May 11, 2012
Ella Luna has known she wanted to work in the church since she was an eight-year-old growing up in Austin. She was disappointed to learn that there were no Methodist nuns. On Saturday she will reach her goal when she receives her Master’s of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology. But, she says, her life is not as she imagined it would be at age 8.
During the years she was a Perkins student, she was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, learned that her youngest son would be born with a brain malformation, lost her husband to colon cancer and lost her mother to a stroke. As a single mother, she has attended graduate school and worked full-time, currently as pastor of Casa Emanu-El United Methodist Church in East Dallas.
Instead of asking "Why me?" she says she has learned to ask, "Why not me?"
She has experienced a few miracles too. Her youngest son, who doctors said would never sit up, is now a healthy eight-year-old and A student. Cancer took her husband, but he lived a year after his diagnosis, much longer than the expected two weeks.
One of nine children, Ella is a first generation college student who says she is grateful for the outpouring of God’s grace, both in and through others.
“I may not have a lot of experience as a pastor,” she says. “But I have a lot of experience in life.”
# # #