You guys! Monique is such a freaking cutie! Her testimony is so sweet and so encouraging. I was so blessed just reading about her life. I know you all will be too!
Hello all! I’m beyond thankful that I get the opportunity to share what Jesus has done in my life! My name is Monique Platero, I’m 20 years old and live in Vanderwagen NM! A lot has happened these 20 years and I can’t wait to tell you about how faithful God is!
I come from a family of seven, my parents, one sister, and three brothers. I didn’t necessarily come from a family of faith. It was kind of, “whatever comes our way we’ll try out in order to survive”. I went to a private catholic school when I was a little girl but had to leave because my family couldn’t afford it and ended up finishing elementary in public school. Then in middle school I remember going to a Mormon church, that was the religion my mom grew up with. That’s how it always seemed to be, always looking for the next church that would pay our bills and give us handouts. There was never a real sense of wanting to know God and have a relationship with Him with my family. We attended the LDS church for a while, got baptized, and became members. All the ceremony and religion seemed fun and nice, but my heart was always empty, and no amount of man-made pomp and circumstance could fill it. It was around that time that my neighborhood friends invited me to a church called Wingate Baptist. I remember thinking, “this must be just another church”. However, there was something different about this. I felt love and belonging without the religion. I felt authenticity without obligation. I can truly say that it was there that I found the Jesus I was looking for. The real Messiah and the only true lover of my soul.
Things at home didn’t get easier. My parents were out of control alcoholics. Alcoholism is one of the biggest struggles amongst people on the Navajo Nation. Being the oldest of the siblings, my childhood was mostly thinking about what’s best for them and figuring out how to take care of our family. We lived life by the minute, hoping that things would change by tomorrow. I recall telling God “I didn’t ask to be a mom figure to my siblings at 12 nor did I ask to have alcoholic parents”. I was confused and mad at God. Around this time, my youth pastor at Wingate Baptist introduced me to Broken Arrow Bible Ranch (BABR). BABR is a Christian camp where you can have loads of fun and learn more about Jesus all in a span of 5 days! It became the place here I met all the great people around me, feed my hunger to know Jesus, and honestly.. to get away from home. Every week there was ‘skit night’ where we do silly skits, we could sing, and pretty much show our talents. After that the staff would do more serious skits that showed the hardships they’ve been through. Some of them were about suicide, drugs, violence, etc. The one that struck me the most was the alcoholic parents, and how it turned into violence. Even though it was a skit, it was so powerful and personal to me. I remember bawling my eyes out, literally crying like I’ve been holding it in for a while. Which I had. After it was over, one of the staff members came over to me and just talked. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, was to just talk. She shared scripture with me and asked me if I wanted to accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. At the age of 12, that was the day I knew that I wasn’t alone anymore. Being back home from BABR was lifechanging, when chaos would happen, I knew God was there, reaching out his hand promising me that it wasn’t always going to be this way. He gave me a new hope.
I remember the way I felt when I first went to BABR. It was the only place where I could get away for a week but more importantly have a family connection, the love, the support, the understanding, and so much more! All the things I didn’t feel at home. I knew that Jesus wanted me to be there. He showed me His love through the staff and campers. Even though I had only met these ‘strangers’ at camp for the first time, they all felt like family. That’s why I continued going. Little did I know; it was the place where I’d meet my future husband. God works in mysterious ways *winky face* Growing up, deep down, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the work that was being done at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch. I wanted to show kids who are going through hardships at home or at school, the HOPE that I found in Jesus. At the age of 18 I met my boyfriend who is now my husband, he helped open the door to our missionary career together. He was already serving at camp for about 8 years and was in the process of becoming a full-time missionary when I met him. A year and a half later we eventually got married (which doesn’t happen much on the Navajo reservation). Now, I serve at camp as *soon to be* kitchen manager, loving others through FOOD aand my husband serves as the program director, getting everything in order! During the summer, we meet kids from all over the reservation, from tribes, to locals, and even some from around the world! It’s so awesome to see different individuals who you would never think would be working together, simply working and growing together.
We tell each other every summer that we’re not alone. That we’re here for each other. That we love each other. That we can finish the race, TOGETHER.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.