Passing the Baton

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Written by Paul Kienzle, ESL Latino Director

My time here at Mission Adelante is coming to an end. Reflecting over these last four years as Director of ESL Latino, I realized I have learned so much. I have received valuable insight into English as a Second Language and how it impacts our Latino community. I have a deeper understanding and appreciation of people from other places and their cultures. I hold a deep admiration and respect for our volunteers and their commitment to our students. I have been challenged to expand my capacity to love my neighbor.  I have had the privilege of being part of a multicultural team that works and relates well together. I believe that Mission Adelante truly lives into its vision that effective ministry is relational at its core. And when those relationships are interdependent, learning is mutual, serving is reciprocal, and friendship is life-giving. It is now time to “pass the baton”.

Maybe you’ve seen those relay races where “passing the baton” smoothly to the next runner can be the difference between winning or losing. For the past five months the Assistant Ministry Director, Gissell Vazquez, and I have been in the process of transition, my transition. She is the one I will be passing the baton to at the start of our summer trimester. So far, it’s been a smooth hand-off. I could not think of a better person to take the reins of the ESL Latino program. God has already blessed and used Gissell in many ways since coming on staff a little over two years ago from Cuba. She has had much success as the worship leader of our Latino church community and she leads and guides one of the three Mission Adelante house churches. Just recently, Gissell has been training one of our apprentices to lead Arts Community, a program that she began a little over a year ago. She also helps support Yanelis Lopez, our Ministry Director, in the bigger picture stuff of Mission Adelante. Gissell has a lot of ministry going on, but she loves the challenge, and I do not doubt she will take our ESL Latino program to the next level! As the outgoing Director of ESL Latino, I have enjoyed her leadership and encouragement these last couple of years.

Many have asked me about our life after Mission Adelante. My wife and I will stay here in Kansas for now. We believe God will go before us. We do not know exactly what this next chapter holds, but we are confident that God is the One writing it. We trust that His plan for us is good, and it will give us a future and a hope!