By Maria Gonzalez
The journey started in 1994, with just a handful of women attending a retreat. Now in 2019, Central California Conference (CCC) Hispanic women celebrated the 25th anniversary of Hispanic Women’s Ministry. More than 450 women attended this year’s retreat from March 29–31 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite National Park. In homage to humble beginnings, the attendees paid tribute to the pioneers who established this much-needed ministry within the Hispanic community.
“Celebrating His Grace and Love” was the theme for the weekend. Liz Enid Polanco, internationally renowned speaker and evangelist, blessed listeners with her interactive and God-inspired perspective on the incredible value of women since creation. She shared God’s original plan in the Garden of Eden: for woman to become a partner with man in relationship with God. She described how this original plan can be continued today by re-establishing a true relationship with Jesus. Using the story of Nicodemus, Polanco showed how we can be born again in Christ to regain a deeper relationship with Him.
Devotion and prayer sessions are an integral part of these spiritual retreats. Nohemi Escamilla and Gladys Rodriguez shared practical tips for studying the Bible, along with strategies to strengthen one’s communication with the Father. Participants also had the pleasure of being blessed through music and song. Violinist and singer Margie Salcedo-Rice shared her musical talent in a concert and in special music, impressing on attendees’ hearts the unending love of God.
For attendees and leaders alike, the entire weekend was a celebration of the theme “Celebrating His Grace and Love.” Participants celebrated the depth of God’s love and praised Him for the abundant grace He pours out. They then asked one another, “How can we respond to such a gift? We must celebrate how much He has done for us.”
As the weekend was coming to a close, the atmosphere of celebration concluded with a modern-day miracle—many women made decisions to accept Christ into their hearts. Pastor Ricardo J. Viloria, CCC’s Hispanic Ministries director, was present and gladly baptized more than 50 women. What a wonderful way to culminate this grand celebration of God’s love!