My name is Ellie Ramirez and it has been a little over a year since I graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Psychology. Hamilton became my home after living and studying there for four years. I thought there was no other place I would rather live but here, especially after having been renewed in my faith with Jesus while attending LIFT Church. But God had other plans for me. After graduating, I moved back home to the city of Vaughan – a city I felt I had outgrown. The person I was when I had left was completely different to the person I was now. I prayed for a home church and for my future to start. In a few short months, I was employed as an instruction therapist working with children with autism and had found a home church.
Through the course of the next year and a half, God began to challenge me in every corner of my life. I had to once again address my fears and anxieties of things I thought I had once settled and learn to completely surrender those areas to God. Though there were times I wish I could go back to LIFT Church and that tight-knit community I had once built, I was beginning to connect with a new community. I learned to wait patiently for answered prayers, to appreciate the quiet times where I could not hear God’s voice clearly, and realize that it was in those moments that God would be working in me the most. I joined choir and in a few months began singing as part of the worship team. Shortly thereafter, I began to serve in youth ministry. I thought it would be fitting to be able to be the mentor I wish I had when I was their age. It was when I was once in my youth that I sought my identity and craved to understand my purpose in life. I am so grateful for the opportunity that God has given me to serve as a youth leader. I see myself in each and every one of these kids as I hear their stories. My encounters with the youth humble me to appreciate the hardships I had to face that would lead me to my faith.
Now, I long to see the seats on Friday night youth services filled with kids from my city so they can come to know Jesus. Recently my church held an overnight youth retreat where Pastor Robin attended as our guest speaker. That weekend greatly influenced our youth attendance and opened up further discussion about their faith. Not only did the messages resonate with the youth, but it inspired me to continue growing as a leader and servant of God. I hope to continue to use my testimony and faith to share the gospel.