Rev. Sirlene Bustos, member of the Board of SENDAS and professor for Course of Study classes, was elected as the Superintendent of the Costa Rica Central district in the February Assembly. She has served as the Pastor of the Los Angeles Church of the Nazarene (previously called Mozotal) for 12 years. She assumed this new role on March 5th.
Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Superintendent Bustos and her responses are an inspiration for us all.
- 1. How did you feel when you were elected as the new superintendent?
Scared. Very scared. Because really, I never sought nor even hoped for this. In the district there are people with more experience and more years of service. I felt scared thinking of all the things that would have to change, the daily routine of my life, and the challenge that the position represents.
But at the same time I said, “Well, the Lord never has taken me to a place where He left me alone,” so the first thing I did was ask my family if they would come along with me. If they did not, I would not have accepted the position.
- What are the goals you have for the Central District in this first year?
Well, I have had a meeting with the advisory board and we are working and planning. I have realized that we have to begin with these three points: 1. Organize 2. Visit 3. Consolidate. We are working in these three areas.
Another necessary thing is to meet with the female pastors. Although the call is the same, being a female pastor is different. I understand that. It can be very difficult. So I would like to meet with them to talk, encourage them and listen to their experiences.
- How will you balance your life between the local church, the district and your family?
I think the key is to organize. Since I have had the experience of working in a secular job, I have had to manage my time between the church, work and family. In the local church, we already have a plan with the leaders to preach, visit, etc. They know that now they will have to be more flexible. In our home, we all work together. There are four of us, and we will work together.
- You have pastored for 12 years. When you began, did you have in mind that you might one day serve as the district superintendent?
No. No. Actually, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Mary Lou Riggle, who was superintendent in this same district. She reminded me of the time when I was her secretary and had the job of studying the Manual to learn to respond to different situations, whether they were administrative or doctrinal questions and she would ask me, “What should we do?” Because of these moments of teaching, Dr. Riggle told me that she was not surprised to hear the news about my election.
Before being a superintendent, I am a pastor. Don’t take that position from me, the privilege of being a pastor. Looking back, I can see God’s design. God is a God of order. He knows what He is doing. I passed through a process. I have to continue in God’s plan.
- What gives you strength to serve in the role of superintendent?
Well, I have two key verses in my life. In the first years of my pastorate (in Mozotal), the verse Psalm 138:8 was important to me. The Lord will complete in me His purpose. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” This verse reminded me that God has a purpose for life.
When we arrived to the new location of the Los Angeles Church and we bought the land and all the issues that came with that, one day as I read the Word, I found the passage of Exodus 33:15 about Moses. “And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.” Moses knew that he would confront difficult situations along the way, but he said that he was always willing, as long as God would be with him.
These are two verses that have given me strength. I ask God for these things each day. They are the inspiration and guide each day for my life.
6. What has SENDAS meant to your life?
This is the place where I received my education. I began taking classes with SENDAS to be a better Sunday School teacher. In those classes, I heard the call of God. I believe it is important to put into practice what we are learning and not to leave the learning in the classroom just as knowledge. I am convinced that studying in SENDAS is not simply to gain knowledge, but also to minister. I appreciate so much all I have received in my theological education.
I take classes and I teach classes in SENDAS. Now, I am taking the course The Reality of the Latin American Pastorate. It is a good course for this moment, very good and very enriching.
We give thanks to God for her life, we congratulate her on this election and we promise to pray for this new stage of her ministry.
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