Sara Cortes, chair of Conference Hispanic-Latinx Ministries and Mahali Frias Ponce join Bishop Fairley to share their experiences with Hispanic-Latinx ministries in our conference.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I greet you in His name and I am grateful for the honor to be here with you as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I’m so grateful to have the chairperson of our ministry here in North Carolina and at this moment, I’m going to ask Sara if you will share with us.
Yes, we are really proud of our pastors across the Conference who collaborate with vaccination efforts, food pantries, after-school programs, and ESL classes. That’s on top of all of our Sunday services and Sunday School classes and they share a lot with the community and they make an extraordinary effort with immigrant communities. I also want to invite you to listen to the story of Mahali. I’ve known Mahali since she was a child and I’m really proud of her, but she will tell us a little bit about her story of faith and growth.
Mahali Frias Ponce:
Growing up undocumented was a struggle for me because I wasn’t sure who I could tell about my status and I was afraid about people finding out that I was undocumented and getting in trouble with the police for some reason. This weighed on my heart a lot, but thankfully, the church was a big support for me as I was growing up. They gave me support and they were interested in me and my story. When I started applying for college, they always wanted to know how it was going and how they could help. And then when I finally got approved for DACA and I got accepted at Meredith College, everybody was really excited for me and so it was a turning point in my life. I felt more confident about who I am as a person, about my faith, and I felt really supported by the church. Now I’m a senior at Meredith College and I’m getting ready to finish up, so after graduating, I want to find a job where I am able to give back. Hopefully, I will work for a social justice organization and I want to be a source of motivation for students or any undocumented person who is going through challenges and doesn’t see a way out of things. I really believe that sharing my story, as well as other people’s story, is important so that people know that we are more than just statistics. That we are real people and we have real lives and emotions and everything. I really do want to be able to give back and just be that voice that people need in difficult moments.