Kids' Fun Day

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Written by Elena Chan, Community Development Director

Kids’ Fun Day at Adelante Thrift has become an annual tradition during the holiday season. This year, it will be this Saturday, December 8, from 1:00 to 3:00, and everyone is invited! This celebration takes place each December thanks to the initiative of nine-and-a-half year old Livia Viall with Crafty Girl Creations.

Livia’s love to create became apparent at a very young age, when she began to follow her dad around his home workshop, learning from him how to build. She began learning how to use power tools and made a few home décor pieces to give as gifts.  This quickly expanded into an enterprise as people began to order her creations. Livia loves to be generous and wanted to give a portion of her earnings to help Adelante Thrift. She also wanted to give other kids in the community an opportunity to be “crafty.” Livia’s idea for Kids’ Fun Day was inspired by her enjoyment of workshops for kids at The Home Depot.

Please bring your kids to celebrate the holidays with Livia at Adelante Thrift this Saturday from 1:00-3:00. There will be games, crafts and cookie decorating for kids, while moms and dads are shopping.  Everyone is welcome!

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CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Mission Adelante's Arts Community needs a few more volunteers to teach guitar and keyboard to kids! No need to be an expert. If you enjoy playing a few chords/notes on either instrument and would like to share that ability with others, fill out an interest form at www.missionadelante.org/arts.


2018 CCDA Experience With Friends

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By Laxmi Gurung, Ministry Apprentice (Refugee Kids Ministries)

This year was my third time attending the annual National Conference put on by the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). Mission Adelante has belonged to this network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities restored for the past decade. National Conference is our chance to be with like-minded people from around the country. I have learned many things and had different experiences every year. This year was a little different because we invited some people from the community to go with us. I was really excited that two of my close friends that have been volunteering in Refugee Kid’s Club since the beginning came along. They are very close to me and I’m thankful to God for their friendship in my life because they were the first friends that introduced me to Jesus. I love their serving hearts and each of them is very inspiring and wonderful in their own way. They love Jesus with all their heart and serve in their church all the time. I asked them to share a little about their experience at CCDA.

Anjana: I really like the theme of CCDA 2018, “ROOTED”. Believing and trusting in God is like we are trees planted by the water. We are not driven by fear or overcome by despair, but we stay rooted in Christ so we may produce the lasting fruits of love, equity, and peace. I learned that we are the body of Christ, and each and every one is included; it doesn’t matter if we are white, black, brown etc. In order to bring everyone together, we need to develop ourselves, family, and most importantly our community. I had a great time with awesome friends of Mission Adelante with lots of good learning experiences.

Phul Maya: I had an Amazing time at CCDA. It was my first time so it was a little overwhelming but I took it one thing at a time. I really like the multicultural worship which I was missing for a long time. I also got motivated by all the speakers because they were really positive and encouraging. It gave me the sense that there are still people who care about the poor and lower class. I enjoy all the group sessions, especially the one where they talked about refugees. In that session, I related to the topic because I myself am a Nepali speaking Bhutanese refugee. Overall, I had one of the most beautiful times of my life.

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CURRENT NEEDS:

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


A Year to Be Thankful For, and a Prayer for the Next One

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By Gissell Vazquez, Assistant Ministry Director

As I reflect on the year that is ending, I have a sense of joy and gratitude for all the experiences lived. Leading Adelante Arts Community has given me the satisfaction of seeing a dream come true. With the hard work of a great group of volunteers and the commitment of parents that bring their kids every Monday night, Adelante Arts Community is now a well-established program. We are looking forward to to growing more next year. I’m thankful for the community of faith that meets together in our house church: “Casa de Fe”. It is composed of an enthusiastic and mixed group of believers from Mexico, Honduras, Cuba and the U.S. We meet with the purposes of listening the word of God, worshiping, praying and sharing our life’s experiences and challenges. I’m also thankful for spending time with our worship group. For someone that loves music, having the opportunity to play with a group of friends is one of the best things in life.

Some of my prayers for next year are that God continues to bless our beautiful community, that He continues to open doors, and that He enables us to accomplish the dreams that He is giving us.

There are many other things to mention but as I am writing I feel curious to see and read what God has done in your life this year. That’s why I invite you to co-write this article with me by adding comments. I’m sure you have things to be grateful for and you have prayers for the next year. Share your thoughts with us. What are your prayer requests for next year, what are you thankful for?

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.


Volunteer Journey: A Primer on U.S. Immigration

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The Adelante Volunteer Journey
Serving and growing together!
Sara Forsythe shares about volunteering in Adelante Arts Community.

Volunteer Journey: A Primer on U.S. Immigration

Dear friends,

With the midterm elections last week and the approaching caravan from Central America, it's not surprising that immigration has been in the news a lot the last few weeks. There was talk of an invasion; troops were sent to the border; an executive order was signed changing the legal process for seeking asylum, and the President suggested that he may use an executive order to end "birthright citizenship."  Our study of Soerens' and Yang's book, Welcoming the Stranger comes at a perfect time!  This edition of the Volunteer Journey will contain highlights and a summary of chapters 2-4, which provide a critical base of knowledge about immigration that can help us build a well-informed understanding of the issues facing us today.

