Celebrating Ten Years of Megan (McDermott) Fountain!

P1010001 (1).JPG

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director

It didn’t take long for me to recognize something special in Megan McDermott. It was the spring of 2007 and Mission Adelante still held its main kids outreach program (Kids Adelante) in my house. Megan arrived as a new volunteer that trimester and her immediate connection with the kids was evident. She loved kids from all places and they loved her! Her natural gifts and formal education as a teacher combined with her experience studying abroad in Costa Rica to produce a super-volunteer. About a year later Megan and I began talking about her participating in our first summer internship, and then the following year she joined our staff on a full-time basis.

I’ve always defined “calling” as something you can’t NOT do: a compelling sense of urgency about a cause that aligns with your gifts and talents. Calling is a beautiful, painful, fulfilling, gift from God. I saw the marks of “calling” in Megan’s life from early on. Though nobody can define calling for another person, I can remember reflecting back to Megan what I was observing in her during those first couple of years. The Lord was clearly working in her life in powerful ways!

Twelve years have passed since Megan first stepped into the lives of kids from our community, as a volunteer. We’re now celebrating her TEN YEAR work anniversary at Mission Adelante! Over these 10 years, Megan has mentored, guided, comforted, taught, and loved many children from many places. She has walked with kids as they’ve become youth and into young adulthood. She’s attended weddings, quinceañeras, graduations, and has even been present in the hospital room as one young mother gave birth to her new baby. When I was thinking of a verse that described Megan’s ministry at Mission Adelante, 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 came to mind:

“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

Megan is a gift to all who know her. Thank you, Megan, for your faithful service to the Lord in our community, as a member of our staff, over these 10 years!


First Annual Park Drive Block Party!

Written by Elena Chan, Director of Community Development

Last week, with the help of several Park Drive neighbors, Mission Adelante hosted a block party! The goal of this event was to connect with our neighbors and cultivate a greater sense of community and friendship. It was a perfect opportunity for neighbors to learn more about Mission Adelante because many of them were unaware of the services we offered the community. Together we shared great food, enjoyed fun activities, and got to know each other.

Marlena Phiakeo is one of the neighbors who helped coordinator the block party. Marlena is a great neighbor; she is active in the community through both advocacy and service. She takes time during her week to volunteer with Mission Adelante’s Arts Community on Mondays and with Kids Adelante on Thursdays. Marlena was essential in making the block party possible. She asked her neighbors to sign a petition in order to close off 19th street for the block party and encouraged them to come participate in the event.

Another neighbor who was a big part of the organizing committee was Miss Dorothy. She suggested having the block party, recalling how 15 years ago her daughter learned to ride a bicycle during a similar event. She said that many things have changed since that last block party - only a few of the original neighbors remain. The block party was a community event that everyone felt needed to be revived and could be used to bring our community together once again. It was a great idea!

Thank you to Park Drive neighborhood for allowing us to be a part of this community event!


UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Love running? Enjoy supporting local non-profits? Then we invite you to join us on September 7, 2019 for Dream KCK 5K Race! Your registration fee and any additional donations will go to support Mission Adelante and/or Second Wind. Register here: https://runsignup.com/Race/KS/KansasCity/DreamKCK

  • Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee Youth, Teens Adelante, Citizenship Class, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up in July! Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!

CURRENT NEEDS:

Dream KCK 5K Run/Walk- September 7, 2019

AT_5K flyer_FINAL_201905201 (1).jpg

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director

What is at the nexus of discipleship, community development, partnership, health and wellness, and the diverse cultures of the Mission Adelante neighborhood? There’s only one answer: The Dream KCK 5K Run/Walk! Since last fall we’ve been dreaming of this race and working together with our partners from the Second Wind Foundation to put together a 5K event that would highlight the beautiful diversity of our KCK neighborhood.

Fabric of the Community

As Mission Adelante matures, we’re becoming more and more part of the fabric of our community. From partnerships with local schools, businesses, and other non-profits, to collaboration on projects sponsored by the Wyandotte County/KCK Unified Government, we are excited to be contributing to the common good of our neighborhood. Dream KCK is the result of our partnership with The Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA) and the Latino Arts Festival in our community and with the Second Wind Foundation, which works in Honduras. The 5K event will be held on the same day and in conjunction with CABA’s Central Avenue Dotteversity Parade and the Latino Arts Festival. Participants will get a real taste of authentic KCK culture from all places, including music and food.

