Olga Robles is superintendent of the Puerto Rico East District Church of the Nazarene and represents the Mesoamerica Region as a member of the denomination's General Board. For 11 years she pastored Rio Grande Church of the Nazarene in Puerto Rico. Prior to that, she engaged in a career teaching high school history. She has a daughter, Mayda, who is an architect, and two grandchildren.
How do you keep your mind sharp?
I read constantly.
As a child, what did you think wanted to be when you were an adult?
A flight attendant.
What is it like serving as a district pastor rather than pastoring a church?
It's a challenge but, at the same time, it's a way of serving. As a pastor, I felt close to my congregation. It felt natural.
But serving pastors becomes a bit of a challenge. It requires more thinking-more ethical and collaborative thinking. Some pastors may have more seniority and several pastors have doctorates in theology. I have to keep informed and am always reading. I know how to listen. The pastors have important things to say. Also, I know how to offer compassion.
How long have you been in this role?
Three years. The first two years I was pastoring and serving as superintendent. This is my first year to be district superintendent, solely.
What advice would you give to those wanting to be involved in ministry?
God is faithful. If the door is open, go through it. God will be there. If you are taking a positive leadership role, the people will support you.
Do you have other women clergy members on your district?
How did your background in teaching history help you as a pastor?
The woman who inspired me to be a teacher was my Sunday School teacher. She had me sit next to her and then taught me many essentials of teaching. It was a hands-on approach and proved helpful.
How do you balance your busy professional life?
My family gives me balance. I live with my elderly mother, Elisa, and pick up my grandson, Rogelio ('Quique'), after school whenever possible.
What would we be surprised to know about you?
As a young person, I was observing a pastor's wife. The couple was having a hard time at the church and I thought, I'm never going to marry a pastor--never realizing years later that I would be a pastor.
I'm not a good cook.
How do you relax?
Being in nature.
Cocoa flan (custard).
Holiness Today, May/June 2011