cultural evangelism class at VLI, I broke down in tears when I felt God was saying: "I have brought you from Venezuela to this nation with my purpose for my Kingdom sake; I want you to reach out the Hispanic people here in Columbus."
I continued to pray for specific direction in how to walk out what God had clearly put in my heart. One night, in the middle of the night, I woke up, and I began to write. Guided by God, I wrote out the entire basic plan for La Viña, the Spanish Speaking campus. When I presented the proposal for La Viña, it was not immediately accepted. They said they needed to pray and ask for God for His confirmation. I was discouraged for a few minutes. Then I prayed, "Lord, this is your idea, this is your plan, this would be your church, you will make this happen." One month later I had a prophetic dream. In the dream Senior Pastor, Rich Nathan, said, with powerful authority to me: "Get ready, get prepared, the time is coming." About three months later La Viña was approved by the pastoral leadership of this church. Praise the Lord!
The Lord was calling me to follow Him, and His great commission:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age".” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
A group of few faithful leaders, including my husband Daniel, and I launched La Viña on October 13, 2013. We are preparing to celebrate our 7th Anniversary. We have seen God’s favor in growth, salvation, miracles, and testimonies of lives been transformed in La Viña.
I was licensed as pastor on October 25, 2014, and on October 25,1985, I got my diploma as Medical doctor in Venezuela. I did not pick that day. God spoke to my heart, saying, "Now, you are a doctor for my kingdom." Exactly the same day and month, that I received my medical degree, 29 years later I was licensed as pastor. I was the first female pastor for Las Viñas in the USA.
I have found God’s purpose in my life after 10 years of being in the wilderness. It was a long journey of seeking God.
Years ago, I planned to go back to work as a physician. God had other plans, very different plans, and I did not regret it.
This whole journey has been a picture of God’s grace, mercy, and love in my life. God’s calling in my life has been a calling to surrender, to obey and to serve.
Check out their website to learn more about La Viña and to find ways you can connect with them.