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Adriana Maria Johnson-Rivas volunteered as a catechism teacher at Principe de Paz for eight years, before she had the opportunity to study in the Institute
of Evangelism of Prince of Peace “La Escuelita” and accepted the position of SALM (Synodically Authorized Lay Minister). In 2009, due to the health
problems of the current pastor, Johnson- Rivas was asked to lead the Principe de Paz congregation. To properly fill
this role, she enrolled in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) at the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest (LSPS) in Austin, Texas. She was ordained in the spring of 2013.

Johnson-Rivas credits LSPS for helping her get where she is now, “Without a doubt, LSPS and TEEM prepared me to be the leader that I am today. The overall flexibility of the classes and the homework was well suited for someone in my position- a person that not only had a day job, but also ran a household, served her community, and served the Lord. LSPS brought together people just like me, other SALM who were running their own congregation. Meeting them gave me access to something books and classes might not be able to teach, real world accounts of other SALMs trials and tribulations. We all learned from each other.”

Principe de Paz, where Johnson-Rivas continues to serve, is located in the sprawling city of Houston,Texas, specifically South Houston, which is home to a large Hispanic community. Johnson-Rivas is now fully equipped to attend to the spiritual needs of the Hispanic population in her congregation. She says the community suffers many hardships, many of which stem from the concerns over their legal status in the country. As Johnson-Rivas points out, many of the families there have been in this country for decades, but are afraid of deportation. She adds, “These wonderful people are not looking for charity or a handout, but rather a helping hand, a friend to console them when making decisions, and opportunities which they have never been offered before, and that’s where my ministry comes in, the Lutheran Church, accompanying the Hispanic congregation to a bright and better tomorrow.”

 

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