Here you can stay connected and read about new testimonies from CLI students from all over the world!
My name is Margaret Padilla, born in Yuma, AZ and now live in California. Mother, a Hispanic woman originally from Oaxaca, MX, and my father, German Irish from Indiana, USA. My father for a time was a deacon in a church before he ran astray. To this day, my uncle from my father’s side is every title you can think of in ministry. He has a church in AZ, ministry work and churches in Africa, and Europe. My grandmother, who has since passed would preach on the Indian reservations, oh how I loved going to the reservations. These were the seeds for my Mexico mission ministry.
So, from my father’s side of the family, I was destined to do ministry work. And for a time as a child, I was considered a mentor in church for the other children and would help teach them. My mother told me that even in elementary school, I would teach the children who did not know English. I helped the teacher teach them.
And yet with such history, life was twisted. My father was an improper soul. Not all my childhood memories are grand. By the age of 15, I left home. I had a different view of how life was. Living carefree and yet always associating with the wrong type of people. By the age of 19, I was married and went on to have two lovely children. The marriage did not last, and I went on to my next relationship, which did not last either.
Eventually, I was just tired. I was tired of the associations I would make, weary of those who did more harm than good, drained of every right thing going wrong. My brother and mother invited me to go to church as always, and I went. There, I gave my life back to God. I told God I was tired and wanted Him to stop doing all these things to me. If He would stop, He could do with me what He wanted. Yes, I had no shame, blaming God for all my mistakes!
My words were: “I give. I am empty and have no life left in me and am alone.” At that moment, I saw a hand, formed out of a cloud, come down upon me. It embraced me! The hand was so big I fit in the palm, and in that instance, I life filled me. At the same time, I heard a voice say, “You will never be alone because I will always be with you.” Those words to this day have given me such faith in Him.
In the midst of all this, I was making the best out of a bad situation in my life. Someone even poisoned me because they were afraid of losing me. That was a close call for me. That person eventually took their own life. My pastor taught me was that my problems are God’s problems; I only need to give them to Him.
One day my pastor went to Asia on business; he ended up taking longer than anticipated. So, I needed a new church. There was a pastor who helped my pastor for a time, so I decided to go to his church. In the long run, I ended up marrying the pastor. Shortly after we married, we started a ministry in Mexico. My husband started preaching to pastors that were in need.
Beginning of Our Mexico Mission Ministry
Then one day, a woman approached and asked me if I could help her feed her children. She showed me a picture with so many children. Then, I realized these were not her biological children. She ran what is called a comedor, a soup kitchen, for children. My heart melted. I told my husband we had to do something for this woman and all these children. At first, he said he was too busy with all the pastors. I persisted, and he said, let’s see what we can do.
We started our ministry with a wagon of food that we walked across the border. We progressed to filling our Pathfinder once a month and crossing the border. I was amazed at how much food we took across the border. Someone donated a 16-passenger van. My husband removed all the seats and filled it with food. We cross every week with it. We have a ministry in Camalu, MX and another in Tijuana, MX. They are not merely soup kitchens. The word of God is taught to the children so they can show their parents. We also take clothes and medicine when possible. My husband preaches the gospel.
Other Ministry Ventures
In addition to this, I shared the word of God online to the people of India and Pakistan. We used a video conference, and I preached on the streets via video cam. They then called me on their cellular phones and took me from house to house to pray for the sick. It was such a fantastic experience.
Then, somehow my Facebook account, where all my contacts were, and all my preaching went through, closed. I couldn’t reopen the account. It was disappointing
Now I want to expand my knowledge and education at Christian Leaders Institute and see where this will lead. I want to see if the drama in our life is the preparation for what is to come. Perhaps I have merely dipped my toe in the water for what is to come.
Mexico Mission Ministry Dream
Our dream is to build a facility in Mexico that will house the homeless pastors, elderly, women, and children. This facility will be a school for the children, a rehabilitation center for the women, and a shelter for the elderly. There the retired pastors will have a purpose again and teach the youth. Before my time ends, I believe this will be a reality. Please keep us in prayer. Our church’s name is Fresh Seed. God bless you all.
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My name is Jeremy Hewett, and I am from Lagrange, GA. Five years ago, if you would have asked me if I would have ever thought I would be a called Christian Apologist, I have to say the answer would be no. My journey led me to just that.
I was born an only child after two previous miscarriages. My mother always called me her “miracle baby.” She wasn’t religious, and neither was my father. My grandparents are the real shiners there. They raised me to know God and gave me all the tools I needed to find him when I finally decided I needed Him.
God Found Me
After years of “bad luck” and loneliness, after searching for God in Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism, I couldn’t find Him. I became so desperate for God that I said something I will never forget. “God, I tried finding you. I couldn’t. So please find me.” So, that is just what He did.
That same night, I had a very vivid dream. I was conversing with several hooded individuals. They tried to convince me that I didn’t need God and that my life would get better without Him. I just had to wait and see. All the while, a man was rebuilding a table not far from where we talked. He only smiled as he heard what they said. Finally, he spoke to me. He said, “God found you. Now call out to him, accept Jesus as your Savior. He will fix you like I am fixing this table. It will take some time, but you will be fixed.” And I was.
Me a Called Christian Apologist?
After joining Wehadkee Baptist church, I watched our pastor as he delivered the sermons Sunday after Sunday. He was so passionate, reverent, and on fire. He brought countless souls to God through the years of knowing Him. I felt a tickle in the back of my mind, and I imagined myself in that same spot.
For months, I ignored it and said that it wasn’t for me. However, the tickle got more prominent and more profound. One day, I stumbled across a video on YouTube on Christian apologetics. A man was in a respectful, heated debate with a Muslim Imam on the validity of the Trinity. That tickle was a fire from that moment. I knew that I wanted to preach and defend my faith when necessary in a manner that was respectful and well-informed.
Free Training at CLI for this Called Christian Apologist
Free Christian training was necessary because my wife is in the military, and we move around quite often. A lot of our finances are tied up in moving expenses, deposits, etc. God has truly blessed me to find Christian Leaders Institute. Now, I can receive the education I need so I can show others the truth when they have been misinformed for so long.
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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!
Learn about ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.