A very unique confirmation class
By Irma R. Garza
When Rev. Rubé Sáenz came to Edinburg as our Pastor ten years ago, he started teaching the Confirmation class. At that time I taught Sunday School to young adults. After two years or so, Rev. Sáenz encouraged me to take over his class. I had never taught Confirmation and was a little hesitant to take it. Well, this Easter 2011, I have just completed my eighth year teaching it. Since we have so many youth involved in extracurricular activities, we decided to have a group in September and another in January. This spring I had ten confirmands.
The class that was just confirmed this Easter, is a very unique one for two reasons: First, every single confirmand was new to our church, having attended church no more that two years. Second, for the very first time I had two adults taking the class: two mothers with their sons and daughters.
I had never taught Confirmation and was a little hesitant to take it.Regina is the mother of four children. She grew up not knowing the Lord and did not attend any church. But her husband and mother-in-law always encouraged Regina and her children to attend. As a family, they began attending the services. She decided to make our church, her family's church. After attending the Orientation in January, she enrolled her three youth in the Confirmation class: Dominique, and twin sons Jason and Ryan. A week passed by and she asked me if she could also take the class. I was delighted because I had never had an adult take the class before. It was just wonderful to see Regina and her three children study together, memorize special prayers together and getting to know the Lord together as their Lord and Savior.
Now she and her family attend church regularly. Her three youth are very active in the choir and drama group, and Regina is active in the children's activities with her youngest son, Matthew.
Letty is our town's librarian. She was raised Roman Catholic and was looking for a church that would give her and her family more than a place to worship. One of our members, Sylvia Gallardo, works under Letty. Sylvia started to invite Letty to our church. At that time it was when we were renovating our sanctuary and fellowship hall and were meeting in the Presbyterian church during that summer, two years ago. Letty and her two teenagers, Jessica and Martin, began to attend regularly and when we moved back to our beautiful, renovated church, they continued active in our Bible studies and Sunday services. A year went by and on Sunday morning, December 19, 2010, during the Confirmation Service, Rev. Sáenz made the invitation to the congregation if anyone wanted to become members to go to the altar at that time. Letty, Jessica and Martín walked to the altar and became members. In January, all three took the Confirmation class and were confirmed this spring. Together, they not only found a place to worship but also a place where they got to know the Lord personally. Martin plans to join the Praise Band soon and his sister Jessica continues active in the youth.
Jay and José are two young men who came to our church also from Roman Catholic homes. They started visiting our church when Rubén Gonsález, the UMY president, invited them to attend the youth activities. He is very involved in extracurricular activities and is in touch with many young people and because he is a very committed Christian has brought many young people to Christ. Both Jay and José are active in the youth and in the drama group. Jay will leave us to go to college but will take with him his strong, Christian foundation he found at church through Jesus Christ.
Andrea came to our church when her aunt invited her to visit. Her family is not from our church, yet she loved coming, specially when she started to become active in the youth. She had not been a visitor for long, when she expressed her desire to take the Confirmation class. I remember when she first came to class she was so shy she didn't want to participate and be called on. Very soon, she felt more comfortable and was always the first one in class, never absent and always wanted me to start on time. I had never seen such an eager student!
This spring Confirmation class was special, since all ten confirmands were totally new to our church. I always remember one of Rev. Sáenz's prayers in the beginning of his ministry here in Edinburg, "...and Lord, bring them from the north, from the south, from the east and from the west..." and the Lord has answered that prayer. People are coming and "El Buen Pastor" is busy working, making disciples for Jesus Christ. To God be all the glory!
--Irma R. Garza, El Buen Pastor UMC, Edinburg, Texas, Río Grande Conference
El Intérprete Online, septiembre-octubre, 2011