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At the 2013 annual conference one of the strategic priorities adopted was equipping lay leadership to disciple others and transform the world. The Hispanic/Latino Ministries Standing Committee has just completed their 2013 program dedicated to this priority. We are blessed to have a vibrant ministry to Latino communities in several towns in Iowa. This ministry has been growing and includes Muscatine, Council Bluffs, Oakland, Perry, Des Moines, Corwith, Iowa City and North Liberty.
As believers come to participate in what is a new faith tradition for many, the Instituto Latino is serving as a way to create disciples. The Instituto Latino serves as the leadership development arm of the Hispanic/Latino Standing Committee. Some recent training topics have included sharing the Good News, creating cell groups, a look at being a Christian woman, and lay participation in ministries of the church in order to extend the ministry of the church. The Instituto Latino has been held at Wesley Woods starting on Friday night and lasting most of Saturday for several years. This year several different ministry sites took responsibility for planning and hosting the events at their communities.
Muscatines San Pablo Church hosted Todays Christian Leader, Lider Cristiano en Este Tiempo was presented by Dr. David Aguirre on April 6. Rev. Edgar Sols was the coordinator and the site was the Musserville UMC. A weekend retreat from May 31 to June 1 focused on leadership training for Latina women at Council Bluffs with guest presenter Rev. Awilda Noya of the Wisconsin Annual Conference and was hosted by the Latino congregation of Broadway UMC. The third lay leadership training was at Corwith at the new church building of Vida Nueva (New Life) on September 7. Reverend Oscar Ramos Gallardo came from New Orleans where he serves as a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries. He shared ideas about evangelism. All events were presented in Spanish for the participants and were full of inspiring music. The Instituto Latino sees lay leadership training as a blessing and an opportunity for the development of Hispanic Ministries in the Iowa Annual Conference.