Life Takes Many Turns

 The Mission Adelante staff during Jarrett's sabatical

The Mission Adelante staff during Jarrett's sabatical

Written by Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director (pictured front row, second from the left)

"La vida da muchas vueltas" (“Life takes many turns”) is one of the phrases we use frequently in Cuba. It is a way to accentuate the uncertainty of this world in which we live. Sometimes life takes predictable directions, and many times it leads us to destinations and nooks and crannies that we could not even imagine. How cool to be able to acknowledge that life has a name: Jehovah; that there is nothing surprising to Him, that the unpredictable for me has been carefully scrutinized and approved by that person who is above and at the same time so aware of my care.

When I came to the US, I was ready to start again, but it brought an uncertainty that overwhelmed me.  It was one of those turns in life that caught me by surprise and gave me very little capacity to react. I knew and loved Mission Adelante. I did not know if I could connect and love the ministry as deeply as I had loved it before. I have to confess that this was one of my biggest fears. I have been living in Kansas City, Kansas for over 2 years now and each of my fears have been completely dispelled. I have learned that ministry is my way of life; making disciples of Jesus is not something I do, it is an indissoluble part of who I am. Leaving my country and coming to another so rich in cultures has made me a better person, with the ability to unfold myself and get out of my selfishness and customs to continue learning to love as Jesus does.

During the last few weeks, while Jarrett has been on sabbatical, I’ve had the chance to lead Mission Adelante with our staff. Leading a ministry in my own culture is one thing; leading a ministry of so many diverse cultures and in a language and context that is not mine is another very different one. Honestly, it was intimidating when Jarrett proposed it to me, but it has been a huge blessing from which I am learning a lot. What I have most exercised in this stage is the confidence that the way God has created me has perfect synergy with the place where he has placed me today. To have the complete assurance that it is God who places me and then takes me away and who does everything through me has been a daily and very liberating exercise. On the other hand, as time passes, I continue to reach the same conclusion: loving God and others is what life is all about and is the fundamental principle of leadership.

I’m more than grateful for this opportunity and for the work and good relationships among our staff. I continue to learn and enjoy how Jesus is glorified in our community!

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. ” 1 John 3:23

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

Planted, Tended, and Loved

 Teens Adelante group photo.  Front row: Lorenzo

Teens Adelante group photo.  Front row: Lorenzo

Written by Megan McDermott, Director of Latino Kids Ministries

The first time that Lorenzo came to Mission Adelante, he was only seven years old.  At first, he struggled to fit in, but with the help of some persistent volunteers, he was invited two or three years later to join our leaders in training program (LIT), a commitment that requires a great deal of time spent at the Mission.  Over the next few years, his attitude became increasingly positive, he engaged more and more in activities, and his desire to know God in a personal way began to grow. He asked profound questions, and brought such an element of fun to our LIT family.

In April of 2014, Lorenzo completed the eighth grade, and having continued in LIT to that point, was one of the first children to graduate from the LIT program.  He was quite proud to receive his graduation gift but I have to admit, I was apprehensive about whether he would remain connected to the Mission.

I didn’t need to worry because he soon approached me and asked if he could volunteer in our outreach Bible study, Kids Adelante.  He not only stepped up as a group leader with the five-year-olds, he also assumed a leadership role helping to facilitate big group activities. In addition, he became a faithful participant in our teens’ discipleship program.  His heart for the Lord kept developing and expanding. It seemed natural to invite Lorenzo to participate in our teen internship during the summer of 2017, and those same deep questions emerged from within him once again, setting the tone for a profound summer of growth.

A few weeks ago, we got to celebrate with Lorenzo his greatest accomplishment yet: his high school graduation!  He would be the first to tell you how integral to his success were the support he received and the good habits he learned from his involvement with us.  Despite him hating the spotlight, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to publicly proclaim how proud of him we are! When I asked him about how he is feeling, he responded, “It was very exciting to graduate high school.  In the future, I am looking forward to finishing college!” Here is a young man that God planted, tended, and loved, allowing him to grow into a strong young man with a heart for the Lord. Congratulations, Lorenzo!!

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

Growing in Faith

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Written by Laxmi Gurung, Ministry Apprentice

I have been reading the Bible, and it is helping me to grow in my faith and my leadership. Before I was just a believer who went to church once a week and the rest of the week I was just being me. My faith only mattered one day a week, which now I realize was wrong. After I joined the staff here at Mission Adelante, I challenged myself to be more consistent in my faith and to recognize how important it is.

