When Elida Ledesma applied to the MFT program, she thought she would gain from her educational journey the skills to be an excellent marriage and family therapist. However, Elida reports her experience at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary was two-fold. Not only did she obtain the knowledge and skills to be an excellent therapist, she reports she also experienced emotional healing and spiritual and personal growth.
The educational journey that began from a passion for the field of marriage and family therapy also included her experiencing God’s plan for her life.
Elida explains that while working for a community mental health agency as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking clients, she had the privilege to enter the counseling room’s sacred space and witness the healing and growth experienced by clients through therapy. Elida indicates her experience in the MFT program parallels her work experience since she has experienced healing and spiritual and personal growth as she prepares to become a marriage and family therapist.
Elida reports the MFT program has provided countless tools applicable to both her secular and ministry work with individuals and families. Elida states, “the MFT program highlights the importance of self-care, an understanding for other cultures and the integration of theology in the work of the therapist. Yet, these areas of focus have overlapped into my ministry work and have challenged, influenced and changed my approach toward ministry work, and I begin to observe their benefits in my life and ministry.”
Elida’s plans for after graduation include providing counseling services in her local community. She also states, “I feel God has prepared me through personal experience and formal education to be a resource for pastors and their families. Thus, I aspire to create a care ministry for pastors which focuses on caring for the emotional and spiritual needs of pastors and their families.”
Elida is a member of Iglesia Monte Carmelo in Avenal, CA, a church associated with the Defenders of the Christian Faith Movement Inc. Elida forms part of her church’s leadership team, where her husband has been a pastor for 10 years. When not busy with ministry duties or school assignments, she enjoys maintaining the family’s vegetable garden, fishing and spontaneous road trips with her husband and two children.
“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11