On Friday, December 12th, a very special young woman graduates from college. It is always an accomplishment to reach such a milestone, but for Rosita Gonzalez, it is even more so. Rosita was on her way to becoming another statistic, but through the incredible transformation that only God through Christ can bring about, this unlikely grad is on her way to fulfilling God’s purpose in her life.
Rosita found herself at New Vision Community Church many years ago. She would occasionally attend Sunday service alongside her grandmother. During the service she was always on her phone, would constantly walk in and out of the sanctuary, and sometimes just burst out laughing for no reason. The pastors did not know much about her, only that her grandmother had specifically asked them to keep Rosita in their prayers.
One day out of the blue, Pastor Lucy received a call from Rosita asking her for help. Rostia told her that she was in the middle of town and had no one else to turn to. Pastor Lucy, sensing that she was drunk and possibly high, was a little hesitant, but she felt a tug in her heart. She went to pick her up. Rosita was wandering the streets of Laredo, barefoot, inebriated and in a complete mess. Her physical condition reflected her spiritual and emotional state at that time. This was a young woman that suffered from severe anxiety and was subjected to physical and verbal abuse from her boyfriend. Pastor Lucy brought her home, notified her parents, and counseled her. Soon after, Rosita returned to her old ways, but Rosita had hit rock bottom and knew that she was at a point in her life that she needed desperate help. She needed Jesus Christ and now she had a place where she could find him.
Rosita eventually submitted herself to counsel, received Christ, and started going to the church every day. She went through deliverance and loved being part of her new found church family. Deliverance gave her the strength to focus on the Lord, reject the alcohol and drugs, and she was making great strides. Despite her improvement, Pastors Luis and Lucy felt strongly that the temptation of returning to her old life was great as long as she remained in Laredo and in contact with her old friends. They needed a way to get her out of Laredo and it was at that point that they received a call from me their daughter who was living in Woodbridge, VA at the time.
I needed some help around the house with chores and occasional babysitting while I worked from home. I had thought about hiring someone, but I felt strongly that I needed to open up the opportunity to someone that would benefit from it spiritually and emotionally. I discussed it with my husband and he was onboard. It was at that point that I thought of a nice young woman I had met while visiting my parents in Laredo a few weeks prior even though I did not know much about her background. I called my parents to share my plans with them and to see if they had any suggestions. They mentioned Rosita and it turns out that it was the same young woman I had met. God was clearly at work.
When Rosita arrived at our house, it was a shock to her system. We had certain expectations that were completely foreign to Rosita such as keeping her room clean, doing her own laundry, helping with chores. Because of Rosita’s past with alcohol and drugs, a cell phone was also out of the question to keep bad influences at bay. Since it turned out that Rosita had never done things like clean a bathroom, there was definitely going to be a steep learning curve. It was no surprise then that after the first week, Rosita wanted to go back home. The tears flowed constantly, but I had expected it and thankfully Rosita’s mom backed us up and did not provide any means for her to return to Laredo. Rosita was stuck with us and now we were just going to have to make it work.
Never having done any real housework was one thing, but what surprised me the most was Rosita’s lack of basic knowledge required of anyone having finished an elementary education. It was a bad reflection on our public schools that someone so bright and talented had not been given the key tools that we would expect from our public school system. I understood then why community college had been so hard for her and why she had dropped out. I was unsure at that time how long Rosita would be living with us, but I was intent on giving Rosita a crash course in some key areas, particularly reading and writing. I had my work cut out for me, but I was not alone.
There were parts of spending time with her that were a great blessing, but there were many times when I felt I had gone in over my head. Here was a young lady who had left a life of alcohol and drugs; had been physically abused by men; had suffered from severe anxiety; and who from a secular point of view probably needed some professional help, and now she was under our roof and under our care. There was a lot of prayer (and maybe even a little stubbornness on my part), but there is only one explanation on how Rosita began to make some major strides. God. We put some effort into it, she did her part, but only God can transform someone so quickly and so completely.
With God with us, Rosita adjusted to life with us and she got involved in our church. God has blessed her with a beautiful voice and she quickly became part of the worship team. She is a very sweet person who oozes the love of Christ and people instantly fell in love with her. God was transforming her in an amazing way. Rosita developed a beautiful relationship with my daughter and the two grew very close. To this day, she still calls Rosita “sister.” We also encouraged Rosita to get a job and she eventually landed a position as the music teacher at Creme de la Creme, a high-end educational day care in the area. I remember how initially they had placed her application in the “NO” file (she didn’t have the relevant experience for the position), but God had different plans. Her getting the job she was a testament to God working within her.
After about six months, the time had come for Rosita to think about the next chapter in her life. We talked about various possibilities and we decided that she should apply for college. From a wordily perspective, she may not have been prepared for that. The world might have said that she did not have what it took to thrive in a college environment. They also might have questioned how exactly she was going to pay for it since her parents could clearly not afford it. That is the beautiful thing about God, through Him, all things are possible.
Several years later, Rosita is getting ready to walk up those steps and receive her diploma as a graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from Moody Bible Institute. It certainly was not a breeze for her, but she learned throughout the process to rely on God. My mentoring relationship also continued through her time in college. I received many phone calls filled with frustration, self-doubt, and tears, but I was not the only one. Rosita spent many hours on the phone with the Pastors from New Vision and she has had countless other believers that encouraged her along the way. Now this young lady who used to not know the difference between a phrase and a sentence has numerous college level papers under her belt. And to top it all off, she is graduating debt-free. God provided for her education time and time again.
What did it take to get that young woman who was drunk and barefoot wandering the streets to graduate from college? It took God, but it also took people within the body of Christ that were willing to step up to the plate. It took pastors who were willing to reach out to a lost soul. It took listening to those small promptings. It required my husband and me to open ourselves to bring someone into our home that had a questionable background. It took a Christian college to take a chance on a young woman without the prerequisite education. It took a Church. It took the body of Christ. Each of us have something unique to offer, and no matter how small it may seem at the time, it can have a tremendous impact on someone’s life. II Corinthians 6:1 says that “we are workers together with Him,” so we must be willing to do the required work. We must be willing to get our hands dirty and then sit back and watch Him do amazing things in people’s lives.
If none of the people that helped mentor Rosita had listened to the calling, for the sake of Rosita God would have found others. However, I am glad to have been a part of God’s plan and I know New Vision Community Church is proud to see one of its own being liberated from the grips of darkness now walking in the light. So I want to encourage you to mentor someone, pray for someone, get involved in someone else’s life who needs help. It is only if the Body of Christ raises up and reaches out to the lost and fulfills the responsibility God has placed on us, that we will see an amazing change in our culture and society.
We love you Rosita and can’t wait to see what God is going to do next in your life! Congratulations! It is well deserved!
I leave you the reader with a link to one of Rosita’s songs, As I Wait. This amazing young woman is also a very talented song writer. Her music reflects God and it warms the soul. Make sure to also liker her Facebook page.
Luisa Rodriguez is the official blogger for New Vision Community Church, daughter of Pastors Lucy and Luis DeLeon, and the author of Fruitfully Living.