ELKHART, Indiana (Mennonite Mission Network) – Surrounded by their colleagues, families and friends, three Mennonite Mission Network senior executives received gratitude and blessings as they transition from their roles, first at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana, on Aug. 3, and again on Aug. 10 at the Mission Network offices in Elkhart. Paula Killough, senior executive for Advancement, James R. Krabill, senior executive for Global Ministries, and Rachel Stoltzfus, senior executive for Human Resources, have all passed their responsibilities on to other individuals.
Wil LaVeist, former managing editor for multimedia, transitioned into Killough's role in Advancement. Lyz Weaver, former executive office assistant, succeeds Stoltzfus as senior executive of Human Resources. LaVeist and Weaver began their new roles the first of August, and John F. Lapp, former director for Asia, has been the senior executive for Global Ministries since January 2017, following the transition of Krabill to missions advocate in the Church Relations department.
At the Aug. 3 celebration, following a dinner in their honor, friends, families, and supporters of Mission Network celebrated the past service and future contributions of all six individuals.
Among the many sentiments expressed, Stanley W. Green, executive director of Mennonite Mission Network, shared that Killough, Krabill and Stoltzfus are individuals who were deeply committed to the well-being and professional growth of Mission Network staff.
"[Killough] brought a very strong background that served her well in her advancement role," said Peter Graber, director of Marketing and Communication. "And she cares deeply for the mission of the church, and for each of us as individuals."
Killough came to Mission Network at the height of the rescession in 2008. "I quickly became part of a team of people completely focused on their calling, and dedicated to connecting across the world to God's mission," she said. "I am confident in this new leadership team [Lapp, LaVeist, and Weaver] will continue this focus and dedication to God's mission – come what may."
James Krabill shares about his work at the August 10, celebration in Elkhart, Indiana. Photo by Travis Duerksen.
"Over the years, James and I have connected in varying ways in terms of missiology and Africa," said Steve Wiebe-Johnson, director for Africa. "[It didn't feel like he was my supervisor.] It was always just conversations about the stuff we both love to talk about."
Krabill and his wife, Jeanette, first began a ministry assignment 41 years ago. "At that point, we were committed to a three-year appointment with language school in Paris and a teaching position in Ivory Coast," he explained. Krabill credits God for the surprising ministry journey that led them through nearly two decades in and out of West Africa, France and England, and then two more decades for himself back in the United States serving in various administrative positions for Mission Network. "I am indeed grateful for the many opportunities I have been afforded to serve the church in mission through most of my adult life," he said. "And I look forward to continue making myself available to tell the story of God's faithfulness through the church in part-time, non-administrative roles at Mission Network as time and energy permit."
Lyz Weaver and Rachel Stoltzfus at the August 3, celebration in Goshen Indiana. Photo by Dani Klotz.
Rose Mtoka, Human Resources assistant, spoke to Stoltzfus's relational style of supervision and said, "Rachel is loving, firm, fair, dedicated, engaging. I can go on and on. We [in the Human Resources department] have been enriched and blessed by [her] knowledge."
"In making this transition," said Stoltzfus, "I am overwhelmed by the kind of expressions of appreciation of coworkers, friends and family at the celebrations in these last days." She expressed that it has been a great joy to serve the church and its people, especially to increase opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds and experiences to serve as Mission Network staff and workers.
Praying for Wil LaVeist, John F. Lapp, and Lyz Weaver at the August, 3 celebration in Goshen Indiana. Photo by Dani Klotz.
Following the time of recognition at both events, the crowd gathered around the honored guests and laid hands on them in an act of blessing and gratitude for the work that has been done, and the opportunities that come from change and new leadership.