Full-time Ministry Dream
Hi, my name is LaToya Cole, and I live in the USA. I am excited to be on this journey to follow my full-time ministry dream with Christian Leaders Institute. I am 42 years old and a single mother of five, and I also have one grandson.
My mom introduced me to Christ at a young age in an Apostolic Church on the south side of Chicago. She took my sister and me to church every Sunday. At the age of six, my Dad took my Mom’s life after years of an abusive marriage. My sister and I were sent to live with my maternal grandmother. There, I was mistreated and rejected because of the love I expressed for my Dad, despite his horrific actions. I wouldn’t return to church until I was over 32 years old.
Looking for Love
I spent most of my life looking for love in all the wrong places, attracting men similar to Dad. To make sure I didn’t end up like Mom, I became verbally and physically abusive toward men. I entered into a six-year relationship at the age of 17 to escape my grandmother’s house. That marriage, of course, ended as we had no spiritual foundation or guidance.
I moved to Indianapolis when my second husband deployed there. After being a stay at home Mom for about a year, I decided to pursue a lifelong dream and enrolled in cosmetology school. I excelled and completed the program in less than a year. Immediately, I began working full-time. It was perfect for me because I love connecting with people.
Soon, I was invited to church almost every day by a different person. At that time, I no longer believed Christ died for my sins since I couldn’t make sense of that “concept.” However, the invitations to go to the church continued. One guy told me that I knew of God but really didn’t know Him. His statement bothered me and stuck with me.
Coming Back to God
As I devoted all my energy to work and the children, my clientele rapidly grew, but my marriage failed. Then one day, a client by the name of Cyndi invited me to her church via Facebook. Cyndi had sarcoidosis and experienced several physical setbacks but always had the most pleasant and loving attitude. It was her witness that finally made me accept an invitation.
I committed to fellowship ever since. Even though I was building a relationship with God, I was still living an ungodly lifestyle. I drank, fornicated, smoked, and grieved the Holy Spirit out of ignorance. I saw many other people in church doing the same thing. Therefore, I thought it was okay. I was ministering to my clients, yet I was not living a life pleasing to God.
My Journey Continues
I met my third husband and thought he was the answer to my prayers. He knew the Bible like no one I had ever met. He impressed me. I was baptized in the name of Jesus. I was still a babe in the faith, and ultimately, I married someone like my former self.
Since my third husband had one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the world, the marriage became unhealthy. It brought destruction to my business and became abusive and toxic for me and the children. It left me traumatized. Then miraculously, God took him out of my life. He went to jail for domestic violence.
Just as my husband left, I took my Dad in due to his failing health. He did 30 years in prison for murdering my mom, and I had no idea what this effort would take. I always believed I forgave him. Quickly, I realized I was still a hurt little girl inside. My dad passed away after just five months of being with me.
Making a Move for Growth
About a year after my ex was in jail, the Lord prompted me to move across the country. A wise move as I realized he would be getting out soon. I moved to Texas and found a beautiful church home. The pastor is used by God to ground me in God’s Word. I’m learning about true forgiveness, how to truly walk with Christ, studying for myself, and prayer.
God has shown me that when I am in disobedience, I make a mess of things, making decisions that He is not involved in. God has shown me that I no longer need to search for security and love in people and things. He has been the best Mother and Father I could ever have. He covered me and protected my children and me from the destruction I invited into my life. Through obedience and grace, I have gained a more intimate relationship with God and a sensitivity to His voice.
Studying at CLI for My Full-time Ministry Dream
So here I am. He sent me here to CLI to study for my full-time ministry dream. I’m ready for Him to use me in ministry as He sees fit. He has given me the desire and passion for working for Him full-time. Thus the journey begins. I genuinely want to help others to grab hold of the precious gift we have in Jesus and experience real joy. My desire is to see others delivered from addictions, including substances to toxic relationships.
I believe that people need more guidance in developing a personal relationship with GOD after they are saved. Believers need to be empowered by the fundamentals of the gifts of the Spirit. Then they can embrace the power that lives in them through the Holy Spirit. I so appreciate CLI and the opportunity to learn and gain the tools I need to fulfill the call on my life!
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