Fresno Hispanic Church Picks Up the Glass Slipper
Thirty-five little princesses for Jesus walked through a flower covered archway, their eyes sparkling with excitement. As each girl took her seat, a glass slipper with a personal Bible promise was waiting.
The first Girlfriends Unlimited® event for the Fresno Hispanic church was held in their fellowship hall on Saturday evening, Jan. 16. Girlfriends Unlimited® is a new ministry that strives to connect women within churches. Inspired by the idea, several church members redesigned the ministry to better meet the needs of their young ladies.
"Our groups mission is to befriend girls and give them a place to belong so they will come to believe in Jesus and become more like Him," says Lisseth Pasillas the church's Girlfriends Unlimited® team leader.
Nancy Van Pelt, author and certified family life educator, was the speaker for the evening. "Healthy Steps for Christian Dating" was her topic. After Van Pelt's presentation, the girls were quizzed on what they had learned and pink Bibles were given as prizes. Other activities included crafts and decorating cupcakes.
And making new friends.
When Shirley Meyers heard about the event, she thought it was "just perfect" for her "Just for Girls" group ages 8 to 12. Meyers, a member of the Fresno Westside church, started the group to teach girls things like manners, how to order at a restaurant, cooking, art, the value of money, and how they peak through their body language. They meet in her home once a month.
Though some of her girls had never worn or even owned a dress, Meyers stood her ground. One girl who was not excited about getting "girlie" told Meyers, "Thank you so much for bringing me tonight."
"None of the girls who attended go to Adventist schools, so this is a great way for them to testify to their school friends about Jesus," says Pasillas. The girls will be encouraged to bring their school friends for future events.
"This is important because our young girls are at a crucial age," says Pastor Antonio Huerta. "Whatever decisions they make in the next few years will make the difference in their lives."
Next on the Girlfriends Unlimited® schedule was the conference-wide Girls' Retreat in April, which draws more than 200 teens, ages 13-19. The Girls Retreat has become so popular in its five-year history that the boys requested their own retreat. The first one was a backpacking trip in April.
"I am so excited about having a group of girls to take to the retreat, and we will be wearing our Girlfriends Unlimited® tee-shirts, too," Pasillas says.
The new ministry will include Bible study groups, vespers and community service projects. Girls from other Adventist churches will be invited annually to a large social event as part of this ministry.