VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/23/14)—Rev. Adalia Gutiérrez Lee has accepted the invitation to serve as the International Ministries (IM) area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean.
Gutiérrez Lee, current IM missionary in Mexico, will be succeeding José Norat-Rodriguez as IM area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean upon Norat-Rodriguez’s retirement in 2015. Gutiérrez Lee will begin as Area Director on May 1, 2015.
As one of five IM area directors, Gutiérrez Lee will be responsible for working closely with IM’s 31 mission partners in 14 countries throughout Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. She will continue to foster the crucial relationships between IM and these partner organizations, with the goal of strengthening current ministries and developing new ones. She will supervise and support IM’s 40 long-term missionaries who work in this region.
Gutiérrez Lee and her husband, Ray Schellinger, were commissioned by IM in 1994. After serving for several years in Nicaragua, in 1999 they moved to Tijuana, Mexico where they founded Deborah’s House as a ministry to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. The mission offers a variety of services such as crisis intervention, healthcare, counseling and education for victims and abusers in these situations.
Area Director Norat has worked closely with the Schellinger-Gutiérrezes throughout their ministry. He describes his successor as a “visionary missionary,” noting that “Adalia has undertaken noteworthy projects and has an overflowing compassion that inspires and moves many persons to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God.”
“José’s shoes are big ones for me to try to fill,” says Gutiérrez Lee, “but he has been gracious enough to tell me that I can do this, and that he’s going to be available for a couple of years to coach me and to help me out in anything I need. I’m confident, with all the affirmation that I’ve received from my friends and colleagues in mission, that God is going to continue providing and helping us to see the wonderful things that God has in store for us.”
IM Executive Director Reid Trulson noted that a number of Adalia’s missionary colleagues recommended her for the role of Area Director. “Their strong endorsement supports our recognition that the Holy Spirit has given Adalia the skills, knowledge and experience that uniquely equip her for service as the area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. Our international partners will likewise value the wisdom and cultural sensitivity that she brings to our relationships throughout the region. We are blessed to welcome her into this ministry.”
When Adalia begins her ministry as area director, her husband, Ray, will continue to work with Deborah’s House, facilitating relationships with churches and volunteer groups, assisting with the leadership transition and helping to find and train those that can continue this valuable ministry. Under the supervision of Area Director Benjamin Chan, he will also begin to raise awareness around the world about issues related to domestic violence and immigration, encouraging others to begin ministries to address these concerns.
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American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, IM began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships with God and change their worlds through the power of the Holy Spirit. IM works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
ABCUSA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.