The authors continue in Chapter 2 by addressing the question, "who are undocumented immigrants?".  In doing so, they differentiate between naturalized citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and undocumented immigrants.  Using the stories of Pedro and Martha and Francisco and Allison, they paint a picture of the everyday struggles and decisions that undocumented immigrants face.  They describe some of the many reasons immigrants come to the U.S., why some may come illegally and why others may overstay their visas.  The authors reveal some of the struggles of "mixed-status families" and talk through a common misconception that suggests that undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes.  And what about young people who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents and grew up here?  Soerens and Yang give us a picture into the unique situation of the approximately 800,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers", who qualified for President Obama's program called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." 

"Understanding the history of immigration to the United States will help us have a perspective on how to view and act toward newer immigrants entering the United States." (p.65) The overview presented in Chapter 3 of our book is a fascinating look at our history as it relates to immigration.  The authors organize the thoughts chronologically, highlighting key legislative markers along the way.  I'll list them here as a reference, but you'll have to read the book to get the details!    "Immigration has always been and will remain a defining issue for the United States of America." (p.65) 

  • The Early Days
  • The first great European wave: 1820-1860
  • Indian Removal Act: 1830
  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: 1848
  • Chinese Immigration and Exclusion: 1848-1890
  • The Second Great European wave: 1880-1920
  • The Quota System: 1924-1965
  • The Bracero Program: 1942-1964
  • The 1965 Reforms
  • Immigration from the 1970's to today
  • The Refugee Act of 1980
  • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Over my years at Mission Adelante I've heard countless people ask, "why don't they just come legally?"  In chapter 4 the authors discuss our current immigration system and the pathways to legal status in the U.S.  To summarize, there are four basic categories of immigrant visas. 

  1. Employment-based: Available by petition by a U.S. employer, there is a numerical limit and "the majority of these visas are reserved for individuals who have extraordinary or exceptional ability."
  2. Family-based: Based on close family relationships with the intention of reuniting families.
  3. Diversity Visas: A set number visas distributed by a random lottery of qualifying entrants from underrepresented countries.
  4. Refugees and Asylees: Immigration status granted based on a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" for a handful of specific factors.

With the basic foundation of knowledge presented in these chapters, you will be much better equipped to filter through and process most of the information that is talked about so often these days. If you'd like to jump in on this study, here's the plan.  It's not too late!

  1. Purchase the book and read it at your own pace through the trimester.
  2. Follow along as I process the book through regular Volunteer Journey emails during the trimester.
  3. Join me for a lunch and learn discussion at Mission Adelante on December 6th, 11:30-1:00
Please feel free to participate in as little or as much as you would like!

In His Grace,
Jarrett
Buy "Welcoming the Stranger"

Volunteer Journey Lunch-And-Learn 
Thursday, December 6th, 11:30-1:00

Please mark your calendars!  For those who would like to discuss what you're learning on your journey and/or through your reading of Welcoming the Stranger, we will be hosting a "lunch and learn" for all volunteers.  Lunch will be brought in from a local restaurant, so we will need to get an accurate count.  Please RSVP to jarrettm@missionadelante.org to let us know you're coming!


 
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Heroes and Champions: Part of the Fabric

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Heroes and Champions
"Every story needs a hero who overcomes, and every hero needs a champion who helps them succeed."
As a donor, you are a champion for the Lord's work in and through the lives of heroes from all places.

 Heroes and Champions: On Becoming Part of the Fabric of the Community


Dear Friends,

My first thoughts as I write to you all are thoughts of gratitude for the important role you play as donors (champions) to the cause of "making disciples with people from all places."  You are such an important part of the ministry the Lord has given us in this community.  We couldn't do this without you!  Lately, we've been processing what long-term impact looks like for a ministry like ours.  I wanted to share a few thoughts with you here that give you a glimpse into an important part of our ministry philosophy and values.

How can a ministry make a sustainable, long-term impact?  One if the keys is to become part of the fabric of a community.  Mission Adelante has been approaching ministry through this lens since our inception.  From our commitment to living in the community to the high value we place on partnership and developing community leaders, we believe that community transformation happens from within, in collaboration with partners from all over the city. 

Our very first community partnership was formed with M.E. Pearson Elementary School, in September 2005.  In the first month after the ministry was founded, we joined forces with M.E. Pearson to offer an English class for the parents of their students.  Partnership is paramount in the recipe for long-term community impact.  It fosters the development of a network of resources and entities that care about the community and seeks ways to support one another and work together collaboratively for the common good.  In our case, this network takes many shapes and includes individuals, churches, businesses, schools, local government entities, and non-profits, from our own community and across the city.  It's becoming part of the fabric of a community on every level.   

