What a celebration it was, with representatives from 3 countries and a multitude of churches and denominations!
Marlene Dell Lindo received her call to ministry 50 years ago, when she was just a teenager. At the time, she "knew" that women could not be pastors, and she tried to put out the fire that burned in her. But she found that the fire of God can't be snuffed out.
On Sunday, February 19, 2006 we celebrated her ordination as a minister.First Baptist Church of Limon was packed, with standing room only. The choir processed in their colorful robes, followed by the deacons and deaconessess, dressed all in white, with gloves and hats for the women. Then the large group of visiting clergy, from the main churches of Port Limon and surrounding areas, including Panama, as well as a significant group from the San José area. They were followed by the ministers from Walker Memorial Baptist Church, Bronx, New York, in elegant flowing robes, and the other participants in the service. I was invited to be part of that group as Marlene's advisor for the ordination process.
The service was a short three hours that overflowed with excitement and joy. Her closest colleague, Mirna, was smiling from ear to ear the entire service, and when she sang a solo, she poured her soul into the music and received a standing ovation. The sermon reminded us that, despite the strong opposition from some local pastors to this woman being ordained, God alone chooses the messengers of the Good News. Marlene has shown, through years of ministry at First Baptist Church and as director of the Caribbean Theological Center, that she has tremendous gifts in ministry.What a testimony to those present, of God's favor poured out on the often undervalued Afro-Caribbean community of Limon.
Marlene is a member of First Baptist Church of Limon, where she serves as pastor, and also of Walker Memorial Baptist Church in the Bronx. Her mother lives in New York, and Marlene had been intending to retire there after finishing her teaching career. But God had other plans, and she was invited to direct the new Caribbean Theological Center being started by Ricardo and Doris Mayol, ABC missionaries, in Limon. Then her church was left without a pastor and she filled in the gap. Soon she was fully committed to Limon and to ministry. She is deeply respected throughout the area. Her strong sense of compassion and social justice have been an inspiration to us in Ediciones Lumbrera.
Praise God with me for the life of this remarkable woman!