Health Outcomes and Fitness

Unfortunately, Wyandotte County is consistently at the bottom of the list in Kansas in terms of health outcomes. Can Mission Adelante play a part in improving our health and wellness culture? The need is there, and we’re hoping that Dream KCK will contribute to the work that is being done by other organizations in our community to promote health and wellness. Organizations like El Centro, Inc. and Mercy and Truth Medical Missions help neighbors navigate the healthcare system in our city or directly address medical needs. But what about exercise? Mission Adelante is hoping that Dream KCK will be a spark that motivates members of our community to pursue a lifestyle that includes fitness and exercise.

Highlighting Our Diversity

There aren’t many counties in the nation that can boast of the kind of diverse demographics that Wyandotte County has. One distinction that sets our county apart is that we have no ethnic majority and the top three demographics each represent over 25% of the population. White residents represent 42%, Hispanic residents 28%, and African American residents compose 25% of our population. Additionally, in recent years, Wyandotte County has welcomed refugees from many countries including Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and others. Mission Adelante celebrates what each culture has to offer, affirming that God’s image is reflected uniquely and beautifully in diverse human cultures. The Dream KCK 5K Run/Walk, through our partnerships with the Central Avenue Dotteversity Parade and the Latino Arts Festival, highlights the cultural diversity of our community and brings runners in touch with the heart of our city.

Second Wind Foundation

We are excited about and thankful for our partnership with the Second Wind Foundation. Their work in Honduras that includes meeting medical needs, spiritual formation, and job creation aligns in many ways with the heart of Mission Adelante. Their participation and expertise in organizing Dream KCK has made this exciting event possible.

We invite you to join us on September 7, 2019 for a fun race and a unique event. Your registration fee and any additional donations will go to support Mission Adelante and/or Second Wind.



Acts 29

acts 29.jpg

Written by Gissell Vazquez, Assistant Ministry Director

Changing gears in this edition of the Adelante Express, I want to share about some things I have been learning from the Bible. This week the MA staff finished reading the book of Acts. We spent almost two years in an exhaustive and thorough study examining a section or chapter each week. The part that I loved the most is when we talked about what God was telling us personally through the passage. What was He calling us to do in order to put our thoughts into actions?

Someone who stands out in Acts is the Apostle Paul. He traveled around the ancient world, sometimes with fear, sometimes with boldness. He met governors, demon-possessed people, women, Jews, gentiles - without discriminating he shared about Jesus with all of them. He was in prison because of his beliefs but never rejected Jesus. He was called a god, but never claimed to be one. Wherever he went, whatever he experienced, he kept being the same. He stood for the Gospel of Jesus no matter the circumstances. And in the midst of everything he remained faithful to his mission. Yet the book of Acts is not about Paul himself; it is about the work of the Holy Spirit in and through him.  

As we were reading Acts 28 this week, some people pointed out that the story did not have an end. It was a little bit discouraging seeing Paul imprisoned with no response from the people in power in Rome. But as I kept thinking and listening to others’ thoughts, I began to form my own idea. Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses to the end of the earth.” This particular phrase, all of a sudden lit up my mind. The story of Acts didn’t have a bad ending but an inconclusive one. It is a chapter connecting the acts of the Holy Spirit to our lives today. The challenge is to continue spreading the Good News about Jesus. That ultimately will reflect the grace and the glory of God. You and I today, empowered by the Holy Spirit, are the ones writing and living out Acts 29.

Pictured above is a large portion of our staff with members from our community at a conference in November.

Pictured above is a large portion of our staff with members from our community at a conference in November.

CURRENT NEEDS:

Passing the Baton

IMG_1318 (1).jpeg

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!

CURRENT NEEDS:


Growing Up At Mission Adelante

Damariz (back center) is pictured here with a group from Kids Adelante.

Damariz (back center) is pictured here with a group from Kids Adelante.

Written by Damariz Vasquez, Kids Adelante Volunteer

I first started attending Mission Adelante around 2009, a few months after I arrived in the United States. I was only seven years old.  My parents brought me to the Mission, and we attended church and participated in various programs. Although there was a time when my family stopped coming to Mission, I came back when my sister began participating in Kids Adelante.

A few years ago, the Mission Adelante staff told me about their youth group called Teens Adelante. I have been part of Teens Adelante for a couple of years now. We have done some really fun activities together like camping! Everyone is really close and it feels just like a family. It has been a great experience!

There are so many people that have impacted my life at Mission Adelante like Megan Fountain and the Teens Adelante volunteers. They have supported and guided me through the good and rough times over the last ten years. They have encouraged me to try new things such as becoming a volunteer for Kids Adelante. They have helped me to step out of my comfort zone. They have been a part of my life growing up, and I would like to continue the bond I created with all of them.  I have grown a lot in the time I’ve been at Mission Adelante, and I hope to continue to learn and experience more new things!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, May 18th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids, youth, arts and music, adult ESL, or citizenship classes, this is a great opportunity to jump in for our summer trimester (May 28th to August 4th). Check out www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more about our programs and to fill out an interest form.