The launch of Adelante Thrift has accelerated and expanded our partnership capacity in ways we never imagined.  When Lena Chan, our Community Development Director, first shared that Adelante Thrift had partnered with over 75 organizations and entities over its first three years, I was surprised.  Some of these organizations include Kansas School for the Blind, Workforce Partnership, Laminate Works Inc., O-Ring Sales, Urban Scholastic Center, The Hope Center, Samaritan's Feet, SM East and Schlagle High Schools.  Urban schools such as Eugene Ware Elementary and private suburban schools like Whitfield Academy have found a common connecting point in Adelante Thrift.  And, church groups from across the city and from states like Tennessee, Iowa, and Arkansas have participated. Adelante Thrift is not only helping us become part of the fabric of the community, it is also creating fabric in places where none existed before. 

After 13 years in this community and having seen such an explosion of partner connections through Adelante Thrift, we have a sense that our ministry is truly becoming part of the fabric of our city.  As we look ahead to 2019 and beyond, we are excited to see how the Lord will lead us to press into our partnerships and maximize these important relationships for deeper Kingdom impact and community transformation.

Again, thank you for your very important part in this work.  You also form part of this fabric with us!

In His Grace,

Jarrett Meek, MDiv
Pastor/Executive Director, Founder

Donate Now

Year-End Funding Needs: $65,000
We're investing in emerging leaders from our community and mobilizing gifted immigrant leaders to serve on our staff.  This is all part of transforming our community from within.  This year we're praying the Lord would provide $65,000 to help support compensation for our staff and apprentices "from all places." Would you pray about making a special gift this year-end?  Our ministry needs champions like you who believe in what the Lord is doing in our community!

Giving by check or online is easy:
Mission Adelante, PO Box 172076, Kansas City, KS  66117
www.missionadelante.org/give
Donate Now
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Why Would HE Love ME?

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By Carla Flores, Ministry Apprentice

Believing in God has always been something difficult for me. Perhaps it was because I lacked faith or maybe because I was simply not exercising it. My mind always wandered off to existential questions, all demanding concrete answers. If God is perfect why would He love ME? Much less why, but HOW? How could a perfect, merciful, gentle God love a broken, selfish, hypocritical me? I came to Mission Adelante with an encyclopedia full of these questions expecting each and every one to be answered magically. Instead, I received something even better.  I received a family and a community with people like me who speak to God about their doubts and their failures. Mission Adelante breaks the norm and accepts me for who I am, broken pieces and all.

Everyone knows what it’s like to be new and afraid. Maybe you felt this in third grade when you moved schools and had to present yourself to the class. Or perhaps you felt this when the coach asked you to get on the field after a long season of being on the bench. The first time I felt this was in kindergarten when my family migrated to the U.S. from Mexico. I felt this again in 6th grade when I joined the robotics club, and again each time I had a job interview. This emotion filled me again the first Sunday I attended house church at Mission Adelante. The same questions from before lingered in my head until they had achieved what they wanted. I felt scared, timid and nervous. I knew I wanted God in my life but what if God did not want me?

Mission Adelante opened its doors for me and transformed my thoughts about church and God. I was no longer scared or uncertain because Mission had made me part of a community that shared the same uncertainties. Through the Bible I learned that God not only loved me from the second I was created, but yearned to have a relationship with me too. I had been so desperate to feel his love for me that I was blind to the love I was already being shown. He showed me His presence when I volunteered at Teens Adelante, the love was so raw and honest. Volunteers had created a relationship with the teens like no other I had seen before. In any moment of fear, doubt, or darkness, a volunteer was there to listen and to pray. At this time, I was still not sure if God was in my life but now I was sure He existed. How could He not, if these volunteers loved each of these teens in such a profound way? How could He not, if the teens loved and cherished each of the volunteers?

God’s love was and continues to be what amazes me the most about our Creator. The infinite amount of love it must have taken to be humiliated, tortured and crucified for lost and broken people. That same love that He has planted deep within His people. The same love that the volunteers water each Wednesday evening with the teens. The same love that begins growing in them until stretching its limbs out to the heavens. I believe this is exactly what God wanted us to do with His love. How beautiful is it that God loves us so much that He has given us a gift to share with everyone around us too!

Today, I feel new in Christ. I feel renovated, restored, cleansed. Through Mission Adelante, I have learned that God has given me a new beginning. I no longer have to be scared of being unworthy because He has cleaned off my slate and filled it with His righteousness. By doing this, He shows me He is merciful and gracious. I am still sometimes doubtful and at times untrusting, and I know that this journey I have begun will not be an easy one. It will be full of new challenges, new teachings, but also so, so much love.

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, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up: Monday, November 12, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Tuesday, November 13, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; and Thursdays, November 8 and 15, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!

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.


Believing Truth

 The 2018-2019 Leaders In Training

The 2018-2019 Leaders In Training

By Megan McDermott, Director of Latino Kids Ministries

Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough or maybe a little too much?  I know I have, and I would venture to say that that’s true of most people. Starting during childhood, we receive so many different messages about who we should be, how we should act, and where our value lies.  These messages may or may not be true. Many of us, perhaps in an effort to fit into a group that we want to belong to, begin to believe lies about who we are.

