DALLAS (BP) — Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, Estela Rangel had only one request of her husband David when they married: “Never become a pastor.” As a child, she had felt pressure to be perfect in the eyes of the church, and she wanted a different life as an adult.
“But God had His plans,” Estela said.
After five years of marriage, David began to talk with her about the call he felt to become a pastor. The two were volunteering in the bus ministry of the Hispanic mission church where Estela’s father was the pastor, and David felt a pull on his heart to pursue full-time ministry.
“I know that without your help, I won’t get anywhere,” David told Estela.
“So, I agreed to support him, but not wholeheartedly,” Estela admitted.
The Rangels served for five years before Estela felt as though she had fully surrendered to her life as a pastor’s wife. “I realized that I had to stop asking, ‘What are people going to say and think about me?’ and start asking, ‘What is God going to do and how can I be a part of it?'”
But not long after Estela began to embrace her call to ministry as a pastor’s wife, David chose to step away from pastoring for a time. The Rangels knew that if they were going to lead a church, they both needed to be all in.
When the time came to return to the pastorate, they promised one another — and the Lord — they would give 100 percent.
“It’s like we read in the Old Testament, ‘Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15, NKJV).”
And that they did. Estela and David faithfully ministered for 35 years, starting four Spanish-speaking churches and taking numerous mission trips to both Guatemala and Mexico before he died in 2014.
“God gave my husband the heart of a pastor, and even when he was sick, he never let his illness keep him from serving God,” Estela said.
After David passed away, Estela was faced with the financial burden of covering a mortgage and other bills on her own.
Feeling like she had nowhere to turn, Estela remembered David contacting Mission:Dignity on behalf of her mother, Josefa de La Rosa. Since 2006, Josefa has received a monthly grant to help cover expenses from the ministry to retired pastors and their widows by GuideStone Financial Resources. Estela reached out in hopes that she could be assisted as well.
Not long after applying, Estela learned that she would soon receive a monthly grant from Mission:Dignity. Now, both mother and daughter are able to worry less about making ends meet.
While Estela and Josefa both miss their husbands, they see signs of God’s faithfulness every day. In fact, just last spring, six generations of their family joined together to celebrate Josefa’s 90th birthday.
Reflecting on the life she wasn’t sure she wanted, Estela is thankful that she trusted in, and ultimately surrendered to, God’s plan.
“God promises He will never leave us or forsake us,” she said, “and that is the most wonderful feeling.”
Mission:Dignity, online at www.missiondignity.org, provides financial assistance to more than 1,800 retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers and their widows in need of additional resources to cover housing, food and medical expenses.