CURRENT NEEDS:

A Timeless Volunteer

Michael Pollock (second from right on the bottom row) is pictured here with the youth and other volunteers from Teens Adelante.

Michael Pollock (second from right on the bottom row) is pictured here with the youth and other volunteers from Teens Adelante.

Written by Daniel Garcia, Ministry Apprentice

Have you ever met a timeless person? There's timeless art, music, buildings, and literature. There's something unique about these things because they’re unchanging as time passes. Jesus is timeless because neither He nor his love for us will ever change. Michael Pollock, Teens Adelante and Leaders in Training (LIT) volunteer, is a timeless person. He is someone who has inspired me and many others during his time volunteering at Mission Adelante.

One of the ways we follow God's will for our community is by having volunteers who selflessly serve. Michael Pollock has dedicated his life to serve others and has positively impacted the lives of many. Michael serves on Mondays in LIT and on Wednesdays in Teens Adelante. After the last week of our LIT trimester, Michael invited a group of boys and me to attend a Swope Park Rangers game. The boys, Dashiell, Uriel, and Camilo, were elated because they got to be ball boys during the game!

Sharing life and making memories with kids that come from all walks of life is a big part of who Michael is. Over the past decade, Michael has walked with different generations of kids and youth from our community. He has been part of each fun and exciting moment, as well as each trial and tribulation immigrant families in our community face. Michael has become part of our community and is like family to me.

There are many qualities that Jesus wants us to have: love for everyone, patience, and a heart that is willing to serve others. Michael has many of these qualities and pushes me to develop them as well. Michael inspires me to have a servant’s heart. The way he dedicates his life to guide and love youth from our community is simply beautiful. He encourages me to live a life that is more about others than myself. He teaches me the importance of living a life that is honest and full of love for others. I am very thankful that God placed Michael in my path and has given him a heart that serves and guides others.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, May 18th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids, youth, arts and music, adult ESL, or citizenship classes, this is a great opportunity to jump in for our summer trimester (May 28th to August 4th). Check out www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more about our programs and to fill out an interest form.

CURRENT NEEDS:

His Faithfulness

From left to right: Gissell, Yanelis, Daniel, Carla, and Laxmi.

From left to right: Gissell, Yanelis, Daniel, Carla, and Laxmi.

Written by Carla Flores, Ministry Apprentice

I have been spending quite a bit of my time thinking about when God was first introduced to me. Looking back, my family and I would attend mass a few times a year. Then, when I was thirteen I began taking catechism classes. I was participating in these so I could have my first communion and confirmation of faith. I believe this was the time I learned about God, but I lacked a real connection with Him.

During hard times in my teenage years, I would always sing a hymn called “Tu Fidelidad” (Your Faithfulness.) This song made me feel safe and comforted. Right before coming on staff, I attended a CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) conference with the rest of the Mission Adelante staff. I was excited to visit Chicago for the first time and learn more about how social justice and Christianity mix. During one of the worship times, we sang “Tu Fidelidad”. Not only did I know that was God talking to me, but I was shocked to hear a song in my language being sung to a predominantly white audience. Everyone sang along, and my heart was full in a way that I can't explain. (Even re-telling this story now makes me emotional.) This room was full of people that accepted me and wanted me to succeed, brown skin and all. But even more so, to know that all these years God had never forgotten about me even if I had not pursued Him. I left CCDA with a revived spirit and faith.

Now I am well integrated into the Mission Adelante family, and God’s work continues to be done through and in me. Currently, I have been struggling with my anxiety. I am in my senior year at Ottawa University, and the homework alone sometimes is too much. I have been rolling with the punches and leaving it all in His hands. This past Sunday, I was at our house church and Jose, our worship leader, played “Tu Fidelidad.” I closed my eyes and heard everyone singing. Again this warm feeling began taking over my body, and soon it felt like I was on fire. I sang loud and could feel tears rolling down my face. How great is our God? I had been having panic attacks more often than usual in the past week, and just at the right time He reminded me that He was with me. God’s timing is perfect, and Monday I came back to work with peace in my heart.