In Leaders in Training, our after school character and leadership development program, we are diving into a deep topic this year: the armor of God.  The Bible lists for us the protective garments that are available to us, that make us “able to stand against the schemes of the devil,” including his attempts to corrupt our grasp of our true identity.   Though it is a profoundly spiritual topic, the LIT kids are practicing using the spiritual armor that is available to them, and embracing the truth of who God says they are.

Last week, we asked the question, “What is a lie you believe about yourself?” The kids shared their struggle with feeling unworthy of love.  They expressed their frustration with believing the lie that they aren’t smart. Many of them feel like they aren’t good enough; failures in all they try to do.  These are CHILDREN that feel this shame, worthlessness, and pain.

On the spur of the moment, led by the Lord, we had each of the kids change the lie they were believing into a truth statement. Instead of saying, “I don’t have anything to offer,” we had them affirm the truth to themselves that they do!  It was a deep and healing time for all of us involved, reminding us that we are all children of God!

Interested in learning a little bit more how to volunteer with these amazing kids?  Email meganm@missionadelante.org for more info.

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, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up: Mondays, November 5 and 12, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Tuesdays, November 6 and 13, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; and Thursdays, November 8 and 15, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!

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.


When Immigration Has a Name

 Andy and Valente during English class

Andy and Valente during English class

By Andy Marso, Latino ESL Volunteer Conversation Partner

The word “immigration” is enmeshed in a national debate that has become so politicized it feels overwhelming. But being at Mission Adelante every week is a reminder that when all the politics are stripped away, immigration is fundamentally about individual people ­– people created in the image of God.

My Mission Adelante ESL student’s name is Valente. He’s from Mexico. When I was his age I was still trying to figure out how to be an adult, but Valente already has a career in construction, a wife, two kids and a third arriving any day now. His positive energy makes him a joy to work with. He’s learning fast, and I’m learning from him as well.

Organizations like Mission Adelante are vital to their cities because they knit together people from different backgrounds into a more cohesive community. They remind us that no matter where we come from, we are companions on a journey and we need each other to reach the potential God has given us.

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, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up: Mondays, November 5 and 12, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Tuesdays, November 6 and 13, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; and Thursdays, November 8 and 15, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Visit  www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!


Adelante Thrift Partner Spotlight: Kansas State School for the Blind

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Written by Elena Chan, Community Development Director

One of Adelante Thrift’s values is generosity. We strongly believe that generosity has the power to transform individual lives as well as the entire community. For the past three years, the store has been blessed by the outpouring of the generosity by people and organizations who have served alongside us in our community. One of them is Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB), located right here in Kansas City, Kansas, less than two miles from Adelante Thrift.  Each week during the academic year for almost three years, the store has hosted a group of teachers and students that come to serve. They are very familiar with our staff; they know exactly what needs to be done; they learn new things about the store’s operations; they get to meet other groups of volunteers.

As stated in their mission statement, KSSB has a very clear aim: “We build local capacity throughout the state via strategic partnerships to ensure learners with visual impairments are able to assume responsible roles in society and lead fulfilling lives.” The school teachers seek project sites that are able and willing to accommodate their students with visual impairments and allow them to learn and improve their social and physical skills at a pace and manner suitable for them. Another consideration is the site location, which, because of the store’s proximity to the school, allowed it to be considered as a potential site. After visiting the store with the students for the first time, the decision was made to approve the store for the group’s regular service.

Besides serving on a weekly basis, the school has also become a donor of goods. Earlier this month when the school underwent a major facility renovation, they donated 30 beds and dressers to Adelante Thrift that all sold within two weeks!

It’s truly a blessing to have partners within the community that are generous and with whom Adelante Thrift can enjoy a reciprocal relationship.  Thank you, Kansas State School for the Blind, for your hard work making your vision a reality in our community, and for fostering your students’ ability to assume responsible roles in society and lead fulfilling lives.

Visit www.adelantethrift.com/volunteer to learn more about serving at Adelante Thrift!

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Crossing the Bridge

 Members of Paul’s house church on a recent trip to the Kansas City Zoo.

Members of Paul’s house church on a recent trip to the Kansas City Zoo.

By Paul Kienzle, Director of Latino ESL

On any given Thursday night at Mission Adelante, there is a whole lot of relationship going on! That’s the night we hold our five-level ESL classes for Latinos, as well as Kids Adelante. Our facility and several neighborhood homes are packed with a crowd of lively participants, volunteers and staff.  We believe that effective ministry is relational at its core. Sometimes, the interaction between the students and volunteers in our ESL program is so focused that it’s hard to get their attention for English instruction!  Our intent in fostering all this interaction is for it to inspire mutual learning, a reciprocity to serve one another, and friendship that is life-giving. And beyond our ESL program, there is a bridge some of our ESL students cross that leads to another context to cultivate life-giving friendship: house church.

