news releases

15 May 2020

Meet the New 2020-2021 HLN Cohort



Category: News Releases

HAF's Hispanic Leadership Network is an intensive 10-month mentoring and leadership program to support young, mid-career and experienced Latino pastors serving high-need rural and urban congregations across the U.S. We are proud to announce our new class of Latino faith leaders. 

Luis Arizmendi

cor cardenasMy name is Luis Omar Román Arizmendi, I am an ordained minister of the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico / American Baptist Churches USA, I am 35 years old, I work for the Food Industry as an Accountant.

Product of love together with Karol Indira Rivera Class we have procreated two extraordinary children Jashua Yair, 10 years old and Aridnimar, 2 years old. We live in Dorado, Puerto Rico.

I am honored to have responded to the call of Jesus Christ since 2013 as Associate Pastor of the Primera Iglesia Bautista de Dorado, Puerto Rico, a Church that has formed my Pastoral character since this is my first experience.

I have a passion for souls, youth, children, and families of the Church. I consider myself highly responsible and committed in what I do

Laura Ayala-Alvarez
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She has served as General Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Río Piedras since 2014. She was Associate Executive Minister of the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico, consultant on homeless issues for the Autonomous Municipality of Caguas, Executive Director of the Creole Coalition of Continuous Care for the Homeless,  and Executive Director of the Corporación Milagros del Amor, a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Caguas.

Her academic preparation consists of a Master of Business Administration (Universidad del Turabo), a Master of Arts in Religion and Society (Drew University), and a Bachelor of Social Sciences with a concentration in research methods and techniques (University of Puerto Rico) . She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in Theology at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. She is married to José David Colón.

Jose Beteran

cor crystalMy name is Jose. M Beteran Castilian. I was born in Gaudalajara, Mexico. I studied Industrial Engineering for two years. I am the Father of a family with one daughter, Stephanie 27 years old and two sons, Hesed 21 years old and Abraham 19 years old and two grandsons. I am married to my wife, María Luisa García Villalpando. I have been a Minister for nine years at Centro Cristiano Betel in Maui, Hawaii. I have also served as the sous-chef at Dukes Maui Restaurant for the past ten years.

Taynna Cabrera

cor elijiaMy name is Taynna V. Cabrera. I am a native of Puerto Rico. I moved to the United States of America when my husband joined the Army in 1998. We have two children, Kristine and Khalil. I am currently pastoring at the Vessels of Honor Church of God in Lawton, Oklahoma. I’m the Oklahoma District Supervisor. I hold the position of Coordinator of the Oklahoma Biblical Institute and I am the Director of Education for the South Central Hispanic Region of the Church of God.

William Carcamo

cor ericaI am a Salvadorean pastor, 64 years orld, and married to a beautiful wife named Paty and as a product of it, there are two females and one male; all of legal age and college graduates. I have a master’s degree in divinity (graduate), and Architecture (not graduate), and 39 years of preaching the gospel. I have computer studies and am currently pastoring in Los Angeles California.

I am theleader of a council of pastors and a professor at Biblical Institutes in California and Baja California (Mexicali, Tijuana, Ensenada). Thank God I continue to study a Doctorate of Ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary, to better serve God’s people in the diaspora.

Lisa de Paz

cor lizzyMy name is Maria L Quesada, I am also known as Lisa DePaz, born in Costa Rica. Together with my husband Cesar DePaz we have been married for 44 years. For more than 22 years, God allowed us to start and establish churches in the capital of San Jose and establish 4 missions. In 2001 God opened the doors for us to enter the US and revitalize a Hispanic UCC Church in Boston, MA. In 2019 we were called to be pastors of the Methodist Church in Pennsylvania. I received the call to serve in the Norristown community, at Haws Avenue UMC, Anglo church, and accepted the challenge of starting a Hispanic group.

God has blessed us with 4 children, Cesar G, Cindy E. Audrey L and Jamie A, of whom I enjoy being the grandmother of 8 grandchildren today.

