Esta historia se escribe en Español = This story is also written in Spanish here
“ Working in the community I’ve discovered that each person can become an agent of change and the pastor’s job is to accompany those changes.”
Editor’s Note: The sparkle in Wuilver’s eyes pulls one into a sincere welcome. His soft-spoken affect immediately makes the listener feel comfortable. Wuilver’s compassionate reserve exemplifies the definition of a pastor. With an unwavering dedication to his Lord, he cares for his flock putting their needs above his own. He has a firm understanding of Lutheran theological doctrine from his seminary studies as well as practical knowledge from the role model set by his parents, Francisco and Jesus Carrillos, both Lutheran pastors who were martyred in 2006. He and his congregation mark that anniversary date every year with a service of remembrance.
Despite some setbacks as a result of the trauma surrounding that horrible personal event, Wuilver felt called to the ministry. His wife, two daughters, and granddaughter saw him ordained into the Lutheran ministry in August, 2019. It was a privilege for my partner and me to be in attendance to support him for that special event.
When we first interviewed Wuilver, his daughters were young children and his goals were to complete his own education and for his daughters to earn professional degrees. Now many years later, his older daughter is about to complete a six-year university degree in social work; the younger one continues to study. His wife works in tandem with him in ministry.
From Wuilver: My parents served as wonderful role models to my sister and me while growing up in Jayaque, where I was born in 1975. Besides preaching the gospel they were community leaders in human rights promoting the efforts of the Red Cross. Their humble devotion to the community meant they responded to needs at any time of the day or night.
It was always my feeling and plan to follow in my parents’ footsteps and become a pastor. However, I had to discontinue my studies twice at the university. The first time was because of the trauma I experienced after my parents were assassinated when I needed to take measures to ensure my personal security. It was a painful period in my life. The second time I discontinued my studies was due to lack of economic means to continue.
I did not give up on my goals and much later was able to complete my theological education at seminary and become ordained as a Lutheran pastor. The Holy Spirit works within me to serve the people in my community. My gifts are listening and showing solidarity with those in need. I asked some of our members what they felt my gifts are, and they responded, “Wuilver is very patient. He likes to help people. He wants to obtain more knowledge.”
Since I have become an ordained pastor of a church, I have learned much from my members. They teach me the practical aspects of serving as a pastor rather than the theories we learned in seminary. Active ministry strengthens my faith. I am learning that despite what is happening, my members never give up despite their challenges. It seems the bad times lead them into faith by getting up and doing; it is an active faith.
When we are young and inexperienced, we have many dreams about transforming the world, the injustices and inequalities that hurt us so much; however, working in the community, I’ve discovered that each person can become an agent of change and the pastor’s job is to accompany those changes. When the community comes together and organizes themselves, they have the answers and solutions to their own problems.
My concerns for my church and its members during the pandemic include my frustrations of being unable to be helpful to them while quarantined when so many were sick and need help. An ongoing concern is the lack of opportunities for our youth growing up in an environment of violence that shut down their personal dreams and remove their desire to study because economics do not allow for those possibilities forcing them to remain at home caring for the family.
Our church received financial support from one U.S. church to create a computer room which funded five computers, a printer, paper, and internet service for students to do on-line school. It was very helpful and appreciated.
A gardening project funded by an NGO helped establish seeds, fertilizers, and weed killers for 40 of our families. It was very successful and yielded wonderful crops adding to their nutrition and food sustainability.
Both of those projects were short-term ones that have ended; we are on our own once again.
The members of the church and I develop an arrangement for me to divide my time between church activities and personal time. During my personal time I try to find other work that will pay me so I can earn money to buy food for my family. However, within the church emergencies arise which are part of my ministry that I need to respond to. I enjoy helping people.
[Some pastors require time to be alone to ponder and reflect. Asked whether he allows himself this luxury, Wuilver laughs]. I live with four females and am never alone, but they love me so much. We do things together which is fine with me.
Serving the same church my parents served at is a great advantage to me. The members know who I am, and I know them. I think we have reached a beautiful feeling, the feeling that we are all one big family. Within my church family I have discovered the love, the commitment, the unity, and the compassion which define a true family.
Editor’s Note: Wuilver’s kindness extends well beyond his own family and church family. He frequently reaches out to my partner and me to check on our well-being and health. We can count on receiving loads of lovely photos with nearly every note. They always raise our spirits on our worst days! Who couldn’t smile when this comes our direction?