The members of our faith community gather weekly on Sunday in three house churches.  We routinely extend an invitation to our ESL students to gather with us. Crossing over from ESL into a house church setting has been a great way our ESL students, past and present have gotten further involved and experienced even greater community.  They cross over from studying English to examining the life of Jesus, from sitting in a classroom to gathering in the more intimate setting of a living room, and from reciting responses to English material to sharing a meal and good conversation around a table.  Our house churches are a place where everyone is on level ground, in a safe environment for sharing life’s burdens in prayer and growing together in Jesus.

A couple of young Honduran men, Jairo and Carlos, enrolled in our ESL classes several years ago.  I was quickly drawn to them because of their friendly, outgoing, animated personalities. Both men are painters and work long days.  However, they committed themselves to not missing class, and oftentimes, they would come to class directly from work. Over time, our natural affinity for one another and my respect for their dedication to class led to the start of a friendship.  It was natural to invite them to come to the house church that meets in my home. They accepted, and they’ve continued to come with their families, occasionally bringing along a neighbor or cousin to take part in studying God’s Word and growing together in Christ.  Jairo and Carlos are just two of a number of students who have crossed over to become part of our house church community.

Indeed, there is a bridge that links our Latino ESL program to our house church community. That bridge is built upon the sturdy trusses of interdependent relationship; life-giving friendship, mutual learning and reciprocated service   It leads to a place where the student and his family can grow in Christ together with others. It may even mean sharing the joy of a birthday, ice skating, a cook-out, a meal shared at a restaurant, or a day spent together at the zoo.  The possibilities for sharing life are endless!


A Fun Summer of Refugee Kids Club

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Written by Laxmi Gurung, Ministry Apprentice (Refugee Kids Ministries)

The summer trimester of Refugee Kids Club was full of fun activities and a great turnout of kids. Before the trimester began I worked on how I could invite kids. I went to different churches, stores, and some kids’ houses to give them invitations. I also posted on Facebook and shared with many people from the community.

After that, I worked on what I could do to make kids want to come and enjoy their time being here. I thought of fun activities and trying new things because I wanted the kids to have fun while they were out of school and also to learn a lesson from the Bible. In the beginning, I was kind of nervous trying new things because I was worried that they might not work. But having an amazing leader like Megan McDermott makes everything easier for me because she is always there to help. Megan supported my ideas and she helped me to improve them. So each week I planned to do a different activity like playing games outside and another week, learning from the Bible.

The activities we did included tie-dye, water balloons, outdoor games and movie night. I could see the kids having fun and enjoying everything we were doing. Some of the kids even invited their friends. It was cool to see kids inviting their friends and bringing them along. Every week we had a kid there for the first time. The average attendance was 18 kids: the highest we’ve had in the history of Refugee Kids Club. It was amazing for me because we used to have only a few kids and the big group of volunteers. In the summer I had seven volunteers, the perfect number for me. Each of them helped to me lead the activities and teach the lesson. It was very helpful and everyone was committed to come. Three of them returned to volunteering with us this fall, and a lot of kids that came during the summertime also came back. We started our fall trimester about two weeks ago and it is going great.

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


A Story Worth Telling

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By Gissell Vazquez, Assistant Ministry Director

When she began attending Arts Community, you could tell that she was one of those charming and shy girls that would not answer a question if not asked directly. Not only did she never miss a class, she was the first to arrive. The improvement of her skill was evidence that she practiced with her guitar at home. It wasn’t until our second trimester of the program that I got the chance to interact more with her because Pastor Bizu, our volunteer guitar instructor from the spring, couldn’t help during the summer.

I had many good experiences during the trimester, but one that stood out to me was the Monday when I had to teach without the usual help of my friend José Tellez. That night, as I was helping the students one by one to remember the names of the guitar strings and naming the new chords we were practicing, this girl stepped in and said to me, “Do want me to help you? I can work with my partner while you are doing it with the rest.” It was a surprise and a joy for me having her offer to help. Immediately I said, “Yes of course, go for it!” That night and for the rest of the trimester she became not only a student but a helper. She is becoming an artist with a potential to be developed beyond our program and she is turning into a young leader with the most important leadership skill: a servant heart.

You may think I forgot to mention her name, but that’s not the case. I just wanted you to feel, as you read this article, the same awe that I felt. The excitement of discovering simple but important things that have always been in front of our eyes, but that we might not have seen yet. I’m glad Arts Community is not only a place where the opportunity to enjoy the arts is given, but the opportunity for young leaders from our community to be developed as well.  

The young woman’s name is Prishmila and she is one among many kids that are thriving in the community. I’m blessed to have such an amazing group of students that come every Monday night to enjoy the arts, to share life together, and to learn about Jesus.

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Beginning Again

 New volunteers receiving training last Saturday on our Latino ESL program.

New volunteers receiving training last Saturday on our Latino ESL program.

By Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director

We’re excited to be beginning a new trimester at Mission Adelante. During the breaks we have between trimesters, the moment always comes that we miss the activity of program nights and the ability to interact with everyone from the community. Of course, nothing we do at Mission Adelante would be possible without the contribution of so many volunteers that get involved and become part of our family for a few months, and some that stay around for many years.

