- Faith & Family
In quick succession, Reverend Tenermarie Jimenez was selected as senior pastor of Wactor Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church in Brownsville, met her future husband and got married — all events that occurred in 2010. By the following year, she had also given birth to her first child. But the 41-year-old minister says she was ready for her new responsibilities. Jimenez has worked as a college professor and traveled throughout the world from China to Mexico to Haiti.
“In my career as a professor, you travel and that’s just what you do, but that was also God preparing me for what I needed to do,” she said. “I finally had to answer my call to preach because I ran from my call to be a preacher for over 20 years. And when I surrendered to preach that’s when He gave me my husband and my child.”
Lessons from around the world
Jimenez’s passion for travel allowed her to see many places in the world and learn about countless cultures and invaluable lessons. But one of the biggest lessons she learned was during a visit to Haiti after the country had been devastated by the earthquake in 2010.
Even among the pain and devastation, she witnessed people that somehow still found joy and peace.
“I asked how can these people be so happy and they said it’s God,” she said. “It’s because they know who God is. They are resilient and strong because of their faith.”
It’s a lesson that many people in America can stand to learn, Jimenez adds.
“We’re too comfortable and when you get too comfortable you get too complacent and you forget to acknowledge who gave you all this,” she said. “And when we don’t acknowledge Him in our lives, acknowledge the power of Him in us, that’s why we walk around complaining.”
Lessons from the pulpit
Wactor Temple AMEZ Church in Brownsville is a small church with approximately 50 active members. Jimenez says she is committed to seeing the church flourish and hopes to attract more members — from senior citizens to youth. She says she also want to see a more culturally diverse congregation and wants to reach out to the neighborhood’s growing Latino population. It helps that both she and her husband speak Spanish.
“I believe in diversity in every aspect of life— from age to ethnicity and that’s what we’re going to work on at Wactor Temple,” she said. “We want a mix of everything.”
By Kaila Heard