My name is Jose Tavares and I am 28 years old. I reside in the U.S.A. I currently live in Pennsylvania. Ministry in our country is service. Leadership in our country is service. People of faith in our country are very blessed and very generous. Kindness and generosity are characteristics of American ministry.
I was raised a Roman Catholic and a non-denominational Born-Again Christian. I met the lord when I was in elementary school. My Sunday school teacher, Anna, prayed the sinner’s prayer with me. I graduated from Moravian College in 2009 and was conferred my Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science. I’m currently pursuing my Master’s Degree at Liberty University. My ministry dream is to form a non-profit faith based volunteer organization that provides spiritual formation, spiritual direction and counseling to members of my community. I was ordained in 2014 as an interfaith minister and I studied pastoral counseling at Moravian Theological Seminary for 1.5 years prior to coming to Liberty University as well as the Christian Leaders Institute. I most closely identify with the roles of Pastor and Counselor.
During my college years I left the church and subscribed to many secular as well as atheistic philosophies. One or two years after I graduated I experienced a private faith conversion and began studying the scriptures as well as mystical experiences with Christ. I started searching for the most high. 3 ½ years after graduating from college I felt deeply called to study counseling at Seminary. The Seminary became a refuge and acted as an oasis amidst the decay of secular society. As I grew in faith I also grew in understanding. I felt more compassion and empathy for others especially those who are different than I. I desired to become ordained, certified and to serve others of every race, religion and faith background inspired by the great love of God. My experience as a Seminarian inspired me to pursue ministry.
My geographical area, Lehigh Valley,PA , is experiencing gentrification. Our neighborhoods are becoming more populated, more ethnically/racially diverse, and more religiously diverse. Costs are rising. Our school districts are quickly becoming more racially integrated which is causing some tension and distress in the Lehigh Valley population. There is an influx of Spanish speaking immigrants and migrants who are having difficulty assimilating. They are not always easily embraced by natives. As our neighborhoods grow gentrified tensions between socio-economic classes are at an all- time high. Sadly Upper class, middle class and low socio-economic status populations have never felt more isolated or fearful of each other.
While we are at the brink of a unique opportunity in Lehigh Valley history to celebrate diversity only the chants of anti-social and anti-Christian voices seem to prevail. My geographic area is in desperate need of a revival or restoration that can bring natives, migrants, immigrants, believers and non-believers together. We need a touch from God that will transcend racial, ethnic, socio-economic, religious and political divides in order to accommodate some of the wonderful cultural changes that are coming about here.
I have been blessed to make friends/clergy-members of diverse faith backgrounds. The local churches have supported me in my call to serve both corporately and individually. Individual clergy members have volunteered their time and even monetary resources to counsel me. Churches and generous people of faith have donated money to scholarships that I’ve benefited from. I’ve meet with many pastors for spiritual direction and for spiritual advising free of charge. Over the past few years I’ve had numerous sponsors and counselors who have mentored me.
I am single and was never married. My paternal grandfather has been an Usher at his parish in New York since the late 1960’s. My maternal grandfather (May he rest in peace) was a Pastor, Missionary and Christian Contemporary musician until he went to be with the lord in 2014. My mother was an unwed, teen mother who raised me with the help of my grandparents. They both supported me in my educational and spiritual pursuits my entire life. It has given me great self-confidence. Because of my grandfathers I have faith in God and faith in myself (as an adult).
My advancement in academia have also caused me to incur some debt. A Scholarship to the Christian Leadership Institute is important to my ministry dream. I want to dedicate my life to the service of others. The Christian Leadership Institute will provide me with the advance ministry training that I need. CLI can consider this scholarship an investment. It will be a “gift that keeps on giving” as I go in faith to serve populations who may be considered “the least of us” inspired by love of Christ Jesus. Please pray for me and for my endurance in my particular faith walk of ministry.