I participated in the Nuevo Amanacer (New Dawn) conference a few weeks ago at the Kanuga Retreat Center near Hendersonville, NC. As the biannual meeting of the Latino/Hispanic ministries of the Episcopal Church, I had opportunities to practice my Spanish.
Although many of the attendees are fluent in both English and Spanish, my Spanish is halting, but I greeted everyone with a hearty “encantada”.
Although it can mean haunted or bewitched, it is the common response meaning, “pleased to meet you” and I remember the word as a cognate of “enchanted”.
I attended the conference by myself so every session and workshop was an opportunity to meet someone new. Almost 400 people attended from all parts of the United States as well as Columbia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and more.
“Encantada, encantada, encantada, encantanda.”
When I am at home, I have a tendency to hang around with people I know mostly through my work or church, so it was enriching to hear the variety of stories from all these new friends. Some were immigrants (including bishops) primarily from Central America. I inquired about where they were from, when they had come to America, and if they still had family in a foreign land. I listened as 2nd generation Americans told me of their challenges in keeping their children interested in church and a curious observation that their children preferred a bilingual service rather than a Spanish-only mass. Assimilating into American culture is still important as the families integrate in school, the workplace and church.
I was “enchanted” meeting so many new friends. I was blessed by their spirit of recognizing the importance of God in their lives and their warmness in sharing their faith and their stories.
¡Encantada! I want to always be curious to meet new people, to hear their stories, and to be enchanted with what God is doing in their life.
Blessings, my friend,