BY STEPHANIE GOODRICH |
Wednesday evenings can bring many things: the relief of a busy week half completed, the comfort of a meal shared with family, the dread of homework or chores long avoided, or the anticipation of exciting weekend plans. For a small but growing group of people in Winston-Salem, NC, Wednesday evenings bring fellowship, learning, and opportunity in the form of a new ministry called Estamos Unidos.
The mission of Estamos Unidos, which began in 2017 with a vision of the Southern Province to reach out to the Hispanic community in the Forsyth County area, is as follows: “We are called to serve the Hispanic immigrant community through living testimony of our Christian faith by providing education to first-generation Hispanics and their descendants….By collaborating with other local organizations that share our focus on the Hispanic community, we have provided and will continue to provide a wide variety of educational opportunities in English and Spanish. In all things, we strive to present God’s love to our neighbors by living our Moravian essentials of Faith, Love, and Hope” (Rev. Angelica Regalado Cieza).
Estamos Unidos, a play on “Estados Unidos” meaning “United States,” means “We are United.” Any observer of the weekly Wednesday night gathering would quickly see why this name is appropriate. The evening begins with all participants in one large room. Some are frequent attendees, others are new, some are children, some are adults, some are smiling and laughing, and some are apprehensive. But it never takes long for each one to belong in this united community.
On a typical Wednesday evening, Rev. Angelica Regalado Cieza, the ministry’s founder and leader, begins by sharing a message from the Bible for the whole group. On occasion, guest speakers are invited to share about events and additional opportunities available in the local community. Then, participants split into smaller groups for beginner and intermediate English classes, Spanish literacy class, fun and educational activities geared toward children, free piano and guitar classes, and a variety of other activities.
Although these may sound like small or average things, I have witnessed time and time again the meaning and importance of this ministry for this community. If not for Estamos Unidos, there might be no place for this mother to learn the language she needs to communicate with her children’s teachers, her doctor, and her neighbors. There might be no way for this child to learn the joy of making music. This woman may not know that she is not alone in her struggles. This boy might not have met the friend who will help him navigate the difficulties of adolescence. There might be no chance for this family to hear the words of Jesus.
At Estamos Unidos, we are united in Him who makes all things possible.
About the Author
Stephanie Goodrich is an Estamos Unidos volunteer and board member. She attends Friedland Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC, works as an occupational therapist, and is passionate about medical mission work.