Renewal, relationships and relaxation brought over 500 Hispanic and multiethnic people together in July at Indiana Wesleyan University for Renuevo (Re-new-Way-vo) 2017, a Hispanic family camp.
In its seventh year, Renuevo, which means "renew" in Spanish, is a spiritual retreat and highlight of the summer for many who attend.
"It's a blessing being a part of Renuevo, and every year we look forward to being there," said Daniel David Cifuentes, a lay pastor who has assisted in planting Resurrection Life Church in New York City. "For me and my family, it's a time of joy and a renewal for our lives."
"There were re-energizing messages that invigorated our faith with captivating worship times," said Neftali Lopez, Amistad Cristiana lead pastor in Carmel, Ind.
Renuevo 2017 was led by Rev. Frankie Rodriguez (Iglesia Wesleyana El Camino senior pastor in Greenville, S.C.), Pastor Jorge Escalante (Hispanic ministry leader at Trinity Church in Fishers, Ind., and Josmar Trent (Church Multiplication and Discipleship staff member).
Special guests included Christian Cuevas, a season 11 semifinalist on "The Voice;" Heartland Worship; Charlee Buitrago, worship leader; Dr. Mark Gorveatte, Crossroads District superintendent who provided financial and personal support on behalf of his district; Rev. Alfredo Barreno, Wesleyan pastor and church planter in Tampa, Fla.; Pastor Luis Torres, Wesleyan pastor and church planter in Lansing, Mich.; Rev. Anita Eastlack, executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship (CMAD); Becca Coffin, CMAD website coordinator; and Rev. Zach Coffin, director of Next Gen Discipleship and Multiplication; Rev. Kim Gladden, director of Discipleship; and Tomás and Rev. Cathy Howie of Trinity Church in Fishers, Ind., who painted a three-paneled portrait illustration during a message.
Along with worship and general sessions, participants attended discipleship, marriage, health, leadership and sustaining Hispanic ministry workshops. Various activities like swimming, volleyball, basketball and other games were also available.
A conference highlight was the celebration of a successful merger in DeKalb, Ill., of two churches with differing demographics. Rev. Rodrigo Azofeifa and Rev. Dean Pierce became prayer partners two years ago. Their prayer relationship and friendship led to Vida Nuevo, a predominantly Hispanic congregation pastored by Azofeifa, and Real Connection, a predominantly Caucasian congregation pastored by Pierce, combining into one church body identified as Real Connection Church. Rev. Santes Beatty, director of Multiethnic Ministries, was encouraged, recalling how God had brought the two congregations together into one.
"Their churches and district recently voted for them to become one church and for these two pastors, their boards and leaders to become one team," said Rev. Beatty. "It was a great affirmation of their many prayers, humility and sacrifice to join God in modeling something many churches may soon follow–mono-ethnic churches becoming multiethnic as leaders and laypersons work to reach their communities and beyond."
Real Connection Church won the gift of the three-panel mural painted by the Howies, a fitting end to the weekend.
An annual event that has been held in various locations across the country, the next Renuevo is scheduled for June 22-24, 2018, at Southern Wesleyan University. For more information, contact Josmar Trent at email@example.com.