Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today we are excited to introduce you to Veronica Martinez-Gallegos.
Veronica, tell us about your current ministry?
I am a Clinical Pastoral Education student at Carolinas HealthCare NorthEast in Concord, North Carolina, serving as a second-year chaplain resident. I am assigned to Oncology, Renal, and Family Med Units and the Palliative Care Team.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?
I think the biggest challenge I have had to face has been my own struggle to accept that I can be a woman in ministry. Growing up in a traditional Southern Baptist church in a border city of Mexico and Texas, I did not know women could be ministers. I was raised with the mentality that women could not be pastors. Although I am a pastor’s wife, I had a difficult journey in accepting and claiming my own pastoral identity.
What brings you great joy in life and ministry?
After a long journey and finally discovering some optimism as I explored chaplaincy, I now find joy in using my spiritual gifts and skills in clinical pastoral care. I am gifted with compassion to care, offering spiritual and emotional support to those who are physically and emotionally wounded. I am delighted to be on a theological journey in a place that has given me the opportunity to minister as a woman, especially as a Latina woman.
In this ministry, I am with people in their suffering. It is a privilege to meet people in a sacred space and help them process their suffering. Life’s difficulties are opportunities to grow and to learn to rely on a Higher, Supreme Being. My hope is to support care seekers who are struggling with the meaning of suffering by validating their feelings, listening to them, and helping them identify support systems and coping strategies.
Another joy in my life is giving my daughters the spiritual support they need during this new stage in their teenage lives and supporting my husband in providing spiritual pastoral care in the local congregation as time allows.
What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?
My friend, Zoricelis Davila, helped me to learn to say “no” and to set boundaries. My supervisor, Greg Hathaway, taught me that vulnerability is not a synonym of weakness. On the contrary, it takes courage to show vulnerability, but is in those vulnerable moments that we learn to live wholeheartedly.