My Story…

I was born and raised in Germany and lived in Paris and London before settling in San Francisco. I am a linguist and worked for UNESCO when I lived in Paris. I have been married for 30 years and have two adult daughters. I enjoy travelling, food, art, dogs, dance, reading, movies, and spending time in the beauty of God’s creation. I provide spiritual direction in English, Spanish, and German.

Ministry and blessings

I began my journey with Jesus in 1983. From 1986 to 1998, I worked as a missionary with InnerChange (a Christian order focused on ministry among the urban poor and marginalized). During that time, I served refugees and immigrants from Central and South America. These people helped me understand the upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God, and taught me about grace, compassion, faith, humility, generosity, and hospitality.

In the early 1990s, my husband and I were founding pastors of a bilingual Spanish-English Vineyard church in San Francisco. Through the church, we saw divergent cultures come together and reconcile — sharing music, food, cultural heritage, and everyday life. It was a small preview of Heaven.

Unexpected challenges

While my ministry was growing, life was also throwing new challenges at me. During this time, I learned that I was expecting a second daughter — and that she was going to be born with Down Syndrome.

Initially, the news was traumatic. I didn’t know much about Down syndrome, but learned that my unborn daughter would require open heart surgery to survive. My husband and I faced significant pressure from geneticists to terminate pregnancy and faced well-meaning (but unhelpful) reactions from church members. And I experienced the loss of a parent’s dreams for child (i.e. that she would grow up speaking two languages, go to college, get married, etc.). Two spiritual directors ended up guiding me through the remainder of the pregnancy and during Shana’s first year of life. Spiritual direction seemed to be the only resource that was helpful during that time.

Becoming a spiritual director

When Shana was two years old, I started training in spiritual direction. God’s intention for my life was crystal clear. He was calling me into a path that incorporated my life and ministry experiences. I completed a three-year spiritual director training program at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA in 2002.

In 2003, one of my mentors started the first training program in the US for Spanish-speaking spiritual directors. She invited me to work with her, and I trained as a supervisor for spiritual directors.  We completed two three-year training cycles for Spanish speakers in the Mission district of San Francisco.

I have learned a lot about God through my life and seek to share my experience with others. I learned about not needing to be perfect from my daughter. I learned about what it feels like to be poor and marginalized from my work as an inner-city missionary. And I have also learned much about how to trust God in the face of disappointment and disillusionment with the church. While many friends in our faith community have been a wonderful source of support over the years, there have been others who (due to lack of knowledge or understanding) have been a source of hurt. I often feel I can relate when people talk about being hurt or wounded in the church.

If you’d like to have a conversation or see if I’m a fit for you or your experience, please get in touch with me.