Sunday, April 4, 2010

75 - Manny

Meet Manny. And his flute:

Manny is the senior pastor at our church (at least, that's what I think his title is), but really, he's just an amazing, humble, joyful, honest, loving, and caring shepherd. And he loves Jesus a lot, too.

He's also the indirect person behind Josh and me getting married. Manny was one of Josh's professors at Westminster Seminary, and the one who really helped open Josh's eyes to the needs of the inner-city. After graduating, Josh ended up following Manny into Hunting Park and to our church (where he's now a pastoral intern, being ordained under Manny's guidance).

My connection is a little more round-about. When I was Wheaton, one of my dear, dear professors, Dr. Alvaro Nieves, told me there was a church in Philly I just had to visit when he found out I was moving here for Teach For America. He said his good friend, Manny Ortiz, was the pastor, and that I'd love the church. He also cited Manny as being the one who convinced him to stay at Wheaton many, many years ago when it was much harder being a Latino/minority professor. So, I visited. And stayed.

And the rest? Well, that's history. =)

Needless to say, Manny's had a pretty profound impact on my life, Josh's life, and our life together over the past number of years. And I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to say that the same goes for pretty much everyone else whose life he's come into. He's a pretty fantastic person (the same goes for his wife of 48 years, Blanca), and his Hawaiian/Bahama shirts aren't so bad, either.

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