This trimester we’re adding 22 new volunteers, all full of energy and with the desire to be a part of the lives of the kids, youth, and adults that participate in Mission Adelante. One thing that stands out about this group is that it includes two of our former Latino ESL students. Olga is preparing to be part of the ESL level 2 volunteer team and Yamilka, who passed her citizenship exam a few weeks ago, will support others from the community to study for their exams as they navigate the citizenship process.

What a great blessing to be part of this multicultural group of friends and brothers and sisters in the faith, who each want to contribute their grain of sand to help pave the road for those of us that have come to this country with a deep desire to keep moving forward.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Volunteer teams meeting together to plan for the trimester at Volunteer Training on Saturday and Volunteer Huddle on Monday evening

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • We’re looking for a volunteer photographer! Adelante Thrift is giving its website a new look and would like a photographer to help take high-quality photos. If you are interested, please contact Elena at elenam@missionadelante.org.


Battle Boutique: More Than Just a Store

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Written by Merah Wright, Adelante Thrift Volunteer Coordinator

At Adelante Thrift, we have many amazing volunteers come through our doors - generously giving of their time, energy, and resources! And every volunteer comes with his or her own story, which, many times, we have the privilege of hearing. The most recent story that came along is about perseverance and passion and trust in God.

Charlene Kimmel and her daughter Jalen have been volunteering at the store since its opening in 2015. Charlene loves shopping at thrift stores, so when three years ago her church started partnering with Adelante Thrift, she was compelled by the mission of the store in the community and immediately signed on.

A few months ago, Charlene shared with us her vision for a very unique thrift store that she was about to open. In January of 2016 at the age of 38, Charlene was diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer which came as a total shock for her and her family, and completely changed her life. While in the fight of her life against cancer, Charlene discovered the great need for affordable apparel for those battling cancer. She found herself needing very specific apparel and accessories.  However, availability was limited either to items sold by hospital boutiques that were too expensive to afford, or items that were free of charge but didn’t come with choices for the wearer. As a clinical researcher, Charlene had never before considered starting her own thrift store. But at that stage of her life and desperately wanting others who were newly diagnosed with cancer to have a more uplifting experience, she founded Battle Boutique. She believes God gave her the name for her store, “Battle Boutique”, based on Ephesians 6:16-17: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. What a powerful battle cry!

Battle Boutique is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created for cancer patients, survivors, family, and friends to provide affordable apparel and supplies needed during treatment, recovery and cancer awareness. It’s a place to donate apparel and supplies that are no longer needed. And it’s a community to provide encouragement, reinforcements, and solace.

Battle Boutique opened its doors on July 7, 2018 at 11716 W. 95th Street in Overland Park, Kansas. We had the privilege of visiting Charlene at the new store about a month after its official opening. Upon entering, you immediately sense an atmosphere of peace and comfort. It is more than just your typical store - it is a place to get quality “battle gear,” both used and new, at affordable prices. It is a place to pass along the items that helped carry you or someone you know through the battle, and it’s a place to find support and connection during a difficult season. If you have items that are not being used, please consider donating them!  Some of the things in highest demand are camisoles with a front zipper, bras with pockets to insert forms, button-up pajamas and shirts, and turbans, scarves and headbands made of soft material.

Charlene has many hopes and goals for the future of Battle Boutique. One, in addition to being able to continue providing for women battling all types of cancer, is to help meet the needs of children who have been diagnosed with cancer. The hope is to be a place where children and their parents can find new and used items at affordable prices, and a place to connect and find support. This store and ministry is very necessary and has already blessed numerous people! You can find out more about Charlene’s story and her amazing ministry at Battle Boutique’s website: https://www.battle.boutique/.

CURRENT NEEDS:


Participating in a Miracle: Reflections from Sabbatical

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by Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director

Last Tuesday, August 22, marked the end of our three-month sabbatical.  For some casual observers, it was hard to believe that three months had already gone by.  For my wife, having me at home jabbering on about my exercise goals and my sore foot for three months must have seemed like an eternity.  For me it was just right!

Among the many beautiful dynamics that happen on a sabbatical break, one of the most encouraging for me is having the opportunity to separate enough from the daily grind of ministry to hear the Lord speak new things.  Many heart lessons came through these months; I thought I'd share three with you that I shared with our staff this week.

