My name is Teresa Rivera, and I am taking Christian leadership classes at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about online Bible classes, Click Here). My Heavenly Father brought me to the Christian Leaders Institute. I am no longer receiving a weekly pay-check and could not afford ministry and Christian leadership classes otherwise. I plan to go as far as I can with CLI’s Leadership Excellence School and then get my doctorate. Thanks are to God for all that He has done for me and mine!
I reside in a town called West Haven, Connecticut. We are on the East Coast between New York and Massachusetts. I have three loving children I raised as a single mom: two girls who are 46 and 44 years old and my son, 28 years old. I have also been blessed with two granddaughters and two great-grandsons. The oldest great-grandchild is from my 25-year-old grandson, who passed away last year. While it has not been easy, every aspect has definitely enabled me to grow in many ways.
I was born in Puerto Rico. When I was four, we came to a tiny town named Guilford in Southern New England, where I grew up. We weren’t rich, but we never lacked anything. It got real when one day I called my good friend since kindergarten, and her mother heard my mother speaking Spanish in the background. The next day in school, my friend said she was not allowed to continue being my friend “because you are not white like rice.”
I thank God that my mother was a devoted Catholic. She was very involved in the local church and always took us with her. They called her to pray when someone passed away, and she had the gift of healing. I can still see crutches and arm slings left behind as the person walked away from our house. Our mother showed us how to be loyal to God and family in that order.
Struggles on My Journey
For a time in my life, I went through a phase of drinking alcohol, using cocaine, and experimenting with pills. I married young to a very abusive man, mentally, physically, and emotionally. The only good to come out of that marriage were my two daughters. They gave me the will to survive and persevere for them and show them how to never fall into that cycle. I had my son in my late 30s. After discovering six weeks into my pregnancy that his father was seeing his ex and another woman, I went back to being a single mom. I committed to living for my children and doing it sober.
When I totally surrendered my life and my will over to God, He freed me from the depression and the darkness of my past. God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, was with me from the very beginning, through the good and the bad. I had blocked memories from my childhood. During my journey, I had to stop at some destinations along the way. Multiple times I landed in psych wards because I couldn’t deal with all the memories. I joined a large gang and worked my way to the leader. Through Divine intervention, I left that lifestyle. I developed a quality, intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
An Overcomer in the Lord
Through the Lord and the Holy Spirit, I came to see that everything I went through came together for good. If I had not gone through the good and the bad in my life, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate and be thankful for not just surviving but overcoming through my Lord. It all is to glorify His name. Some people think that once they receive Jesus into their life, all will be peaches and cream. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As we grow in our path, so do the trials.
It is an honor to be tested in our faith like Job. If you are not tested regularly, you are not a threat to the devil. God does not abandon us! He promises, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Eventually, we come to where the peace of God surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). The person I am today has grown and is not the person I was 23 years ago. I accept my past and use the lessons learned to help others as they go through similar life chaos. We must overcome evil with good. What was meant to break you, God brings together for good!
Called to Serve with an Attitude of Gratitude
I have had careers from one side of the spectrum to the other, from Cosmetologist to Instructor to Platform Artist to MLM to Tractor Trailer and Motor Coach Driver to Local Church Leader. As I look back, they all deal with customer service.
I enjoy working with people and have been blessed with an Outreach Ministry since 1999. On November 6, 1999, we held our first Annual Thanksgiving and Coat giveaway for the Homeless. We help with their self-esteem, motivation, and education. We help with Bible classes in prison and hospitals, home visits for the elderly and the sick, faith-based recovery for the entire family, resources for their necessities, counseling, etc.
I was ordained as a Licensed Minister on November 26, 2013. As I waited on God, He tells me that the time is now. I believe CLI, CLI, and CLA will help me with organizational Christian leadership classes and support. Then, I can develop leaders who are duplicatable and committed to God’s Kingdom work. Back to Divine Intervention, God’s Calling to God’s perfect timing to God’s Purpose in my life is all from God!
May His blessing be upon you and yours always and forever!