At just 18 years old, Haggai leader Rosario de Fátima Bonilla de Navas nearly died from a severe case of tuberculosis. Despite her age, the gravely ill Rosario had already seen her share of adversity. Her early years were characterized by poverty and constant abuse. Years of familial crisis led her parents to the church, but it wasn’t until she got sick that Rosario too cried out to God.
Though they were poor, Rosario’s family prioritized education and she went on to a successful bi-vocational career as a dentist and pastor. Fueled by a desire to be a role model for young women, she became active in ministry as a mentor to at-risk girls. Her work with vulnerable women gave Rosario a front-row seat to the challenges they faced, and it was through this that she became passionate about pro-life and pro-family causes. Rosario attended the Haggai Leader Experience in 2015, and it was there that she was inspired to take a more active role on the issue.
Rosario works with foundations to prevent abortion; they use seminars to spread the word.
“What most impacted me was the spirit they put in the Vision of Haggai…One of the most important lessons I [learned] was how Catholics and [Protestants] work together in [other countries]…this challenged me to change my paradigms encouraged me to work harder in my country, to unite forces in the fight of Pro-life and Pro-family. Leaving denominations and religion aside, so the Gospel can be preached in every place.”
When Rosario retuned home, her activism took center stage. Abortion is illegal in El Salvador, but it is still a contentiously debated issue. Rosario believes the church has a vital role to play in preserving the sanctity of life, a role that encompasses more than just their political efforts:
“We need to train Salvadoran society in the sacred values that are the basis of prosperity, such as life and family. [We must ensure] churches are strong in the spiritual battle against abortion and and in the comprehensive support of women as key members of the family.”
Rosario (left) at a conference she held for El Salvador’s policewomen.
One of Rosario’s key initiatives is holding conferences for the nation’s policewomen. These women are on the front lines of some of El Salvador’s toughest social problems, and Rosario is able to encourage them and equip them with biblical teaching. Since 2015, she has shared the Gospel with more than 1,200 policewomen. Recently, Rosario has obtained certifications in the prevention of violence against women and teen pregnancy care and prevention. She has used this training to implement a protocol of care in her church to help them serve women in crisis more effectively.
In the last 5 years, Rosario has equipped more than 150 new Haggai leaders in El Salvador, and together, they are working to see their country transformed by the Gospel.
“I feel very privileged to be a Haggai Leader, equipped to share the Gospel of Jesus and work for the redemption of my nation.”