  1. What we do at Mission Adelante is hard- I didn't exactly enter sabbatical limping across the finish line, but I will say that my hair loss over the last five years is indicative of a challenging ministry season we just completed.  I recently thought back to a memory from the months before we launched Mission Adelante.  An entrepreur friend listened to me try to describe what we were envisioning, and he said, "You guys sure try to do hard things."  His statement was prophetic.  From the normal human relational dynamics, to the harrowing challenges faced by immigrants in our community, the current harsh political climate, and the complications of multicultural relationships, this calling and ministry test heart, mind and soul in ways that I hadn't imagined.  But, what should we expect?  Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith and model for our ministry, was crucified brutally.  Accounts of his disciples in the book of Acts are full of hardships.  If we have a view of ministry that doesn't include the need to depend wholly on God and persevere through big challenges, we might have unrealistic expectations.  In a strange way, it's encouraging to step back and remember that Jesus told his followers to expect difficulty and that James says that we should consider it joy.  What we are trying to do is hard!
  2. Our calling is worth the struggle!  We serve in a beautiful community- beautiful because of the image of God that shines through each language, color, culture, and personality.  The pain, the joy, the potential that exist in each person are ready to burst forth in any given moment.  Some have experienced deep trauma in leaving their home country, persecution because of faith or political reasons, economic desperation. Others were brought here very young and are now coming of age in a time when their immigration status is at risk.  Others are are here alone, still hoping to be reunited with family they left behind.  Leaders, volunteers from our community and across the city, staff members from all places, are standing in the gap for one another and for their neighbors.  The light of the gospel is shined in the middle of difficult situations.  Jobs are provided for some, others are equipped with language skills, kids are loved and taught, the arts express the creativity designed into diverse individuals, leaders emerge and are developed, disciples are made, a community is strengthened and flourishes, like a bright, colorful flower blooming from the crevices of jagged rocks on a treacherous cliff.  What a privilege to be part of it!  The Lord has put us here for such a time as this!   
  3. We have everything we need!  From the beginning of our ministry I have been surprised over and over again by the provision of the Lord!  From finances, to partners, to volunteers, to key staff members at key moments, to buildings, spaces to meet, and vehicles- the list of seemingly miraculous provisions is so tremendously long.  The miracle of God's provision for a ministry like ours is perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the entire endeavor.  There's a story behind each person, each gift, each supporter, each contact, and many times they are clearly God stories.  Believing is easy when God's hand is so active and evident.  And, in the middle of all of the challenges, the Holy Spirit comes and changes a life, the trajectory of someone's journey, brings healing, brings vision, brings growth.  Yes, fundraising takes work.  Transforming lives takes a heavy personal investment.  And the whole endeavor requires a lot of faith.  But, I return from this sabbatical break astonished at the way God has provided everything we need at every step of this ministry, from unexpected places in just the right moments.   

Yes, the work is hard, but it's worth it, and God has provided richly.  What a privilege to participate in a miracle!  

CURRENT NEEDS:


Empowering Emerging Leaders

 Elva Vazquez, ESL program graduate, with level one English student Alba.

Elva Vazquez, ESL program graduate, with level one English student Alba.

Written by Paul Kienzle, Director of Latino ESL

Our Latino ESL program consists of five levels.  Dedicated students can advance through all five levels in less than two years.  It is not uncommon for graduating students to ask me what comes after level five.  One of our core values at Mission Adelante for fruit bearing ministry is equipping and empowering emerging leaders from our community so as to help individuals to reach their potential as disciples and leaders.  One way we do this is by encouraging our ESL graduates to transition from being students to serving as volunteers in English classes.

Elva Vazquez graduated from the ESL program in April of this year. While taking the classes, she demonstrated her determination to learn English through near perfect attendance and test scores.  Her ready smile and gentle spirit made it a joy to have her as one of our students. Cheryl McMorris, one of her volunteers, described her in this way: "She had a motivation to study the vocabulary and practice the grammar concept each week. This prepared her to move up to each new level with confidence knowing that she could learn this crazy language!” To my delight, she accepted the request for her to help out in level one as a volunteer for the summer trimester.  She jumped right in and dedicated herself to helping several women who were coming to observe the class.  She chimed in during our volunteer huddles, and she communicated beautifully to our level one students the blessing of advancing to the upper levels.  Elva was nervous at first about the idea of volunteering but her passion to give back and help others allowed her to overcome her fears.

Elva is one of the first to come out of the ESL program and return in a volunteer role.  Her courage has set the standard and will be the inspiration for others who will come after her. I am excited to see how her impact will help shape the future of our Latino ESL program.

CURRENT NEEDS:


A New Beginning

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Written by Cody Schindel, Refugee ESL Coordinator

If someone asked you, would you be able to tell them the year The Constitution was written? What if they asked you to name one territory of the United States? Would you be able to tell them one war the United States fought in the 1800s or give them the name of the current Speaker of the House of Representatives? Do you know one responsibility that a United States citizen has?

Those are five of the possible 100 questions that could be asked during an interview conducted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. During the interview, an applicant will have to correctly answer some of these questions, read and write sentences in English, and will have to answer questions about their background and the application they submitted. This is one major part of the long process for an individual to become a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.

Many of our neighbors in the Kansas City, Kansas community desire to become US Citizens. This Fall, we will be pressing further into our purpose to “love people from all places” by experimenting with a citizenship class open to all refugees and immigrants. The class will be open to those who are preparing to apply and those that have already applied to become a US citizen. We are hoping to be able to help our neighbors learn what it means to be a citizen of the US, as well as to share what it is to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God. We believe that this program will further meet the needs of people within our community and continue to connect our immigrant and refugee neighbors together.

The Citizenship Class will be held on Tuesday evenings in addition to our English Club and Refugee Kids Club programming. Our goal will be to assist students in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the content through the use of instruction, group activities, and relational teaching, all presented in simple English. Registration for the class will be held on September 11, 2018 at 6:30pm.

