the Hope of Survivors

A New Opportunity—Shyleene Rosado

(From the April 2008 edition of HopeSpeak)

Day by day God gives us an opportunity to go with Him, to see His love, wonder, grace and forgiveness. He never quits offering this opportunity to us.

Shyleene Rosado & Annie Baez
Shyleene Rosado recording programs with Annie Baez of Radio Paraiso.

The question is, Where is the opportunity? Maybe you don’t understand or don’t see it clearly. Perhaps you see suffering, anguish, sadness, confusion and a lot of work. Perhaps because of the distraction of the world, excess work, problems at home, and other duties, you don’t see the new opportunity God gives you. 

It’s wonderful expressing the wonder God gives us. He gave me the privilege of having good parents, a home, an excellent husband and more. However, He gives me other reasons to express my gratitude as well.

In my experience with The Hope of Survivors, God has given me the opportunity to have a reunion with Him. He desired to heal my hurt (personal problems, faulty feelings and sin). Part of the ministry’s mission is reaching the hurting—those who have been abused physically, emotionally and spiritually at the hands of a member of the clergy. The clergy never abused me, but the enemy of my soul had confused me. Satan made me feel miserable, guilty and sinful. But, praise the Lord, He reached me through The Hope of Survivors. 

My experience is nothing compared with the victims who have been abused physically, emotionally and spiritually, but God gave me the opportunity to see how sinful I am and how much He desired to reach me, help me, and give me forgiveness. It’s wonderful!

The new opportunity God gave me recently, on behalf of the Latino Division, was to visit Puerto Rico again in February.

The first activity I participated in was the Woman’s Camp for the Adventist Association for West Puerto Rico. During this time, I had the opportunity to share about The Hope of Survivors and the hope, love and faith only God can give. There were about 350 women at this camp. It was a blessing to meet Raquel Quiñónez who gave me the opportunity to speak about pastoral sexual abuse at this camp. I shared the mission of The Hope of Survivors and why it is considered abuse when a pastor engages in a sexual relationship with a member of the congregation, and how important it is to recognize this fact, and to provide education and prevention in the church. 

The response from the group was very positive. Many women, including pastor’s wives and victims, shared their own experience of abuse or that of someone they knew, and they were interested in offering this information to the church to help others who have been hurt. Thank you, Raquel and the group, for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of the ministry.

Below are some of the responses I received:

This ministry is necessary and gives a thrust. There are many situations of abuse in the church and many victims do not receive the necessary help or even know where to go for assistance. This ministry clearly explains how the relationship between the pastor and congregant is never one of mutual consent. It also teaches us what the church needs to do after this type of abuse has occurred.”—Haydee Luciano, Survivor, PR

This was the first time I heard about the existence of abuse between a pastor and a member of the congregation in church. No one speaks about this but, sadly, it occurs. This ministry offers help, safety and trust for the church and the members. It a resource for helping others in a painful and difficult situation.”—Gladys Rios, PR

I also had the opportunity to conduct an abuse prevention sermon in the Limón Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mayagüez. This was the last church my husband and I attended before moving to Illinois. The members there received the information with much encouragement and gratitude. Here are some of their responses:

How do I see this? Is it abuse or not? After hearing the sermon for abuse prevention in the church, I see the other way. I understood the dynamic between the pastor and congregation and why it is abuse. How do you see it? It’s an interesting topic for this time, helping victims, leaders, pastors and church members. It is a beautiful ministry moving forward.”—Manuel Cruz Malave, First Elder, PR

On Saturday afternoon, February 16, I presented a Trust & Truth conference in the chapel of Antillian Adventist University in Mayagüez. The audience consisted of professors, doctors, ministerial students, pastors and members of the community. Their reaction: 

The presentation had excellent content, and was very relevant to the audience. I believe it was a theme extremely necessary for the actual pastor and there was a good transmission of the contents. I recommend this conference to other educational institutions and churches.”—Pr. Obed Jiménez, Professor for UAA Department of Theology and President for the Society of Adventist Theological Chapter of Puerto Rico. 

I receive a blessing from God through the opportunity He offers me, day by day, to have a personal relationship with Him.  What new opportunities is God offering you? Perhaps it’s the opportunity for material things, a new house, a new job, or new friendships. God is giving you an opportunity to share your testimony with others to encourage and bless them. He is giving you an opportunity to come to Him, enjoy a deeper relationship with Him, and allow Him to cleanse your sin. Even if you are sick and suffering much, you have a new opportunity for salvation. Will you accept the opportunity God offers you today? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18