“Soy” Uniquely Raqui
I am Raquel Liz Cintrón-Forrest, a.k.a. Raqui. I am unique… I have lived a very unique life, but so has everyone. So what makes me… well, “ME”?
I was born on the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico during an undisclosed year in the month of August. I was born into a Nazarene parsonage (that means that my parents were pastors in the Church of the Nazarene), and was pretty much raised by my family and church. My Father is an adventurous man of God, and my dear patient mother put up with all his quirks, but she enjoyed them too. They both taught me to enjoy life, enjoy people, to give, to love and to extend myself beyond the expectations of others and live the life God expects me to live. Hopefully I have done just that, or I’m still working on it.
At the age of 7 my father was called to pastor a church in Texas. That is where my cross- cultural adventures started and it never ended since. I learned the differences between the Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. Yes, we are very different. And yet I learned what united us as well. I learned a broken English that I thought (for many years) was well- spoken and well written (Boy was I wrong). 6 years later, my father brought us more adventurous news: “We are moving to Venezuela. We have been sent by the Church of the Nazarene into Venezuela to start churches.” At this point it was a new “mission ground.” (That means that there were no organized Nazarene churches) Yep, I was a teenager. What teenager doesn’t want to be plucked from their friends and home and carried away to an unforeseen and different country? So off we went.
We arrived in 1984 in the most prosperous latino country. It was back then, not anymore. (But that is another story). I admit, I was pretty much intrigued! It was a new culture and different from living among the Tex-Mex community I had become familiar with. That culture was challenging, but I had survived. Surely I would survive this new culture. Strangely, I lived among the Venezuelans and went to school among the Americans and other children from other countries.
I came back to the USA for college, where I learned that my “English” was not as good as I thought. I continued to travel to other countries during the Summer doing volunteer work: Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. In the end of my third year of college two things happened that would change my life again: 1. I met my future husband 2. My mother passed away from cancer. I married Todd soon after my mother passed and at the end of the Fall semester of my senior year.
Todd and I have been married to 26 plus years now. I have lived in the USA since my move from Venezuela. Although we have lived in 7 different houses in 4 different states. We have 3 beautiful daughters who have been raised fully Puerto Rican and American. Both of us have finished Masters degrees. I focused my degrees on Cross-cultural studies and non-profits, he focused his on theology. We do everything together. I was ordained as a Nazarene Minister one year after him in 1995. We share the calling and passion of Christ’s gospel. I have been an assistant pastor, directed two different compassionate ministries, and I’m presently Co-pastoring with my husband. These years have been very different from my beginning years. My adventures are more close to home, unique in their own ways. We have experienced all sides of the North American life together, from the countrysides of Oklahoma to a small town in Indiana, on to the inner-city life of Denver, Kansas City and Hammond, Indiana. Everyone of these places is unique in it’s own special way. Yet one thing doesn’t change, the adventures include people. Some great, some good some not so good some horribly bad…. and some incredibly insane! And from those experiences and stories I bring you my blogs… my life as uniquely Raqui.
NOTE: I do have a tendency to speak my mind, give opinions, share advice (whether you ask for it or not) and share what is in my heart as a minister.