The Life of a Pastor's Wife

A pastor's wife shares her experience.

Juliana Islanne was born in Eastern Hungary. She was one of nine children reared in a home where reading biblical literature was encouraged. Today she is a pastoral wife in Hungary.

I am Mrs. Stephen (Istvan) lavor, Julianna Garai. I was born into a farmer's family on July 31, 1928. There were nine children in my family. We were Lutherans, and our mother taught us to pray, read the Bible and believe in God.

While reading the Bible, I found the verse that said: "I saw an angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God ... sealing the servants of the living God on their foreheads" (Rev. 7:1-8). In my heart there arose a desire to receive the same seal from the same angel, because I wished to belong to the servants of God. I was 13 years old then, and 1 could not imagine how this "sealing on the forehead" could take place. But God, the Holy Spirit, saw to it that I learned.

I met a Seventh-day Adventist, and after a short conversation I asked him, "How does the sealing take place?" In response he read to me Ezekiel 20:12: "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them," and 20:20: "And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord Your God." It was wonderful. I had never heard such things. I received this as an answer to the sincere longing of my heart, and I was very happy with this knowledge. It was very hard to separate from my Lutheran Church and from the Lutheran Youth group. I remember crying: "What will be their future?"

In 1948 I heard about the truth, and in 1949, I was baptized with one of my younger sisters in the city of Nyiregyhaza. We were very happy. In 1950 my mother and two of my younger sisters were baptized. The church was nine kilometers from our home and for years, first by walking and later by bicycles, we went to church. In the church we were happy to serve in any capacity including choir member, visiting deaconess, Sabbath school teacher, children's teacher.  Those times are unforgettably deep in my memory.

In 1956 I married Stephan (Istvan) Javor, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, so I became a minister's wife. At that time my husband pastored six congregations. I made every effort to help him in this work. Each morning we started the day by studying the written Word and reading some Ellen G. White books. Then together we went to visit and help where help was needed. We worked together in renovating the church, taking care of the elderly, shopping for them and doing what­ever else needed to be done. There was no bus transportation, so we traveled the shorter distances by bicycle; we traveled by train to the longer distances. When no train was available, we walked. But we did this with joy.

Two years later, we moved to Budapest. I worked in the pharmaceutical (medication distribution) industry headquarters. During this time we were able to save for future needs. After 11 years of marriage, we were blessed with two sons. They brought change in our lives. I stayed home with our children. While our children were growing up, God entrusted me with new responsibilities.

There was a sick person in our community who needed to be taken care of. For months he lived with us. Later, we took in two older sisters from the church, and we took care of them until their deaths. One of these two had no children; the other had four, but they had pushed her out. As our children grew, they too helped take care of these elderly people. They helped with the shopping, the cleaning, bringing in the coal and water. They did whatever they were capable of doing.

On Sabbaths we had a fellowship meal in our home for those who stayed at the church after the noon hour to wait for the afternoon service. The meals were simple, but the joy and thanks the guests felt were ours too. Nothing appeared to be difficult, for mercy and sympathy supplied the joys that lifted us.

In our lives we have experienced many tests, difficulties and struggles, but God has always given us assurance, peace and much happiness. Our greatest joy was when we were preparing individuals for baptism. We have gained much experience with the Lord, whose advice, leading and caring we still experience daily. My husband is 69 years old now and retired. I am 67, and in good health. We live in the church parsonage. I clean the church and handle the literature. When time permits, I set up a display area near the street and try to sell our hooks. I am very happy I can still work as a pastor's wife, and with my husband, prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ. We both are thankful to the Almighty God that our children and grandchildren are all members in the church.

I bless God for calling me to such service that I may carry His Seal.