Feature by Edwin Manuel Garcia
Therezinha Barbalho grew up in Brazil and wanted to be a pastor more than anything. But after graduating from the Adventist seminary, she faced difficulty finding pastoral employment beyond being a Bible worker, due to the region’s attitudes toward women in ministry.
She realized her dream career wasn’t going to happen, so she went back to school and became a lawyer.
Years later when Barbalho and her husband sought better medical care than Brazil could offer for their daughter who has autism, she sent her pastoral résumé to conferences in the United States. She was offered a job as a Bible worker at New Jersey Conference’s Luso-Brazilian church in Newark in 2004, then promptly became the associate pastor.