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.


An Opportunity to Grow

Kasey Her.jpg

Written by Elena Chan, Director of Community Development

At Mission Adelante, we believe that developing individuals to reach their potential in the workplace is a critical part of community transformation. Adelante Thrift is on an exciting journey of doing exactly that, developing people through employment at the our store. The emphasis is to equip and empower people from our community. We hoped that some staff would grow with the store, moving up and taking on new leadership roles. We also knew that some would use Adelante Thrift as a stepping stone to gain confidence and learn valuable skills, applying them as they pursue other careers. Kasey Her is one of our employees who is growing at Adelante Thrift.

Kasey has been working for Adelante Thrift as a cashier for the past year and a half. Recently she has been given more responsibilities related to social media and marketing. When first asked if she would be interested in taking over some of the social media responsibilities, she was a bit hesitant. However, after lining up coaching and training, she agreed to take the step to learn new things. Besides Kasey’s eagerness to learn new skills, she shared that she loves the store for its mission in helping people from all places to find affordable things for daily life. She knows first hand how it can be difficult for people who moved into the area to get what they need at affordable prices. Although Kasey was born in the United States, her parents moved here from Laos. It took time for them to adjust and learn the language. Yet, regardless of those challenges, she is thankful to be able to pursue her dreams. She also loves to use her passion for helping people and to talk to people who come to shop. Kasey is a shopper herself, and she loves to shop at Adelante Thrift too. “It’s hard not to buy stuff here, and I can’t seem to leave the store without buying something at times,” shares Kasey.

Kasey will be receiving additional mentoring this semester. A business student from William Jewell College will be interning at the store to assist with marketing and social media and will give Kasey advice and new ideas. Kasey is beyond excited to have a resource to help her with her new responsibilities. We are eager to see how Kasey will continue to grow at Adelante Thrift!

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 their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.


Adelante Arts Community Launches Its Second Year!

Arts Community.jpg

Written by Gissell Vazquez, Assistant Ministry Director

A new year, a new beginning. For me personally, it has been a season of challenges, new steps of faith, and celebrations of 2018 victories.

I remember last year in January as I planned for the Launch of Adelante Arts Community there were many questions without clear answers. It was the first time that Mission Adelante was launching an Arts program; excitement and doubts invaded my mind. Who is going to come? Would people be interested? I specifically remember the launch day, January 22, 2018. It was a cold, stormy day, and a few minutes before six it started to snow. I really don’t know how, but I was calm and curious about what God was going to do. I remember very well who the first ones to register were; they were Nir Gurung and her girls. How would I forget their happy and excited faces? After her, many others started to show up, and at that moment I knew that what started with a dream was becoming a reality.

From that day on and for the past year, I’ve been writing and sharing with you many stories of how God has used the volunteers and Arts Community to bless our kids and teens in the community. This is not an article to repeat them. These are just words of gratitude to God and to everybody who has been part of it. There will be more stories to tell this 2019. I’m very excited to see what God is going to do next. Arts Community is now launching its second year! The registration night is this coming Monday, January 21. We’ll have keyboard and guitar classes for kids and teens from 7 to 15 years old. We will also have dance and arts and crafts for kids and teens from 5 to 15 years old.

At 6:00 pm the doors of Mission Adelante will be open for our community! Come and enjoy the warmth of human relationships, the arts that you love, and God’s love for everyone!

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 their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.


Becoming A Part of God's Family

Katie.png

Written by Kids Adelante Volunteer Katie Woodard

Just over a year ago I had my first interaction with the Mission Adelante family.  I quickly realized that this family I'm now privileged to be a part of is a beautifully unique one.  Mission Adelante truly is a place where everyone is welcome, no one is excluded, and differences are celebrated. Although my assigned "role" is serving the children at Kids Adelante, I continually find that they also serve and bless me! As we study God's word and seek to become more like Jesus, we're all finding a sense of belonging.  This sense of belonging is characteristic of the Body of Christ. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

