“Bienvenidoes a la mesa, hermanas! You are welcome to come and take a seat at our table, set for you by Jesus and the many women who’ve gone before us…” (1) starts one of my favorite books of the year. Hermanas: Deepening our Identity and Growing our Influence beckons readers to a luscious and extravagant spiritual feast as three Latina authors and leaders—Natalia Rivera, Noemi Vega Quinones, and Kristy Garza Robinsons—explore the riches that can be found in the stories of women in the Bible. The imagery of a table carries throughout the book, and this table becomes holy as the authors share profound Biblical insights and deeply personal stories of their experiences as Latinas and leaders in the United States.

The book is divided into two parts, and each part has six chapters for a total of twelve chapters. The first part explores identity and intimacy with Jesus; the second dives into influence and impact. This set up is powerfully intentional because the authors “believe this is a healthy order to spiritual leadership” (11). We must know who we are and have a vibrant relationship with Jesus before we can lead people to Jesus. The Biblical women covered in the book are both well known—Mary, mother of Jesus—and obscure—the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15 and Mark 7).

I love many things about this book. One aspect is that each chapter is covered by one individual author. Each woman’s literary voice is unique, and you sense you are sitting with a group of friends, sharing a meal, chatting, and listening to their distinct wisdom. Another thing I so appreciate about this book is how approachable the writing is. It is a fun read that everyone can enjoy, which also makes it a powerful resource for discipleship. Beyond that, the American church is made up of people from various cultures, much like the Early Church, and Hermanas offers non-Latina readers, like myself, an opportunity to learn from Latina Christians. This is such a gift. If we don’t make space to read the Bible with people from various backgrounds, we cut ourselves off from incredible brothers and sisters, and we lose valuable insights. I feel I am a better Woman Disciple after reading this book.

Hermanas: Deepening our Identity and Growing our Influence can be read and loved by all, but it is definitely a must read for Women Disciples. The table has indeed been set by Jesus and the many women who have gone before us. Let’s meet at that table together and delight in the feast.

Movement Step: Women Disciples is hosting a giveaway August 5-12, 2019! One winner will receive TWO copies of Hermanas: Deepening our Identity and Growing our Influence, one for the winner and one to give for a friend or disciplee, so they can read it together. To enter in the giveaway, tag a friend you’d want to read the book with on any post this week on the Women Disciples Facebook page or @women.disciples on Instagram. For an extra three entires, sign up for email updates at jennsmithchen.com (If you’re already on the email list, you will automatically have an extra three entries.) This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram or Facebook. The winner will be announced on August 13, 2019.

Rivera, Natalia Kohn, Noemi Vega Quinones, and Kristy Garza Robinson. Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. 2019. Print.