The youngest of five children, Elsa Mendoza was born in Monterrey, Mexico. She was baptized as an infant, and received her First Holy Communion and Confirmation when she turned nine.
As a teenager at seventeen, Elsa went through a time of great personal struggle. She questioned her existence and asked, ''Why am I here?'' In desperation she cried to God, ''If you exist, please do something to help me!'' Shortly after this, a friend invited her to a prayer meeting with the words, ''You will find there what you are looking for.'' She attended this prayer meeting, and it was there for the first time that someone shared personally with her about Jesus. In prayer she realized that Jesus was her Savior. A sense of joy and freedom made her feel different, as though she was no longer the same person. She received prayer for the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of prayer in tongues.
This deep conversion experience was followed by a desire to be a lay missionary. Elsa had the experience of seeing other young people preaching and sharing their faith in Jesus, and she wanted to be like them. At twenty-one, she joined a covenant community ''Shalom,'' where she attended prayer groups, sang in choirs, and participated in park evangelization.
She was twenty-five when she came to Prayer Town for a retreat with some others from Shalom. Elsa was seeking God's will for her life, but she didn't have a desire to be a Sister or think it was for her. She prayed, ''Lord, I don't want to be a nun, but if you want me for Yourself, please put the desire in my heart and help me.''
Over the next year as she continued her job at a bank, the Lord put this desire in her heart. She returned to Prayer Town to participate in a retreat for women interested in religious life. In January of 1987 she joined our community receiving the name Sister Clara as a novice.
Sister Clara struggled with the challenge of learning English and adapting to the American culture and food. But she persevered with God's grace and professed her final vows in 1993. She says, ''The grace of God has brought me to this part of my life. With that grace, I am enabled to be faithful to Him. When God calls, He will give the grace to carry you.'' May these words of Sister Clara encourage all who seek God's will for their life.