Beginning Again

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

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

By Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director

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

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

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

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

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

CURRENT NEEDS:

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


Battle Boutique: More Than Just a Store

20180803_110918.jpg

Written by Merah Wright, Adelante Thrift Volunteer Coordinator

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

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

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

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

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

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

CURRENT NEEDS:


Participating in a Miracle: Reflections from Sabbatical

20180615_073543.jpg

by Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director

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

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

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

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

CURRENT NEEDS:


Empowering Emerging Leaders

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

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

Written by Paul Kienzle, Director of Latino ESL

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

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

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

CURRENT NEEDS:


A New Beginning

Citizenship1.jpg

Written by Cody Schindel, Refugee ESL Coordinator

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

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

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

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

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

CURRENT NEEDS:


Party at the Lake 2018

 Recognizing the church community

Recognizing the church community

Written by Yanelis Lopez, Ministry Director

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

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

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

Enjoy some of the pictures from Sunday!

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

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

 

CURRENT NEEDS:


Bringing Together People from All Places

 Sunny playing with kids at Refugee Kids Club

Sunny playing with kids at Refugee Kids Club

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

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

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

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

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

image (7).png

 

CURRENT NEEDS:


The Park Drive Neighborhood Project

Written by Elena Chan, Director of Community Development

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

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

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

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

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

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

A Visitor in an Unfamiliar Land

IMG_4147.jpg

Written by Cody Schindel, Refugee ESL Coordinator

Earlier this month, I got to visit for the first time my wife’s home: Bangkok, Thailand. I finally had the chance to experience many of the things Joanna grew up loving: Thai food, public transportation, the people, the walking, the big city, the culture, and the walking (there was a lot of walking).  

Joanna’s parents became missionaries in Bangkok before her birth and remain there still. This was where Joanna was born and raised until she moved to the U.S. at age 18 to attend university. Though I thoroughly enjoyed stepping into the setting of her earlier life, I was shocked by how naturally she fit into a culture that was totally foreign to me. I had always known that moving to America had been an enormous challenge for Joanna, but now I’m better able to appreciate the extent of her struggle related to relocating to a whole new culture and life.

I returned to Kansas City better able to appreciate what our immigrant and refugee neighbors have gone through. They’ve left their homes to come to a place that is totally different than what is familiar to them. They feel out of place, and face daily challenges and struggles. It is something that few of us can truly understand. The heart longs for that which is familiar, that which we grew up knowing and experiencing, and it is a great sacrifice to have to leave all of that behind.

All of this had made me reflect on myself as a sojourner on Earth.  Those of us who trust in Jesus as our source of life are simply passing through a world that we were not made for on our way to being reunited in our true home with our Father. And what is most important in the here and now is that we are displaying Christ to our neighbors. I think C.S. Lewis put it nicely when he said, “The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can't supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.”

IN OTHER NEWS:

  •  At this time last week, we had received around 50 backpacks and were looking for an extra hundred. In the last seven days, the Lord has provided that hundred backpacks and we are going to be able to outfit all of our kids, middle-schoolers, and teens a brand new backpack with school supplies so they can start the school year off right! We're so grateful to all of you who helped out!

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

Created to Create

20180627_100908.jpg

Written by Sara Forsythe, Adelante Arts Community Volunteer.

  “I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I’m afraid so… Why aren’t we known as creators – people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?”
– Andy Crouch, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

During our recent Adelante Arts Camp, I had the privilege of spending time with several young creators as they worked to discover and develop their creative skills! At this week-long camp, volunteers from Christ Community Church, Adelante Arts Community and Mission Adelante staff came together and offered a wide variety of classes in both visual and performing arts. We offered classes like salsa dancing, theater, guitar and creative writing.  There was even a sewing class!

Thirty-nine kids from the Mission Adelante community, ranging in age from 7 to 15 years old, came and joined us for a wonderful time of creativity and exploration in the arts. They were a phenomenal group of campers – they were respectful to one another and to our volunteers, they were collaborative, they were willing to try new things with good attitudes, and more than anything, they were just excited to come together every day to create.

All week long, we talked a lot about creation – how God is our Creator, how we are all created in the image of our Creator with the capacity to create, how he has given each of us unique abilities and talents to use as we create, and how we can use the arts to create beauty in our homes, churches and communities. As a volunteer at Mission Adelante for the past several years, I have known some of these young people since they were in preschool, and I almost had to pinch myself during our program at the end of the week as I watched them confidently perform in front of our audience doing skits, reading poems, talking about their art projects, playing keyboards and guitars, and dancing! They are definitely creators, even now, and they are already making the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful. Well done, campers!

CURRENT NEEDS:

  • A great update: we've received all of the backpacks we need for our elementary kids! Now, we need 50 filled backpacks for our middle schoolers.  If you are interested in providing some, fill out the form at www.missionadelante.org/serviceprojects/backpacks/ and bring them to Mission Adelante by July 23. Thank you for your help and prayers!
  • Are you passionate about education and kids? Our Leaders in Training program is always looking for new volunteers. Please contact Megan if you would like more information: meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Adelante Arts Community needs one or two volunteers to teach guitar to kids! No need to be an expert. If you enjoy playing a few chords and would like to share that ability with others, fill out an interest form at http://www.missionadelante.org/arts

Paving the Way for Youth Employment in Our Community

image1.jpeg

Written by Elena Chan, Director of Community Development

One of the Mission Adelante’s values is partnership. We believe that the opportunities and challenges in our community are God-sized, and that meeting them requires partnerships that begin with relationships and trust and move toward collaboration.  Over the past three years, many partnerships have been generated through Adelante Thrift. Since its opening we’ve been able to partner with more than 150 entities in various ways!

Most recently, we’ve teamed up with Workforce Partnership, a local non-profit organization funded by the federal government that serves to provide Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program services to youth in Wyandotte, Johnson, and Leavenworth counties. Youth services target individuals who are low-income and who meet one or more of the following criteria: basic skills deficient in reading and/or math, foster child, homeless, ex-offender, pregnant or a parent, runaway, and school dropout. The program helps to prepare youth for employment through a combination of educational assistance, skill development, job search assistance, and supportive services.

One of the ways the young adults develop workplace readiness skills is the opportunity to actively participate in the workforce through internships and a chance to explore different industries. For some of the participants, this is their first employment experience, and for others it offers additional, real-world experience in high-demand industries.

Thanks to our new affiliation with Workforce Partnership, we’re gaining four summer youth interns at Adelante Thrift who will work as a cashier, a sorter, a pick-up assistant, and a floor/sales associate!  The training they receive this summer will include: orientation to the assigned job at the store and to the workplace in general, guidance on how various job tasks are to be performed and reported, help to recognize the importance of routine tasks, training on how to organize and prioritize their work, coaching through adequate one-on-one supervision of work activities, and being provided with appropriate feedback on their performance.

By hosting these four young adults, we hope to make an impact on not only these individuals in the workplace but also in the broader community. We are hopeful that our interns will have a great summer that will help them foster their professional growth and expand their career options.

 

CURRENT NEEDS:

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

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

pasted image 0.png

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

IMG_3596.JPG

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

express.jpg

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.
IMG_5950.JPG

Overcoming Fears and Celebrating an Awesome Year!

IMG_3101.jpeg

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

29388758_10101145089982959_2471609243392802816_n.jpg

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.