Families reconnect with each other, God at Hispanic camp

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Families reconnect with each other, God at Hispanic camp

By Milse Furtado | Oct. 27, 2009 {1094}

FRUITLAND PARK — Build a church not only on words, but actions of love.

That was the Rev. José Carrion’s message to nearly 350 Hispanic United Methodists attending the 26th Hispanic Retreat for families at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park during the Labor Day weekend.

The Rev. José Carrion leads communion. Photo by Rev. Josue Guevara. Photo #09-1328.

Carrion, who serves as senior pastor at First Hispanic United Methodist Church in Kissimmee, was the retreat’s keynote speaker.

“Youth, do not discriminate against the elders,” he said. “Elders, do not discriminate against the youth. Let’s love and accept one another.”

Diva Rivera, a member of La Primera Iglesia Metodista de Brandon, said the retreat fulfilled that purpose by bringing Hispanic families together so they could share God’s love with each other and strengthen bonds between families.

“(This camp) gives you the opportunity to connect with other people and reconnect your bond with God,” Rivera said.

That experience, Carrion said, should also be shared beyond the campground. “Everything that God has given us … we must take it to our churches,” he said.

Anthony Domenech, a member at Peace United Methodist Church in Orlando, agreed. “If you take this experience seriously you get more serious about God making you participate more at your local church,” he said.

Children participate in worship. Photo by Rev. Josue Guevara. Photo #09-1329.

The Rev. Jose Barbon, a member of Epworth United Methodist Church in Hollywood, said the Hispanic Retreat for families began 26 years ago in a local church, when “we didn’t have other activities for everybody.” He said a highlight of the retreats today is seeing “everybody grow old, make new friends and enjoy the good food.”

“Retreats like these help us to nurture our spiritual lives and meet other brothers and sisters who are in search for the same,” said Keyla Rivera, a member of Hispanic United Methodist Church in Brandon.

That nurturing and connection took place through fellowship, worship, activities for all ages and classes for each stage of parenting. An hour every evening was also dedicated to youth.

Yesenia Osle, a member of La Nueva Iglesia Cristiana del Doral in Miami and youth coordinator for the Florida Conference Hispanic Assembly, led the youth session, which focused on the importance of knowing the Bible.

“Jesus overcame temptation by using the Word,” she said. “Sunday School teachers, do not feed them milk anymore.”

The family retreat marked the end of summer; another retreat began it. Nearly 170 youth participated in the Youth Hispanic Camp May 29-31 at the Warren W. Willis Camp across the street from the Life Enrichment Center.

Children play a game as one of many age-related activities during the retreat. Photo by Rev. Josue Guevara. Photo #09-1330.

Oslé said the summer camp was designed to help youth experience transformation in God and learn what it means to be instruments of transformation in their churches.

“I needed this (youth) camp,” said Eylin Martinez, a member of La Nueva Iglesia Cristiana del Doral. “I was going through a lot … and this brings us closer to each other so you can concentrate on God and forget about what is happening (elsewhere).”

The family and youth camps are coordinated by the Florida Conference Hispanic Ministries. More information about Hispanic Ministries is available at http://www.MinisteriosHispanosFL.org or by contacting Rev. Gary Garay, president of the Hispanic Assembly, at ggaray7@gmail.com

News media contact: Tita Parham, 800-282-8011, tparham@flumc.org, Orlando

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Furtado is a freelance writer based in Miami, Fla.

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