“Go back with your grandma…”

Let me tell you the story behind the phrase.


Denise & Baby Eric

My involvement and ministry with Hispanic families, particularly women, in our community led some friends to affectionately called me (Denise) the unpaid Social Worker and/or Outreach Coordinator of Iglesia Bautista Comunidad Nueva Esperanza (New Hope Community), our Hispanic church in Ravenswood, WV. As part of this “role,” I’ve had the privilege to accompany Gloria, a girl from our church, to her prenatal appointments. I also had the opportunity to translate while she was in labor.


Gloria is originally from Chiapas, Mexico and speaks Tsotsil. Her mother passed away when she was a baby. She migrated to the U.S. when she was 14 years old. She grew up without motherly figures in her life. I was stunned when I first met her because she wasn’t even 18 years old and she already had two daughters: two-year-old Jackie and six-month-old Kimmy. Gloria is now 20.


On January 17, 2017, I was holding Gloria’s 4th child, Eric, when in that moment little Abraham, Gloria’s 3rd child, ran out of his mother’s hospital room. An older lady who was picking up the dinner tray told little Abraham, “Go back with your grandma.” I chuckled and didn’t say anything. I’m 35 years old and I never imagined that at this age I would be called a grandma. After this funny incident, I thought, “Maybe if I would have been pregnant at 15 like many young girls in Chiapas, my daughter would be 20 like Gloria. And since Gloria was 15 when she had her first child, I very well could be their grandmother!”


While looking at Gloria delivering her fourth child naturally and without an epidural, I wondered about ministry in Chiapas. Several questions rushed through my mind. Was I getting a glimpse of what I would see there? Would I be translating from English to Spanish with medical mission teams? Would I translate from Spanish to Tsotsil and/or Tseltal? How many younger girls will I see giving birth to amazing children? Will my bond with these girls be as intimate as with Gloria? Was this birth symbolic of new relationships in Chiapas? What are you showing me God?


As you can see many things went and are still going on in my heart and head.


We appreciate your prayers as our family and our church family in Ravenswood go through this season of transition. We also appreciate your prayers for our future extended family in Chiapas.


Thank you for your support and partnership!


With love,

Denise and Juan

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