...24 women come together for a week, and discover that they are bound closely through their commitment and desire to be in ministry on behalf of Jesus Christ?  And then, in addition, realize they can actually empower people to prevent serious disease by changing conditions which cause it, all as an evangelistic outreach and healing ministry?

YOU GET TRANSFORMATION…RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES!  I saw it happen, though at the beginning it may have appeared that they had little in common because they:

  • ranged in age from 19 to mid-sixties,
  • were a wide mixture of teachers, homemakers, professionals, pastors,
  • came from large cities, tiny rural villages, and everything in between, and
  • had educational backgrounds spanning primary, secondary, high school and professional degrees.

This is the largest entering class ever to the “More Than A Bandage” training designed to address health issues and needs of rural communities in Mexico, and the first of three weeks of training spread over an 18 month period.  It was an inspiring week interwoven with worship, study, training and practice which enabled them to go home ready to put into practice what they had learned and also see that they are an extension of Christ’s healing ministry.  It is one aspect of the “Give Ye Them to Eat” ministry of The Methodist Church of Mexico in collaboration with The General Board of Global Ministries, and it is indeed transformational!

In one week, through ingeniously designed interactive and hands-on teaching methods, they covered Self-esteem, Parenting, Child Development and Nutrition, Basic Sanitation, Disinfection of Fruits and Vegetables, Family Nutrition, Dental Hygiene, and even built with their own hands a Dry Composting Toilet System!  Yet it was MORE than learning important health practices!  They began to feel a PART of the healing of God’s Creation and an instrument of Jesus Christ.


Each woman is given all the teaching tools they will need for the courses they cover, including flipcharts, posters, etc.  Some they colored themselves in break times to make them lively and attractive, while other teaching materials had been colored and prepared for them by a small UMW group in a prison near Topeka, Kansas.

In six months they will return for the Intermediate Course.  But in the meantime, they will be teaching, gaining experience, being witnesses, and keeping records of their experiences.

For me to share in the transformation that took place this week was like experiencing some of the healing stories of Jesus!  His gift of healing was for everyone, never asking where they were from or what their background or beliefs were.   As when Jesus asked the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to be healed?”, one week was enough for these women to see that even they wanted and were indeed beginning to be healed of some of their insecurities and doubts, and were being transformed and able to do this!

So, on Saturday evening, they returned home, committed to start sharing in Jesus’ ministry of healing, and trusting in Jesus’ promise: “Very truly, I tell you the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and, …. In fact, will do greater works than these ….”!  John 14:12a.

I invite you to pray for these 24 women, and those who work with them!

Barbara P. Garcia
September, 2012

Puebla, Mexico