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The spotlight of Pearl Street Church focuses on center stage as Mario Saenz, the worship leader, makes his way to the microphone. He leads the congregation in praise songs.
How did this young man, a product of a teen mom, overcome so many challenges, and then become a successful worship leader at one of the fastest growing churches in San Antonio? God had a plan!
My name is Jennifer Rodriguez, and I’m Mario’s mom. Not only was I a teen mom, but I also became a single mom of three boys under the age of five—all before I was 24. I quickly realized the challenges that I would face.
Even with supportive Christian parents, I still struggled in many areas such as basic life and financial management skills, domestic violence and faith in God. It was through these challenges and experiences, along with the mentorship and guidance from many faith-based organizations, that I developed a heart for ministry involving young people in the community.
Unfortunately, resources for young adults just seem to disappear when they’re most needed. Today I serve as the Executive Director for Luminary Ministries. Together with my team, we are providing the success skills for teen and young parents as well as those aging out of foster care. These young adults desire to succeed, but lack the support system and knowledge to do so.
Luminary not only provides these services, but they also partner with other nonprofits and ministries in the area who are willing to offer services to help these young adults succeed.
The inspiration for this ministry is Jeremiah 29:ll. “… for I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you and provide a hope and a future ….”
The successful foundation for our young adults is faith and the realization that everything is possible with God’s involvement. God can restore broken people to His original design.
Young Kilee is just one example and beneficiary of such mentoring. Entering the program as a young teen mom and continuing with her mentor, there were some tough times and hard decisions to tackle. Today, Kilee is an esthetician and has developed a heart for worship and writing music bringing healing and restoration to others. Her desire is to be a full-time missionary for Luminary Ministries.
The congregation’s voices echo in the auditorium as Mario sings the last words, “You’re a good, good Father, it’s who You are, it's who You are and I am loved by You, it’s who I am!”
For more information,
please visit us at luminary-sa.org