Antonio A. Rios.

During the first meeting of the wives of the elders of the Ecuador Union, Pastor Jonas Arrais, Ministerial Associate of the South American Division spoke with six ladies. They are: Maria Lucinda Tulmo Jacome, from the Playas Satacunga Church, wife of Luis Patricio and mother of three children; Pilar Sebasthianouska Calderon jurado, from the South Quito Church, wife of Diego Fernando, and mother of two little girls; Vicky Rivas de Cardenas, from the South Guayaquil Church, wife of Abraham and mother of two girls; Maria Nieves Tulmo Jacome, from the Yanahusko Church, wife of Jose Ricardo and mother of four boys; Teresa Karolys e Reyes, from the La Merced Church, wife of Juan Miguel and mother of five boys; and Laura Fustillos de Ortfz, from the Cinco de Junio Church, wife of/orge and mother of one boy.

Elder: What does it mean to be an elder's wife?

Lucinda: To uphold and help her husband so that he may feel motivated.
Pilar: I believe it's a privilege and a great responsibility.
Teresa: It means love, understanding, patience and much dedication.
Vicky: It's a privilege and at the same time a challenge. Privilege because I have the opportunity to serve God in almost all the departments of the church. A challenge because one has to dedicate the family and thus go out and help the husband as an elder.
Nieves: It's a reason to be proud. After I was given that responsibility six years ago, my life improved.
Laura: It's a privilege that I received from God, and also a responsibility that must be fulfilled within and without the church. She must understand where her help is necessary; so that her prayer, help and understanding to the ministry of the husband will be successful.

Elder: What importance does the role of the wife play in the life of a man who is in charge of a church?

Lucinda: To obey the Word of God and maintain a special communion with heaven.
Pilar: Since we are closer to them, we can discuss more personal issues and be better partners.
Vicky: The importance is fundamental because the wife must be a help and not a hindrance. She must be always ready to be a help wherever it's necessary.
Nieves: The most important role is to support him through prayer and the study of the Bible, besides taking care that his clothing is always in order.
Teresa: Walking together, supporting and praying much in order to obtain the necessary strength to go forward.
Laura: Her role is fundamental for team work. In other words that her abilities and gifts added to those of her husband must be placed in God's hands for the proclamation of the good news of salvation.

Elder: What type of support can the wife give her husband?

Lucinda: Work with him so that the message may be given to others.
Pilar: The most important thing is to be his companion, understanding him, supporting him in the spiritual as well as in the emotional, sentimental and physical well-being.
Vicky: That support must be total. In the first place, leaving him free to look after the needs of the church, the wife must be responsible for the children, when they are small; and at church, when her services are required she must be willing to participate, including to pray if that were the case.
Nieves: Teach the brethren that in the first place we must have our personal worship before any other activity and help him consider the Lord's business of greater importance than anything else.
Teresa: Much praying and unconditional support.
Laura: The support that the elder's wife must give her husband is unconditional, being at the same time loving and understanding.

Elder: How do you evaluate the first meeting of the Union's elders' wives?

Lucinda: I feel very happy to be in this place, and at the same time being preoccupied about my little girls.
Pilar: Very well. These have been days of great benefit for reflection and motivation, and to realize that we are not the only ones with problems concerning the time and obligations of our husbands.
Vicky: This meeting of elders' wives was fabulous; it greatly contributed to my recognizing responsibilities. Our husbands are not the only ones responsible. Here we learned what our role is within the church. Other countries should do likewise.
Nieves: I feel very happy to have taken part in this seminar. I also feel that God has His values and wishes us to use them.
Teresa: Marvelous. Let there be more togetherness.
Laura: It was a very interesting and spiritual meeting. Above all its purpose was to teach us how to help our husband's labor so that their work is more fruitful in the church.

Elder: In your opinion what are the three main attributes of a church elder?

Lucinda: Promote communion with Cod, Bible study and guide the members.
Pilar: The Word of God says that they must be faithful husbands. Not given to wine or worldly passions, and without reproach, besides being leaders emotionally balanced and capable of transmitting the divine teachings.
Vicky: The elder's characteristics: be God's servant, be about the church's business and always be an example.
Nieves: Give a good testimony, encourage those who are weak and be punctual.
Teresa: Humility, patience and be conscious of his need of God.
Laura: His congregation. Be connected with God 24 hours a day, and his desire to cooperate and do well in everything for the church. Be a missionary and contribute with new ideas for the growth of the church.

