Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Pyramids on white sands, hieroglyphics, a mummy and drawings of Pharaoh on the walls transported our imaginations to Ancient Egypt,” shares Wanda Lugo, director of the second annual Hispanic Ministries Children’s Festival (Festival Infantil) in the Ohio Conference.
As visitors looked up, they saw large red letters spelling LIBRES (freedom). Near the letters were kites. “After all, what can express the feeling of freedom better than happy kids flying kites?” says Lugo. The kites told the story of Israel’s freedom from slavery in Egypt to nearly 400 festival visitors, including 175 children, at the First Hispanic church of Columbus in Westerville.
Children practiced for three months preparing for a variety of events. These included preaching about how Jesus makes us free, drawing the sanctuary, organizing books from the Old Testament, answering questions from the book of Exodus, learning memory verses and performing plays representing key events from Exodus.
After a fellowship meal on the church lawn, “it was time to fly the beautiful kites, made by hand by the different families,” said Lugo.
Flori Ramirez, director of the Findlay Hispanic Children’s Ministries program, says, “Thanks to programs like these, children are more motivated to participate at church.” Elba Mena, a member of the West Columbus Hispanic Mission church, was thankful for a program such as this that “unifies family and church.” Fanny Hernández, director of the Youngstown Spanish Children’s Ministries program and first-time festival attendee comments, “It was a pleasure to meet and share with the other churches.”
Lugo, better known as “Tía Wanda” (Aunt Wanda), is also the host of La Hora de los Niños (Children’s Time) on Stereo Adventista, the online radio station developed and operated by the Ohio Conference Hispanic Ministries Department. She thanks all participating Hispanic Ministries pastors, Children’s Ministries directors, teachers and parents for their teamwork. Their contributions made for a successful program.
Last photo: Joseph Devia from the West Columbus Hispanic Church preaches that “Jesus makes us free” to a packed audience.