I still have rough times - and probably always will. Hardships are a part of life, but knowing I have God on my side gives me the courage to face it all. My relationship with God has grown significantly as has my faith. I can look back at my life and see God’s unconditional faithfulness.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Workshop on The Power of Proximity: Michelle Warren is coming to share a morning with us and discuss concepts from her book on this Saturday, May 4th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Please plan on joining us for this powerful workshop. You can register here: https://ccda.org/train-connect/events/

  • We are now collecting filled backpacks to bless kids in the community in August. Are you or your small group interested in helping out?Visit www.missionadelante.org/serviceprojects/backpacks/ for details and to sign up!

Seminar with Michelle Warren

Proxmity Cafe.png

Written by Jarrett Meek, Pastor & Executive Director

When we moved to Kansas City, KS to start Mission Adelante in 2005, we didn't know what we didn't know.  Our frame of reference was Overland Park, Heartland Community Church, The University of Kansas, and a little bit of Latin America.  While we had some understanding of what it was like to live outside our home country, we had a lot to learn about life for immigrants in the United States.  We only had a very superficial grasp of the challenges of our broken immigration system.  And we were still very unaware of cultural and racial dynamics that are so much a part of ministry in an urban, multicultural context.    

When we began, we were new to the concept of Christian community development, but our friends at the Hope Center in KCMO had gone before us.  John M. Perkins, a civil rights activist since the 1950's and a co-founder of the Christian Community Development Association, had written books emphasizing the importance of "relocation" in any endeavor to work with vulnerable or marginalized people.  The Hope Center's example and John Perkins' writing, along with our desire to share life with people from all places, compelled us to move to this beautiful, diverse community.

The Power of Proximity by author Michelle Warren is another great book that opened my eyes to what it means to be involved in social justice as a Christian. Warren begins her book, by saying, "If you wake up in the morning and the system works for you, you think it's a good and just system. You frame the way you see the world through this lens." Moving to live in an immigrant neighborhood in Wyandotte County has given me a new lens.  As Michelle puts it, "I have had the privilege to wake up for many years looking through lenses framed by two different communities".  This dual lens life has created tensions in me that have led to transformation in many areas.  Among other things, living in proximity to vulnerable people has heightened my awareness of social injustices around me and transformed my understanding of my own role in addressing them.

Warren states, "Proximity to injustice transforms your view of the bigger world and the people moving about in it.  Most importantly, it transforms you in all the ways that are necessary to help you take part in God's process of redeeming and rebuilding what is broken."  In her introduction, she emphasizes that this book is not just about telling inspirational stories about transformed lives rather, "[it] is about personal transformation."  In her own words, her book, "is an attempt to spell out why a life lived in a community is so important in moving toward justice."

We have invited author, Michelle Warren, to come to Kansas City to lead a workshop on her book! The date for this workshop will be Saturday, May 4th from 9 to 11 am.  We would love for you to join us! Please register for the free event below.


Community and Truth at LIT

Anna (top middle) with the LIT students and volunteers at the Emerald City lock-in.

Anna (top middle) with the LIT students and volunteers at the Emerald City lock-in.

Written by Anna Watkins, Leaders in Training Volunteer

A little under a year ago, I moved from a place that was familiar and comfortable to Kansas City, where I only knew a few people. In this new place, I felt lost and lacked a consistent community. I was drifting in my walk with God. At a friend’s suggestion, I signed up to volunteer with the Leaders In Training (LIT) program at Mission Adelante last September. I came into this experience expecting to hang out with kids and help them with homework. I found what I was expecting — but I also found community, encouragement, and truth.

The most memorable lesson from LIT this year was a reflection on lies that we were believing about ourselves. We spoke them out loud and then turned them into truths. At this time, I was feeling overwhelmed by commitments. I believed these lies. I felt like my worth was tied to my performance and not my identity as a beloved child of God. It was really encouraging to hear so much truth spoken into these lies that can so easily take control of our lives. This is just one of the many times this year that God used LIT to remind me of an important truth about who He is and who I am.

To celebrate the end of the LIT, we spent the night at a lock-in at Emerald City two weekends ago. I was amazed by the capacity the kids had to run around for hours and still be jumping on trampolines at 2 AM. The lock-in was a chance to reflect on all that God has done in and through the kids and volunteers at LIT this year. His hand is so evident in the unique talents of each child, the truths they learn and speak, and the way they love one another. I am so happy that I got to be a part of this community and a small part of what God has been doing this year at LIT.

IT PPpl.jpg

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Workshop on The Power of Proximity: Michelle Warren is coming to share a morning with us and discuss concepts from her book on Saturday, May 4th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Please plan on joining us for this powerful workshop. You can register here: https://ccda.org/train-connect/events/

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Do you want to make a difference in a kid's life? Mission Adelante's Multicultural Leaders In Training (LIT) program needs volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids


Welcoming Phul Maya to the Team!

