Halloween in Our Urban Neighborhood

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. But, it is one of my favorite things about living in Kansas City, Kansas. Our neighbors (not our Hispanic ones), go over the top with houses decorated, spooky music blaring into the street, and even live performances in their front yards. Kids come from all over our area and converge to trick-or-treat on 17th Street. It is a unique urban experience that you have to see to believe.

This year all the excitement produced some interesting opportunities among our Mission Adelante families. After meeting as a group at our home, parents and kids took to the streets together to enjoy a beautiful fall evening. Kids ran, asked for candy, sometimes remembered to say thank you, shook in their boots before sinister looking old homes, and had an overall great time being kids. Parents did their best to keep track of their black-clad, sugar-loaded offspring as they ran in and out of crowds of people (we even lost little Felipe Leyva for a while). After about an hour of chaos and over stimulus, the group returned to our home to count their booty and enjoy some dessert together.

Beyond all the hoopla, the highlight of the evening for me came when our group of Hispanic adults and kids stopped for a time at the Stetler home on 17th Street, where a clan of bewildered Bhutanese refugees had gathered to absorb this bizarre cultural experience. We were invited in and got to witness our Hispanic friends trying to interact for the first time with the Bhutanese refugees our ministry is beginning to befriend. As I observed Leticia making a great effort to converse with a Bhutanese lady, I noticed how similar they seemed. Their experience as immigrants unites them. And, I was struck by the fact that their only common language was English. Neither one could speak the native tongue of the other, so they were forced to communicate in English. From this first encounter I couldn't help but think down the road a ways and wonder if someday they would be worshiping Jesus together too.

In other news:
  • Our Resource Center continues to be open each Saturday morning so that neighborhood families in need can choose the donated items that would be useful to them. Molly Merrick is among the various people that staff this avenue of outreach, and one of her favorite aspects of the ministry is blessing each family that comes through by praying for them individually.
  • ESL volunteers are making a huge impact in students' lives this trimester by finding ways to spend time with them outside of class. One attended a birthday party while others have gone out to lunch or dinner together.
Prayer needs:
  • We're taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to the LIT students about sexual purity in a two-part conversation. Please pray for God to grant discernment and wisdom to the adults as they educate and advise the pre-teens.
  • The Missionary team will have a planning retreat this weekend to strategize and prepare for 2010. Please pray for God's guidance for the process.
  • We'll have our November Worship Celebration this Sunday evening. Please pray for current students and their families to have the courage to come for the first time.
Current needs:
  • Brown paper grocery sacks for the resource center. Volunteers: next time you buy groceries, why not ask for "paper" at the checkout and then bring the sacks with you the next time you come to the Mission?
  • Diapers sizes 4 and 5. Even small packages and generic brands are appreciated!
  • Two twin-size matresses to accompany bed frames that have already been donated.
Important upcoming dates:
  • Thursday, November 26: Midterm break. Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Monday, November 30 @ 6:30 p.m.: All Volunteer Meeting