FORT WORTH?Twenty-five-year-old Rosario Sandoval anticipated the fellowship that the Hispanic Christian Conference for Today’s Woman would provide, but she made the journey from Tyler to Fort Worth with a deeper purpose in mind.
“I know it’s going to help me a lot,” she said of the spiritual enrichment she hoped to gain from the conference, including help in strengthening her marriage.
Sandoval was one of 650 women who traveled from 64 cities around the state to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth for the second Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Hispanic Women’s Conference. SBTC Hispanic Initiative Director Mike Gonzales said there were approximately 400 women at the inaugural conference in 2005. This year, it didn’t take long for the conference to reach capacity.
“[Hispanic women] want to be together,” Gonzales said, noting that the conference is bilingual. “They bond well when they come with a group of Hispanic ladies.”
Gonzales said Texas women are struggling with family problems, personal problems, lack of self-identity and lack of self-worth.
“A lot of the ladies have a poor self-image. We’re trying to touch on that, and then at the same time, we want to bring them some spiritual enrichment,” he said.
A new addition to the conference this year was the offering of breakout sessions in a range of topics that centered on Proverbs 14:1, which speaks about the “wise woman” who “builds her house.”
Breakout sessions had such titles as “Administering the Home’s Finances Wisely,” “Submission of the Married Woman,” and “The Wise Woman Edifies her Children.”
Sue Bohlin, who serves as associate speaker and Web site manager for Probe Ministries in Richardson, spoke during one of the breakout sessions about “The Woman and Her Identity in Christ.”
Bohlin, who was diagnosed at an early age with polio, told the women they were precious because Christ is in them. She related how when she was a little girl, she had a “desperate desire” to be a princess. In college, she was introduced to Jesus and soon found the verse, John 1:12, that says, “But as many as have received Christ, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name.” She realized she was indeed a princess?a daughter of the king.
“I used to see myself as the ugly one, the crippled girl, damaged goods, not good enough, because of the whole polio thing, and suddenly when God made me realize I’m a princess, nobody can take that away from me,” she said.
Bohlin further noted that women often put on “nametags” such as dirty, ugly, damaged goods, worthless, mistake, stupid, unwanted and not good enough. She challenged the women to take off those “nametags” and instead put on the “nametags” of beautiful, gifted, princess, valuable, precious, blessed, belonging, beloved child of God, bride of Christ and new creature.
“These are our real nametags,” she said. “These are the ones that will take us on into the future.”
Blanca Garza, 28, a first-time attender, sat in on Bohlin’s session. She said she came to the conference for the camaraderie it offered with other Hispanic women, and also for spiritual renewal.
“Within two years, I’ll probably bring my daughter, even though she’ll be a teenager,” Garza said of her now 11-year-old daughter.
Becki Gonzales, 39, brought six women from the church where her husband serves as pastor, Calvary Baptist Church</st