Ministering comfort and strength to the wives of pastors in Nicaragua, ministry widows Ruth (Ost) Martinez, Nancy Honeytree, and Patty Klewer recently hosted a “Retreat for Pastors’s Wives,” along with Ruth’s daughter, Angela. Ruth observed that over 400 Nicaraguan pastors have died during the pandemic, leaving ministry wives not only with the devastating loss of a husband but due to leadership changes, frequently the loss of the congregation they once served.
While the last two years have represented “mountains and valleys,” Ruth reports, “I am a ‘UPS’ lady—Upheld, Preserved, and Sustained, by his right hand!” Shortly after her husband of 48 years, Victor Martinez, finished his earthly race September 11, 2019, she continued their joint ministry commitments with the help of her daughter Angela.
The worldwide crisis hit Mexico especially hard. Through 2020 and 2021, over 1,500 pastors in Mexico died. In such difficult times, Ruth began to realize her purpose as a widow was to comfort others in grief. “I had a purpose as a single woman in ministry for six years,” she observed, and later she found purpose as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. She has now embraced a new purpose: teaching in the Bible School and area churches, caring for those in grief, particularly widows and orphans.
Don’t Lose Heart, a book written by two widows in ministry, serves as the basis for a 12-week project to comfort the grieving. “We had planned to help 30 ministry widows in the process of grief,” says Ruth. “To our greatest surprise we are now assisting more than 2,000, including men, women, children, and youth.” They are serving all ages in all types of grief and continue writing collaborative books, including Take Courage, now available on Amazon.
Social media has also proved a helpful tool to provide support. Daily comfort meditations from God’s Word are sent via WhatsApp, and WhatsApp chat groups of 15 to 20 provide additional encouragement. Weekly zoom meetings for targeted groups and videos on Facebook have expanded the reach. Ruth’s grief ministry (Legado de Acompañamiento) can also be found on Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, TikTok, and YouTube—with digital comfort connecting to approximately 8,000 in multiple countries!
“We are learning to be comforted,” says Ruth, “in order to comfort others.” Over 90 volunteers, having themselves received comfort and ministry, are compassionately learning to comfort others.
Ruth (Ost) Martinez, one of eight children of Danny and Ruby Ost, has long been a friend of the FCA. To learn more about her ministry of comfort, you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, to 1303 Calle del Norte Suite 300, Laredo, TX 78040, or call +1 811 050 8315 (in the USA) or 811 050 8315 (in Mexico).