Elder: How can the elder's wife contribute to the fulfillment of his mission?

Lucinda: I help by participating in my husband's activities, and when possible I accompany him on his trips. Together we visit places and I always try to have his clothes and food ready.
Pilar: We can help them by suggesting ideas and work strategies, being their aids without impairing their work.
Vicky: As I said, the elder's wife must take active part in church activities helping and being always ready to give her opinion and her time.
Nieves: Sharing God's word and helping the sisters so that they can understand it.
Teresa: Being a helper on the side and understanding that I also have the responsibility for souls.
Laura: Being an unconditional helper, and above all, praying for the husband's ministry.

Elder: What is the greatest difficulty of the elder?

Lucinda: I believe it's work, since he needs to travel to town, work for a living, and during his absence he cannot support the church's activities.

Pilar: I believe it's reaching the brethren's heart.
Vicky: The greatest difficulty for the elders is lack of time. They must schedule their time very well. Nieves: For those who live in rural areas the problem is money, more so when the offering is lost. Also the lack of support from the brethren.
Teresa: Ingratitude.
Laura: That the brethren may understand the meaning of team work, having the same objectives and visions.

Elder: Is there a project being developed in your church now?

Lucinda: We would like to have electricity and water, since those utilities are basic and we don't have them. In our spiritual life my husband studies the Bible with people of the community, not only with church members where we belong.
Pilar: There are several and for that reason we very much insist in reform in the church.
Vicky: I've been the treasurer of the Southern Church for more than five years. I'm also part of the committee for Personal Ministry and Small Groups. We have a great challenge: more than 400 persons have requested Bible studies. We changed the church pews (more than 40 years old) and thank God we now have new pews and a beautiful church.
Nieves: At present we have no new projects, but our main need is restrooms, and that they become a reality at any moment. Spiritually, our project is to have a campaign in a brother's home.
Teresa: That the church grows with God's help, and improve on the elder's work.
Laura: At this time our great project is to build a new entrance to the church. We need the help of all the brethren in order to make this a reality. It's a great challenge, but we believe that we will finish it soon.

Elder: How do you budget your time to take care of your husband, your work, the church and your family?

Lucinda: I get up, pray and prepare breakfast, do my routine housework or fieldwork, planting, picking and taking care of my children. When I visit I take my children and take to other people words of hope. Pilar: The success in this world is to find equilibrium without neglecting any aspect of life. The important part is to take care of all those items. 
Vicky: Now it's becoming easier to administer to the church, because the girls are grown up. But when they were small they went to all church activities, and we have seen the fruits: they are good professionals using their gifts in God's service.
Nieves: We get up early. After worship we work in the field until 3 p.m. After arriving at home we dedicate some time to Bible study, and then continue with other activities.
Teresa: Everything is possible with God's help.
Laura: We have divided schedules for the church and our work, study and home. Thus we obtain equilibrium without neglecting or overdoing it in one of those areas. As a result there is a better relationship in the family.

Elder: What message would you like to share with other elders wives?

Lucinda: It was very good to have attended the meeting to learn and then be able to share that knowledge with other people. I would say to the sisters to take courage and come to the next seminar for elder's wives.
Pilar: It is profitable to get together for such occasions in order to share our experience, find comfort and renew our strength.
Vicky: The only thing that you should do is to open your hearts and let Jesus abide in it.
Nieves: Not to get discouraged as they perform the Lord's work even if it is not easy. We must move forward regardless of the suffering, but it's worth it since what awaits us in heaven is much better. I'm sure that God hears your prayers.
Teresa: We are at the end, and it's when we must pray, unite and prepare ourselves to be a real help to our husbands.
Laura: Let's pray without ceasing so that the Holy Spirit may be able to direct our husband's ministry and that we may become the coworkers that they need so much. 

From the magazine Anciao, October - December, 2002. Translated by Antonio A. Rios.