While researching a paper on United Methodist history, Rosedanny Ortiz discovered that the denomination’s first church building in her home country of Puerto Rico is in Guayama City. That’s the church where her parents and grandparents were married, where she was married, and most meaningfully to her, the place where she first felt the call to ministry.

“I was about 5 and attending Vacation Bible School there,” she said.  “I saw the pastor in the pulpit and thought, ‘I want to do that to, to talk to people about God.’”

It was just another confirmation for Ortiz that she’s on the right path: pursuing ordination in the United Methodist church as a student at Perkins School of Theology.

Rosedanny is an M.Div. student who expects to graduate in 2021. She says her story fits well with her favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (NRSV)

“Even though we plan things, God is the one that establishes what we do,” she said. “I try to let God guide me. I came to understand that it was time to begin the process to be an elder at the North Texas Conference in the United Methodist Church.”

Rosedanny moved to Dallas in 2016 after marrying Luis Malavé, and the couple joined Casa Linda United Methodist Church. Having graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez in 2015 with a B.S. in computer engineering, she initially considered SMU for graduate school in engineering.

But at the encouragement of her pastor, Rev. David Rangel, she attended an Inside Perkins event and immediately felt at home. Now, she hopes her path will ultimately lead to an opportunity to serve the Latino community.

“For every class project, for every paper I write, I try to focus on the lens of Hispanic community and ministries,” she said.

Rosedanny had some tense moments in September 2017 when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, causing catastrophic damage and triggering a major humanitarian crisis.  Thankfully, her family back home was safe, but there have been struggles.

“When the hurricane passed, they were OK, but my mother was traumatized,” she said. “The pressure on the house was so great she felt house would fly away. My godparents had to wait 18 months until their electricity was restored.” There are still some areas that don’t have reliable electricity or water.

On campus, Rosedanny has served in the past two years as president of L@s Seminaristas, an organization that encourages student leadership in Latin ministry including Christian worship, preaching, outreach, evangelism, and mission. The group leads CHAP programs on topics like immigration and Hispanic ministry, and hosts meals and parties. She’s juggling all that on top of her role as mom to 8-month-old Sofía Isabel.

Tying all these areas together – school, extracurricular, church and family — Rosedanny writes about her faith journey on her Facebook blog, More Faith.

“This blog is a way to share with others many things that I have learned,” she said. “I hope this blog would help us grow in our faith in God together.”

In August, she began her internship at Casa Linda UMC, where she’s interning as Embrace Pastor, assisting with preaching, pastoral counseling, and leading a small group. On the second Sunday in August, she preached at three worships services at the church.

“It was an extraordinary experience to be there, knowing that this is just the beginning of God’s work in my life,” she said.