In Matthew 8:5-13, a centurion came and asked Jesus to heal his servant just by saying the word because he had faith in Jesus. How he believed in him! Jesus told his disciples that he hadn’t found anyone in Israel with such faith. The centurion even acknowledged that he was not worthy and didn’t deserve for Jesus to come to his house. But all he did was ask Jesus because he trusted in him. Jesus saw how much faith he had in him and saved his servant. From this I learned that sometimes we just have to ask and believe even if we think we are not worthy because God loves us the way we are. He knows that we make mistakes and that’s ok. But what we need to know that he is our father and we are his children. When we make mistakes, he forgives us, and all we need to do is ask for forgiveness and receive it.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:5-6

 Laxmi shares her faith with the kids from Refugee Kids Club

Laxmi shares her faith with the kids from Refugee Kids Club

 

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

Everyone Has a Story

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Written by Paul Kienzle, Latino ESL Director

Everyone has a story and everyone’s story is unique. Listening to the life experiences of those who have passed through the doors of Mission Adelante has opened my eyes and given me insight into the lives of our neighbors from other cultures.  Many of them feel the pain of being separated from loved ones. A part of their very self has been left in their country of origin. Yet, their stories are filled with amazing victories, ingenuity, perseverance, and hope. My wife Laura and I recently had the privilege of hearing first-hand the story of one of our Level 5 ESL students and his wife. Their warm hospitality and gentle spirits filled our hearts with gratefulness as we ate a traditional Guatemalan meal and sipped Guatemalan coffee.

Jose Dimas Posadas is a determined man! I’ve seen his intensity and faithfulness to attend and study ESL. Recently as I have gotten to know his story, I have discovered that his spirit of determination was formed many years ago. Jose grew up in Guatemala in a family that needed him in the workforce at age six, so midway through the first grade he exited school. At the age of 18, he married Marisol and life began! As his coffee business and his family grew, he struggled with debt and eventually left for the U.S. in search of work. His season away from his family was very difficult for Jose, but his relationship with God and a leadership role in his local church helped him keep his focus. After ten years working 12-hour days in a variety of jobs, including eight years in landscaping, Jose was able get out from under the debt. Jose and Marisol have nine children ranging from ages 15 to 33.  For those ten years his only contact with his family was via phone and Skype. A year ago, he was able to send for four of his children, and just last month, after 15 years of being apart, Marisol and two more children arrived, finally face to face! Can you imagine the joyful reunion?

Jose and Marisol’s three remaining children run the coffee business in Guatemala, while Jose now manages his own landscaping business, proudly showing Laura and me the long list of English speaking clients stored on his phone!  How does he communicate with them? In part, by speaking into a translator app that translates his Spanish into an English text message. However, Jose is quick to remark that his ESL class has been foundational for him, and he hopes that as he continues to learn English, he will need his translator app less and less!  

Jose and Marisol’s story is a unique one, and just one of many that form and shape the tapestry of Mission Adelante, Kansas City, and our nation. We drank at least three cups of coffee with them that evening. I knew I wasn’t going to sleep, but it was worth every minute.  

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

A New Trimester and New Friends

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Written by Cody Schindel, Refugee ESL Coordinator

As a person spends time around Mission Adelante, it becomes evident how much this ministry revolves around relationships. Regardless of which program a person may participate in or how he or she may be involved, relationships are the tool that God is using to change us and our community.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take part in my first retreat with the Mission Adelante staff. We used our time to process together where we’ve been, and to prepare ourselves for God’s future work through this ministry in the upcoming trimesters. In preparation for the retreat, each of us took an inventory that reported to us our top 5 strengths from a collection of 34 different possible strengths. It was interesting to see that over 50% of the strengths that were identified among our whole staff here at Mission Adelante were centered on the strength of building relationships. It was reaffirmed to us that God uses relationships to change lives. The many different strengths identified among us led us to discuss how God is using our strengths to perform well the various roles we fill here at Mission Adelante.

Mission Adelante’s programs are designed to meet real needs in this community, whether it be teaching English to an adult, mentoring kids in the community, or teaching those in the community how to play guitar or dance. All of these programs allow the community to come together to form friendships, and we believe that God truly uses these friendships in amazing ways. In John 15:15, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you.” As these relationships continue to grow, our opportunities of sharing the Gospel increase as well.

God has equipped each of us in special ways to reach our community and the people who are in our lives. How is God calling you in your workplace, your family, your neighborhood, your church, or where you serve? When we choose to share our lives and share Jesus with those around us, God can work in amazing ways. Though we are excited for how our programs this next trimester will aid in meeting real needs within our community, we also look forward to the friendships that will start or deepen, and how God will use those to change the Kansas City, Kansas community.

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.   - 1 Thessalonians 2:8

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

Sabbatical Breaks for Life-long Ministry

 The Meek family on sabbatical in Costa Rica in 2013

The Meek family on sabbatical in Costa Rica in 2013

by Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director

Effective ministry often requires approaches that blur the lines between personal and professional life.  For many reasons, this integration is both a gift and a challenge.  Because of this dynamic, I learned early on that long-term effectiveness in ministry meant developing healthy, sustainable rhythms.  Staying in the race over a lifetime would bear more Kingdom fruit than a short-term sprint.  And, the things the Lord intends to do in me and in my own family require seasons of deep engagement in balance with times of retreat, reflection, and renewal.  This rhythm of work and rest is built into the fabric of creation and codified in the 10 Commandments as a mandate to work 6 days and rest on the seventh.  Far from a legalistic demand, this rhythm of work and rest was meant for our well being!

