Each week, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. This week, we are pleased to introduce Adalia Gutiérrez Lee.

Adalia, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
I was born in a Christian home. My father, Rolando Gutiérrez was born and served as a pastor in Nicaragua and later served in Mexico. He inspired me, as well as many others, to study seriously the disciplines of human knowledge, pastoral ministry, and theology in order to better serve humanity following the example of Jesus. My mother, Edna Lee, was born in Mexico but had Chinese roots. She served in the Baptist work in Mexico and in different ministries with the Baptist World Alliance. Her ministry left unforgettable memories of training believers, mutual respect, and genuine solidarity. Their example served as a determining foundation for my life.

I earned my medical degree from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) with the clear purpose in mind to use it for Christian service. From the very beginning, I focused on the responsibility of transforming my medical knowledge into forms of human sensitivity that spoke of my faith. Later, I accepted God’s call to study theology at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia where I had the opportunity to receive a theological education with excellent professors.

While studying at Eastern, I met the love of my life, Ray Schellinger, who is from the United States, and with whom I have shared a common ministry that has strengthened our lives. God has used International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches to incorporate us in missionary work, first in Nicaragua and then in Mexico. Ray and I worked in our respective ministries, economic development and health in Nicaragua. There I was able to combine my pastoral and medical skills to work with marginalized rural communities.

In 2001, we accepted the challenge to work in Tijuana, Mexico to carry out together with the Baptist women working there an urgent and much needed ministry against domestic violence. We formed a program, Deborah’s House, which serves and helps many women and their families to rebuild their lives in the midst of society. Deborah’s House, both the program and facilities, offers a creative and important faith-based model against domestic violence for today’s world.

God has given me two beautiful daughters, Michelle and Melissa. Michelle graduated last year with a degree in Social Work and Psychology from Eastern University. Melissa is in her third year of college at the University of California, Riverside. She is studying Environmental Engineering. Both girls have been enthusiastic and faithful supporting our mission work.

My whole family has felt called to support me in a new ministry I started in April 2015 as Area Director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean for International Ministries where God has placed me to serve.

Ray has also accepted the challenge to become a Global servant for issues of domestic violence, immigration and refugees around the world.

We now live in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where we work and continue to travel. My ministry has expanded and my journey continues as I try to be a friend and a pastor to my colleagues and partners in mission.

What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry? Working with people

What have been your greatest sources of challenge in ministry? Working with people

What advice would you give to a young woman just starting out in ministry? Always keep a humble and youthful attitude. Be willing to learn, and be willing to change.