When translated in English, my name means “miracle.” The doctor who delivered me claimed my birth as a miracle, but my mother proclaimed it as the result of her faith and belief that I was
meant to be born “to do great things.” I am grateful that my mother listened to Spirit’s guidance to choose and maintain the pregnancy even though her doctor was pressuring her to do
otherwise. My mother’s faith reminds me of words from scripture, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27. My birth history guides me in understanding God’s
character and my purpose. Thank you, God!

I was born in the Dominican Republic. Our family moved to Puerto Rico when I was 15. It was there that I met and married my high school sweetheart, and we brought three wonderful children
into the world: Roberto, Mariam Ivelisse, and Bruni Samarie. Our marriage of 23 years ended in 1994, and shortly after I moved to Florida where I live today. Adapting to a new culture was challenging at first. I had to learn a different language–even different gestures, routines, food, politics, spirituality, diversity, and work environment. My spicy, Hispanic heritage helped me to grow and enrich other cultures around me in the process. I found that sharing my knowledge, experiences, talents, and skills aided my assimilation through personal interactions with everyone I encountered on this journey.

The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to get to know the contributions of Latinx people to our communities, our nation, and our world. In response to the request to write
about my experiences, I thought it would be good to share the ways in which I believe my contributions are making a difference.

In the area of politics, I actively engage by exercising my right to vote and encouraging others to participate in the democratic process. As a party member, I serve as a leader and play an active
role in party activities. When it comes to the work environment, my experience in Puerto Rico enabled me to quickly acclimate to the work environment in the U.S. As a union leader with Hermandad de Empleados del Fondo del Seguro del Estado for twelve years, I proposed changes to the logo that depicted a woman walking behind a man, to one that showed a woman and man walking side by side. As a participant in the 1993 CLAT Congress in Brazil, amendments I proposed to the “Charter of Rights of Working Women” resulted in ending discrimination against sexual, political orientation, and religion in the workplace. As an entrepreneur, I created Damas Laboriosas de PR, a non-profit organization focused on teaching women handwork skills, such as mundillo, crocheting, tatting, ceramic-free modeling, and molds, and how to use those skills in starting their own businesses.

I have worked for many years in the health care field. As a member of the Association of Occupational Therapists (AOTA), I served as Secretary of the board in Puerto Rico. As an AOTA volunteer, I conducted onsite and paper reviews of occupational therapy programs throughout the United States and serve as liaison between AOTA and Occupational Therapists in Puerto Rico. I worked as an advocate for abused children with the Florida Guardian At Litem Program.

When it comes to food, I consider myself to be an aficionado of Latin-American cuisine. So, not one to rest on my laurels, during the pandemic I completed certification in Culinary and Tourism
Management. My divine inspiration is to turn this into a business based on Unity principles and incorporate my cultural background and desire to give back to the community. The name of the business is “Millie’s Latin Cuisine with a Hawaiian Twist.” I believe the name matches perfectly with our theme of inclusivity for a strong nation and “UNIDO” purpose. I envision it embracing
Unity teachings, togetherness, oneness, family cohesiveness, diversity, harmony, peace, tolerance, love creativity, and problem-solving.  I am grateful to be a student of Truth and for the opportunity to connect with and model after all who inspire me through their examples. I recognize Jesus—the “I and Self” in me as directive power raised to divine understanding – the I AM (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, p345). I recognize and embrace the uniqueness of all of God’s creations, and I invite everyone to join the effort to shift our collective consciousness so that, as Gandhi said, we can “be the change we want to see in the world.”

I am confident that wherever we are and wherever we go we have the power to create unity, by honoring our oneness, and embracing and celebrating our rich cultural diversity. Wherever we
are, God is. Just as my mother’s faith guided her, I too am guided to listen to the voice of Spirit. “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27.

Milagros “Millie” Pinal Rincon is a 3 rd year student in the UUMS Ministerial Studies Program. She was born in the Dominican Republic and spent her teens in Puerto Rico. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Millie earned an Associate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Regional College; a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Certification in Drug and Alcohol Counseling from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus; and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has worked in the field of Occupational Therapy for 48 years and received the “Outstanding Volunteer of the Year” award from the Florida Association for Volunteer Action (FAVACA) for her service to the elderly, association, universities, and families in Guatemala and Dominican Republic, cardiac and Alzheimer’s patients. She was Secretary of the Southeastern Hispanic Occupational Therapists organization. Millie has served in various capacities with Unity of Fort Lauderdale, including the board of directors, hospitality, prayer chaplains, pastoral care, English and Spanish teams. She created the Spanish Prayer Circle, taught classes, and coordinated and organized potlucks. She serves as President of the board of Golden Life Ministry (founded by her UUMS alumni advisor and mentor, Rev. Vernelle Nelson, UUMS 2015). Millie is the Student Liaison with the Unity Urban Ministerial School Alumni Association (UUMSAA).

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