By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—When Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Women’s Missionary Union Director Gayla Parker asked Zulma Castro, WMU language consultant for the WMU’s Maryland/Delaware Executive Board, if she wanted to attend a Hispanic Writer’s Conference, Castro didn’t have to think twice. “Yes!” she enthusiastically replied.
“I was so happy; this was a dream!” Castro said with a huge smile. Before coming to America, Castro, a lawyer, had been studying journalism and was one semester short of getting her degree. The conference was a God-send, she said.
The Hispanic Writer’s Conference in March was the first of what the National WMU hopes to be an annual winter training event for ethnic writers. It was provided through a partnership between the National WMU and the WMU of Texas and was held in the computer lab of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Castro said the conference time was like an intense college class that even included homework. Students studied basic grammar, developing style and writing for audience attention.
Dianne Daniels, National Woman’s Missionary Union multicultural consultant and editor, said the conference was designed to begin developing a pool of Hispanic writers for the WMU’s “Nuestra Tarea,” (Our Task) a missions magazine for laywomen, Hispanic churches and for the WMU website and Facebook. WMU leaders want Hispanics writing material for Hispanics to read, instead of Anglos writing and having it translated.
Daniels said the growth in their writing skills from the beginning to the end of the conference was substantial.
Students were given homework at the end of the class–to choose a topic and write an article for publication in “Nuestra Tarea.”
Castro knew right away what she wanted to write about–women using their gifts for the kingdom of God. She’s passionate about the subject and often speaks at conferences sharing ideas about how women can serve.
“I want to encourage women to use anything that God gave us to reach un-Christian people,” she said. Castro said women can use crafts, baking, jewelry, whatever they like, to reach out to people, develop friendships and share Christ.
“Hopefully what Zulma learned will help her as she communicates to our language churches what WMU is all about,” Gayla Parker said. “Nationwide, WMU does very well in Hispanic churches. We hope to see the same kind of growth that is taking place nationwide here in Maryland/Delaware soon. Zulma just joined our board last year so we are just getting started. But I have no doubt that she will take us far! As Zulma tells the mission story and how everyone can be involved in sharing the good news of Christ, I’m sure we will see God-sized results,” Parker said.
Daniels said the WMU hopes to offer this opportunity to other language groups in the future.