Saturday, October 18, 2008

Women in Ministry: Margarita Campos Marileo

This is a guest post by Carlos Bonilla and Mayra Giovanetti, American Baptist Missionaries to Chile.

"Behold! My servant whom I uphold, my elect one in whom my soul delights! I have put my spirit upon him . . ." Isaiah 42:1

This is a key verse for Pastor Margarita Campos Marileo, who trusts it is the Lord who upholds here as His servant, who delights in her and who has put His spirit in her.

As we think of men and women of God who surprise us, we think of Margarita. On March 1, 2008, the Convention of Baptist Churches of the Chilean Mission and the Baptist Church of the New Redeemer in San Bernardo made history. Margarita became their first woman Baptist pastor to be ordained to ministry.

Margarita began her church life at Grandma Orfelia's side. Since age 15 she has held posts at the Second Baptist Church in San Bernardo and for the last 18 years she has held different posts with the Women's Convention Board.

As an adolescent it was prophesied that she would be "arrowhead to something big in her Jerusalem and to the nations." Back then there was little knowledge of prophecy, but Margarita knew God knew her. During a Sunday service she acknowledged in her heart to be a pastor and that the Lord was calling her. She attended the Baptist Theological Institute while struggling with her call and refusing to accept it.

The Lord kept confirming He was calling her to pastoral ministry and after a trip to the United States in 1999, she never again ran away from her call. For the first time she publicly acknowledged and accepted in front of the women, with fear: "God called me to be a pastor."

The Lord moved her and her family to the New Redeemer under the pastoral leadership of Victor Aguilar who with the church recognized Margarita's pastoral call. The preparation process for Margarita, her husband Patricio Bravo, and their son Adolfo was their school.

We have witnessed in Margarita the Lord's ministry in a church that is constantly growing, where the presence of His Spirit is evident, doing miracles, and showing His delight in a woman who is now an ordained pastor and surprises us.

This article first appeared in the Guide to Global Servants, 2008-2009, which is published annually by American Baptist International Ministries.

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