By Araceli Ruiz
The United Methodist Women of Holston Conference have set a new goal of to show the love of Christ to the women in the Hispanic Community -- helping them to know that no matter the culture or language, we are all part of the family of Christ.
For this reason, the UMW Executive Committee decided to form a "Multicultural Committee," with Kacye Castenir representing the Maryville District and Araceli Ruiz representing the Wytheville district. We attended a special "Voices" training and went to work.
On May 11, 2013, the first event to focus on Holston Conference Hispanic women was offered. The event was called "Women in Action" with the theme "Armor of God" and was held at First United Methodist Church of Pulaski, Va. It was a huge success, greatly blessing not only those attending but also those who helped with the preparation.
On Oct. 19, 2013, a second "Women in Action" event was held with the theme "Faith in Action." The focus was hospitality, presented by Kacye Castenir of St. John United Methodist Church, Maryville, Tenn. The service presented by Edna Lopez, First United Methodist Church of Gatlinburg, Tenn. Women of St. John presented specific examples of prayer.
The event was held at St. John and was attended by more than 50 women of different ages and congregations, including First UMC in Gatlinburg, Espíritu Santo Church in Sevierville, First UMC of Pulaski, and Puerta Del Cielo of Galax.
A goal of this event was to educate participants about the origin and organization of the United Methodist Women and to invite women from the Hispanic community to join with the same purpose: to serve in love the women, youth, and children in need that we encounter in our world.
During the program, participants stuffed and decorated pillows and cloth animals that will be given to children with cancer. The participants greatly enjoyed working on this project, while joyfully praying for each child that will receive these small examples of love. This program was a blessing for the participants who also received a bag containing 12 different hygiene products for the family, supplied by the Holston United Methodist Women.
The next “Women in Action” is planned for May 24, 2014, at Monte de Sion UMC in Greeneville, Tenn. The hope is that all Hispanic churches of the Holston Conference will be represented.
We pray that God will continue to guide us in these projects so we can glorify His name and that He continue to give us strength to continue being “Women in Action."
Araceli Ruiz is a member at First United Methodist Church of Pulaski, Va.