Launch of Refugee Youth Club

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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?

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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  • 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

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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?

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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.


Learning God's Love

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Written by Michael Pollock, LIT and Teens Volunteer

When I started volunteering with Teens Adelante 7 years ago, I did not have experience in teaching or mentoring and I felt a bit inadequate to do the job I had signed up for. Thankfully, the staff and fellow volunteers showed me how to lead as we served the youth of KCK. One of the first teens I met was Daniel Garcia. He was quiet and didn’t give off a very welcoming vibe to those he didn’t know, but I could tell he was a deep thinker and took his faith seriously. As our friendship developed, I saw Daniel grow into a hard working young man with love and loyalty for his community and ambition for his future. So, when I found out that he was joining the staff in August I was very excited to work side by side with a guy I once tried to teach. These last few months have been a pleasure as I get to see Daniel help lead Leaders in Training and Teens (even bailing me out when I was struggling during a lesson).

Recently on the LIT reward trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Daniel led the devotional time. It was an ambitious topic: Job and the problem of evil. One of the most memorable moments was when Daniel straight up questioned his ability to teach the lesson. As he struggled to find to words to continue he never gave up and we ended up having some of the greatest discussions I’ve seen with the kids. One of the kids asked the theological bomb “Did Jesus die for Satan’s sins?” Later I remembered how Jesus told us to love our enemies and I realized there was more love in her question than in any of our answers. Many of the kids thanked Daniel for pushing through his discomfort and his example was a microcosm of the greater discussion which helped me form a take-away from the night: God allows us to go through difficult times not so we can earn God’s love, but so we can learn God’s love!

My understanding and experience of God’s love has been deepened by my time at Mission Adelante; not just by the fun times with good friends, but through the difficult times as well. Even in the many uncomfortable moments I’ve had trying to lead the youth, (an experience I can now share with Daniel) God’s love gives us the grace to lift each other up. In this world we will have trouble, but we, united as the body of Christ, can overcome it.  Just as Daniel was always patient with me, the young Leaders in Training helped Daniel overcome his self doubt.

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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.


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.