Love for the Unwanted


Rachael was born into an upper middle class Argentinian family, the fifth of five children. Her siblings were of normal height, but Rachael was a dwarf and only grew to be as tall as an eight-year-old girl. Her family thought she was a judgment of God for some unknown sin of theirs. Her brothers and sisters tried to hide her because of their embarrassment. Needless to say, Rachael never felt wanted.

In her private Catholic school, she was also unwanted as a friend. Except for Ruth, the daughter of an Alliance pastor. Rachael found her way to Ruth’s father’s church, and her recollection of the first message she heard was about a God of love. She discovered that God loved her just the way she was, little body and misshapen arms and legs.

Christ made Rachael free. And when He did, she felt His call on her life to be a pastor, just like the pastor who had led her to Him. But Argentine culture is ruled by men. For a woman to aspire to be a pastor was ridiculous. But Rachael was determined. She pleaded with her pastor to tell her where to go to prepare for ministry.

Rachael applied to the Bible Institute and was turned down three times. The fourth time they accepted her but made it clear they would make no exceptions for her because of her physical condition. After four years at the Bible Institute, Rachael applied for a church. She was turned down, but Rachael would not give up. She went back to them three or four times.

Finally the Board of Directors gave her a little church that had a grand total of three members. It shook them up to see their pastor arrive. They would not take her seriously. But she plunged into the task immediately. God gave her an idea. Why not learn to give injections of medication to serve the ill? Rachael began to visit the homes of any who were sick, traveling from place to place on her bicycle. After administering injections, people would seek to pay her. In Argentina nothing is given away. Instead, she would invite them to attend the services.

Rachael did everything; she would play the accordion, lead the singing, take up the offering, etc. And always in her preaching she mentioned the love of God. People understood that message, because they saw it written all over her life. Rachael built that church to the point that it had a Sunday school of more than 100 children, a youth group of about 35, and 54 baptized men and women. And that in Argentina where women could not lead. Eventually the national church gave Rachael another church, and in the early 70s, she became the only ordained woman in The Alliance!

Rachael concretizes the question of the place of women in the church in general and in The Christian and Missionary Alliance. The good news so changed her life that she without hesitation yielded her life to serve Christ through the church which had brought her that message of freedom.

—by Leslie A. Andrews

Adapted from Perceptions of the Role of Women in the C&MA, May 1976

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