Each week, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. This week, we are thrilled to introduce Sandra Cisnero.

Sandra, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served?
I have served alongside my husband for thirty-five years. We pastored Templo Baptist Church in Victoria, Texas for twenty-five years; Primera Iglesia Bautista in LaGrange, Texas for thirteen years; Primera Iglesia in Kyle, Texas for four years; and now, we are pastoring Sunny Slope Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. After moving from Victoria to San Antonio, I served five years as minister of education at Eisenhauer Baptist Church, in San Antonio, Texas.

I am currently serving as director for the Baptist Bible Institute at Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio. In this role, I am responsible for organizing the educational program that takes place on campus for our Spanish-speaking students. I also meet pastors and church leaders globally and look for opportunities to establish BBI Extension Centers anywhere a door may open. We have a good number of BBI’s in Texas, across the nation, and in foreign countries.

I am also the president and founder of Anchored Love Ministries, which mentors, encourages, trains, and empowers women of all ages, cultures, languages, and cultural backgrounds. Five years ago, we established the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI). After dialogue with Baptist University of the Américas, our educational program was endorsed. Up to this moment, we have graduated a total of thirty women. From time to time, I receive messages from women enrolled in the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI) and my heart is encouraged when I read that their learning is transforming their lives and influencing the ministry that they do in their local churches. Nothing can really replace that joy! I don’t do this work alone. I have groups of women from various cities in Texas that meet with me to pray and to strategize what the Lord will have us do each year. My friend, Rachel Saldaña has been serving by my side since 2003 when Anchored Love was established.

What have been the greatest challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?
I have always been able to exercise my leadership role with freedom–that is until, I served in a church staff position. I’m not sure if the issue was because I was a woman or because I was Hispanic. Regardless of the reason, I believe that when someone is called to serve, full trust and affirmation to leadership is necessary in order to serve freely. Perhaps, this is an area or topic that needs to be addressed in our churches and in conferences. No one should be discriminated because of color, race or social status. We need to learn from Jesus as he addressed his disciples when he told them: “…I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35). I believe that love needs to take place inside the church first in order to be ready to love and accept those on the outside of the four walls of our churches.

Who have been your best encouragers and sources of inspiration?
My husband has been a great encourager. He not only sees me as a team member with him, but he also has great respect and values my personal call to ministry and has stood by me at every level. Whether I was preaching, teaching, leading, or serving, he has affirmed me. My children and grandchildren are my greatest inspiration. Since day one, when they were placed in my arms, I made a commitment to be a godly example for them. Last but not least, my students at BUA, students in the Christian Leadership Institute, and women that I minister through Anchored Love and in any other ministry, serve as a great inspiration in my life. I am committed to those He has called me to serve. To this I will echo the Apostle Paul’s words, “I am a debtor.” (Romans 1:14).

What is the most helpful ministry advice you have ever received?
The best words I heard when I was a child and through my teen years were these: “Be You. Fulfill your purpose. Never look back, always look forward. If you fall, get up, learn from it and move on.” I will never forget these wise words of inspiration that carries so much value and affirmation from my grandmother Felísita Samuel. Her message not only challenged me, but they also holed me accountable to live a life worthy of my calling and worthy of the One that called me to ministry.