On September 30, the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) Executive Committee elected Patricia Marruffo as executive secretary, making her the first Hispanic woman to serve as conference secretary.
Marruffo is the daughter of migrant farm workers. She grew up in Oxnard, Calif., with her devout Catholic family. It was at Christ the King Catholic church that Marruffo learned about God. Before church, the family would listen to La Voz de La Esperanza on the radio. They were so excited to attend a La Voz de La Esperanza meeting in Oxnard. Those meetings began their journey into Adventism.
Marruffo’s early experiences helped shape her passion for God, people, and activism. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a double major in Business Administration and Chicano Studies. After college, she got a job in insurance with the State of California, where she worked for 26 years.
Shortly after starting her job with the state, she met and married her life partner, Dante. As he answered the call to ministry and began pastoring in SECC, Marruffo served as a pastor’s wife. She began her Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry at Andrews University to help support her husband in the local church. While pursuing her studies, she sensed the call of God beckoning her into pastoral ministry also.
God opened doors for Marruffo to join the pastoral staffs of Loma Linda University church, Azure Hills church, and OC Grace church. Still, staying within the four walls of the church was not enough for her. She and her husband were active in the community as well.
“That’s what energized me more than anything—bursting the bubble, stepping into the community and seeing how can we serve, how can we help. It is those things that have brought balance to my ministry over the years,” said Marruffo.
Most recently, Marruffo has been serving as the associate youth director in SECC. She was elected as executive secretary after the position was vacated when Jonathan Park became the president of SECC.
Yohalmo Saravia, SECC vice president for Hispanic Ministries said, “We are excited to welcome the new executive secretary, Pastor Patty Marruffo, to our team. She brings a set of leadership skills and talents that will contribute and help this great conference carry on with its mission.”
Although she is well qualified for the job and brings a wealth of experience to this position, she admits that “I don’t fit the mold.” Sensing God’s leading in this new position, she decided, “God if you are calling me to this, I will not say no. I will say yes.”
Her journey with God has taught Marruffo to lean heavily on Him. “You have nothing but God. There’s nothing else to draw on. By the grace of God, you take your next steps,” said Marruffo. As she steps into this new position, she plans to do so by God’s grace and guidance and by the support of her husband, Dante, and their two adult children, Daniel and Jessica.
By Andrea King