Bridge Builder of United Methodist Women
I came to the United States to study music in January 1992; I’m a violin teacher. The scholarship I received required us to go back and serve in El Salvador for several years; so after my studies, I went back and served for seven years. My husband came to the United States in 1984. Our families had served the Lord together in El Salvador for 40 years, but we didn’t know each other very well. My passion for women’s ministry came from my mother and mother-in-law in El Salvador.
Response wants to hear your story of faith, hope and love in action. Whether it’s about the time in your life when you joined United Methodist Women or a reflection on an experience in United Methodist Women that moved you to action, share your story. Submit your essay (approximately 500 words) to Yvette Moore at email@example.com and see it published in a future issue.
Amazingly, God called me to mission in El Salvador. There was a big revival in churches in El Salvador calling people to mission. It was time for Third World countries to go into mission. I felt the call of God so strongly. But I met my husband, who is a pastor, and I moved here.
A year after we came to Kentucky, the president of United Methodist Women called me and said, “We want you to work with our language ministry in Kentucky.” I didn’t know much about United Methodist Women, so I told her I’d think about it. When I read the Purpose statement and understood it, my heart pumped as hard as you can believe! I said, “This is it. That is why God wanted me to be here, and why I was chosen to work with the language ministry.”
I worked to help Hispanic women become more involved in United Methodist Women. We bring Hispanic women to the School of Christian Mission and to our annual retreat. We had 58 women at the spiritual growth retreat. More Hispanic women come to the spiritual growth retreat than to School of Christian Mission because often our women cannot leave work for more than one day. That’s a luxury they cannot afford. Most Hispanic women are from younger generations. I bring them for a day and a half. We fellowship until about midnight!
School of Christian Mission and the spiritual growth retreat help open our eyes and make us sensitive to the needs of others. I told Hispanic women the programs would empower them for action. As Christians, we need to see beyond our own world. For example, if something is not affecting my life personally, I might not do anything about it — but if it’s affecting my neighbor?
I look at my role as helping Hispanic and Anglo women because I can be a bridge. I can help us come to a common table where we can talk, rather than be separated, silent or in fear.
I think we, as United Methodist Women members, need to tell more of our stories. To be honest, before I became involved in United Methodist Women, I had heard some negative things about it. But when I started learning and being a part of it, I was not hearing about it, I was living it. We need to be intentional about telling others who we are and what United Methodist Women does and is about. United Methodist Women has captured me to stay on the path of Christian mission.
Cathy Mejia is a member of United Methodist Women’s Language Ministries Consultative Group and United Methodist Women at Mosaic United Methodist Church in Louisville, Ky.