By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
MIDDLETOWN, Md.—For the third year in a row, Hispanic women in churches across the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware experienced a time of pampering and refreshing in an overnight retreat at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, Md., on Aug. 28-29.
Over 60 women gathered together to worship, heard messages from God’s Word and otherwise ministered to each other in the picturesque mountains of Western Maryland.
Yolanda Calderon, director of CAFÉ BAUCA, short for Campamento Femenil Bautista de California, California Southern Baptists’ Hispanic women’s leadership team, served as this year’s guest speaker. She taught the women that they are treasures in God’s hands, clay shaped by the Potter for His special purposes.
A former recording secretary for the Woman’s Missionary Union, Calderon stressed that that it was “no accident” that God made each woman.
“We may be from all different regions, all different Hispanics, but we are all God’s creation,” she said.
“Hispanic women rarely feel empowered, and these retreats are one of the few opportunities for the women to come out encouraged to know that they can be used greatly in God’s hands simply because they are willing and obedient to Him,” shared participant Francesca Soto-Ruiz, of First Church, Laurel, Md.
Soto-Ruiz especially was inspired by how Calderon’s message followed the message from the previous retreat.
“Last year, our speaker told us to look at our hands and see that they are not empty,” she reiterated, pointing out that God values hands that are open and surrendered to Him. “This year, we learned that we are all in God’s hands so that He can mold us and put a great treasure within us.”
In addition to the inspirational messages, the Hispanic women enjoyed a 6:30 a.m. prayerwalk, several times of sharing testimonies and a night of pampering. Women experienced facial and hand massages, a chocolate fondue and a chance to make jewelry, scrapbook pages and other crafts.
More than anything else, the women experienced a safe community where they could laugh, cry and pray together.
Jeannette Fonseca, one of the ministry’s organizers, hoped the retreat, as well as other Hispanic women’s gatherings planned by the group, would help the Hispanic women find healing.
In addition to the overnight retreats, she helps organize daylong seminars that teach the women how to deal with finances, inner healing and even spousal abuse.
To offset the cost, these seminars, held in the spring of each year, are held in different churches. The participants prepare food.
Rolando Castro, BCM/D missionary for church planting/evangelism and language churches, also was encouraged by this year’s retreat. He was pleased with the number of women who came, despite the current economic conditions.
Next year, he would like to make the retreat more evangelistic, inviting the current conferees to bring their friends who don’t know Jesus. He even hopes to provide scholarships for these guests.
If you or someone you know feels led to help support this ministry, or to learn more, contact Castro at (800) 466-5290, ext. 221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.