We are presently recruiting volunteers to ensure we have enough help for the upcoming trimester and our Tuesday night programming. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the ESL page on the Mission Adelante website and fill out an interest form, or contact me at CodyS@missionadelante.org.

CURRENT NEEDS:


Party at the Lake 2018

 Recognizing the church community

Recognizing the church community

Written by Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director

After three months of fun and a lot of effort, last Sunday was time to celebrate what God has been doing at Mission Adelante. We had a great summer party, where we celebrated and honored all those involved in each ministry program, our thrift store, and our church community.

There was a mixture of many elements: different cultures and languages, families, new friendships, music, dance, awards, biblical verses, art, rich food, lots of laughter, and gratitude. And we are extremely grateful for each kid, youth, English student, thrift worker, volunteer, and church community member who participated!

The Mission Adelante community continues to grow, and with it, the impact on each person involved and our city.  We are extremely excited about what the Lord will continue to do next trimester.

Enjoy some of the pictures from Sunday!

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Grupo Folklorico gave a special presentation during our party! Check out the video above!

 

CURRENT NEEDS:


Bringing Together People from All Places

 Sunny playing with kids at Refugee Kids Club

Sunny playing with kids at Refugee Kids Club

Written by Laxmi Gurung, Ministry Apprentice and Sunny Bounyalath, Refugee Kids Club Volunteer

I’m excited to introduce you to one of our Refugee Kids Club volunteers, Sunny Bounyalath. Sunny has been volunteering with the refugee kids for a year now. She was born in Thailand and came to the United States when she was young. When Sunny moved to Kansas a few years ago, she searched for ways to be more involved with the community and was drawn to Mission Adelante because of the diversity and openness of the ministry. I asked Sunny to share a little about her experience at Refugee Kids Club on Tuesday nights:

“For the past year, I find myself looking forward to Tuesdays. When Tuesday rolls around, it is filled with fun, games, and laughter at the Refugee Kids Club. I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve alongside a great group of volunteers. As one of the volunteers, I have gotten to know the children and grow along with them in their faith in God through Bible stories. This trimester we sang and danced, made tie-dye shirts, ate ice cream, and had a balloon water fight outside.

I enjoy every minute spent at Refugee Kids Club. I am thankful that a diverse ministry such as Mission Adelante exists in the community to bring different people from different walks of life together. My Tuesdays have never been the same.”  

We are so thankful for volunteers like Sunny who come and share life with the kids each week. And we are excited to announce that more and more kids are coming to Refugee Kids Club each week! This means that we need more volunteers for the Fall Trimester! If you love kids, please visit our website at www.missionadelante.org/kids to find out more and to let us know you're interested.

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CURRENT NEEDS:


The Park Drive Neighborhood Project

Written by Elena Chan, Director of Community Development

At Mission Adelante, we envision a growing multicultural community of disciples making disciples, where people from all places are thriving and using our gifts together to transform our neighborhood and the world for the glory of Jesus Christ. However, while we’re located in a part of Wyandotte County that has a multitude of assets and opportunities, there are also many challenges.  We believe that the opportunities and challenges in our community are God-sized, and that meeting them will require partnerships and collaboration.  That’s why, when the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas approached Mission Adelante a year ago to solicit our participation in a brand new initiative focused on transforming our neighborhood through strategic improvements and collaboration, we jumped at the chance.

The initiative is known as The Park Drive Neighborhood Project.  It was funded by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). “The Unified Government hopes to “stand up” the neighborhood in five years and, if successful, continue to use this model in communities across Wyandotte County.” (https://www.wycokck.org/SOAR/Park-Drive.aspx) The opportunities identified for the project will require various parties--including local government, businesses, neighborhood stakeholders, and residents--to work together in order to be successful.

Project leaders approached Mission Adelante as well as the other community organizations in our census tract with the aim of learning what unique offerings we were each making available to the residents of our immediate part of the county.  Also, they were hoping to capitalize on our existing relationships with residents in order to gain resident involvement in the initiative. Due to Mission Adelante’s centralized location and proximity to residents, we had the privilege of hosting at our facility several community meetings where resident input was gathered.

Most recently, community organizations came together to assist the UG in going door-to-door to invite residents to a neighborhood picnic at City Park on July 15th.  The picnic included free food, music, slam poetry, games, and informational materials for residents. Twenty-one Unified Government departments participated, staffing informational booths and speaking with residents about their services. Additionally, nine community partners attended with information on their services and projects in the community.

We’re excited about the synergy that has been generated among the collaborators, and we’re very optimistic about the community transformation that could be realized during the next five years.  Praise God for bringing to us this opportunity to work toward the type of community that we envision sharing with people from all places.

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Are you passionate about education and kids? Our Leaders in Training program is always looking for new volunteers. Please contact Megan if you would like more information: meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Adelante Arts Community needs one or two volunteers to teach guitar to kids! No need to be an expert. If you enjoy playing a few chords and would like to share that ability with others, fill out an interest form at http://www.missionadelante.org/arts.