Gerardo Escanilla

cor trevinoMy name is Gerardo Escanilla. I have been married since 2001 to Ma.Raquel who is my partner in the ministry. God has given us two beautiful children, my 9-year-old daughter Shekinah and my 5-year-old son Gerardo. We currently live in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Together with my wife we ​​have been in the ministry for 19 years working in the area of missions, where we have met wonderful people from different countries.

We are currently starting to work in Utah, which has been a great challenge for us, because 80% of the population are Mormons. They do not have much affinity with the scriptures so we must listen to people carefully to speak to them without offending them.

I started in the pastoral ministry in Chile, from where we came to the USA. God has allowed me to minister in beautiful churches, but I am most passionate about church planting.

Karen Figueroa

cor burgos

I live in Harbor City, CA with my husband Walter of over 21 years. We have three amazing teenagers, Kevin 19, Daniel 17 and Nina 14. I was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States in 1991. I currently serve as the Dean at CHET-Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos located in Compton, CA. I am an ordained pastor with the Evangelical Covenant Church. I will be completing my M.Div. from North Park Theological Seminary and plan to pursue a PhD in Education and Organizational Leadership. I love serving others by discovering who God
created them to be. God has gifted me to be a bridge builder and a provider of resources where they are most needed. I consider myself a catalyst leader who is intentional about walking alongside people in their journeys of faith and I am also a storyteller. One of my passions is to contextualize, translate and write/edit curriculum. Finally, I love spending time with my family, especially cooking together and in my spare time I love watching movies, reading and listening to music. One of my life verses is Psalms 25:4-5, “Make me to know your days, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long."

Jesús Garcia

cor suheyJesús Edgardo García Briales was born on February 16, 1974 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Social Work at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus in 1996. In 1997 he was appointed Youth Pastor of the Metropolis Baptist Church, a ministry that he carries out with great enthusiasm and dedication. This ministry is exercised while working as a Social Worker at ASPIRA de PR, Inc. In April 2002 he began to pastor the Metropolis Baptist Church full time. For 14 years, week after week, the Metropolis Baptist Church gathered in a tent to worship and exalt the Almighty God. In November 2004 he participated in the Haggai Institute in Maui, Hawaii, a ministry focused on evangelism and leadership. In May 2016 they inaugurated the new temple in which they continue to affirm the motto that has accompanied them for all these years, “We enter to Worship, We leave to Serve.” In May 2019 he culminated a Master of Divinity from the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico. Currently, Pastor Jesús is the president of the Commission of Evangelism, New Works, and Special Ministries of the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico and part of the missions board of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Jesús is married to Bethzaida Pérez, who is his ideal helper and faithful companion. They are both the parents of two beautiful young people, Alejandro and Fabiana, who certainly brighten their lives.

Maria Laureano

cor sydneyI am a person with good feelings, whose most significant experience has been knowing God. I have a friendly, intimate, personal and close relationship with the Lord. He is everything to me. I am married to Pastor Billy Jusino and we have two grown children, who have become good professionals. I exercise an atypical pastoralship, directed mainly to women and their families. My life’s purpose is to teach and accompany people in order that they achieve a better quality of life. To do this I gather knowledge of the different professional fields and reorient them, both in the re-education of values ​​and in theological studies to provide wisdom for life. I am at the service of the Lord and the Church in the community I serve.

Moy Mendez

cor cardenasMoy Mendez is pastor of the Christian Life Center in Tinley Park, Illinois. He attended Moraine Valley Community College and St. Xavier University, where he studied business and computer programming, while working 13 years in manufacturing. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in ministerial studies from Christian Life College and a seminary degree from (TEDS) Trinity Evangelical Divinity Seminary, while serving as a youth pastor before joining the Christian Life Center staff. He is passionate about people growing in their knowledge of Jesus Christ and seeing them live the purpose that God has given them. He and his wife, Eva, have four children: Hannah, Israel, Sofia, and Evalyn.

Laura Ayala-Alvarez
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Nationality: I was born in Fraile Muerto, a small town in the Department of Cerro Largo, Uruguay.

