My name is Janice Lopez. I was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, but I was raised from age three in Boston, Mass. My childhood was pretty tough with a lot of ups and downs. My family was poor. My mother and father worked hard to try to make ends meet. My home situation wasn’t ideal with parents that had a lot of marital problems among other things.

I always felt a desire to seek God. My parents weren’t churchgoers and did not speak much about God, but I always felt something inside me for Him. I tried to ask friends, talked with different religious people, and would jump on buses that came around our neighborhood taking people to church. I was somehow seeking him. It was hard with everything else going on, and as I got older, it became more difficult. My parents separated, and my mother and I moved to Florida.

As I became a teenager, I got into things I shouldn’t have been getting into like drinking and drugs, etc. I met my older daughter’s father when I was in high school and we fell in love. I got pregnant with my daughter at 18, and we moved in together. He passed away when I was 19, and I was left a single parent of a one-year-old. At that time I went through a period of depression and darkness. I got involved in a relationship way too soon out of loneliness and had a daughter by that relationship. Then I again was a single mother, now of two girls.

A neighbor invited my mother and me to a Bible study she held at her apartment with her pastor. My mother and I went to the Bible study and there I was saved. I will never forget that day. My life and the way I looked at things completely changed. I started going to her church and became active in the church.

Since then I have had my ups and downs, but I have always tried to keep active with church somehow. One day, I met the person who is now my best friend. She completely changed my life by having Christian fellowship with me. She would read me scriptures, and she would pray for me. She has made such an impact on my life. Now I am involved in a church where I currently lead the children’s ministry. I love the children’s ministry and feel I am called to this. But I also have a passion for speaking and reaching women and youth. I am a shy person when it comes to speaking in front of people or to a crowd, so I don’t know how I would lead because of this. But I do know that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. If this is something He is calling me to do, it will be done and he will equip me for it.

In the mean time, I will continue to learn and grow in the knowledge of God. I feel that the teaching at CLI will help me in getting me prepared for whatever God will lead me to do.I am very grateful to the people at CLI because without this free education as a single mother I would not be able to afford schooling like this. My ultimate goal in wherever God leads me is to preach the gospel and help those who are in need by showing them the love of Jesus Christ. My pastor and my church are amazing. I thank my pastor and his wife because they take the time to help and show me what I need to be equipped. They are such understanding and compassionate people that have such a heart for God and are active in making an impact on our city. They treat everyone like family and are there whenever any question or problem may arise. I feel God has placed many people in my life strategically. I believe my church and CLI are definitely part of God’s design to push me towards where he is leading me.