Hear from Board Member Anabel Quintanilla.
October 2016, somewhere in the parking lot of the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, I heard the words, “There has to be more.” I was brought to tears. I was headed to a health fair to promote my services as a then-private health and life coach and knew that I had to compose myself quickly, yet I couldn’t get out of the car. I was paralyzed for a moment.
“There has to be more.”
I was (and still am) very happy in my marriage and family life. My career was great (and is even better now). I felt connected to God. I was even waiting to hear back from my local church on the role that I was to play in children’s religious education since transferring from a different parish a few months before… “There has to be more.” More what?
And then, I felt it. The sudden urge to pray. Not the typical canned catholic prayers I was used to praying. I needed Jesus!
At that point in my life, I knew only 2 people whom I believed to be true followers of Christ. (And no, neither of these was my mother-in-law who could easily pass as the head of the Catholic Mafia of Las Vegas, if that were a real thing.) I knew my friend Kylie from Hawaii, and my Instagram Friend @FitFaithfulArtist, whom you know as Pastor Janette. I called Janette. She didn’t answer. I texted her. She didn’t answer. (I later found out she had changed her number and had zero obligation to share with someone she’d only exchanged protein shake information once before. That’s how little we knew each other!)
I called my friend Kylie and she prayed over me while I sobbed for a good 20 minutes.
“There has to be more.” I soon figured out what God was preparing me for.
The update I was waiting to hear from my new church came with a slap on the face. Apparently, I was deemed unfit to serve (despite my years in religious education in 2 other churches) because I was living in sin with my husband. Their exact words were “not in good standing with the church.” Hurt and disappointed, I bounced around several churches for several years hoping to find one to call home.
In the meantime, Pastor Janette and I stayed connected and in 2020, she introduced me to Pastor Sadie. When I attended one of the online services she held during pandemic, I knew I had found what my heart had been yearning for.
Lectio Divina was the style Pastor Sadie was using to engage with the congregation and help us feel safe as we navigated the early zoom waters. I had grown up with the concepts of sin, unworthiness, confession, penance and penitence, and here was a FEMALE leader of a church purposefully asking for our thoughts on scripture in online church. MIND-BLOWING AND HEART-EXPANDING. And I wanted more.
In 2022, I became an official member of the church and shared bits of what I’m sharing with you today. It was the first time I honestly committed to my walk with Jesus.
Shortly after, I became a board member, and I am passionate about helping us grow our online presence because of the value it’s brought to my life and because of what I know it can do for those who are roaming around looking for a safe place to land.
In April 2023, I finally made my way to an in-person service and was filled with emotion as I was greeted by Nan & Elaine with a warm smile and a big hug, right before Elaine put me to work on the coffee! Then Paula and Mary Ann both approached me after the service to ask how my daughter was recovering from her liver donation surgery, and how my granddaughter was doing. Women I had never met in person knew me by name and told me they have been praying for me and my family. (If that’s not the work of Jesus, I don’t know what is!)
In my 10 years of churching in Las Vegas, I never felt as welcomed and accepted as I do at Harbor. I zoom in regularly on Sundays, and if the stars align, my family gets to join in too.
Speaking of family… they’re the best! My husband is Mike, and together we are a blended family of 7. Anthony (26), Michael (26), Valerie (25), Amanda (24), and Marissa (21). My granddaughter, Anatasia, will be 1 in November. And Kora, our family dog, is 10.
They are a great source of inspiration in the work that I do with the Latinx/Hispanic community. Empowering women to have beautiful relationships with God, themselves, and with their loved ones is only part of what I do through transformational and spiritual coaching. The deeper work lies in practicing presence with what matters most, which I’ve discovered are the people immediately connected to you.
I love myself and my life even more since strengthening my relationship with The Divine, much of which I’ve learned from Pastor Sadie & Pastor Ryan, and from my extended family at Harbor. Yes, that’s what you are to me – familia.
XOXO and a beautiful Autumn season,