Meet Efrain Belmontes
Master of Divinity
Efrain Belmontes is a third year Master of Divinity student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Efrain was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He attended a Methodist high school in El Paso, TX, called Lydia Patterson Institute. Following high school, Efrain wanted to start his theological education right away. As a result, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Theology with a minor in Family Counseling.
From a young age, Efrain felt a strong call into ministry. This calling increased exponentially when he became a teenager. Efrain remembers not being able to sleep some nights, his thoughts overcome with the injustices and lack of love prevalent in his own community and across the globe. He felt responsible to make a difference in his surroundings and in the world, not because he thought he was special, but because his discovery of Jesus made him realize that he was called to serve. In order to serve, Efrain wanted to train in theological reflection in order to shape himself and the impact he could have on others by presenting the gospel in his own context.
This desire to train in theological reflection led Efrain to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Garrett-Evangelical was a liberating step in Efrain’s life and ministry. At Garrett-Evangelical, Efrain found community, diversity, social justice, and a commitment to love thy neighbor. As a person whose dream it is to make a difference in this world through the gospel, Efrain has found tangible tools and resources at Garrett-Evangelical to help him achieve that dream. Garrett-Evangelical has equipped and pushed Efrain toward the fulfillment of his calling: impacting his community and the world through the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Through his experiences at Garrett-Evangelical, Efrain has learned how to better recognize oppressive powers that exist in the world and how they bring harm to the most vulnerable people in communities. With the recognition of oppression, Efrain has also gained the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to face those oppressive powers. Efrain has clarified that part of his call is to social justice, rooted in the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
A class and professor that helped Efrain clarify his call was ‘Christology’ taught by Dr. Nancy Bedford. Efrain greatly admires Dr. Bedford as a Latina professor whose theology, love, and ministry to the oppressed is contagious. During her class, Efrain experienced both a deconstruction of harmful theologies and a reconstruction of a new sense of Christianity that was both adequate and responsive to his ministry. Being a part of the class helped Efrain, and all his classmates, to be better humans, students, pastors, spouses, and Christians. In general, Efrain has enjoyed his experiences with the staff and faculty at Garrett-Evangelical. He found that the staff and faculty are always willing to support students and their needs.
Outside of the classroom, Efrain found his most transformative experience at Garrett-Evangelical through Field Education. Field Education provided him the chance to practice what he learned in the classroom at his field side. He connected with his field site through conversations with the Field Education staff and it has been a great fit. Efrain has become a part of his field site’s community. He enjoyed the opportunities Field Education provided because he did not have to wait until after graduation to share his learnings in ministry. He was able to jump right into ministry at his field site and he found the experience transformative as a minister.
Efrain’s immediate plans are to graduate with his Master of Divinity. Once he has accomplished that goal, Efrain plans to find, or create, a space where he can serve as a religious leader, pastor, or chaplain to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to those in need. The world needs the hope, kindness, and justice of Jesus Christ, and Efrain plans to bring it. And, who knows, maybe he will come back for another degree from Garrett-Evangelical in the future.