Approximately 20 years ago, Melissa Alfaro, who was then a freshman in college, experienced a dream that would alter the course of her life.
“That night, God gave me a dream and to this day, it is so imprinted in my mind; It is so vivid,” says Dr. Alfaro. “I can still see it.”
During her first semester as a student at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU), Melissa was questioning whether or not she was answering God’s call. One night, she had a dream that she was walking down a corridor with doors on both sides of the hallway. There was one door at the far end of the hallway that caught her attention. As she began walking towards it, she noticed doors on the sides that were also potentially good options. From these doors, Alfaro saw people inviting her to come in, yet something inside of her – the prompting of the Holy Spirit – was telling her “if you follow my voice, I have something special for you.”
She continued until she reached that door on the far end. It then opened by itself and on the other side were masses of people. The Lord said to her, “This is what I have for you if you always follow my voice above all other voices.”
That dream came to fruition last month when Dr. Alfaro was announced as an Executive Presbyter for the Assemblies of God during General Council. Alfaro now becomes the second female on the Executive Presbytery alongside Beth Grant.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be able to serve in this capacity,” says Dr. Alfaro. “At the same time, I am so hopeful and expectant of what God is going to do – not only for our fellowship and my personal life, but the ministers I get to work with as I go through this process.”
As an Executive Presbyter, Alfaro will be joining 19 other members. The Executive Presbytery is the Fellowship’s top policy-making body and functions similarly to a board of directors. The Executive Presbytery meets bi-monthly with the Executive Leadership Team to find solutions that will ultimately serve in the best interest of the entire Fellowship.
Dr. Alfaro will continue to serve in her current position as the Church Administrator for El Tabernaculo (TAB) in Houston, Texas. Her husband, J. Alfaro, serves as the Lead Pastor for TAB. Melissa says that her husband and the church have been very supportive and encouraging since the announcement of her new position.
“They were just ecstatic and amazed at God’s favor and grace,” says Dr. Alfaro. “We attribute everything to Him.”
Dr. Alfaro is also the Director for the Texas Louisiana Hispanic District Girls Ministries and has been on the board of Christ Mission College (formerly known as LABI) since last year. She runs a blog called “Melissa’s Memoirs” and has her own YouTube channel where she posts videos over a wide range of topics.
Dr. Alfaro accredits much of her accomplishments in her ministerial career to the mentorship and spiritual guidance she received during her time as a student at SAGU.
Dr. Alfaro graduated from SAGU in the spring of 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries. While it has been almost 15 years since Alfaro walked the SAGU stage to receive her diploma, lifelong mentors such as Dr. Danny and Amy Alexander’s influence have left a lasting impact on her.
“They took a vested interest in my future,” Alfaro says. “They asked me those hard questions about my future career goals and ministry goals.”
Dr. Danny Alexander actually influenced Melissa’s decision to pursue her postgraduate studies at Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Melissa would later receive her PH. D in English and Rhetoric from TWU.
“Southwestern provided me with a firm foundation in the Word of God,” Dr. Alfaro says. “Even though I graduated and went on for my graduate studies in a secular university, I never wavered in my faith with conflicting philosophies and convictions that went against my Biblical worldview.”
In response to wanted advice for students pursuing ministry, Alfaro says, “Stay in the process. We are so ready to make it to the next milestone, the next big career/ministry milestone in our life. I would say don’t usurp the process.”
As Alfaro approaches her own next milestone, she is excited for the doors God will open as a result of her obedience 20 years ago when she made the decision to listen to God’s voice in opening the right door.
“Whether He has you in a season of waiting or whatever it might be, God’s promises are true and He will fulfill His promises in your life,” Dr. Alfaro says. “Know that God is going to use every person and every experience you meet along the way to prepare you for that purpose.”