My husband and I moved to the Mission Adelante neighborhood 6 months ago and I currently work part-time as a substitute teacher in the district. A few weeks before Christmas, I was subbing in a kindergarten classroom.  Near the end of the day, students were packing their bags and preparing to go home. One student saw my wedding ring and asked where I got it. I told him that my husband, Josh, gave it to me. "Josh?" he replied with great curiosity, "Like Joshua!?" I said, "Yes, like Joshua!" Immediately, his eyes lit up and he boldly proclaimed "Joshua 1, dot dot, 9..." A huge smile spread on my face because, you see, memorizing God's Word is a key part of our kids' programs at Mission Adelante.  Whenever we recite verses, we use our hands to make dots to represent the colon in the Scripture reference. (Joshua 1: ← dot dot) I knew this little boy didn't come on Thursday nights or I would have known him, so I gathered that he must be part of Refugee Kids Club. I asked him if he knew my friend Miss Laxmi. With shock and delight, he said "YES!!! Do YOU know her!?" He then pulled out his medal he'd just received from awards night and told me all about his beloved friend, Miss Laxmi, and we were instant friends. You see, even outside the four walls of Mission Adelante, a family is growing and people of all different nationalities and backgrounds are finding belonging because of Jesus.  He is the great unifier, the perfect Father and our constant hope.

krc.png
  • 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 their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.


Loving My Neighbor

20181213_203750.jpg

Written By: Dayton Yarrow, ESL Volunteer

The Level 3 English Class that I volunteer with every Thursday night at Mission Adelante is a room full of smiling faces, vibrant personalities, and inquisitive minds.  It is a place where language learning happens and relationships are built. The time I spend engaging with the students often encourages and inspires me. It also reminds me that every person is made in God’s image with unique gifts and talents, no matter what country they are from or what language they speak. Against the backdrop of the challenges that our country is facing now and the various perceptions of the role of immigration in the United States, this classroom is a refreshing reminder that immigrants are people with unique stories, challenges, joys, and struggles. They are people that I can relate to and learn from.

    Two years ago, I began working in Kansas City as an immigration law legal assistant. During that period I have watched the immigration debate in our country shift. It started as an undercurrent and has become a polarizing dispute that often runs on heated emotions and opinions. Personally, this can be difficult for me to navigate as it sometimes seems that people either have completely opposing views with no way to begin to see the other side of things or they are conflict averse (like myself) and would prefer not to engage in a debate at all.

    It is easy to see only anger and irreconcilable differences. This can cause us to become discouraged or to be tempted to look the other way and decide it is easier to not engage. However,  taking Christ’s command to “love our neighbor” means choosing to work toward understanding and reconciliation. Mission Adelante has modeled this by creating a place that loves and cares for immigrants who have found themselves here with us in the United States. They put faith into practice by reaching out and caring for immigrants and refugees and have helped me process the church’s role in participating in these challenges. The national debate is important, and it is worth engaging thoughtfully, strategically, and empathetically. In the meantime, we cannot neglect the opportunity that we have to love and care for our immigrant neighbors, to connect with and learn from them. What an opportunity to participate in what God is doing in our world!

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 their website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.


What Are You Thankful For?

ESL Party [t 1.jpg

Written by Paul Kienzle, Director of ESL Latino

Did you know that God fashioned our bodies in such a way that they benefit from having an attitude of thankfulness? Practicing gratitude affects the brain by producing dopamine which can decrease pain levels, improve sleep, and relieve stress and depression.  It can even help lessen negative emotions like guilt or anxiety. God wants us to be thankful people not only to honor Him but also to bless us. He asks us to be thankful always. This command is one that takes discipline and courage, especially when walking through a difficult situation. I’d like to share with you what I am thankful for within the Mission Adelante family.

I am deeply indebted to God for placing me at Mission Adelante the last three years, and what this organization has taught me. I have learned to love better, to relate more deeply, to celebrate the uniqueness of worshipping Jesus in different cultural contexts, and to empower emerging leaders from our community. I am thankful for the Adelante staff I work alongside, and the encouragement they’ve given me. I am also grateful to our ESL students for allowing me to share life with them. I have grown by getting a glimpse into their life experiences outside the classroom, understanding their unique joys and pains, and seeing their resilience and perseverance. I lack words to describe my respect for our volunteer team, who come Thursday after Thursday and give with open hearts. They are a unified bunch who understand what God is doing through Mission Adelante in our community and have become a vital part of it. I thank God for the people who come to our house church two Sunday evenings a month to study the word of God, share a meal, laugh together and support one another. They have become true friends and blessings to my family and me.

I encourage you to take a moment, on your own or with your family, and recall what you have been thankful for this year!  Whatever the physiological or emotional benefits of thankfulness, know this, that it’s a habit of the heart that God wants us to continually practice.

 “...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV, 1 Thess. 5:18)

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.