My Tribute to Cristina De Hoyos
Cristina, our dear friend who we will greatly miss, passed away on September 27, 2010. She was an incredibly Biblical example of a wife and mother. Married to a “Command Man,” (a description taken from the Pearls’ book, “Created to be his Helpmeet”) there was no question who was going to lead in their marriage and home. But Cristina was no shrinking violet either. She had a very strong, powerful, sometimes opinionated personality. You might call her a “spitfire.” In obedience to the Lord, and out of love for Him and her husband, she submitted to her husband–beautifully. Amazingly well. The story of Alfredo and Cristina De Hoyos’ salvation and the impact that those decisions made on their marriage and the dynamics within their family is so dramatic that it could be made into a best-selling book or movie. After becoming Christians, both of them grew in their faith by leaps and bounds. Cristina came under Alfredo’s authority, and saw God leading through her husband. She respected Alfredo. And Alfredo adored her. He worshiped her. At Cristina’s funeral, Alfredo said to me, “She was my ‘queen.'” Cristina gave every moment of her life to loving and serving Alfredo and her children and discipling others. After five children, and 30 years of marriage, she still looked at Alfredo with devotion and love and a twinkle in her eye and he still wanted to be with her every second.
She was always available to him, and never in a resentful way. When he came up to her, she smiled at him, and would coo and almost “purr.” She always catered to his needs. She would fix him special food, take care of whatever he needed, be by his side when he was talking to and ministering to people, often sitting at their table in their dining room, or when out in the community visiting the sick, or sharing the gospel or counseling. She was the epitome of a helpmeet. But she was no doormat. Do not for one minute think that he walked over her. Never was a woman more loved, I don’t think, by a husband, more esteemed, more elevated in status, than she.
Cristina was a very strong woman! Her strength came from the Lord. She knew what she believed and she knew how to communicate to others their need for Him. She was an intelligent, capable, confident woman. A fantastic cook. An expert in many areas and especially in nutrition, she had a library of books on nutrition that was larger than my entire library. She was aware of everything that was happening around her. She kept track of the needs of others, and met them, or brought them to someone who could. She counseled women continually. She could have led in many ways outside her home, and led well, but she knew what God had called her to do as a helpmeet to her husband, and mother to her children, raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and she made her husband and their family greater, exponentially, by supporting her husband’s agenda, and working hard to make him successful. She sought to please him. He looked to her for counsel and advice. She followed him. He listened to her. He was immensely influenced by her. She CHOSE to serve him. She chose, out of love for Christ, to die to herself. She laid down her life for her family: for her husband and her children. And out of the dying came life. Her example opened many doors of influence.
The realm where she led was in the community of women. Women throughout the area came to her, talked to her, asked her for help and advice, watched how she interacted with her husband and family, and they were changed. Many were led to the Lord by her, or came to Christ because of the De Hoyos family’s ministry.
In her Bible she had recorded the names of those she had led to Christ. She had started writing on the inside flyleaf. The first name written was her husband, Alfredo’s. Then more names. When the inside flyleaf was not sufficient space to contain the names, she went to the back.
One thing I observed her do in a group of women sitting in a circle, was to suddenly, loudly, almost startlingly, call out a woman’s name, who might be sitting across the circle from her, during testimony time. She knew that the women needed to become bold in speaking about the Lord, and what He had done in their lives. She wouldn’t just wait for them to get up the courage to speak. Oh, no! She would call on them by name, like a command! There was no excuse, no possibility of saying, “I don’t have a testimony today.” She expected that if you were walking with the Lord, professing to know Him, and you knew anything of His Word, you would have some testimony to give. She also knew these women, and was like a mother to them. She knew what situations they were in, what they were going through, what level of prayer was needed, and what physical needs they had, as well as spiritual, and she was ready to give. She truly cared and they knew it!
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.