Happy New Year!

McBryde, Valley, Velasquez families - January 2019

We’ve been back in Cali for a week now since our holiday break in Arkansas. We enjoyed spending quality time with friends and family (like dinner at American Pie Pizza pictured above).

Here’s an update from Ines on how we wrapped up 2018 and some things we are looking forward to in 2019.

Trust

The woman made a beeline towards me as I shook hands and thanked women and men for their kind words. I had just spoken at a New Year’s event Dec 31, 2017, about my life story and how I came to Fuller Seminary. She patiently waited to speak with me and stretched out her hand: “Hi I’m Brenda!” I smiled back big and in disbelief: “I know who you are! Dr. Brenda! I just wrote a book review on your Reconciliation book!

Dr. Brenda Salter-McNeil and Ines

Three hours of delightful conversation later, the next day, she invited me into a mentoring relationship with her. Doctor Brenda Salter-McNeil, or Doc Mama (how many of us endearingly call her), has been the most surprising gift from God this past year 2018. She is an author, speaker, writer, preacher, pastor, and reconciler. She has been a prophetic faith leader for decades. I am honored to have a brilliant mind and a bold lioness heart investing in me, challenging and encouraging me on a monthly basis. We meet monthly over conference calls as a cohort of other women whom she is mentoring. She also sits in Seattle on one end of the line while I sit in Pasadena for my monthly one-on-one call where we laugh, cry, pray, and I’m furiously taking notes to not miss a word that the Spirit has to utter through this mother of the faith.

My word for 2018 was Trust. Needless to say, I have entrusted my heart and mind, my pastoral soul and prophetic spirit to this woman so that she could lovingly polish, push, pull and grow my full being this year. I am a stronger pastor and more confident voice because of her presence in my life. One of my greatest joys was to co-lead a retreat for pastors and reconcilers with her in Seattle last Fall, and she has invited me to do so again this year.

I finished seminary strong right before the holidays. By God’s grace, I did well in all my courses. Additionally, I have utterly enjoyed being soccer mom on Fridays and Saturdays and watch my boy Nash run hard and kick that ball with gusto. Rob even took classes to learn how to referee Nash’s team and continues to invest in high school ministry as well as racial reconciliation workshops at our local church. Our family is trucking along, by God’s grace and mercy, and by your loving support and prayers.

Nash and Rob - December 2019

As I look into the new year 2019, God has given me a new word to unravel: Vision. This word also finds us only seven classes away from finishing my Masters of Divinity degree! Can you believe it?! I graduate on June 15 and my last class ends during the summer quarter on August 31. Exactly 3 years after we first rolled into Pasadena from Arkansas. To the day.

Prayer Requests

Would you pray with us as to what God has for us after graduation? We desire that our heads, hearts, and wills be aligned with God’s vision for our lives. Thank you for believing in the work that God has been doing in and through us. We could not do this without you!

Grace and Peace,

Ines

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