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Archive for October 19th, 2014

Dear Friends,

A couple of weeks ago I shared my immigrant story with you. The other day I was talking to my mom and she told me something that I will never forget. She said, “When you came to the U.S. you didn’t come with nothing. You came with your values, your upbringing, your morals, and most importantly, you came with your Christian faith. “My mom is right. I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said for the past week.

I was privileged to have been born to the society of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. My dad is an attorney and his dad (my grandfather) was also an attorney and author. He was the President of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua for over 25 years and authored several books. My dad is also a composer and was well known in his time (more so for his music than from practicing law). My mom comes from a large family of well-known people as well from Leon, Nicaragua. In the Nicaraguan culture and in many other Latin American countries, it is customary to use your two family last names. So my Nicaraguan maiden name is Marcia Flores Arguello. Flores is my dad’s last name and Arguello is my mom’s last name. When you say your name and two last names, people immediately recognize who you are and there is nothing to prove. In the U.S. we are all a number and most people that are well known come from money. In the U.S. it is easy to make a name for yourself if you are financially successful and it doesn’t matter as much where you came from as far as “class.”

When I came to the U.S. at the age of 19, I had graduated from high school from a private Catholic school in Dominican Republic. I had completed 3 semesters at one of the top Catholic Universities in the country and I had also completed 14 Certificates in self-study courses on computer programming from IBM school. I was the secretary to the President of the University for one year, which gave me administrative experience. I also worked with my mom as her bookeeper in the jewelry business she started in Dominican Republic. My parents sent me to San Francisco, CA at the age of 11 as an exchange student to learn English. Even though it was a traumatic experience being apart from my family during the Christmas season, I did learn the language. I came back at age 12 and continued my English studies through my school and college years so when I came here, I already knew the language.

Moving to the topic of values and morals. Even though I am now simply a non-denominational Christian, I was raised in the Catholic faith. My parents taught me to love God. They used to take my older sister and me to the Charismatic Renewal meetings that their Catholic Church held. Attending these meetings exposed me to hear the Word of God in a different way than a regular Sunday morning mass. I was hearing about deeper concepts and things of God that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I gave my life to Christ at one of those meetings and I remember one specific night, how the Holy Spirit filled me and changed my life forever. I felt the warmth of His love run through my entire body and I have never left God since that day when I was about 10 years old.

So you see, I came to the U.S. as an immigrant with the morals and Christian values that my parents instilled in me. I came with my high school diploma and some formal education plus some work experience and knowing English. It was because of the job as a bookkeeper I had with my mom’s business that I got my first job in banking as a teller. Then, because I had experience as a secretary I was able to get promoted from teller to secretary in cash management after one and one half years. God had a plan for me and He used everything I had up to that point in my life.

After the war in 1979, the communist regime took all the material possessions from my family. My father had five homes, land, a couple of cars, and his established law practice. The government took it all. But they didn’t take away our family’s values, our morals, or our faith in God. No one can take away our salvation and our faith in Jesus Christ. That goes with us everywhere we go.

Today, I encourage you to think about all the things that you have that are not material, the things that no one can take away, the things that are eternal. Focus on what has eternal value and make the most of it. Thank you mom for reminding me of where I came from. You are right. I didn’t come here with nothing.

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