On June 9, 2018 the church, in particular the Mesoamerica region, lost an incredible woman of God. Dr. Natalia Nikolova, a beloved doctor and leader of the church in Costa Rica and a SENDAS alumn, went home to be with the Lord at 45 years of age. Dr. Nikolova was in Israel receiving treatment for cancer.
Our dear sister in Christ grew up amidst an atheist environment in a country controlled by the Soviet Union during the 1970’s. She graduated from the State University of Odessa in Ukraine in 1995 as a Doctor of Medicine. A short time later she arrived in Costa Rica, where she settled in Ciudad Quesada, San Carlos, in the north part of the country.
In that city, thanks to the hospital ministry of the Church of the Nazarene, she heard that in a nearby congregation Bible courses were being offered. The Bible had been a topic of interest for her since an early age.
So one day in 1998, Dr. Nikolova arrived at a Nazarene church to attend a SENDAS class, offered through the decentralized studies program. She enjoyed the course so much that she continued to attend the Church and eventually surrendered her life to Jesus. During this time, she continued studying theology and in November of 2005 she would graduate from SENDAS with a Diploma in Christian Ministry (with Suma Cum Laude honors).
At the time of her passing, Dr. Nikolova served as the coordinator for one of the same type of centers where she first heard about Jesus, in the Costa Rica North District. She also taught several courses at that center from 2006 to 2016.
Rev. Johnny Calvo, district superintendent for the Northern District of Costa Rica, had to to say about Dr. Nikolova, “Natalia was a great example of steadfastness and dedication, serving our district with all her strength and being an example to all believers.”
Here is a small tribute (in Spanish) to the life of Dr. Nikolova:
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