by Marta Castillo
Sitting, learning, laughing, crying, and sharing in a group of 30 Spanish-speaking women leaders and pastors is an experience that is unrivaled. The Spirit of the living God flowed freely and powerfully, voices were raised in excitement, prayers were spoken, and life experiences shared in joy through the pain. I was privileged (as a white Spanish-speaking woman) to be included in the invitation and I am thankful that Franconia Conference supported myself, Pastor Marta Castillo (Nueva Vida Norristown New Life), and Pastor Leticia Cortes (Centro de Alabanza), in our trip to Oregon last month to participate in the Sister Care Seminar in Spanish. Going through the training was healing and meeting strong Hispanic women leaders from all over the United States, including Florida, Texas, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania was inspirational.
As the Mennonite Women USA website says, “seminars provide women with tools for ongoing personal healing, recognizing and celebrating God’s grace in their lives, and responding more confidently and effectively to the needs of others in their families, congregations and communities.” It has been used all over the world and been translated in several languages, but this is the first time that the training was held in Spanish with the hope that we would take the materials and skills to our conferences and congregations. Pastor Leticia Cortes Castro and I are committed to sharing what we have learned with other women in our churches and in our conference.
Pastor Leticia sent a note to Franconia Conference to express her appreciation. As members of Franconia Conference here are her words to you:
I want to thank all the support that was given to Marta Castillo and me, God’s servant, to travel to Portland, Oregon, and to be able to take the workshop “Sister Care” in Spanish. That was a great blessing for our lives. Personally, I feel strengthened and encouraged to share with others what I learned. The topics are of great interest to our Hispanic community and we were able to identify that many of the themes that were shared are necessary to help us as women. I shared a monologue of the biblical reading of the Samaritan woman and it touched me deeply. Something happened during that time that I shared that passage and it is very special for me. I identified with the Samaritan woman, feeling forgiveness and loved directly by the Messiah. Another part of the workshop that was wonderful was that the teaching was in my own Spanish language. The extraordinary thing was that what I learned I could put into practice immediately with a sister in Christ who felt bad spiritually and I could share with her and pray together. We felt like God used that moment to give her peace and joy in her life. We are so grateful to God for all the wonderful women that we met and that we will continue our sisterhood and friendship at a distance.
Thank you again, in Christ
Pastor Letty Cortes Castro
Centro de Alabanza