Phul Maya (center) with the Nepali folkloric dance group.

Phul Maya (center) with the Nepali folkloric dance group.

Written by Gissell Vazquez, Assistant Ministry Director

In a world that is constantly changing, I believe we're called to create, develop, and maximize our abilities. It is an exciting year at Mission Adelante because we are focusing all our effort into leadership development. The apprenticeship program is a huge part of that goal. As a result, we have five apprentices. We’re thrilled to share life and ministry with the Fabulous Five: Laxmi Gurung, Daniel Garcia, Carla Flores, Bijay Gurung, and as of couple months ago, Phul Maya Rasaily.

Phul, as we like to call her, was born and raised in Nepal in a refugee camp. When she was very little, her family became Christians. At the age of thirteen, she came to the U.S. with her parents and her oldest brother. Because Nepali culture emphasizes the importance of living in a close community, she enjoys being surrounded by people and supporting everyone to achieve their goals. Another passion she has is the arts. Since she was young, she has attended dance training and now she leads the Nepali folkloric dance group at her church. She is currently studying at Donnelly College to get an associates degree in Arts. She is the perfect addition to the Apprentice group. Her love for God and for people is something that stands out. Phul is someone who enjoys cultivating relationships, is responsible, and enjoys learning. It has been a pleasure getting to know her more and mentoring her.

All the apprentices are learning, but at the same time, they are active players in the ministry by leading different areas. Since Phul is passionate for developing relationships and loves the arts, she is now being trained to lead Adelante Arts Community this summer trimester. We’re excited to see her grow! Welcome, Phul to Mission Adelante’s family! We’re gonna be there for you to support you, cheer you on, and to celebrate your victories!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Workshop on The Power of Proximity: Michelle Warren is coming to share a morning with us and discuss concepts from her book on Saturday, May 4th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Please plan on joining us for this powerful workshop. You can register here: https://ccda.org/train-connect/events/

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Adelante Thrift will be hosting an Easter "Eggs-travaganza" for families on Saturday, April 20th. Please consider donating pre-filled Easter eggs for their annual Easter egg hunt. Details coming soon to Adelante Thrift's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/adelantethrift

  • Do you want to make a difference in a kid's life? Mission Adelante's Multicultural Leaders In Training (LIT) program needs volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids

Learning From One Another

ESL.jpg

By Patti Shirley, Level 5 ESL Latino Volunteer

In 2015, I only knew as much Spanish as the TV show “Sesame Street” taught, mostly colors and the word “agua”! That was the year that my husband and I went on our first mission trip to Nicaragua. We went with a group called Project Hope, and even though they had translators, I wanted to communicate directly with the people I was meeting. So I took a series of Spanish classes and was able to speak just a bit the following year. But I felt that God wanted me to do more than just study it once a year before traveling to Nicaragua.

When I started looking for a place to serve, my daughter Laura suggested Mission Adelante. She had been a regular volunteer at Adelante Thrift and knew about the good work that was happening there. During my first visit on an Observation Night, I instantly knew that I wanted to be part of this ministry. There is such a clear desire to serve God and the people who come to learn. I love the energy of the staff, volunteers, and students. When you walk in on Thursday nights there is always a welcoming feeling and it is obvious that something important is happening.  And there is, hope is being shared and the love of God is at work!

I work with some great volunteers, including my dad, Dean Williams. With their help, our awesome group of students has finally reached level 5! We have studied, laughed, and learned together. I am still trying to learn Spanish and have so very far to go.  I am so grateful that a desire to learn led me to this place.

level 5.jpg

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Adelante Thrift will be hosting an Easter "Eggs-travaganza" for families on Saturday, April 20th. Please consider donating pre-filled Easter eggs for their annual Easter egg hunt. Details coming soon to Adelante Thrift's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/adelantethrift

  • Do you want to make a difference in a kid's life? Mission Adelante's Multicultural Leaders In Training (LIT) program needs volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids

A Serving Heart

Citizenship.jpg

Written by Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director

Mission Adelante has given me many beautiful opportunities! One of the most important for me is to meet incredible people— people with a deep desire to serve and support others as we walk together in this life full of challenges, obstacles, and reasons to celebrate.

