Category Archives: Vivian Pellas

I Will Climb This Mountain

(*trigger warning: some graphic descriptions about plane crash)

The morning of Wednesday, August 6th, 2014, I woke up with a deep anxiety in my heart. I didn’t know at the time that my father had been up knee deep in prayer for me all night, in the quiet of his home back in Arkansas. Meanwhile, my heart was about to explode in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I had made a decision to climb the biggest mountain of my life. I don’t know how tall it was physically, but as tall as my spiritual eyes could see. I wanted to back out of it, but I didn’t think my friend & pastor Bobby would let me. You see, I had invited him and my friend Erin Calaway to climb that mountain with me. I knew I couldn’t do this alone. A steep climb to my own human calvary. The place where my mom was alive last. The anticipation of a whole week of waiting finally had arrived.  Continue reading I Will Climb This Mountain

A Dios sea la gloria!

That’s what my Nicaraguan granma would say if she was alive, “To God be the glory, mi’hijita”, if she were to read the incredible humbling honor my brother Rudy Carrasco gave me in graciously including me in his list of 14 Latina Christians in America to Know. When I read this story & all that lives between the lines, I stopped & meditated on 2 things:

I humbly think back to how God spared me and my brother from getting on the Tan Sahsa Airlines Boeing 727 plane, on that ill-fated Saturday morning, October 21, 1989. The plane going from Managua, Nicaragua to the USA, was supposed to stop in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The fact that God, who is great in mercy, stopped us from getting on that flight that my mother got on, is just as miraculous as the fact that you are reading my words and you have air to breathe. JUST. AS. MIRACULOUS. My mother immediately went to heaven when that plane crashed, and according to survivor, Vivian Pellas, who told me face to face, “The last thing your mother thought about was you.” I believe her now that I’m a mother to a son. I believe I was the last thought in her mind.

The second thing I think back to, is what I wrote Rudy as a thank-you for thinking of ordinary Latina women who are trying to make a difference in the Kingdom of God. Twice a minority can be something to overcome. This is what I wrote to him. Raw. When I hit send, I thought, “Now, why did I just do that? This guy is going to think I’m crazy!” But it’s my story. Where I come from, we’re story-tellers. We tell stories that are testimonial in nature. We tell stories to remember what God has done. We gain strength from what we’ve had to overcome.

Dear brother,

Reading your e-mail that my husband Rob forwarded to me brings tears to my eyes. To have a brother like you stand with, alongside, affirm, and empower us Latinas followers of Jesus doing normal, routine, daily life, as well as advancing God’s Kingdom on earth, is like a warm fire on a cold day.

I know how hard it is to be twice a minority – Latina and woman in the USA. Yet thankfully, I had a very strong Nicaraguan father who always told me I should care less about what men/women thought about me, and tremble more at disobeying God. That it didn’t matter that I had a uterus, the command to “go and make disciples” is for ALL. So he told me, “Woman, speak!” Speak of God of course, not my own thoughts. But the walls have always been there, whether in Nicaragua, Texas, or Arkansas where I have lived & served in ministry. The first time I translated a sermon for a Southern Baptist missionary in Managua, Nicaragua, I was 14 yrs old, and you can imagine this pastor did NOT want me, a woman and teenager, to interpret for him. But my dad said, “She’s the best we got, she knows better English than me, you’re just going to have to deal with it.” And 20 people came to Christ that hot morning inside a Nicaraguan wooden church with no air conditioner, and no fans, and the little abuelitas were saying “amen, gloria, aleluya” at the teaching from Philippians “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death.” That was the first time I understood Holy Spirit power, because I was throwing up in the bathroom 15 mins before I went up to the pulpit, where God forbid a woman stood with pants on and not a skirt…..

Do you smell what I’m stepping in?

A Dios sea la gloria,

~Ines Velasquez-McBryde