Meet Aurora!

Editorial: Meet Aurora!

AURORA CANALS has recently stepped into the role of associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association, which includes serving as director of Pastoral Spouses and Families and as editor of The Journal. We asked her some big questions, and she answered with candor and grace.

Leah Page is a pastor’s wife in California. She adores her husband and twin baby girls. She also enjoys helping with different aspects of ministry, from worship leading to
children’s ministries to work at their church’s community farm

WHERE ARE YOU FROM, AURORA?
I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. When I was 10, my parents decided to move to the United States of America. So I grew up in the beautiful state of New Jersey, which we call the Garden State. I graduated from Washington State University with a B.A. in business administration.

 

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BEAUTIFUL NAME? 

My parents gave me the name Aurora because that was my grandmother’s name. Aurora means dawn.

WHAT JOBS HAVE YOU HELD?
I’ve had many jobs over the years, but the one I enjoyed the most was when I worked with my husband as an assistant evangelist in the Oregon Conference. However, since I come from a family that loves working with numbers, I guess accounting is in my DNA. I served in the Oregon Conference as an associate treasurer for 18 years. In March 2016 I began serving in the Chesapeake Conference as an associate treasurer in charge of payroll until I was elected at the GC Session.


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER IN THE GENERAL CONFERENCE MINISTERIAL DEPARTMENT?
I have always worked together with my husband in ministry. I have always considered his ministry as a calling for both of us. I worked with Ramon for a few years as his assistant when he served as a full-time evangelist and developer of the Hispanic work in the Oregon Conference. I enjoyed going out with him and my children knocking on doors, distributing literature, and inviting people to take Bible studies or attend evangelistic meetings. One of the things I enjoyed the most was teaching children and young people Bible lessons as we prepared them for baptism. As in any career, one of the challenges of working with your spouse is learning to respect boundaries between the ministry and the home. But one of the things we have learned over the years is to depend on God. He has been the center of our lives since we married, and that has been the key to the success of our marriage.

HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR HUSBAND?

Ramon and I met in Paterson, New Jersey. He came to my house to give Bible studies to my uncle Nestor. Soon after Ramon began studying with Nestor, my father joined the Bible studies and brought the whole family with him. After several months of intense Bible studies, my entire family decided to get baptized and join the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As you can imagine, a friendly relationship developed between Ramon and me, and we have been happily married for 44 beautiful years. Ramon is very kind and loving, and I have always seen him as my role model. In the years I have been married to him, I have experienced his passion for serving the Lord and his love for sharing the gospel with people. In addition, he has been an excellent father to our children and grandchildren and very affectionate to me.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.
We have two adult children. Our son, Gabriel, graduated from Southwest-ern Adventist University with a major in communication. He works as an agency development manager and lives in the state of Oregon. Our daugh-ter, Jessica, is a payroll consultant and lives in the state of Washington. We have three beautiful grandchildren, Braxton, Lucas, and Sammie. We are proud and thankful to God for our children and grandchildren, and we wish we could see them more often.


WHAT IS AN EXPERIENCE YOU HAD THAT MADE YOU WISH YOU WEREN’T A PASTORAL SPOUSE?
When we were in college, Ramon brought me a list of pastoral spouse expectations! It turned out the list was prepared for single ministerial students who could use some counsel as they were seeking a spouse. But in college we were already married with two kids. Therefore, the list was not going to work for me. So at that point I wished I was not married to an aspiring pastor!


WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION WHEN YOU WERE ASKED TO TAKE ON THIS NEW JOB?
I was surprised, shocked, and humbled. I was surprised I was being called to such an important ministry since I have spent most of my working life serving the church in treasury. But I count this call as an honor and am reminded that God does not call the qualified—He qualifies the one He calls. What makes me a little apprehensive is that this is a radical change for me. I do not consider myself a public speaker or writer. I have always helped my husband behind the scenes. Then suddenly being thrown into the spotlight can be frightening. But I am excited and encouraged that the One who called me will strengthen me. I am constantly reminded of Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand” (CEB).

WHAT IS AN EXPERIENCE YOU HAD WHEN YOU WERE THANKFUL TO BE A PASTORAL SPOUSE?
I was thankful to be a pastor’s wife when I was diagnosed with cancer and the church rallied together to pray for me, encourage me, and even bring food to my family after my surgery.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PASTORAL SPOUSES?
Always keep a positive outlook on life, knowing that God called you and your family to serve Him and He will never leave nor forsake you. Always look at ministry not as one individual’s work but as a team’s work—and you are part of the team.

WITH GOD’S HELP, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?
One of the things that makes me excited about this new responsibility
is the opportunity to interact with people from around the world and to help support the crucial ministry of pastoral spouses. Here are some of the things we would like to accomplish by the will of God:

1. PRAYER: We would like to continue building on the spiritual foundation Jerry and Janet Page established. We believe prayer is the key to success in ministry and in everything we do for the Lord. Janet Page said something to me as she was passing on the baton: “Aurora, I did not know how to do many things when I began doing this, but one thing I do is pray like crazy. Pray, pray, pray, pray.” By God’s grace, we will continue building on that spiritual platform.
2. TRAINING: Pastoral spouses are expected to serve in ministry supporting their spouses. However, very little training is offered to help them accomplish their ministry. I want to work with my counterparts at the division level to evaluate current needs and develop a strategy to meet those needs.
3. RESOURCES: In collaboration with the divisions, we would like to produce resources that help meet the needs in the field.
4. ENCOURAGE: I want to encourage every ministerial spouse coordinator and ministerial spouse to continue serving the Lord, knowing that He is the One who called us together with our spouse.

ANY LAST WORDS FOR PASTORAL SPOUSES IN THE FIELD?

1. Stay connected with Jesus through Bible study and prayer.
2. Love, pray for, and support your spouse.
3. Love and encourage the church family, even those who may not be so lovable.
4. Be a lifetime learner. Keep growing in the Lord.

 

SHORT ANSWER

Food craving: Sweet foods like fruit and dessert

Top vacation spot: Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

Hobbies: Gardening, planting flowers around my house, running, fast walking

Best song of all time: “Ancient Words”

Preferred item of clothing: A suit

Number-one saying: “I am OK!”

Favorite Ellen White quote: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 10).

Bucket list item: My life has been terrific, so I don’t have any bucket list. The only thing I want to do is to prepare myself and my family for heaven.