Lydia Patterson Institute: Building Bridges on the Border
October 15, 2016
A note from Emmanuel (Manny) Martinez as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month:
Three years ago after graduating from Lydia Patterson Institute, I embarked on a dream journey to continue my educational and ministerial preparation for what I felt was the purpose for God in me. But it was there, at Lydia, where this call was louder, stronger and clearer.
As a new student in La Lydia, I enrolled in the Lay Ministry with the hope to learn and practice English through the service at church and the surrounding community. The Lay Ministry is the religious program that allows students to be involved not only in weekly chapel services but also in the many churches throughout El Paso’s area. Little did I know, I was not there only to learn the magic of a foreign language but God was preparing a different teaching for a distinct language, not a phonetical or philological but a language of grace and service in response to God´s love.
In my years as student at my alma mater I was able to serve as part of the praise band at school and at Trinity First UMC where a new Hispanic service got started. I had the privilege of serving in communities outside my own at First UMC Beeville, TX and in the year of 2012 God allowed me to start a friendship with the congregation at FUMC Dallas through summer internships, the most recent one last year at a Summer In Ministry internship with the North Texas Conference. These opportunities of service became quickly treasured due to the many things I´ve learned, the many people I´ve met, and the many ways I´ve seeing and heard God working through other people. Just as how being at Lydia quickly became more than just attending school the way I attended church every Sunday, it became a need to see the different ways God was going to move, the people we were going to meet, the fun and fellowship we were going to create.
The atmosphere and presence that surrounds Lydia is like no other. It is more than a school. It is our home. The teachers are more than instructors. They´re our caring mentors. The students are more than learners. They are hands and feet of Jesus. Lydia Patterson has influenced me to pursue a life of service in the ways that God created me to be.
Three years ago after graduating, I didn´t know I was going to find a warmth and caring congregation to adopt me as their own and I am joyful to be a member of the church family of FUMC Dallas. I am also honored to serve as staff liaison for the Hispanic Ministries at FUMC Arlington and for the ways God is equipping me to His service through preaching, teaching and presence. I am thankful for the people that make it possible for students at Lydia that like me, are willing to embark in a journey to continue our educational and ministerial preparation. Feliz Mes de la Hispanidad! Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!