In 2013, after seven years of service with Mission Adelante, our board granted our family the gift of a sabbatical.  We spent the majority of this four month season in Costa Rica, resting, reflecting, honing our Spanish skills, and reconnecting with friends.  Now, five years later, we are preparing for our second season of sabbatical, which begins next week and will last for three months.  Each sabbatical season is unique.  In 2013, our oldest daughters had still not yet entered high school; now they've graduated!  Our younger kids were early in their elementary school cycle, and I still had a decent amount of hair!  A lot can change in five years!  We're so grateful for this gift and the health it brings to our lives.

As I look back over this last five years of ministry, a couple of themes are evident.  When we left in 2013, Adelante Thrift was still just a dream.  We had formed a board of directors for the new entity a couple of months before leaving, but the work had not yet begun.  Through 2013 and most of 2014, we were laying groundwork and looking for an adequate location for the store.  In God's way and His perfect timing, He provided our space in Tower Plaza for Adelante Thrift.  The window to launch was brief and included fundraising, ramping up donation collections, developing systems, mobilizing volunteers, building out the space, hiring staff and more.  During the first two years, Adelante Thrift struggled financially, as we learned and established our business model.  In 2017, we finally saw a turn-around and some modest profit.  In a beautiful piece of symmetry, this week, just before my next sabbatical begins, Adelante Thrift made its first contribution back to support Mission Adelante's Community Development ministry!  The launch and early growth of Adelante Thrift has, in part, defined much of the last five years, since I returned from sabbatical.

The second major theme has to do with the concept of moving from an "us serving them" ministry to becoming "a new we".  Over these five years we've transitioned from being primarily a "gringo-led" ministry serving immigrants to a ministry that is integrated on all levels, with immigrants, refugees, and native-born Americans serving together as volunteers and staff, forming a "new we".  Five years ago we had no immigrants on our staff; today, 40% of our staff come from different countries!  This transition has required a sustained effort and constant evaluation on every level.  While one would like to believe that this kind of thing just happens naturally as we pursue Christ and as the ministry matures, we've learned that it actually takes deep conviction, frequent repentance, and disciplined commitment to create an inclusive culture that welcomes people from all places into leadership roles.  We still have a lot or growing to do in this area, but the Lord brought beautiful fruit in this area over the last five years.

When a leader is absent for an extended time, the organization has the opportunity to grow and be stretched in ways it wouldn't otherwise.  My sabbatical is providing that opportunity for Mission Adelante.  Yanelis López, our Ministry Director, will be filling my role while I'm gone.  Her strategic leadership, ability to create healthy team dynamics, and her expertise in discipling and developing leaders will be extremely valuable during this season.  Others on the team and in our church community will step up in new ways as well.  When I return, it will be exciting to see how the Lord has worked, and how He would have me re-engage.  I fully expect that my job description will change as a result of the Lord's work during my absence!

As you pray for Mission Adelante, please pray for the staff team and all the ways the Lord will shape them during this time.  And please pray that the Lord would give me rest and a renewed vision for the next five years at Mission Adelante!

Enjoy these pictures from our last sabbatical!

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation THIS Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids programs, arts and music, or adult ESL, this is a great opportunity to jump in for our summer trimester (May 29th - August 2nd). Check out www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more about our programs and to fill out an interest form. 

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

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Written by Michael Pollock, LIT (Leaders in Training) Volunteer

At the end of the Spring Trimester, the LIT (Leaders in Training) kids get to go on one last big reward trip to celebrate all of their hard work over the school year. This year we went to Emerald City, a massive indoor playground with gymnastics equipment, trampolines, a giant climbing wall, and a whole lot more. As a math volunteer at LIT, I don’t get to see that much excitement from these kids, so it was really fun seeing them cut loose! Some kids who are normally shy or quiet around me were coming out of their shell as they felt free to be themselves.

The trip also provided many new experiences that the kids wouldn’t have had otherwise. The climbing wall was an intimidating obstacle for an adult, let alone a third grader. Some kids had no qualms, but others were a bit more cautious.

One girl was playing around on the lower section where you didn’t need ropes, and we could tell that she was a natural climber. When we suggested she try the big wall, she acted disinterested. I knew she wanted to try but was a little bit scared, so I didn’t push the issue. A few minutes later, I turned around and saw her putting on the climbing harness and getting instruction from the staff. I felt so proud, not only of her for overcoming her fears, but of the whole LIT family as we gently encouraged her. She ended up climbing all the way to the top several times, ringing the bell to cheers from below! It is so fun to see the kids overcoming their fears and trying new things!

 

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation NEXT Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids programs, arts and music, or adult ESL, this is a great opportunity to jump in for our summer trimester (May 29th - August 2nd). Check out www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more about our programs and to fill out an interest form. 

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Adelante Arts Community needs one or two volunteers to teach guitar to kids! No need to be an expert. If you enjoy playing a few chords and would like to share that ability with others, fill out an interest form at http://www.missionadelante.org/arts

Arts Community Thriving by the Power of God

 The guitar class performing at the trimester party.

The guitar class performing at the trimester party.

Written by Gissell Vazquez, Assistant Ministry Director

I want to dedicate this article to the amazing and beautiful family of Adelante Arts Community that began three months ago. On January 22nd, 2018, some families from our neighborhood, volunteers, and the Mission Adelante Staff started a new journey. Every Monday night, kids have come excited to learn about the Bible, to practice guitar and keyboard, to dance and to do art projects. Mission Adelante once again has become the place where the dream of a multicultural community shines, this time through different expressions of the Arts.

The guitar class taught by Pastor Bizu Anjaan from Nepal and Erica Kienzle from the USA learned to play the twelve bar blues in the key of A and “Thank You Father.” Keyboard players with the help of Sarah Forsythe delighted us playing part of “Ode to Joy.” The dance class led by Catiana Gray and Quincy Stanford helped the students design their own choreographies based on the kids’ experiences during the trimester. Powerful things such as happiness, the beauty of new friendships, and the joy of receiving an adopted brother were shown in the dance performance. Arts and crafts took us to another level, thanks to Kim Stanford and Carolyn Kovar. They made possible the creation of our own Art Gallery for our trimester party, where their drawings, watercolors, finger paints, mixed media collages, and figures made out of clay were on display for all to see.

Friends, this is only the beginning of a dream. We want to continue to grow this Arts Community family! We’re coming back for our second trimester on Monday, June 4th. We would also like to extend an invitation to all the kids in the community to come to our Summer Art Camp, and we are calling on a strong volunteer force to make it happen. Summer Art Camp will take place here at Mission Adelante starting on Monday, June 25th to Thursday, June 28th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. So far it’s been a blessing enjoying the Arts, sharing life and Jesus’s love for everyone. I can say I’ve received more than I’ve given. Thank you all for the opportunity to walk side by side with you!

 

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES:

  • We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids programs, arts and music, or adult ESL, this is a great opportunity to jump in for our summer trimester (May 29th - August 2nd). Check out www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more about our programs and to fill out an interest form. 

The Fruit Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

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Written by Megan McDermott, Director of Latino Kids Ministries

Which fruit of the spirit is the most challenging for you? Is it love? Joy? Peace? Patience? In Leaders in Training, we have been studying Galatians chapter 5 to pursue what the character of Jesus really looks like and how we can be more like Him.

Each week, we spend time discussing what each fruit is, the definition, examples from the Bible, and how we can have an “action step” to apply the lesson to our own lives. As we discussed kindness, the kids struggled quite a bit. Our definition of kindness was specifically choosing to do something nice for someone when you don’t have to. We talked about how kindness doesn’t just apply to those we love, it applies even to those that are difficult for us to love.

The action step I gave them for the week was to think of the person in their lives that was the most challenging to love and do something for them that takes at least ten minutes. Many of the kids chose to make a meal for that person. One girl decided that her action step would be to help a bully when she was struggling with her math. Another child sat down with her baby sister and read to her. 

I really believe that the most important thing we can do is teach the kids who Jesus really is. My hope is that as they come to know Jesus in a deeper way, He will shine out from them, transforming our community one child at a time.

LIT kids learning about the character of Jesus through arts and activities.

 

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Mission Adelante and Adelante Thrift, in partnership with Samaritan's Feet, will be hosting a community event on Saturday, May 5th to inspire hope through the gift of shoes, the act of washing feet, and words of encouragement. We need 40+ volunteers who are willing to serve by washing feet and helping distribute shoes. If you or your small group is interested in volunteering, please email Elena at elenam@missionadelante.org.
  • We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids programs, arts and music, or adult ESL, this is a great opportunity to jump in for our summer trimester (May 29th - August 2nd). Check out www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more about our programs and to fill out an interest form. 

Celebrating the Success of our Community Together!

 Arts Community End of Trimester Celebration

Arts Community End of Trimester Celebration

Written by Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director

The past two weeks have been a celebration for our community at Mission Adelante. After three months of walking and learning together, it was time to celebrate and be thankful as a community. So at the end of the trimester, we hosted parties in our programs: Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee ESL, Teens Adelante, Leaders in Training, Kids Adelante, and Latino ESL.

Each night has been full of joy, a sense of victory, and delicious food. There are many reasons to celebrate, among many other things:

  • Kids learning about God, enjoying their own culture, and developing their skills as leaders.

  • Youth finding a place with close friends where it is comfortable to talk about their faith and their challenges in life, and where they are understood for who they are.

  • Adults learning English, hearing about Jesus, and finding new friends, something that is often difficult in this reality of hard work and focus to get ahead in life.

None of this could be possible without our volunteers to whom we are extremely grateful to be with us on this journey and who are also part of this big family.

We exist as an organization and as individuals to love God and love one another, that is why the success of others is our own victory. Although we finished the first part of this year, we are excited for the time we have ahead, and we are getting ready to start the next season.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice" 
Romans 12:15

 

 

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Mission Adelante and Adelante Thrift, in partnership with Samaritan's Feet, will be hosting a community event on Saturday, May 5th to inspire hope through the gift of shoes, the act of washing feet, and words of encouragement. We need 40+ volunteers who are willing to serve by washing feet and helping distribute shoes. If you or your small group is interested in volunteering, please email Elena at elenam@missionadelante.org.
  • Are you interested in serving, sharing life, and sharing Jesus with people from other places? We are looking for volunteers for the summer trimester, May 29th to August 2nd, to help in our Arts Community, Kids Adelante, English Club, and Latino ESL programs. Visit www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more!

A Glimpse inside an ESL Class

 Allen teaching ESL level 4

Allen teaching ESL level 4

Written by Allen Robertson, Latino ESL Volunteer

Nothing truly describes the feeling when someone learning to speak English pronounces a difficult letter, word, or even a phrase correctly for the first time. The smile on my face, and theirs, and the feeling of satisfaction are the chief reasons I love volunteering and teaching English to new friends from all places.

God has blessed me with this opportunity for almost seven years, with the last three at Mission Adelante in their Latino ESL program. What is it like to volunteer at all levels? Well, each level is unique with its own challenges, rewards, and experiences. Take level 1 for example and that first night of class. We are a room full of strangers from different backgrounds, countries, cultures, and primary languages. We become friends as we learn together about basic verbs like ‘to be’. Students ask, is that SER or ESTAR? We answer, “yes it’s both”, and the journey to understand the connections between Spanish and English begins.  

My journey the past year has taken me beyond level 1 to advancing one trimester at a time with the same group of students and volunteers from level 2 through 4. Our teaching methods have changed as well as the material. In level 2 we started with the same methods as those before us: a white board, flip charts, index cards, and handouts. But we began to look for ways to teach the material in different ways using technology. We followed a suggestion to use an online teaching game called Kahoot, which prepares and displays a customized game where students respond to questions using their mobile phones in a friendly competition. Using a video projector, a laptop, and the internet, we incorporated additional games and resources from social media to use different tools to enhance the class experience. We’ve simplified that in levels 3 and 4 to utilize an in-class TV with Wi-Fi. All the teaching material is combined into PowerPoint, and we use games like Bingo, Jeopardy, and Kahoot to make learning key concepts more fun.

I’m looking forward to completing level 5 with our current group while relying on technology, laughter, and most important, God’s blessings, as we learn and grow together.

 

 Our current level 4 students.

Our current level 4 students.

 

 

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Mission Adelante and Adelante Thrift, in partnership with Samaritan's Feet, will be hosting a community event on Saturday, May 5th to inspire hope through the gift of shoes, the act of washing feet, and words of encouragement. We need 40+ volunteers who are willing to serve by washing feet and helping distribute shoes. If you or your small group is interested in volunteering, please email Elena at elenam@missionadelante.org.
  • Are you interested in serving, sharing life, and sharing Jesus with people from other places? We are looking for volunteers for the summer trimester, May 29th to August 2nd, to help in our Arts Community, Kids Adelante, English Club, and Latino ESL programs. Visit www.missionadelante.org/serve to learn more!

Adelante Thrift is Three Years Old!

 Adelante Thrift's Ribbon Cutting 3 years ago!

Adelante Thrift's Ribbon Cutting 3 years ago!

Written by Elena Chan, Community Development Director

It was three years ago, on March 14, 2015, that we opened the doors of Adelante Thrift. This was a huge step in Mission Adelante’s journey to expand from helping individuals in their personal development to bringing transformation on a larger community scale. The opening of Adelante Thrift began with a dream to operate a retail store that would provide a unique and affordable shopping experience, promote job creation, and support community transformation through its profits. This dream was met with logistical hurdles, including finding the right location and raising the necessary capital, but in 2015, it became a reality!

Three years later, we are still on this journey. We continue to press forward to achieve greater community impact and sustainability even as we celebrate what we have accomplished so far:

  • We have employed nearly 50 people, paying over $688,000 in wages.
  • We have received over a million dollars worth of donations and sold them at affordable prices in the community.
  • We have partnered with over 7,000 individuals and 175 organizations including churches, businesses, schools, and local government.
  • We have made a profit nine of the last 12 months.

Adelante Thrift is something that God inspired and led us to pursue. We are grateful for His provision and guidance-- He has been with us every step of the journey, through the challenges and successes. Adelante Thrift wouldn’t be where it is now without our loyal customers, our dedicated team of employees, and our faithful partners who come to volunteer along with us, bring donations, and financially support us.

What is the next step of this journey? Adelante Thrift has begun to consistently earn a profit, so we are excited to be considering how to financially support Community Development initiatives at Mission Adelante! And we are looking forward to what God will do in and through Adelante Thrift in the next year!

 


 

 

Remaining Faithful and Trusting God

 Fun at Refugee Kids Club

Fun at Refugee Kids Club

Written by Laxmi Gurung, Ministry Apprentice

It's been almost a year working here at Mission Adelante as an apprentice. I work with kids, and it is something that I enjoy a lot. Besides working with kids, I also like studying the Bible and learning more about Jesus. Three mornings a week we study Bible passages as a staff. I enjoy hearing other people's thoughts and different opinions during this time-- not just to hear them, but to learn from them. We are currently studying the book of James. Something that I have learned from James is that sometimes things don’t go the way we want and that’s okay because it is not us who control things. It is God who controls everything, and it will always go the way he plans. So even though we set plans for the next day, we never really know what will happen. We can’t decide or control it. It is God who decides and controls it. I think it is very important for us to know this because we could easily get disappointed and forget that God is in control of everything.

I wanted to share this because this semester of Refugee Kids Club has been challenging for me. Some things that I had planned for the semester didn’t really go the way I wanted. Fewer kids than I was expecting came, and I had to change my plans. I was worried because I have seven volunteers and a small number of kids. It was difficult for all of us, but my volunteers were always prepared for the lesson and ready to teach. They have been so faithful in coming each week. My coworkers are also very supportive and encouraging. They have always been there for me and remind me that even one kid matters. I feel that God is teaching me a lot through my coworkers and volunteers. They show me how to be faithful and trust God even when things don’t turn out the way we plan. Their courage and faithfulness make me keep going and help me to keep learning.

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

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Introducing Cody Schindel: Refugee ESL Coordinator

 Cody (far right) and Joanna (yellow sweater) participate in a planning session for English Club.

Cody (far right) and Joanna (yellow sweater) participate in a planning session for English Club.

Written by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director, Founder

We’re excited to introduce you to Cody Schindel, our new Refugee ESL coordinator.  Cody and his wife, Joanna, began serving with Mission Adelante in January 2016 in our Bhutanese youth ministry.  Their passion and sense of calling became more evident as they moved into our Bhutanese ESL program and then transitioned to English Club in the summer of 2017.  It has been a joy to get to know the Schindels over the past couple of years and to see the impact they have made in our community.  Their passion for Jesus, their love for people from all places, and their desire to make disciples by serving, sharing life, and sharing Jesus make them a great fit for Mission Adelante’s ministry.

Cody has a unique set of gifts, skills, and experiences that make him an exceptional candidate for this position. His experience volunteering in our ESL program has given him important perspective and understanding of the value of this kind of ministry as well as important insight into the joys and struggles of the refugee community in our neighborhood.  His experience in the Navigator’s Edge Corps program equipped him with practical tools and vision for disciple-making.  But most of all, Cody’s humble character and love for Jesus exemplify the Spirit of the Lord and the qualities that are most important in serving in a cross-cultural setting.  Both Cody and Joanna possess this quality to go along with their calling to embody the Gospel of Jesus among different cultures.  

 Cody, (second from left) enjoying a game of Jenga, with volunteers and students in English Club

Cody, (second from left) enjoying a game of Jenga, with volunteers and students in English Club

Cody will be a part of our Ministry Community Team and will work closely with our Latino ESL Director to develop specific ESL programming for refugees.  His work will include visiting students in their homes, connecting within the various refugee communities in KCK, relational disciple-making, and mobilizing volunteers to help teach English.  Please pray for Cody and Joanna as they raise funds for Cody's role and look for a home in our neighborhood.  We are so excited to have Cody on our staff team!

 Joanna practicing English with Baw Meh

Joanna practicing English with Baw Meh


Inviting ESL Volunteers and Students to Serve Together

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Written by Paul Kienzle, Director of Latino ESL

As Director of ESL Latino at Mission Adelante, there are several reasons why I love to encourage our ESL students and volunteers to participate in our Volunteer Serve Day at Adelante Thrift. First, I love to see who shows up to serve! It is never the same group of people. I also like to see our students and volunteers go outside the classroom and into an environment that may take some of them, like me, outside their comfort zone. For some, it’s their first time serving in a thrift store. It is always amazing to me when I observe our volunteers and students serving together. There are always some funny and light moments, but their work ethic communicates that they want to be there and they know why they are there. One of my favorite reasons for encouraging participation to serve at the Thrift is the time when we gather as a group and listen to one of their staff explain a bit of the history and vision behind Adelante Thrift and why it is an important piece in the fabric of our community.

A great composition of students, volunteers, and family members showed up at our most recent serve day! Three out of the five ESL levels were represented in addition to a student from our English Club program. Out of eight participants, three were serving at the Thrift for the first time! That was wonderful, but just as wonderful was the presence of Level 5 couple, Daniel and Daisy, together with their son Arath. This was their fourth Volunteer Serve Day! In the classroom and outside the classroom, Daniel and Daisy have been great examples of “presence and participation” in the life of Mission Adelante.  

 Daniel and Daisy on their 4th Volunteer Serve Day!

Daniel and Daisy on their 4th Volunteer Serve Day!

 

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Are you interested in serving at Adelante Thrift? Adelante Thrift has volunteer opportunities nearly every day of the week that are perfect for individuals or for groups of various sizes and types. To find out more or to sign up visit www.adelantethrift.com/volunteer

Have You Ever Met a Dreamer?

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director, Founder

Mission Adelante takes seriously the biblical mandate to speak on behalf of vulnerable people who don't have a voice.  In our case, some of those voiceless people are our neighbors and friends.  In these strange times, when a lot is being said about immigrants and refugees, we, as a ministry and community, have embraced all the more our slogan, "loving people from all places."  From undocumented immigrants, who form a large part of the very fabric of our neighborhood, to legal permanent residents and citizens who are hoping to be reunited with aging parents through a family reunification visa, to refugees who are displaced, without a country to call home, many members of our community are directly impacted by our country's immigration laws.  At Mission Adelante, we find ourselves with beautiful opportunities to serve, share life, and share Jesus with people from all places who are often looked upon as outsiders by the world around them.  As we live out our mission to make disciples, we find special significance in the disciple-making ministry of Jesus that emphasized serving the vulnerable and marginalized as a hallmark of those who would be His followers.

Open your mouths for the mute; for all those who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.  Proverbs 31:8-9

We know that many of our partners and friends look to Mission Adelante for information and leadership in issues related to immigrants and refugees.  This, for us, is a solemn responsibility that we don't take lightly.  We are standing in a unique place, at the nexus of current issues that have deep biblical, social, and political significance.  By following the Lord we follow, by living where we live, by serving whom we serve, and loving whom we love, we have become part of a "new we" that includes people from different countries, backgrounds, races, and cultures.  As a part of this new we, we look with special interest at the question, "who is my neighbor?".  In light of our unique context, we marvel at the parable of the Good Samaritan, which demonstrated that an outsider, a foreigner, a person of a different race or religion, might just be the neighbor God calls us to love.  You, as a friend of Mission Adelante, are also part of this "new we", and we are honored to be part of this journey together.

Maybe you are aware of the ongoing push for legislation to provide a permanent solution for "Dreamers", young immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. without proper immigration documents.  There are new developments nearly every week on this front, and we continue to pray for a compassionate solution for these young friends and neighbors.  The video at the top of this post will give you a glimpse into some of the realities facing the Dreamers. Recently, World Relief led the way in drafting a letter to Congress and to President Trump in support of the Dreamers and other vulnerable groups.  This letter was published in the Washington Post on February 7th, along with the signatures of 100 prominent Evangelical leaders, including Beth Moore, Bill and Lynne Hybels, Ann Voskamp, and Max Lucado.  Thousands of other Evangelical leaders and organizations, including Mission Adelante, signed on to the online version of the letter, which called on Congress and President Trump to give consideration to four groups of vulnerable people including, Dreamers, Refugees, Persecuted Christians, and Families awaiting reunification.  I encourage you to read the letter here.

If you are interested in staying up-to-date with good information and thoughtful, Christian responses to issues related to immigrants and refugees, two of our trusted sources are World Relief and The Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), led by Dr. Russell Moore.  Recently, Mission Adelante's board adopted the ERLC's Evangelical Leader Statement on Dreamers as our own position.  If you are so inclined, we invite you to join with us and others across the country to pray for Dreamers, specifically on Monday, March 5th over the lunch hour.  World Relief has put together a prayer guide for Dreamers that many will be using on this day.  Thank you for walking with us and standing with our beloved community through all the challenges we face together.

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Someone to Run to

 Dana Samaniego with some of the LIT girls

Dana Samaniego with some of the LIT girls

Written by Dana Samaniego, a Leaders in Training (LIT) volunteer

I find it strange to think there was a time before being at Mission Adelante. There are so many people I’ve met here that have become such a staple part of my life, and I wonder how that happened.

I first came to Mission Adelante in the summer of 2015 because my good friend Olivia Taylor told me that I would fall in love with it. I did!  I think what really drew me in was that I related so much to the kids. My family moved to Olathe, Kansas in 2001 when I was four from a small town in Chihuahua, Mexico. The Latino population of Olathe was rapidly growing at that time, but it was still difficult to find another Spanish-speaker in the area. Learning English was easy because I was young and my brain was flexible; I caught on to American culture quickly. So naturally, I became the translator of all things American to my parents. And it was fun. I felt like an adult because I was using big words in Spanish and English, and I was able to experience going everywhere with my parents.

However, it was also incredibly difficult. If I needed help with my homework, I couldn’t run to ask my parents because they didn’t understand what I was doing in school. If my parents or my younger brother needed to go to the doctor, dentist, or anything of that sort, I always had to be there. Many times it affected my school schedule, so I wasn’t there to learn. I had to work twice as hard in school, and that’s a lot of stress to put on an elementary kid.

I’m very independent now because I had to learn how to do everything on my own. It’s not a bad thing at all, but sometimes I just wish I could have run to someone whenever I had a problem. My younger brothers come to me if they have questions about stuff all the time. I believe that’s such an important part of growing up and that’s part of the reason I decided to mentor the LIT kids.

Many of the LIT kids are translators for their families here in Kansas, and I feel for them because I’ve totally been there. The difference is that when I was growing up, there was no program like this near me, and they do have this opportunity! I’ve gotten to know most of the kids pretty well, and I think of all of them as my younger siblings. I want to see them succeed, and the best part of the program is that they want to succeed. For that to happen they need to have someone to look up to that they connect with. I feel like the LIT staff has done an excellent job at that. It’s great that they have these amazing people to ask for help and learn from!

 

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Looking for a practical but important way to make a difference? Our Leaders in Training after-school tutoring program is in need of some healthy, prepackaged snacks.  If you are interested in dropping some off, please email Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org

Healing through the Arts!

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Written by Gissell Vazquez, Arts Coordinator

How precious and complete is the world that God created for us! Not only did he give us doctors and medicine to heal, he also provided other methods to cure our emotional and spiritual pain. In my short but intense journey in this first trimester of Adelante Arts Community, I’ve seen this healing process starting in the kids of our community.

Last Monday, towards the end of the night, we were processing in our volunteer huddle and Catiana Gray, our dance teacher, shared with the team the most powerful and transforming story of her day. In the dance class they were brainstorming for their final presentation of the trimester and the theme was: emotions that you want to put into motions. As they were thinking and sharing, some of the students showed a lot of excitement and happiness, but there were two girls who were experiencing the opposite. Sadness came to their mind as they remembered the loss of their father. In that moment, with the special ability God has put into Cati and Quincy’s hearts, they started to connect with these two special little girls in a deep way helping them to process the anger, loneliness, and pain of the loss. Emotions are being transformed by the power of God through dance into feelings of freedom from the past and victory over suffering!

This reminds me Psalm 30, written by King David in one of his moments of affliction after having sinned by taking a census of Israel. During moments of intimate worship he said:
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me...You have turned for me my mourning into dancing…” Psalm 30:2,11(a).       

What a great privilege God has given us in Mission Adelante, specifically in the Arts Community, to transform all our mourning into dancing, painting, drawing, singing, playing... and there is more to experience and to discover every week as we continue in this great adventure! If you have skills in the arts and want to participate with us, please join the volunteer team! We have Observation Nights on Monday February 26th and March 5th at 6:30 pm for you to experience more of what happens at Adelante Arts Community. We’re excited for you to join us!  

 

 

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • Looking for a practical but important way to make a difference? Our Leaders in Training after-school tutoring program is in need of some healthy, prepackaged snacks.  If you are interested in dropping some off, please email Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org

Getting to Know Jesus through Friends

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Written by Yamilka Rosales, Mission Adelante church participant

I came to Mission Adelante because the ways of God are mysterious. He put the desire in my heart to come. The first time we came was funny; we arrived early and stayed in the car as we waited for the service to start. The first people to arrive were Americans and in my mind I was just thinking "how am I going to understand the word of God if I don’t speak English?" (I’m always hesitant when it has to do with English because I don’t know much). When I decided to enter, it was a great surprise to see that everyone knew Spanish. I laughed inside, and from that moment on, God allowed a great connection between the people of Mission Adelante and myself.

Almost two years have passed and since then every day, with its ups and downs, I can say it has been a wonderful process. Here I have found total support for every area of my life. These people are super blessed by God. They know how to love and help others as God loves them. My life and thoughts have changed a lot because of what I learn studying the Bible and listening to everyone’s different experiences. It is beautiful every Sunday night when we share God's word, prayers, and life.

In the past I have attended other churches, but when you get to a place where they teach you that first of all you must learn to love, when your attention is drawn to God’s most important commandment, your heart wants to stay there. When you understand that everything is based on God’s love for you, that He is there despite everything, and that He forgives you and understands everything. When you come to understand all this and much more, your life and feelings begin to change. And even though there is a long way to go, if you go at God’s side and with people like those I found in Mission Adelante, I know that even if I fall a thousand times, a thousand times more God will lift me up, for His honor and glory.

My life has not been easier after knowing God, but my heart and mind have changed. And although I still make mistakes, I feel happy (I learned that too). I ask God everyday to continue working in my life and that I can be helpful to others, as my friends have been to me.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16

The Power of Community Coming Together

 Gustavo shows us the damage to his house.

Gustavo shows us the damage to his house.

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Written by Elena Chan, Community Development Director

Over the past week, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a beautiful family and of experiencing the community come together to help provide for them in their time of need. Gustavo and Cinthia live in the Prescott Neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. They have seven children, ranging in age from three to fourteen. Gustavo is a hard-working entrepreneur with his own painting business. He is a Christian who is dedicated to providing for his family and helping those around him. On Tuesday, January 23rd, his family's life was turned upside down when a fire broke out in their home. Thankfully, they were not at home when the fire occurred, but the house and everything inside were severely damaged.

This is when the community stepped in. The Red Cross offered assistance, and the children’s schools provided school supplies and some clothing. Greg Take, a member of the Prescott Neighborhood Association, found out about the fire and reached out to other community organizations to find resources for the family. Adelante Thrift was one of these organizations. We invited the family to come to the store to pick out clothing, shoes, and household items that they needed as well as to return when they are ready to refurnish their house. As we met the family and began to fully understand the complications of their situation, Mission Adelante partnered with Greg to look for further resources. The greatest challenge facing the family was housing. Gustavo told us that the insurance would only pay for two more days at their hotel and hadn’t released any funds to recover their losses. We reached out to various community organizations who might offer housing solutions. We went with the family to Avenue of Life, a local community development ministry, to see if they could help. Not only was Avenue of Life able to assist the family with food baskets, diapers, and hygiene products, they gave us the good news that Gustavo’s family qualifies for their program to receive temporary one-week housing at a hotel followed by up to 12 months housing rent assistance. This was a huge relief for the family! This program will provide stable housing so they figure out their next steps.

Gustavo and his family are unaccustomed to asking for help, but they are grateful for the assistance of community organizations after this disaster. He is dedicated to getting back to work so he can continue providing for his family on his own. He also mentioned to Adelante Thrift that once he’s back on his feet, he’d like to come to the store and do some painting free of charge. Mission Adelante is proud to be a part of this community of strong families and compassionate organizations who partner together to meet the God-sized opportunities and challenges that we encounter in Kansas City!