About DTS

Ana Maria Compos

Ana Maria ComposAna Maria Campos’ father was one of the first Christians in their city in Peru, South America. At the age of six she was already helping him plant churches. They would invite the children in the area to attend a meeting after church on Sunday, and through the children’s involvement the parents would become involved. This method of reaching the community became a pattern throughout her ministry.

At 12 years old, she was leading vacation Bible schools. At 15 she was the superintendent of the churches’ Sunday school programs, and worked as a volunteer for Youth for Christ.

“There was so much need in my country that any workers, even young ones were welcome,” she said.

When she was 17, Ana Maria went to work with Youth for Christ full time, and she continued to work with them for 15 years, eventually as director of training, teaching youth pastors in South and Central America. It was through her ministry experience that she recognized not only her own need for more training, but also the vast need for Christian education throughout Latin America.

She attended a seminary in Bolivia for one year to study Christian Education and then went to the Bible institute and seminary in Lima, Peru. She also studied psychology, specializing in teenagers. In the meantime, she helped plant a church in Lima through a Youth for Christ group. Every Sunday afternoon, she and a friend evangelized in a poor area by starting a children’s program that eventually reached their parents with the message of the gospel, later becoming a large, formal church.

She then moved to Guatemala for more training, receiving a bachelor’s degree in theology from SETECA (translated Central American Theological Seminary) with high honors. While she was in school, she helped to establish a Youth for Christ outreach in Guatemala and helped train church leaders.

It was at SETECA that she met her husband, Oscar. After completing their master’s degrees, the Camposes moved to Nicaragua during the Sandanistan occupation. Because of the hostile takeover, most of the Americans left the country. This left many gaps to be filled—Ana Maria and Oscar filled roles teaching in a Bible institute.

Because they were not Sandanistas, they were called “contra” and were targets for suspicion. They received threatening phone calls and lived under intimidation, causing them to move twice.

“In spite of that, the Lord was blessing the students through the institute.”

While in Nicaragua, Ana Maria became pregnant, which made the food situation even more difficult. Their food was rationed and she was concerned about getting enough nutrients for the baby.

“Friends from the U.S. would sent egg powder and vitamins in the mail to me, and my neighbors and students from rural areas would bring over soup for my baby.”

Finally, they were forced to leave the country. They had no place to go, so they went to Peru where her family still lived. Their first daughter, Rebeca, was born there. Their next move was to Guatemala, where their second child, Sam, was born. At this time Ana Maria was getting a master’s of divinity degree from SETECA and Oscar was teaching.

Later, they moved to El Salvador, where Oscar was asked to pastor a church during the civil war. Hoping to eventually get more training, they agreed to go for 2 years to help the church through some divisions and problems. There, their third child, Sara, was born.

The war was brutal—Ana Maria said there was constant gunfire in the streets and that often, when she would leave the house in the morning, she would see dead bodies outside. The pollution also haunted them. Her son, Sam, was having stomach problems because of it and had to be taken to the emergency room every few weeks. The doctors recommended that they leave the country.

The Lord soon answered their prayers through a family from the U.S. who offered to pay for them to come to Washington state, learn English, and live in their house. Oscar began English studies at Pacific University and began applying to Dallas Seminary for doctoral programs.

The pastor at the church they were attending in Washington asked the congregation for enough funds to send them to school, and the church responded enthusiastically. Oscar came down to Dallas first to look for an apartment. He was told that the waiting list was long, but when he explained his situation, the fact that he was currently without a home, living with friends, qualified him for housing more quickly.

While Oscar pastored a Hispanic church and took courses toward an S.T.M. and later a Ph.D. at Dallas Seminary, Ana Maria helped at Victor Hexter Elementary as a volunteer.

“I worked in the cafeteria, the library, and occasionally when they needed someone to go in and teach the children about a foreign country for social studies, I would do that too.”

When her youngest daughter, Sara, started kindergarten, Ana Maria felt that it was time for her to begin her doctoral work. So, she applied to Dallas Seminary’s D.Min. program.

“People kept saying, ‘You’re Hispanic and you’re a woman—why do you need this?’ I would tell them that it was not for my sake, but for the sake of the ministry in Latin America.”

Knowing that God understood the desires of her heart, she prayed that He would intervene and make a way. She soon received confirmation that not only was she accepted, but had also gotten a full scholarship.

As the first Latin American woman to receive a Doctor of Ministry degree from DTS, Ana Maria is now professor and chairman of Christian education at SETECA in Guatemala. She graduated from DTS with a Doctorate and the Howard Hendricks’ Award in Christian Education in May 2001 and has taught at SETECA since 1997.

Using the tools she gained through the D.Min. program, she developed SETECA’s department of Christian education, and she is currently building the first master’s program in Christian education in Latin America, which will serve as a model for other seminaries in the region.