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Don’t expect to see formal handshakes at women’s conference, especially with the caring Latina sisters — every presentation is followed by a heart-warming hug and a kind kiss.
Women’s conference has offered Spanish sessions for the last five years but would like to increase the number of sisters who attend.
“It’s been a dream of mine to do a Latina women’s conference,” said Jennefer Johnson, program administrator over the women’s conference.
The conference reserves 15 session rooms across the BYU campus, and one room is designated for Spanish-speaking participants. The presenters must be native Spanish speakers. This requirement provides a unique environment that fosters sisterhood among Latina sisters, each session including 70 to 80 participants from all over the world.
Johnson also shared a story of a bishop who informed the sisters in his ward about the purpose of women’s conference; consequently, 15 of them decided to take a bus and go together. “The faith that these sisters demonstrate is motivating and moving,” Johnson said.
Almudena Smith, originally from Spain, invited all the participants to stop for a moment and remember an unforgettable experience. Next, she invited all to write the experience down and carry it with them every day, no matter where they go.
Smith then shared her unforgettable experience directly from the missionary journal she kept while serving in the Canary Islands. On Dec. 8, 1988, filled with stress and worry, she asked for a blessing. Although 27 years have passed, the love and acceptance Smith felt that night has remained with her as an experience she will never be able to deny.
Forgiveness was another topic presented. Marîa de Lourdes Vásquez, originally from Mexico, explored the derivation of the word “perdon,” which means forgiveness. The last syllable, “don,” can be translated as a gift. Vásquez invited all to notice that complete forgiveness, from God or others, is a divine gift. The first syllable, “per,” connotes continual or enduring. Thus, Vásquez taught, forgiveness is a divine gift that has no sudden expiration but infinite inspiration.
After each of these presentations the sisters who spoke were thanked with a hug from their family and from the participating sisters — some whom they still had not met.