By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.— Zulma Acuna, ministry assistant and wife of Rolando Castro, missionary church planting/evangelism, language churches and Hispanic church development, is now BCM/D’s official Hispanic translator.
“Zulma’s role as Spanish translator for BCM/D is a crucial part of our ministry as a whole,” Castro said.
“Our Hispanic churches are growing in number and attendance, and, as the census 2010 shows, Hispanic population will be a very significant portion of the U.S. population in only a few years. We need to be prepared and be proactive. Our goal is to create an environment where Hispanic pastors and leaders can effectively communicate with our churches and BCM/D staff. This will impact their ministry and the unity of the BCM/D body as well,” he said.
Acuna has been serving as a volunteer, working with Hispanic pastors’ wives since 2006 as well as helping in any way needed to assist her husband and Hispanic church planting and ministries. She became Castro’s official ministry assistant in March.
She was born in Costa Rica, where she met Rolando Castro in law school. Both practiced law for over a decade. They have two children, Fabian and Ariana, currently students at University of Maryland. But life and marriage became difficult for Acuna and Castro in the mid-nineties.
Acuna confided to a Christian friend. The friend, “Trina,” invited Acuna to her Baptist church. Acuna was Catholic, but didn’t practice her faith, attending only special occasions.
“I told her, ‘I don’t like evangelical churches because they won’t let you wear jeans, or makeup and you can’t dance or smoke.’ She smiled and said, ‘Don’t worry, Zulma. Sometimes churches do that, but if you would put God as the first place in your life, that’s the most important thing.’
“No one ever told me to put God as first place in my life. I went into the office and looked for Rolando and told him what Trina said. He said, ‘That’s interesting.’”
The problems grew worse, to the point of an impeding divorce. But God had a plan. Just hours before the divorce, Castro asked Zulma to try again, and she said yes. They went to a Christian counselor. They also began attending the Baptist church, just four days after they made a decision to seek help.
“It was incredible for me,” Acuna said, recalling when the pastor began talking about accepting Christ as Savior. When he asked us to accept Jesus as Savior, with eyes closed, I raised my hand. I was afraid that it was just me and not Rolando. At the end of the service the pastor said, ‘Okay, I want all three people who raised their hands to come forward,’ and I went forward. And Rolando was with me. It was beautiful.”
Trina continued to invest in the couple’s life. “She would visit us every Monday to study the Bible,” Acuna said.
“We were thirsty for the Word of God, and we still are today,” she said.
Churches can contact Zulma to assist in outreach ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.