By: Nora O. Lozano and CLLI Monterrey graduates
Often when I describe the CLLI trainings, I use the word transformation. Graduations are special occasions to hear about this transformation that the students experience. I want to invite you to revisit with me what happened at the CLLI Monterrey graduation two weeks ago, where 14 students received their certificates in Latina Leadership Studies.
On the graduation day, the students met early in the morning for their last class: Capstone. This course offers an opportunity to reflect in all the classes that the students took as well as the different assignments. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to highlight the major learnings that each student acquired during her time of studies.
For me, it is always a moving experience. Often the students share with tears in their eyes how the CLLI training, under God’s blessing, helped them to improve in the different areas of their lives, and thus, experience a significant transformation. These stories are always a true gift for me as they bring encouragement as I serve in this ministry.
As I was listening to them, I thought that more people needed to benefit from this gift, especially those of you who generously support these students with prayers and resources. Therefore, I decided to ask the students if they could briefly write how the CLLI training helped them. As I invited them to do this, I asked them for permission to share their testimonies with you, our readers.
As a way to organize these beautiful and powerful testimonies, I assigned them a heading that represents an important value within the CLLI community. While the testimonies have been slightly edited, for the most part they reflect the students’ exact words.
Boldness and Encouragement to Continue – Flor Julieta Cortés Coronado
“I thought that my professional career had been cut short since 1998, and that there was no more in which I could develop myself. CLLI Monterrey allowed me to understand that I had an unexplored path, which I needed to return to. Thanks to this, I made key decisions in my life, such as continuing my university studies. When I started with CLLI I was looking for understanding, and I found it. Thank God for this program and for each one of the people who serve on it.”
Finding My Voice – Marina Rodríguez
“I thank God for this program. It represents blessings, growth, and learning. It helped me to make personal changes in my social interactions. Before I was very shy, and today I can make decisions and give my perspective in any situation. Furthermore, I can offer advice to my friends and family. Thanks to CLLI my life has been transformed.”
Empowering Women – Anabell González
“Through this program, I understood that my leadership in my circle of influence can be used to give freedom and power to women, starting with my daughters, and continuing with my co-workers, my sisters in the church, and even my students in the classroom. My desire is to teach them that God’s purpose was never for women to suffer because they were considered inferior. In the Scriptures, there are many examples of women’s great influence and importance in the proclamation and extension of God’s kingdom on earth.”
Blessed to Bless – Jessica Zertuche
“God placed in us a leadership that we have to nurture every day. Through this training I was able to understand that God empowered us with many tools (classes, books, testimonies, and experiences) to fill us with power to serve and help other women. God wants us to fully embrace the identity of being His daughters. As such, God wants to show us and teach us things to restore, transform, lift, and bless the lives of many other women that God also wants to use.”
Holistic Self-care – Angélica Flores Chapa
“I learned to take care of my whole health, to detect when I need something, and to set boundaries in each of my relationships. Articulating my personal mission statement allowed me to visualize those areas that I am passionate about in order to serve, for God’s glory, in different ministries.”
Meaningful Relationships – Samantha Ruiz
“When I started this program, my main need and goal were to establish connections. And thank God, I was able to meet and connect with other women who were on the same quest. But the most wonderful and surprising thing was that God led me to connect in a deeper way with Him, and to connect with myself. I thank God for the opportunity to live this miraculous experience, and for all the people who contribute to this ministry.”
Offering Empathy – Josefa Pacheco
“I learned that I can counsel only by listening and being empathic, showing other people that they can trust me, and that I am ready to serve, knowing that I am used by God, but the one who does the work is the Holy Spirit.”
Strengthening My Personal and Ministerial Life – Mónica Treviño Rodríguez
“This training has given structure and guidance to my leadership. It has helped me develop and strengthen my weak areas and identify talents that I did not know. The topic of resting has always been a challenge for me. The spiritual, physical, and emotional health classes have made me reflect on the importance of self-care. Now I have a broader view of leadership. All the topics were very relevant, and they have made me grow in every way.”
We thank God for all these stories that testify to the transformation that the students experienced. They are truly a gift! As you remember these stories, please pray that God may continue to guide the students’ personal and ministerial path.
As a conclusion, I would like to present one more testimony:
Expanding My View – Martina G. Garza Álvarez
“This training gave me many positive things. It gave me discipline, commitment, friends, empathy, renewed energy, freedom, clear expectations, emotional health, balanced life, skills, changes, strategies, experiences, and it extended my view regarding present and future achievements.”
Once again, we want to thank God for all these blessings in the students’ lives as well as the CLLI. And many thanks to you who constantly support us with your prayers and resources. Your generosity is helping us to transform women’s lives in Jesus’ name, and in turn, they are transforming their families, churches, and communities. To God be the glory!
Nora O. Lozano is executive director and co-founder of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute and has been involved in Christian theological education for more than 25 years.