News & Notes from
   American Baptist Home Mission
     March 2016
Spring dawns in little more than a week, with Easter close on its heels. Daylight saving time begins this month, too. I love spring. No longer am I driving home from work in the dark, thank goodness, and I can't help thinking about the promise of new life and the hope it brings in the midst of life's challenges. And that makes me think of Yanira Z˙˝iga.
I met Yanira in Fullerton, Calif., in the Garnet neighborhood, a five-block section of the city that's home to more than 1,000 first- and second-generation children of immigrant families, many from Mexico. There are high numbers of high school dropouts and teen pregnancies here, along with gang violence.
When I interviewed Yanira for the America for Christ Offering video, "They have a dream too," we sat in the living room of the tidy, immaculate two-bedroom apartment she shares with her husband, parents and three children. She speaks Spanish; I speak English. Despite this language barrier, and hearing her story through a translator, I was immeasurably touched and inspired by her loving spirit, her strength and, most of all, her hope.

You see, Yanira's eldest child, her daughter Sarai Hernandez, is now a freshman in college. In my world, that's a pretty common rite of passage. Not so much, though, in Garnet, where there hadn't been a high school graduate going on to college for a decade before JOYA Scholars was founded, with support from American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS).
I had tears in my eyes as I listened to Yanira talk about the day her daughter graduated from high school: "I knew I was going to cry tears of joy and happiness because my daughter was graduating," Yanira told me. "She is the first person in the family to accomplish that, and I was so happy that I wanted to shout to the world and say, 'Look, my daughter is graduating.'"
Yanira and I didn't need to speak the same language for me to understand her pride and her hope for her daughter. I could feel it. The mother in her reached out and touched the mother in me. It was a cherished moment of connection in what's common about the human experience.
Now Yanira wants to finish high school. She knows it will be a challenge because she's a mother. But her motivation is clear and inspiring: "I want to teach my children: No matter your age, you can continue with your education and achieve your dreams. Small or big ones, you can always achieve your dreams."
Here's to the season of resurrection and new life, and all the hope it brings.

Susan Gottshall
Associate Executive Director, Communications
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) 
ABHMS responds to Flint water crisis
with One Great Hour of Sharing funds
In response to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., ABHMS' Disaster Relief Office has distributed a $2,500 Emergency Grant from American Baptist Churches USA's One Great Hour of Sharing funds.

Bulletin inserts highlight America for Christ's impact
Your church's bulletin is a great place to highlight the ways in which ABHMS' America for Christ Offering transforms lives. Four inspiring bulletin inserts are downloadable in English and Spanish. 
ABHMS presents water-stewardship resolution to Tyson Foods 
At Tyson Foods Inc.'s shareholders meeting early last month, ABHMS presented a resolution requesting that Tyson adopt a policy that would reduce risk of water contamination in its operations.
April 27 is deadline for Children in Poverty grant applications
Like Heritage Baptist Church, Annapolis, Md., is your church operating or seeking to start a child-empowering ministry? Then apply for an ABHMS Children in Poverty grant by April 27!






ABHMS to establish program that supports pastoral leaders 
ABHMS will use a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the "IN SUPPORT OF EXCELLENCE" program to undergird American Baptist pastoral leaders via education, coaching and collegial support.



Discover faith anew via book that examines biblical women
Read "Through Her Eyes: Bible Studies on Women in Scripture" to discover faith anew through the perspectives of diverse contributors who reflect on 20 biblical women. Order at




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