By Stan Friedman
Aidee and Maria Sandoval raised $100, mostly from family members, when they shaved their heads. Two others, Lilli Murillo and Elva Sandoval, also shaved their heads in support of the women.
Triennial, sponsored by the Department of Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church, will take place August 15-18 at the Town and Country Resort and Conference Center in San Diego, California. It’s theme this year is “Rooted.”
The cost of attending is beyond the ability of most women at the La Vina church, said a member named Jeana. “Our church community is mostly made up of farm laborers,” she explained. “Farm laborers for the most part earn minimum wage and are limited in the ‘extras’ they can afford. Many of our families have never traveled outside the county.”
The Sandovals, like 90 percent of the people who attend La Vina, are Spanish-speaking, and Jeana spoke for them. “How wonderful it would be to experience an event like this, which would be for most a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To worship together with ‘sisters’ from different parts of the world – one heart, one voice – un Pueblo (one people)!”
Although the Sandovals have long dreamed of attending the event, the decision to shave their heads was an impromptu one. “Many thought they were crazy, some of us were just speechless. But it was so humbling,” said Jeana.
Jeana and other women also are hoping to attend. “We are fundraising our hearts out,” she said. They will sponsor a chicken enchilada lunch on April 26, and they also have planned car washes and yard sales.
“We are totally committed,” Jeana said. “Triennial in San Diego or bust!”
The women also are looking beyond Triennial, and this may not be the last time they shave their heads. They would like to do it again in support of others dealing with cancer.
Meagan Gillan, executive minister of Women Ministries, said organizers hope to give partial scholarships to attendees who need financial assistance, but the amount of support given will depend on donations.