One of these wonderful people has been Sabrina Minhas. She is part of our community and a volunteer in our citizenship class. She took leadership of this class in January and has done an excellent job. Sabrina and other incredible volunteers have developed the curriculum for this trimester. The students continue learning and getting ready to take the citizenship exam. They are very eager to become American citizens! I love the way Sabrina treats students with such love and patience. She clarifies their doubts and encourages them. At the same time, she guides her team of volunteers, distributing responsibilities and giving them opportunities to lead the class. I have learned a lot from her, and it has been a great gift for me to walk more closely with her during these last three months.

I’m sure the students will always appreciate how Sabrina has supported them in their process of becoming U.S. Citizens. We are excited to see how Citizenship Class will continue to impact the community in the future! Personally, I am eager to continue meeting people who encourage me and challenge me to be better. Thank you to Sabrina and each of the volunteers involved in our programs and church. We love you and we appreciate you very much!

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Adelante Thrift will be hosting an Easter "Eggs-travaganza" for families on Saturday, April 20th. Please consider donating pre-filled Easter eggs for their annual Easter egg hunt. Details coming soon to Adelante Thrift's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/adelantethrift

Launch of Refugee Youth Club

ryc.png

Written by Laxmi Gurung, Ministry Apprentice

I can’t believe it’s almost been two years since I began working at Mission Adelante as an apprentice! Through these times, I have learned so much about ministry, different programs, and building friendships. When I first started working here, I was given the freedom to try new things and was challenged to get out of my comfort zone. I began helping at Kids Adelante and LIT and leading Refugee Kids Club (RKC) with the help of Megan McDermott. All this helped me to learn how to lead programs, and it especially made me realize the love I have for kids and youth in our community. When I was leading RKC, I saw teenagers coming to drop off their siblings. I began having ideas about creating a program for them also. I prayed and shared my ideas with my supervisor, Yanelis. She helped me to process them and come up with a plan.

Our goal for Refugee Youth Club was to offer youth from our community a safe place where they could come to do their homework, make friends, talk about life, and learn about God. I decided to have it on the same day and same time as Refugee Kids Club (Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 pm), so they could bring their younger siblings with them. But for this to become a reality, I needed volunteers. I started looking and asked God to provide the right ones. Lori Marble was one of the volunteers God provided. She came to one of the observation nights and shared about her love for empowering youth. As we talked and got to know each other, I realized she was just who we needed to come alongside the youth.

In January 2019, we launched Refugee Youth Club (RYC) for middle and high school students. Now we have around nine teens and four awesome volunteers that come every week. Even in this small amount of time, we have done so many great things together! We have served at Harvesters and hung out outside of RYC to get to know each other better. Just last week on Spring Break we went bowling and served at Adelante Thrift together. It was really fun and a new experience for most of the youth! We are really looking forward to doing fun activities during our summer break and building closer relationships with each other. Right now I’m just so amazed at how God is working in this program. He is doing such great things that I never imagined. I’m very thankful for His guidance and provision in starting Refugee Youth Club!

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Do you want to make a difference in a kid's life? Mission Adelante's Leaders In Training (LIT) program needs volunteers for our Fall trimester. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.

Is Your Faith Bigger Than Your Fear?

LIT kids.jpg

Written by Bethany Ogle, Leaders in Training (LIT) Volunteer

Faith. It's a simple thing. But it is also a complex, difficult thing. Jesus tells us to have faith like a child, and here I am again, learning from the children of LIT. This year we have been studying the armor of God. We have spent time going through the armor piece by piece - learning about the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, and now, the shield of faith.

The shield was the Roman soldier's first line of defense against the enemy. We began discussing the "fiery arrows" of Satan and what these look like in our life. I gave a few examples, and the kids added more - fear, worry, guilt, pride, doubt, lying, and wanting to do what isn't right. I was especially struck by how many of them said they identified with being worried about something in their life. As someone who works with kids on a daily basis, I have seen how so many are troubled by anxiety, the leading mental health issue among young people in the U.S. today. But thanks be to God, we don't have to face those fears and temptations alone! All we need is to pick up the shield of faith. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:6). I asked the kids to think of some promises that God has given us that we can bring to mind when the enemy is firing his "arrows" at us. They came up with an amazing list:

  • God is always by my side

  • God is protecting me

  • God will fight for me

  • God loves me

  • God will care for me

  • God wants the best for me

  • God can help me

The kids, of course, had a fantastic time in a rousing game of dodging the "arrows" with the "shield" we had made. My prayer is that in the midst of the fun they will remember these promises when the time comes for them to take up their own shield of faith. I know that they have challenged me to come back to the simple faith and trust we can have in God in the midst of all our trials- big or small.

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Interested in joining in on the fun? Mission Adelante's Leaders In Training (LIT) program needs volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.

