It's common to hear "Buenos días" or "Namaste" at the Mission Adelante office in the mornings. However, if you stop by now, you are likely to hear "Dobrea utra" as well. That's Russian for "good morning," and it's been brought by our newest staff member who comes all the way from Tajikistan! Elena Mamadnazarova joined the Mission Adelante team in January to lead our community development ministry and is already making an impact.
"Lena" brings with her a Master's degree in International Development from Brandeis University, as well as over 10 years of international community development experience in Central Asia. Her most recent role was managing the Central Asian office of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Kazakhstan. Her educational background, along with her depth of experience and cross-cultural competency have raised the level of excellence on our leadership team almost overnight.
Beyond her professional qualifications, Lena's faith journey is deep and inspiring. She experienced being a refugee during Tajikistan's civil war, having to flee to Russia when her father's race and culture made their family the target of ethnic cleansing. During this time she prayed fervently to a God she did not yet know for her father's safety. God answered her prayers. Later, when they returned to Tajikistan, Lena received Christ with a friend who invited her to attend a church that had been started by Korean missionaries in her town. She grew and served and began to feel a calling to live out her faith in practical ways that would help communities.
Of course, a relationship brought Lena from the East coast to Kansas City. Her husband, Ray Chan is a pediatrician with Children's Mercy and they have a daughter, Samila who is three. Together they are members of Christ Community Church where they attend the Downtown campus. Lena has served at Christ Community as a member of their Global Leadership Team.
Mission Adelante is delighted to have Lena on board and excited for her leadership as she helps our team turn individual transformation into community transformation!