MIAMI – Under the leadership of Claudia Rojas, the once-dormant Union Femenil Misionera Bautista is experiencing a resurgence in the state of Florida. With a rallying cry of “Impacting the Heart: We Are God’s Collaborators,” the recent gathering of the Union aimed to rekindle the passion and purpose that the organization once held.
The UFMB, which was a formidable force following World War II, united women in a shared mission, emphasizing the importance of mission contributions and missionary ministries. The group was instrumental in publishing magazines and other materials to aid churches in their missionary endeavors. Over time, however, its prominence waned in Florida.
The UFMB is essentially the Hispanic arm of the Woman’s Missionary Union. The UFMB operates with similar goals and principles but is tailored to engage and support Spanish-speaking and Hispanic communities. Both organizations share the broader mission of educating and involving women and children in missions.
“I was delighted when Claudia asked me about offering a training event for leaders to begin Union Femenil Bautista groups in their churches,” said Cindy Bradley, Women’s Missions and Ministries/Mission Education catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention.
“The UFMB seeks to help our churches provide missions discipleship for the whole church that helps our church members, young and old, to grow in their faith as they learn about the work of our International Mission Board and North American Mission Board missionaries, pray for missions and missionaries, support missions financially, and be involved in missions locally and globally.”
Rojas, recognizing the gap and the potential, organized a gathering at Iglesia Bautista Peters Road with 21 women in attendance. “The sisters are committed to working toward the pledges they’ve made. They are keen to work toward education and raising of missionary offerings and ministries,” she expressed with hope. The women represented Iglesia Bautista Canaan, Iglesia Estrella de Belen Broward, Iglesia Bautista Peters Road, Iglesia Real, and Iglesia Bautista Lake Saunders.
At the event, participants were provided with Spanish materials designed for their churches to reignite this ministry. A notable focus was on involving children in prayer for missionaries and encouraging contributions to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® to support international missionaries and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to support missionaries in North America. “This way, children learn to donate and understand why missionaries need these offerings,” Rojas emphasized.
Despite the Union’s diminished activity in Florida, Rojas mentioned that many who migrate from other Latin American countries are familiar with the UFMB and often seek it out. “My aim is for our Hispanic churches to gain a deeper understanding of missionary work, to open their eyes to the needs in the missionary field, and to encourage them to support the cooperative program,” she stated.
The UFMB was founded in Mexico in the early 20th century during a time when there was a strong push for evangelism and the establishment of Baptist institutions in the country. It was established to empower Baptist women in the region to play an active role in evangelism, missions and community service. Over the years, it has spread to other Latin American countries and to Hispanic communities in the United States. The organization has been instrumental in fostering spiritual growth and promoting the Baptist mission among women in these communities.
The broader goal, as Rojas envisions, is not just about occasional retreats or sporadic Bible studies. “My heart yearns for women to work as a missionary woman’s union in their churches,” she expressed passionately.
“I am praying for more and more of our churches to become involved in missions discipleship with the focus of reaching our state, nation, and world for Christ,” said Bradley.
With the mission to “Establish, Strengthen, Fulfill” in place, and with the unwavering commitment of the attendees at the recent gathering, the UFMB in Florida, she hopes, is on a promising path to revival.
If you would like someone to come to your church and train leaders in UFMB or WMU, contact Claudia or Cindy at Cindy.Bradley@flbaptist.org.