God bless you who are reading this profile. My name is Jackie and I live in the United States. I am blessed to have a great husband and two beautiful children. God has really been good to me and my family! He is the source of my joy and He has given me strength, and peace that surpasses everything! I am so excited about Christian Leaders Institute. I truly believe this is a great opportunity and a great ministry that God is using to allow people that otherwise would not be able to attend or afford to study at a Bible institute, an opportunity pursue further ministry education!
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Born in Puerto Rico, I came to the United States when I was six years old after my parents decided to go separate ways. I came to the United States with my mom and my brother stayed behind with my dad for a while. My mom, who I saw active in church as a worshipper, had planted the seed of faith in God in my brother and I since we were little, and I grew up with a knowledge and fear of God, though I did not know Him like I do now. I now realize that because God chose me from my mother’s womb, and He had and still has a plan for my life, the enemy started to do things early from my childhood that would make me question God, and pull me away from Him and His plans, and throw me into depression and low self esteem issues through my youth and on to adulthood. I constantly managed on my own by suppressing tears and pain and shame. I always looked happy on the outside, but on the inside I was depressed, lonely, and had a very low self esteem. I thank God for his grace and mercy, because although I tried to do good, I was by no means perfect. I made plenty of poor choices in life. I ended up in an abusive relationship that lasted 10 years, mainly because I did not feel worthy of something better. Soon I would end up using alcohol occasionally to numb my pains. I contemplated taking my life on more than one occasion but I knew that I couldn’t because I knew what my fate would be, based on what my mother had taught us when we were younger. One day I had enough and heeded to the warnings and red flags that my mother and stepfather warned me about. I broke off the 10 year ordeal.
Shortly after that, in 2007, I met my now husband Christian. We became friends through my brother and Christian’s sister who were dating. Christian had recently come home to live with his sister after he graduated from a Christian drug rehabilitation/discipleship program, and he was trying to continue his walk with God. He had been visiting the church of our now Pastors Jose & Iris DeLaRosa (whom I had known since childhood). I always respected them and looked up to them. I always said that whenever I got married I wanted Pastor DeLaRosa to do the ceremony. Some time went by and Christian stopped visiting the church and he relapsed again. We had already started dating when he began using alcohol again and later I found out that he was doing heavy drugs. I tried to help him and stuck by him because I could see something different in him, he was good, he was just doing the same things I had done all my life which was masking his pain. One day we went to the church together and The Lord spoke to Him and told him that I was the one that was going to be his wife. We continued our relationship with our struggles of course, him battling addiction and me trying not to take the abuse I had suffered out on him. Christian was also suffering from hepatitis C and the doctors had told him that there was only up to a 15% chance that he could have children. We had our first son Jonathan in 2008. We got married in 2010. Pastors DeLaRosa did our wedding as I had always wanted. My mom and stepfather whom I give thanks to God for, paid for our honeymoon, but also put on a condition that I attend a retreat at the church after returning home from the honeymoon in 06/2010. See I had also been going through a stressful emotional time in my life between the stress in my job, the stress of wedding planning, being approximately two months pregnant with my daughter Rosailly, which I found out after I had already had my dress altered, wedding drama, and the things I had been suppressing all my life, with the life changing event that was about to occur started to resurface and I thought I was going crazy. On top of that I had been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which threw my whole system off. I was a mess. I was put on depression and anxiety pills, pills for the thyroid, and I went to a therapist, but nothing helped. I did not have God in my life and I knew I needed Him. And as I look back now I can see that it was Satan’s attempt at stopping something great that was about to happen…the union of two people who would by God’s grace would work to expand his kingdom.
So I accepted to go to the retreat. I mean I tried everything else and nothing helped. God had set me up. God spoke to me in that retreat. I knew undeniably that He was real. Something that only I asked him in my mind that night, he answered directly in the morning! I accepted the Lord at the retreat. I asked my husband to come to the closing service on Sunday and encouraged our friend Victor to come as well. I praise God and all the glory goes to Him that he used my Pastors with these retreats. Glory be to God, not only I came to Christ but soon after so did my husband, my brother, my sister in law, Victor, my friend from work and others to come in Jesus name!
My husband was cured from Hepatitis C in 2011. And has been clean from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes since 2008. My heart is healed and I was able to forgive those who hurt me. I have great peace in my heart. My husband told the Lord, while he was in the Christian drug rehabilitation program, that if He wanted him to preach His word, that he wanted a wife that sings. It had always been my dream to sing, but I did not see it as possible. I’m somewhat shy. But to make the story short God made it happen without me even realizing what He was doing. I am now the worship leader at my church, and Sunday after Sunday The Lord gives me the courage to stand in front of the whole church. The awesome thing is too, that when my Husband has gone out to preach, I have also been with him to sing and minister with him. I have now been able to minister here in New Jersey, Mexico, Miami, and Pennsylvania. God is amazing! In addition to leading worship, I also have the privilege to teach and be an official at my church, helping our Pastors in all we can.
I believe God put both my husband and I in leadership and has had us work in different areas of the church because he is preparing us for a special task. God has opened doors for the church and has allowed my husband to preaching and give bible studies at the State Prison now since 2014 as a chaplain, and most recently God opened doors allowing us to enter the local hospital to pray for the sick. From early on our Pastors have seen that we have a calling to be Pastors as well.
We have a passion for the lost, especially for those who are lost in drugs and alcohol. Our vision/dream is to work with our Pastors and local church and jointly with our Pastors open a discipleship/ drug and alcohol rehabilitation program where lives will be healed from addiction and abuse through God and his Word. I believe this training is going to help us greatly to become the leaders we were called to be. To help the people we want to serve. Having a scholarship at Christian Leaders Institute will help us achieve our goals, to have a deeper knowledge of our role as leaders and a deeper knowledge of God’s Word, so we may help and serve others well and expand God’s kingdom. I have been wanting for a long time now to attend a Bible institute, but due to the cost and the schedule I had seen it as almost impossible. I work full time, my husband works full time, and we have our two young children as well as being active in the church. The ability to also study at my own pace is a true blessing, let alone that the classes are free. Please help us pray for the strength we will need going forward, confiding that God will finish the work he has started in us.
I am so excited about this opportunity and thank my Pastors, and the founders of this online institute for letting themselves be used by God! May God continue to Bless you and use you!