This is the first part in a video series, in which we introduce the stories of a few people we have met across our city & our church. It is just a glimpse of how God has used His people to impact the life of one. This isn’t the story of one ministry or church, but the collective impact of many individuals.
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Hi, my name is Citlally Ramirez. I was born in Santa Barbara, California. I was raised in different parts of the country. First raised in California, Georgia, Mexico & Texas. I’m the oldest of three, I’ve a brother & a sister & my parents are originally from Oaxaca, Mexico.
I’m currently a senior studying biology & I help my professor conduct research. I have been doing that for three years now. When I’m not in the lab, I’m usually co-ordinating events for the International Justice Mission campus chapter that I helped cofound. Our focus is to raise awareness about human trafficking & to empower students to become volunteers in the community. For example, becoming volunteers at a shelter for battered women & victims of human trafficking.
In April 2011, I was going through a rough time, & it was during the same time that I came across an Intervarsity booth. They told me about this 24/7 prayer tent, & I thought it was really strange & different. So I decided to check it out one night & I purposely took my bike just because I thought that if I felt uncomfortable getting off I could pass by. But all of the people there were staring at me because I was the only person there so I kinda had to get off. So I got off & we started praying, & that was really different for me because when I heard their prayers, it sounded like they were just talking to God. I thought that was really cool. I also prayed, but I didn’t know how to close or open. I really liked that, so I returned to community engagement with Intervarsity & that is where I met Lisa Jacob. She took interest in me & I thought it was strange, I though I was her project & I had to impress her. But I started seeing that she did really care for me, & she actually wanted to help me in this walk with God. We started talking about deeper things, about Jesus & I knew who Jesus was. I knew he died on the cross, but didn’t know what that meant. Now I know that His death on the cross meant that the veil was torn & that I could speak directly with God. I could use my own words. He wanted to hear me. Just knowing that completely changed my life.
That same year, I started going to LOFT. The church was offering rides from campus to the church. The same person who picked me up that day, I saw him with a microphone on stage & I was waiting for him to get off stage, but then I realized he was the actual pastor, that Sam was the pastor. After service, I saw how everyone was talking to one another, how close they were to one another. Tara Kinra, she offered me to have lunch with her at her place & I though it was really strange & really kind of her because she didn’t know me & she was offering me to go to her place. She made me feel like I could become a member of that community. A community that genuinely cares for one another, that is very welcoming to new members.
In 2012, I asked God to really grow me in Him. He opened up an opportunity to go to Bombay through LOFT. In Bombay, we worked with Bombay Teen Challenge, which is a ministry that works in the red light district to rescue girls out of sex trafficking. It was such an incredible blessing to be there. On the very first day, one of the girls signaled me to stretch out my hand, my arm. So I did, & she placed in my hand a bracelet that said forgiven. That was such a beautiful moment because I had always struggled with guilt & shame, & God was reminding me that I was forgiven, that Jesus had paid it all. Upon returning back from Bombay, I returned with so much new hope just seeing how much the girls loved Jesus despite what they had gone through.
These past two years have been an incredible journey in my walk with Jesus. God has given me an opportunity to travel to Bangkok & as team we will be living in the slums. We will showing the love of Jesus by serving them. So I’m going to need a lot of prayers & support, as I take this leap of faith. I pray that God will use me to minister to people that meet there.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 94:19, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.” I don’t know where I will be in the years to come, but I do know that I want to serve Jesus with all that I have. I’m very blessed for the invitation to be part of his works.
[pl_alertbox type=”info”]You can support Citlally on her Bangkok trip at Intervarsity and then type in “Citlally Ramirez, STiM 13” to donate.[/pl_alertbox]