Education and Clergy Development (ECD) is doing its best to increase the opportunity for Hispanic ministerial students to attend classes through FLAMA. Ministerial students from the Chesapeake District of The Wesleyan Church are the latest district to benefit. (Distrito Hispano was the first district to offer FLAMA courses via Zoom.)

Currently, nearly 350 Hispanic students in the United States are enrolled in FLAMA, an alternative program to study for Ministry in Spanish for those who are pursuing ordination in The Wesleyan Church and cannot attend college. Men and women in the Chesapeake District are meeting via Zoom, a video conferencing program that allows for live interaction.

Johanna Rugh, director of Spanish Education and Clergy Care, is pleased with the increase in students’ interest for participation in Zoom classes.

“We have tried to offer more class opportunities for our Hispanic ministerial students,” said Rugh. “Zoom proved to be the best option to gather students from all around the U.S. at any given time and date.”

A request from Pastor Ingrid Morales prompted the beginning of FLAMA offering classes via Zoom to ministerial students in Chesapeake District. Pastor Morales of Manassas Hispana Wesleyana Iglesia in Gainesville, Virginia, had learned of an upcoming Introduction to Theology class to be offered online. She didn’t hesitate to register. After completing the course, Morales asked if the class could be taught via Zoom to other leaders in her district preparing for ministry.

Pastor Ileana Flores, assistant pastor at El Monte Wesleyan Church in El Monte, California, and assistant district superintendent for Distrito Hispano, taught the first Chesapeake District Zoom class. Her Monday evening class isn’t just a time of teaching. The class also provides the avenue for encouragement, fellowship, prayer and support among classmates. One student had this to say about the FLAMA Zoom class:

“The FLAMA classes have been a blessing for my life and I dare say that also for the life of all the ministerial students of our church. It was so beautiful to see how the power of the Holy Spirit can do as he wants and when he wants — we could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit through a video platform.

“It was so beautiful to have been ministered according to the need that was there at that precise moment. Personally, I was very burdened, and I felt the need of a word, and to see how Pastor IIeana let herself be used by the Lord and minister to us without knowing the need there at that precise moment. The Lord is good.”

“What a blessing to allow the Holy Spirit to flow, as the Word of God says,” said Morales. “Through Pastor Ileana teaching this first class, the Lord brought a sense of motivation to continue in the classes that have been a great blessing for all. May the Lord continue moving according to his perfect will.”

Flores is grateful for the work the Lord is doing in the class she is teaching.

“The Lord did move in a marvelous way and a different manner,” said Flores. “We just need to be sensible on what he is willing to do.”

Rev. Mike Hilson, district superintendent of Chesapeake District, is thrilled at the opportunity Hispanic students have to grow, both spiritually and academically.

“In just our last offering we had 16 full students and five who audited the classes. The opportunity to train our Spanish-speaking leaders is absolutely incredible and will reap a harvest for the Kingdom,” said Hilson.

Rugh hopes other districts will follow suit and provide FLAMA Zoom classes to Hispanic ministerial students.

“FLAMA Zoom is a great opportunity for our ministerial students who have been waiting for a class to be taught near their area,” said Rugh. “Now, they only need a reliable internet connection and can attend classes from their own area.”