I haven’t done any of these interviews – just guided them through the process as the team of writers has produced them – but we’ve had a run of interviews with women who are native Spanish speakers, involving multiple countries. HOORAY! I love to break the Utah bubble and bring in more women who are outside the United States!
Small But Important Things with Rhina Toledo, by Jenny Willmore. Rhina is from the Philippines, then moved to Spain and started learning Spanish online … from a man in Mexico. She eventually went to Mexico and married him, and they now have three children and she is a teacher.
“We all know that we should be followers of Christ. But I think that my personal mission has been to put effort into the small but important things, maybe to overcome the weaknesses that I have, to improve better day by day, and to keep trying even when I make mistakes.”
Turn On Our Light with Alejandra Salas, by Jenny Willmore. Alejandra is in Argentina and started a podcast and website, Refugios Fuertes, to translate LDS faith-based materials (like the LDS Women Project) from English to Spanish. She and her partner have begun translating some of the LDSWP interviews into Spanish with cross-posting on both websites. So we interviewed her AND she’s part of the LDSWP team now!
“I see that a lot of women, like me, feel insignificant when thinking of how to help in such a depraved world with our “tiny” talents. We think maybe we can’t change anything and that makes us delay our small but good initiatives. But what if we decide to think differently about our talents? Each one of us could use her talents to do something small and afterward pray, asking Heavenly Father to consecrate that small effort so that it might be magnified and be of benefit to someone. We have to motivate ourselves to turn on our light, because as small as it may be, it is still brighter than the darkness of the world.”
Celebrating Cultural Differences with Maya Yerman Sanchez, by Allie Brown. Maya is a Mexican-American who spent her teen years bouncing between the US and Mexico, attending the LDS boarding school in Mexico City for high school. (The high school was closed a few years ago, and the campus is now the Mexico City Missionary Training Center.) Her husband is also Latino and they now live in Texas.
“I just want to be sure I share my appreciation for what our multicultural church has taught me. The Church is the same everywhere, and yet it’s also so different, and that is beautiful. The cultural differences are something that should be celebrated – they really bring different layers to spiritual understanding, and spiritual connection. It has influenced who I am and who I will become.”
The Pretend Investigator with Eileen Velasquez, by Darcey Williams. Eileen is a Latina who grew up in the US, and joined the LDS Church as a young adult when she helped her friend prepare for a mission by letting him practice the lessons with her. She served her own mission in the Dominican Republic, and eventually married another missionary who is Dominican, and they now live in Montreal. Covering a lot of territory!
“I think everyone is friendly in the Church wherever you go. It’s really nice when you go to a different country and you can still expect to feel at home. I’ve been lucky because I’ve been able to speak the language everywhere I’ve been, so I’ve never felt out of place. … Here in Canada, it’s really fun because there are people from all over the world. We have members from Nigeria, from Ukraine, from all parts of Latin America, the Philippines, China. Everyone here is friendly and I think it’s exciting because you hear all of these languages spoken at church and it’s really fun.”