Counting Our Blessings

Adelante Thrift’s grand opening in March 2015.

Adelante Thrift’s grand opening in March 2015.

Written by Elena Chan, Director of Community Development

Adelante Thrift’s mission of providing a unique affordable shopping experience, promoting job creation, and supporting community transformation through the profits has been displayed almost daily. It has been an exciting journey to be able to serve our community in such a tangible way. Since the store’s opening in March 2015, there have been many exciting updates. Many of these successes have been thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of those who donate items.

The data below is evidence of our mission’s fulfillment since the store’s inception in 2015:

  • Invested over $852,072 in the community through wages

  • Received over $1M worth of donations received

  • Partnered with over 9,712 individuals

  • Partnered with over 228 organizations including schools, churches, businesses, and government agencies

  • Disbursed over $55,000 in the past two years to Mission Adelante to support community programs

  • Celebrated the one-year anniversary of Elsa’s promotion to store manager

We are thankful to all our partners in the Kansas City metro area for believing and understanding Adelante Thrift’s mission and helping us achieve it on a daily basis. We are also very thankful for the volunteers that have stopped by to help out during these past 4 years; your hard work is very much appreciated. Thank you to everyone who has donated their belongings to keep our shelves stocked with affordable items for our community. A special thank you to the Adelante Thrift staff for all your effort and determination! We could not have done it without any of you and your generous hearts!

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee Youth, Teens Adelante, Citizenship Class, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up! Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!

Learning and Growing Together

sean and ale q.jpg

Written by Daniel Garcia, Ministry Apprentice

Leading the Latino youth program has been one of the toughest experiences of my life while also being the most rewarding thus far. When I was first called by the Lord, I was terrified at the idea of running a whole program by myself. I struggled with knowing what to talk to the teens about. So many ideas ran through my head, and I couldn’t settle on one. I decided that since it was my first trimester, I would let the teens decide what they wanted to talk about. They had a lot of suggestions, but I found a common trend: mental health. So many of our teens don’t know how to confront mental illness and are found searching for solutions by themselves.   

I prayed about how I would be able to help the teens find a clear vision for what they and their friends were struggling with. I prayed some more and realized that neither I nor the volunteers were qualified enough to talk about this subject. I found a wonderful couple in our church congregation, Sean and Alejandra, who were willing to spend time educating the teens on mental health. Alejandra is a psychologist and Sean is a med student. Alejandra kicked off the night by doing an exercise with the teens about themselves. She asked them questions about things they wanted to learn, how they cope with their feelings, what they do for fun, and what is important to them. It was beautiful! Some teens opened up about their personal struggles. Some teens shared about family and friends that struggled with their mental health. Through the night I could see God working and reaching the teens. The teens asked a lot of questions and Sean responded with so many insightful answers. We ended the night in prayer and before we left Sean and Ale expressed to the teens the importance of developing a relationship with God and maintaining a healthy diet. (Personally still working on the last part.)

It touched my heart to know that teens in our community are facing silent challenges. My goal is to give them a platform within our program to be able to speak about their struggles. I’m thankful that I get to serve an amazing group of teens and God in ways that are so fulfilling to me. I am eager to see how God will use me to bring the teens closer to Him.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee Youth, Teens Adelante, Citizenship Class, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up! Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!


Discovering New Horizons

citizenship.jpg

Written by Fernando J. Orellana, ESL Level 4 Student

It all started on July 1 of 2013, a very big change for my life and for my family, as I arrived to the United States. That same day I began to see that many things were very different from what I knew: the houses, the weather, the longer days in the summer, the people, the language, different cultures, and many other things. One day I said to God, "Lord, you have given me the opportunity to come to this country. I need your help to be able to adapt to these changes, and I pray that you always take care of me, keeping me always in your way."

I began attending a church, where I was received with much love. I found new friends, one of them helped me to get a job at a remodeling company. Soon the new challenges started; I could not communicate with my bosses at that time because I did not know any English. This frustrated me a lot! But little by little I adapted more to the new lifestyle, and in 2015 I met a Mexican friend who told me about Mission Adelante. He told me they taught English and that he was a volunteer there too! Time passed and I did not see that friend again. At the end of 2017, I started to research places where they taught English, and I found Mission Adelante. Days later I received a call from the director of the program, Pablo (Paul) Kienzle, who very kindly gave me all the information to register. I was encouraged that he spoke Spanish, so at least the registration would be less complicated.

