When I first went to church, I was 14 years old. My mother felt that her life lacked the Holy Spirit. She went to two churches, and she always invited me to go to one of them with her. I felt confused; instead of finding tranquility, I came away nervous and sad because I saw men and women pretending to find the Holy Spirit under their chairs—they beat their bodies too. I went there just once. Some time later we were invited to some meetings at the Adventist Church for a Stop Smoking Plan. I did not smoke, but I attended the meetings. The speaker, Pastor Bernardo Rodriguez, touched our hearts (today, he is working at the Inter-American Division). It was at the end of a Week of Prayer that I was baptized. I felt happy and sad too. I was sad because the woman who invited me to go to the meetings read cards (like a fortune teller). I prayed that she would return, because it was her invitation that resulted in my mother being baptized the following month.
In my walk with the Lord, I attended many meetings, retreats, campmeetings, and congresses. I was church treasurer, Sabbath school teacher, an active member of the Master Guides and Youth Society. But I never understood the meaning of my baptism.
I also attended the youth congress in Medellin where I met a young man, but I really wasn't interested in him. Seven years went by. One day a minister came to our home, as my mother was a lay worker and the church treasurer. I found her talking with the minister in our living room, but I failed to notice that he was the young man I'd met years before.
Later I heard him preach. I liked him but felt he must already have someone. I didn't believe that I had the prerequisites to be the pastor's girlfriend.
One pastor that we highly respected and who loved our family mentioned this pastor to me and said how nice he was. This friend thought that perhaps my involvement in the Colombian Military didn't allow the pastor to think much about me. About the only time the young man saw me was when I was coming to and from lunch. I was always in a hurry so as to be on time to my job. Three months went by. The young pastor's mother came to visit him. He asked my mother if it would be all right for his mother to stay with her while he worked. I suggested that we invite him for lunch too. In this way, we all met together. Thus he and I became friends and frequently went out together. Yet, he didn't ask me to be his girlfriend.
One day as I was looking at photos, I remembered where I had first met him. I told my sister how surprised I was when I saw a photo of him. He was on the extreme left and I on the extreme right. It was a photo from the congress. I shared this with him, and we reminisced about that time. We decided to become special friends. We talked about how God had not permitted me to marry someone from the military and how he didn't have a girlfriend in Icolven.
That's when the trials began for me. I asked God to show me if he was really the man for me; people at church and pastors' wives grumbled that I wasn't the right woman for him. These people also said that I shouldn't be in the ministry because I didn't meet the requirements of a pastor’s wife.
The young man also prayed that God would show him which girl would be best for him. The Lord gave us a reply within a month, and three months later we were engaged. We decided to get married in October. In this lapse of time, my blood sisters fought with me about this. They were all against this, but I realized the big responsibility that I would have. Satan tried to take my eyes off of Jesus. I had trouble at work. My colleagues said I had reneged on protocol and the friendships we held. I became very unhappy. The worst came, when my future husband hit me with the idea that he had found another lady.
Every morning was very hard for me. My sisters were anxious and fearful. I knew the enemy was doing this—manipulating my sisters because they didn't know the Lord. The day of my wedding came. Just a few hours before the wedding, my financé's ex-girlfriend called me. She tried to persuade me not to go ahead with the marriage. She said that I would be unhappy because the pastoral family is always sad and suffers a lot as they can't have the things they are used to having. I considered what she said. Then I gave God my life. I told Him that He knew what was best for me.
God gave me the strength to get ready to go to church. I felt worried, but I was also happy as I arrived at church. Nervousness and fear swept over me as I was about to take the step to become a pastor's wife.
The crisis passed and my fears vanished—that was 14 years ago. I am a happy pastor's wife. I have understood how wonderful our God is to me.The Holy Spirit came to me without my noticing His presence. I don't know if you had this experience when you were baptized; when I was submerged in the baptismal waters, I left behind many anxieties, fears, and problems, and when I came up out of the water, it was as if a big load came off me. I felt light, happy, and at peace.
This is a little of my life. I share the ministry with my husband. God has given us a great gift in the form of a baby. One of my greatest joys is to read the Bible and the cradle roll Sabbath School lesson and tell the story of Daniel.
There's another experience that I would like to share about God's marvelous love.
My husband had to leave for a new district and because of my work, I had wait a few months. I stayed with my mother. We felt it was necessary to sell some items so that we could buy a small car that would be of great help to us in the work, to get to the places where the gospel was unknown. One day as I played with the baby, I listened to the radio. The announcer told of a place to sell articles, so I called and got more information. Two calls came, and I gave my address. In the afternoon a car drove up. A good-looking, well-dressed man stepped out. He wanted to buy some of the things we were selling. We talked about the price, and he agreed to buy some other things too. He wrote me a check.
"I want to call the bank to validate this check."
"Sure, no problem,” he replied.
However, the cashier told me that the check didn't belong to her branch office. When I told him that, he got nervous.
"You must have called the wrong place," he said as he put his purchases in the car. And strangely, I didn't try to stop him. My mother and I felt we were being robbed. We were scared, but we silently prayed that God would help and protect us. I felt very sad that the things we had sacrificed to have were now been taken from us.
Then I said, "I am going with you to the bank."
"Oh, I am in a hurry. I have spent a lot of time talking."
He looked hot but pale, but he finally agreed to take me. I went as I was—in shorts and slippers. On the way, I prayed again that God would not let anything happen to me and that I would not lose my things. I had told the man that I worked for the Army, that my husband was the pastor of the Adventist Church, and that we just had a baby. I told him I was selling things in order to buy a car so we could do the Lord's work. As I looked around the car, I noticed there were no handles to open the doors. I felt very afraid then, but I trusted the Lord to help me. I kept talking. Then the man told me that he would drop me off at the bank as he was in a hurry to get to an appointment. He was mad at me because I told him that when a person makes a purchase, he isn’t supposed to be in a hurry.
Meantime, back at home, my mother was worried but praying for my safety.
When we passed the Battalion, the man told me, "We are going back to the house. It will be better for me to cash the check; you keep the things for me. I will return for them tonight." I agreed.
He turned the car around, and we went back to the house. The man took the things out and left.
In this moment we saw God's love. He protected us from being robbed and saved our lives. The Lord tells us in His Word, "Believe in the Lord and he will bring it to pass. He will protect you from all danger."
There were many attempted robberies in our neighborhood, but the Lord had always taken care of us. When we told this story to our neighbors and friends, no one believed us. It seemed incredible that a thief would return the things he stole! But this showed us that God loved us and that the Holy Spirit had taken care of us.
Colossians 3:2 tells us to put our minds on things above, not on things of this earth. Second Timothy 2:12- 13 tells us the same thing.
Every morning I seek God and consecrate myself to Him as the book Steps to Christ says we should—making it the very first work of the day. I am sure that if we had not been living in communion with God, we wouldn't have had such a successful ministry. Through this ministry—14 years of it—I have come to know the Lord, and each day I want to learn more from Him.