Luz Ponce’s Story

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– I am originally from Mexico City, and that’s where I grew up, and I came here when I was 10. I didn’t know the language. I didn’t know anyone. So it was a very rough first year. When I was a teenager, and one day we were driving down the road, and we saw Alma and Ismael who were pastors here at the time, struggling with a bunch of kids, and they were having BBS. And so, they saw them
struggling, and they stopped, and they say, what are you guys doing? Do you guys need any help? And they’re like, well,
we’re trying to run BBS, but it was only the two of
’em and like 20 or 30 kids. So we stayed and helped, and at the time they
didn’t have a music team or a worship band, and I would sing. And my mom would try to
play, and bless her heart. (laughing) And Ismael will try to sing. – For a few months I was a leading voice. So, we would have a lot
of fun in the practices because obviously I don’t sing, but she was very polite and
like encouraging me to say, you’re doing great, you’re doing great. (laughing) And eventually I realized
that I was not doing great, but she was just being nice.
(laughs) – Ever since then, we became friends. Then different things
happened in the family. My parents got a divorce. I didn’t see my father for a year, and my mother was
depressed for about a year. It felt like my family was
falling apart at the time, and the church was the
stability that I needed. I found a family. Well, I saw missionary and
she stayed at our house. And when she left she said,
God has great plans for you, so you get ready.
(laughs) I said, no. But don’t we all run away from,
or try to run away from it? After high school I
became a dental hygienist. I got married to Jorge. I had my first born, Camilla. During that process I was
running away from God, and God’s calling in my life. I found Alma again, and she said, well, what have you
been doing to get ready because you know the call is there no matter what you do or where you go. The call is still there. I just put my hands in the
air, and I said, I’m done. So whatever you have to do. And that’s how I ended up here. One of my passions is teaching. I want to empower the congregation and every member to not
only grow in their faith but to really be that
light for somebody else. So the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke launched a new initiative called the Hispanic-Latino Preaching Initiative, and I have learned a lot. Getting to know other pastors, and hearing from their
experiences and stories, it’s a such blessing for the
Hispanic-Latino community. – I have seen her preach, and you can tell the growth
from remembering Luz, again, being this sweet high schooler to now being this confident pastor. – When I think about the future, especially for Unidos Por Cristo, I think about our youth and our children, trying to create safe spaces, and spaces where they
feel like they belong has been one of my goals
and one of my priorities. Creating that for them so
that they would feel free, to make them feel the way I felt when I first walked in here.


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