Leila Ortiz is one of the most brilliant people I know. But that’s not why I love her. I love her because she has the world’s biggest heart and is constantly seeking heart connections among people. In those spaces, she believes that God is most fully present. I call her my sister wife because we share a deep and abiding connection that goes beyond friendship. I trust her with my life – with my darkest secrets, my deepest joys and my widest dreams. She’s spoiled me for any future relationship. 😉
Leila and I met as students at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Leila was completing her Master of Divinity degree and preparing for ordained ministry. She was very clear in her call to be a pastoral leader. She loved the congregation and after her year long internship, her call was confirmed and affirmed.
We grew closer during a course on globalization and interfaith relations. A key part of our class was a trip to Egypt in January of 2009 and our friendship blossomed. We not only traveled well together, we were also deeply engaged with everything that we experienced. We found very quickly that we thought in similar ways, having similar questions, thoughts and concerns about the things we experienced. It got to be that we didn’t even have to say anything. We just have to give one another a look and know exactly what the other is thinking.
For Leila, things always come back to the theological, to those things that reveal who God is and how God is in relationship with humanity. Leila’s framework for everything she engages is through the lens of the heart, through the emotional center that reveals truth, desire, and ultimately, call. She is a pastor, one who seeks the heart of God in order to help others uncover the heart of God.
I am so excited to lead a travel journey to El Salvador in January of 2016 with Leila. As you will read on the Journey Guides page, El Salvador was her sacred travel journey. I hope you consider joining us as we explore the history, culture and reality of civil war among the people of El Salvador, as well as experience the joy, hope and hospitality that people from this special country share.
Traveling with Leila and I will never bring a dull moment. Our friend and fellow Journey Guide UB often says that we need a camera following us because we are a walking reality show. Interested in joining us? Check out the Contact page to be added to our mailing list. We look forward to sharing our passion and joy with you!
Sending you love and light,