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Two Amazing Women

Posted on May 28th, 2011

While speaking to pastors and leaders in Armenia, Colombia this week, I was introduced to two amazing women pastors whom you can meet in this photo below: Edelmira Sanchez, the woman on my left, a married mom with 6 children lives in a town near Cali, Colombia. She was a leader in their Christian and Missionary Alliance church in 2006 when a paramilitary group assassinated their senior pastor. (The church is located in an area with significant guerrilla activity).  She became the senior pastor in his place. Then the same people that killed her pastor threatened her. She was afraid but remained. She told me the story of when they arrived in the church with their guns to reinforce their point.  She refused to be intimidated. The church has grown to more than 600 people under her leadership and has built a foundation to serve over 350 orphans in their area. They have also two other works in other cities. Her testimony was incredible. The woman on my right, Nancy Villegas, also pastors a Christian and Missionary Alliance church in the city of Cali. She became the pastor when her pastor husband, along with her oldest son, were killed in an automobile accident. She also was seriously injured.  God healed her body and her heart, and she too became the lead pastor (also to her surprise). This church has since grown to over 750 people. As a result of her walk with God and leadership, the 30 CMA churches in her area nominated her as their supervisor. I asked her, “Do you mean to tell me you are a bishop too?” She bowed her head, laughed and quietly uttered, “Yes.” I came here to give leadership to a rapidly growing movement of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality in Spanish in Latin America. Yet God has given me many gifts here, one of which was to meet these two humble, unassuming women who have emerged as significant spiritual leaders in this part of the world. They did so in a denomination that, outside of Colombia, does not recognize or ordain women pastors. Humberto Guzman, the President of the CMA in Colombia, encouraged me to meet these two women and listen to their story. After doing so, all I can say is “Wow!”

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