Family of Origin: My father is an atheist, my mother has already left with God. I am the middle of 5 siblings, they still do not serve the Lord.

Conversion: At 18 I gave my life to Jesus and since then I love and serve him.

Testimony: As a Catholic I thought that I had nothing to regret when I got to church, because I led a righteous life according to my way of thinking. One day, in one of the services during worship,, God allowed me to have a vision and I saw all the brothers who came from a terrible life of sin now redeemed and all with white and bright clothes, I looked at mine and they were dirty, frisky and brownish. I felt very bad at that moment, but thanks to that experience I understood that salvation comes through repentance, by faith, by grace, by accepting what Christ did for me, and not by my good works.

A year after I was converted, I began serving the church as a Sunday School teacher. Shortly afterwards, I met my husband, Pastor Andres Miranda.

We have 4 beautiful daughters and 7 grandchildren.

Regarding the Ministerial: We have pastored since 1991, to date 5 churches, we founded three new works, a Christian newspaper in Uruguay. Our ministry has also consisted of social work and giving lectures focused on the healing of families.

Our coming to the United States: my husband was hired by the Evangelical Editorial of the Church of God to serve as Editor-in-Chief and shortly after I was hired as a writer. We worked there for 10 years and left that ministry to attend a new work that we had started in Chattanooga and had grown a lot and spread to other places.

As for the Academics: In Uruguay I acquired a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and worked for several years as a psychologist. Arriving in the United States, I acquired a Master of Arts with a concentration in Counseling at Pentecostal Theological Seminary. and did my internship at the Behavor Research Institute. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Counseling at the PTS.

Together with my husband we pastor Esperanza de Vida Church in Houston and we also pastor pastors in the Southern District of Houston.

Fabio Sosa

cor crystalFabio Sosa is a second generation pastor; His parents were founders of over 100 churches in all of the territory of the Aregentine Republic, and in the past 30 years of ministry they founded the Councel of Churches, “Vida Abundante” (Abundant Life) in Argentina. For more than 25 years, along side his wife, they developed a vocation and passion for working with people through formation, motivation, and leadership training at an interdenominational level. In the past 17 years Rev. Fabio Sosa has developed mninistries in different cities and states throughout the nation.

Yorelis Teran

cor elijiaI was born and raised in Venezuela, and have been serving the Lord since I was fourteen years old. I was called into full-time ministry when I was 20 years old. Under the direction of the Lord, I studied and graduated with the title of Anthropologist in Human Biology with the high honor of “Magna Cum Laude”. I graduated from Dr. Jerry Savelle’s Bible Institute, JSMI, in 1999

I moved to Texas, under the Lord’s direction, and continue to preach the powerful and uncompromising message of the Word of Faith. I have been the Senior Pastor of the International Christian Center “El Shaddai” of the church for approximately thirty years.

I have three daughters Mimayor, Maryann, and Mary.

Raul Velasquez

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My name is Raul Velazquez. I am from Valle De Bravo, Edo. Mexico. I am married to Maritza Velazquez and we have 3 daughters: Danitza L (26); Elsie L (25) and Genesis (17). I am currently a Local Pastor at: “El Mesias” UMC in Nogales, AZ. I am also pursuing a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. I like to ride my mountain bike since it helps me with my health and also allows me to contemplate nature. I am very excited to participate in this program, thank you for the opportunity. Greetings and blessings.

Felipe Villegas

cor lizzyMy name is Felipe J Villegas. I am originally from Chihuahua Mexico. I live in Oxnard, CA since 1989. I have been married for 27 years and I have two children (Men).

I have been a Christian since 1989. In 1996 I began to pastor. Since 2002 I have been working full time in the ministry.

In August 2004, we planted a new church, which is the church that I currently pastor. We belong to the Church of God, in which I have served as a counselor in our region. I am also the Director of the Men of Impact ministry in our region (Southern California and Arizona).

About Us

HAF improves the lives of Hispanics in the United States and promotes civic engagement by educating, motivating and helping them access trustworthy support systems.

Phone: (202) 640-4342

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