When we started the women’s ministry in our church in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores, a little over a year ago, we noticed that the main challenge we faced was their inability to dream about their future, and the possibility that it could be better than their present.
Like most women in the world, they had dreams: big, wonderful, hopeful dreams! But somewhere along the way they had either lost them, killed them, or they had been stolen from them. That’s when the Women’s Retreat “(RE)Aprendendo a Sonhar” (ReLearning to Dream) was born.
We wanted to provide a time for the ladies to unplug from their routine and ignite their hearts with God’s dreams for their families, church and their lives. These wonderful women believed that possible.
In October 2015, we held our first (Re)Aprendendo a Sonhar in Vila Franca do Campo, in São Miguel, Azores. We invited the women of the church and anyone else who would be interested. During the planning process we invited Liliana Almeida, fellow Nazarene missionary and our district superintendent’s wife, to participate as one of the speakers. She not only participated, but motivated others to join her, like Danielle Patricio, a missionary who was serving in Portugal at the time. We also contacted our longtime friend and anointed speaker, Martha Socarras, a Christian woman with a ministry to women. Her Latin energy and her gift of preaching was the perfect instrument for the Lord to speak to the 50 women who attended the event.
We are still enjoying the fruits from that first retreat. We had four people invite Christ into their lives, and two ladies rededicated their lives to Christ. Four were accepted as members of the church and two were baptized.
From that retreat the dream was born to bring this sort of event to the continent and it expanded to half of our field. I know of three churches in Portugal that started a women’s ministry and are meeting regularly for prayer, fellowship and support. Now we are dreaming about having a retreat that includes all our field.
We thought it would be a great idea to invite our sisters from Spain. Litzy Pesado, wife of the Spain District Superintendent, joined our team and together, with our eyes and faith fixed on Jesus, we dreamt and planned our second women’s retreat: ReAprendendo a Sonhar, Lisbon 2016.
We dreamt and the Lord’s faithfulness, grace and favor was upon us. September 15 to 18, about 65 women from across Portugal and Spain gathered at the Seminário Torre d’Aguilha in São Domingos de Rana, Lisbon.
We formed small prayer groups with different women from our districts who made the commitment to pray for each other and stay in touch.
We had vendors’ tables from different churches to help us raise funds for the retreat.
The Azores was very well represented with these women who worked so hard to raise funds for their retreat.
We had a talent show with everything from skits, songs and praying blessings over each other.
We had a time just for pastors’ wives from our Portuguese and Spanish districts, in which we were motivated to be the Esthers of our generation to our congregations and challenged to be Mordecais to each other.
We had wonderful prayer time and of course the powerful Word from our speakers.
Every single evaluation sheet had two comments in common: 1. It was an extraordinary event in which the Lord spoke and blessed us. 2. Please, let’s do it again!
So we are listening. We are listening to the need, to the Lord and His dream. We believe that the Lord wants to teach us how to dream again: To dream without fear and to fight for those dreams until they come true in our lives.
We believe the Lord has begun to do that in our field. The when and the how will continue to surprise us, but we want to be part of it. The women of this field want to be part of it.
So, would you join us in prayer for this dream?
Please help us pray for all these wonderful mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and pastors as they continue to dream big dreams for their families and their communities. Also please help us pray for our next “(re)Aprendendo a Sonhar” retreat that’s in the planning process right now.
Would you like to do more than just prayer? Feel free to contact me to find out ways you can get involved in this ongoing ministry.
Psalm 126 (NIV)
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
Emily M. Aguilar
Church of the Nazarene Missionary
Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores.