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Thelma: A Lesson in Persistence
By Rod Boyd

"Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?"   -Luke 15:8

ThelmaMeet Thelma Domingues. Just like the lady who searched for her lost coin until she found it, Thelma is persistently pursuing the lost in Panama. I first met Thelma my second semester of teaching at the Central Bible School in Panama City. One of the most frightening experiences is taking role the first day of class. Most Latino names are unpronounceable to the new Spanish speaker. When I came across Thelma’s name I got excited. Now here’s a name I can pronounce… and remember! You see Thelma is my mother-in-law’s name.

I was surprised at who it was. Thelma is a petite under five-foot lady, probably 65 years of age. Thelma and I became friends. Each week she had a new story or testimony. One time she told me about her prayer group. She serves as an assistant pastor in her church. She leads a prayer group in her home. One week a lady requested prayer for her son who was behaving abnormally. The Lord revealed to Thelma that it was because his father was demon possessed. The Lord took her prayer group over to the family’s home and ministered to that man, casting the demon out him. Here’s a short little lady that can do spiritual warfare with the best of them.

But that’s not the whole story. You see, Thelma works during the day. She lives in the sprawling suburban of San Miguelito, about two hours out of the city by bus during the morning and evening commute. She gets up at 4:30 in the morning to catch a bus at 5:30. She arrives to work at about 7:30, works all day, and catches another bus over to the Bible school. Her first class begins at 5:30. The last class ends at 10:05. The students always ask us professors to let them out at 10:00. The last buses leave the city shortly after 10:00. Merciful as we are we let them out at 10:00 and watch them run down to the highway at the bottom of the hill. There’s Thelma, hoofing it down to the bus stop with the rest of the students! She probably doesn’t arrive back home until some time after 11:00, just to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go do it all over again!

What would possess a person—a petite, elderly person at that—to keep such a grueling schedule? God has called Thelma to do a job. She takes her calling seriously. She’s preparing herself as best as she can. She’s making the sacrifice to fulfill her calling. Thelma is my hero. She has taught me a lesson about what it means to be persistent. Lord… help each of us to be the same!