By Anyra Cano
In the fall of 2015, Rosy Garcia traveled more than 400 miles to attend her first CLLI class in Monterrey. As she started her training, a great dream and hope grew in her heart. She quickly shared her dream with Dr. Nora O. Lozano, about how CLLI would start a training in the small town she came from, Metepec. Rosy was ready to share everything she was learning with her community.
That dream continued growing, and the plans began to develop. In June 2018, Rosy graduated from CLLI Monterrey, and on August 17 of the same year, she started CLLI Metepec. A dream and a hope for her community were born. Rosy graduated as a student to become a coordinator. She managed to recruit students, and coordinate everything necessary to start this new CLLI site.
After three years of training, and one additional year of waiting, due to the pandemic, on June 18 of this year, 25 students graduated from CLLI Metepec, the largest group of graduates in the Institute’s history.
Rosy’s big dream also became the big dream of the students, the faculty, the staff, and the donors of the Institute. To commemorate this occasion, we have asked some of these people to share about the meaning of this graduation.
Norvi Mayfield, CLLI Texas graduate and CLLI Metpec donor, traveled with the CLLI staff to celebrate this graduation. She shares, “This graduation is a picture of the intergenerational transformation that CLLI produces in women and their families, for generations to come.”
Norvi’s son Elias Mayfield, who is also a friend and donor of CLLI, says, “What an amazing, eye-opening visit to Metepec. I am grateful to the CLLI for the opportunity to see firsthand what they’ve done to impact the lives of these women, their families and their communities. Facing adversity, they pushed through and made it to graduation. So thankful to be a part of an amazing organization that is changing lives and empowering the leaders of today and tomorrow. May God continue to bless”
Rosy García, CLLI Metepec coordinator and the one who dreamed of starting this new training, says that this graduation is: “The faith that is seen in retrospect. I was able to see how the whole process began, and also see the fulfillment of God’s promises. When God gives dreams, God fulfills them because God is faithful. I have much gratitude because it was possible to achieve this despite the trials, a pandemic, and the changes that came with it. In everything, God was good.”
Pastor Carmina Hernández shared: “This graduation means effort, perseverance, happiness, joy, power, and much love that I saw and lived throughout these four years in my professors. From them I learned much about the good that God has for each one of us. One day I said I want to study; I want to learn. I have had other graduations, but this has been the most emotive, significant, important, beautiful, and blessed. I enjoyed it very much. Many thanks to all my professors for their patience and knowledge and to my beloved fellow students as well. God bless you very much. Glory be to God, to my Lord Jesus Christ, the great Teacher of teachers.”
Raquel Pérez expressed: “Renewing with a new perspective my service to God and equipping myself in strategic and necessary areas to continue serving with excellence.”
Christine Villavicencio, who is a medical doctor and who did not know anyone in the group when she started, testifies to the meaning of this graduation: “Gratitude, improvement, and personal growth. These three words come to mind when I think about my graduation. The simple fact of being accepted into the leadership certificate filled my heart with excitement and curiosity. Once the course started, meeting such incredible women and their stories not only reaffirmed the joy in my heart, but also filled my soul with love, empathy, and strength. And throughout the classes, learning to listen to the Word and to read it, to interpret each passage of the Bible from a Latina woman’s perspective led me to be much closer to my spirituality, and to grow even more in my faith. Getting to the finish line, to graduation itself, was an absolute joy. Realizing that it was possible to complete a certificate and meet the requirements to graduate, pushed me to be a better person, a woman of faith, strength, and love. I am filled with hope, knowing that, if my colleagues and I manage not only to graduate, but many undertook ministries that they did not even imagine, then many other women can also achieve it.”
Pastor Lourdes Rodríguez says: “I thank God for what God has allowed until this time of CLLI graduation, since everything that makes us grow in faith, knowledge, and in the practice of the ministry strengthens us as women, personally and corporately at the CLLI. It is one way our God is training women for more effective leadership today, achieving restoration to be able to restore other women.”
Romy García, who through her studies at CLLI was inspired to return to college and is very close to graduating with her bachelor’s degree, shares with us: “This graduation is evidence that with God I am capable and can achieve goals. I can make an effort and commit myself and God accompanies me and gives me wisdom. It means that God has plans for my life, the past does not define me, God always leads me to more.”
During the graduation service, Dr. Nora O. Lozano, Executive Director of the Institute, shared with the graduates that: “Education and its effects are a blessing from God, a gift from God. And how, whenever a person in the Bible received a blessing, it was to bless someone else.” With this, Dr. Lozano was encouraging the graduates to be a blessing by joining and collaborating in the transformative work that only Christ can do in our lives, families, churches and communities.
CLLI as an institution has been blessed through this graduation and the lives of the students, coordinators, faculty, board members, staff, friends, and donors. All these people are a gift to the institute, and they bless us with their support, dedication and commitment, in such a way that we can testify, together with Rosy García, that in the name of God, big dreams and hopes do come true.
Anyra Cano serves as a faculty member and Academic Coordinator of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute, Youth Minister at Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo in Fort Worth, TX and Coordinator for the Texas Baptist Women in Ministry.