Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. Today we are thrilled to introduce Zoricelis Davila.
Zoricelis, tell us about where and how you currently serve in ministry?
God has been so gracious to call me into a multifaceted ministry. I am a licensed professional counselor with a private practice in Forth Worth, Texas, serving the Latino community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In collaboration with the Tarrant Baptist Association and Baptist Conventions I serve churches and pastors who refer members of their congregations who are in crisis and in need of professional counseling and psychotherapy. I also serve pastoral families to strengthen their marriages and families, their relationship with their churches, and their own pastoral care.
Being in the counseling ministry has opened multiple doors for me to serve in diverse areas, such as serving as a volunteer counselor in a domestic violence agency in Arlington, and facilitating support groups for Hispanic women victims and survivors of domestic violence. Also, in the Fort Worth community I volunteer as a counselor by equipping parents in the area of parenting and counseling at an elementary school under the collaboration and sponsorship of the BGCT program, Raising Highly Capable kids. There, I teach parents how to have crucial conversations with their children aiming at preventing crisis and training them with effective parenting skills.
In my local church, Southwayside Baptist Church, I serve as a Sunday School teacher for the Women’s Class, and I am a member of the Women’s Ministry Team serving women in various areas.
God has gracefully allowed me to write three books in Spanish helping the Latino Community in the areas of family, counseling, and emotional health; which has opened the door for me to serve actively as a Women’s and Family Ministry Speaker internationally and nationwide.
I also serve as a faculty member and board member of the board of directors of Latina Leadership Institute in San Antonio, training and empowering Latino women leaders to be better equipped to serve in their churches.
Part of equipping the community with evidence-based information and helping them achieve a healthy emotional, mental, and spiritual life is provided through a weekly radio program in collaboration with Radio Manantial Yuma. Each Thursday morning, I work with general manager, Emi Ibarra, educating the community about family and counseling issues.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?
I have faced two challenges in my ministry. One has been leaving my family, church, and friends in Puerto Rico to follow God’s calling in Texas. However, it has been worth it to serve God. God has been faithful to provide a family through my local church to serve as a strong support and encouragement.
The second challenge has been to face some discrimination and stigma for being a single Hispanic woman serving in the counseling ministry. It has required my total dependence and focus on God. Through it all, I have experienced God’s faithfulness every step of the way. God has been the one giving testimony of His calling in my life and of who I am as a minister.
Who and what have been some of the best sources of encouragement for you along the way?
My best source of encouragement has been God Himself through His Word. In my relationship with Him, His personal guidance has been visible and concrete to guide me and encourage me.
My church has been my family, loving me, supporting me, and encouraging me in every phase of my ministry journey.
These specific sisters in Christ have been my constant encouragers and mentors: Alicia Zorzoli, my editor, Nora Lozano, the executive director of Latina Leadership Institute, and Raquel Contreras, the director of the Spanish Baptist Publishing House.
What advice would you give to a teenage girl who is discerning a call to ministry?
Focus on developing and nurturing your personal relationship with God first. Don’t compromise the reading of the Word for anything, and make sure that you take time to search God’s will and wait for God’s response as you identify God’s calling in your life. Once you know, follow God’s calling and His leading, trusting Him every step of the way. It does not matter how hard, difficult, challenging, or scary the call may be. God is faithful to complete the work He has called you to do. He will provide. He will guide. He will protect. He will lead you. You just have to trust Him and obey Him. It is worth serving God. Even if like Abraham, like in my own life, you have to leave your country and your family, God will sustain you and provide His people to support you in every way. Trust Him, and follow Him. It is a joy to serve God and His people. There is no greater joy than to serve Christ.