The day of the registration there was a huge line, and only the first 24 could enter the program. I quickly counted how many were before me; I was number 22. The Mission Adelante staff received us with a lot of kindness, snacks, and refreshing drinks. That day I discovered a family. I quickly thought: Why did not I start coming earlier? When the class started, I was excited. I was also surprised to see many volunteers who with much love, sacrifice and dedication taught us to learn the English language and learn more about God! I saw all the programs that Mission Adelante has for the Hispanic community, from children to adults, and not only that but they also had programs for refugees from other countries. They were also just beginning a new program for citizenship preparation. I was very blessed to later receive their unconditional support which helped me to complete this process and achieve my citizenship.

Right now I attend the Level 4 English class. I am very grateful to Mission Adelante and all its staff and volunteers for their unconditional support, which has impacted my life, and that of many other students. I have also learned that the way to carry the Gospel of Jesus is through sharing and helping the people around us, regardless of race or country from which we come! Now I realize that wherever we go, the mercy and love of God are always at our side. And if you look for Jesus, great and better things will come to your life. Do not be fearful of the new challenges that come to your life! Never give up despite the adversities, strive hard, and give the best of yourself always. If you entrust God with your steps, He will take care of you! God wants us to grow day by day, in all aspects of our life. I thank God for allowing me to be part of this new family, which has been a blessing for my life! I feel very happy to be part of this beautiful organization. God bless you all!

fernando and mike.jpg

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee Youth, Teens Adelante, Citizenship Class, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up: Monday, February 25, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Tuesday, February 26, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Wednesday, February 27, 6:30- 8:30 pm; and Thursdays, February 28, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!


Growing By Doing

LIT laser.jpg

Written by Daniel Garcia, Ministry Apprentice

Since becoming an apprentice in August, I have learned many new things and have faced many challenges. Many of those challenges have to do with stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things that I never thought I would do. Leading Teens Adelante has been tough but very fulfilling, as I grow and learn from youth in our community. However, what has really put me to the test is teaching in our Leaders in Training (LIT) program.

I remember the first time I had to teach in front of the LIT kids. We went on our annual retreat to Great Wolf Lodge. I was intimidated by so many things: kids running all over the place, the responsibility I had over their safety, and talking in front of people. When we first arrived we had pool time, and although I don’t like the pools, I didn’t want this time to end! It got later into the evening, and it was time for me to teach the story of Job to the kids. I wanted it to be relatable yet impactful. I wanted to describe to the kids how Job was a man full of faith in God even though he was blessed abundantly with material possessions. What I didn’t expect from that night was for me be touched by the deep thoughts and questions that the kids had about the Lord. My boys, Camilo, Uriel and Dash, inspire me to grow in my faith and who I am.

Even though this has been a season full of growth and development, I find pleasure working with the teens and kids alike. I love to see them prosper in their faith and make myself a resource for their benefit. Stepping out of my comfort zone has made my relationship with God stronger, and I am eager to see what else He will do through me!

Teens.jpg

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee Youth, Teens Adelante, Citizenship Class, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up: Monday, February 25, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Tuesday, February 26, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Wednesday, February 27, 6:30- 8:30 pm; and Thursdays, February 28, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!

Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zone

AE- ESL .jpg

Written by Paul Kienzle, Director of ESL Latino

Mission Adelante is dedicated to equipping and empowering emerging leaders from within our community. In ESL Latino, there is no greater challenge for an individual’s potential to be developed as a disciple and leader, than to volunteer teaching a language that is not your first language!  Mario Vasquez and Everardo “Lalo” Avalos have taken the initiative and stepped up to the plate to serve this trimester as volunteers in our ESL Latino Level 1 program!

Mario has been connected to the Mission Adelante community for quite some time. He is an active participant in the Mission Adelante church and his kids are also involved in Adelante programs. His heartbeat for volunteering is to help the community as the community has helped him in times past, and to contribute to helping others move forward.  While Lalo is hard at work volunteering in Level 1, his wife, Delmy, is diligently learning English as a student in Level 2! For Lalo, his desire is wanting to learn how to teach English as a second language. He adds that, as he has been taught, he now wants to help others learn English. It is still early in the trimester but it looks like relationships are already being built between these two men and their students, Edgar and Axel.   

It is truly a great testimony to see these Latino men within the community going outside their comfort zones to give back to our community by volunteering in our ESL program. Many times the greatest fruit-bearing moments in ministry are those accomplished by stepping outside our comfort zone.

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Do you have a gently-used keyboard or guitar that you're not using? Adelante Arts Community needs it! Mission Adelante is in need of 3 portable keyboards and 5 acoustic guitars for their expanding Arts Community. Please email Gissell Vazquez at gissellv@missionadelante.org if you have an instrument you'd like to donate.