The Light of Sixteenth Street

Written by Brooke Coon

One year ago, David and I were wrestling with God for the house we wanted here in KCK. God had a better plan for us that took months for us to realize, which is now our house on 17th street. Once here, we quickly realized that there is a darkness lingering on the street behind us. You can nearly feel the dividing line of peace and chaos running through our alley. As we heard rumors of things that went on behind us, we felt burdened and began to pray for 16th street.

Anxious about the dangers that were threatening the children on that street, we prayed that God would show us our role in it all. Two boys from that street, Johnny and Tony, seemed to be drawn to the light of the Holy Spirit in David, and started showing up at our door more frequently. T
hrough those boys David began to learn about the realities of gangs, drugs, and violence on that street. 

About the same time, Jessica, a girl we knew from Teens Adelante, moved onto that street. Jessica and her younger friend began to show up on our porch seeking refuge and fellowship. I learned more about bullets going through walls, siblings in jail, gang allegiances, screaming arguments between parents, and the physical violence that goes on even between young kids. It's hard to believe that the things I hear from these two sweet girls are happening just yards from our peaceful front porch.

Then Johnny started coming to Teens Adelante and one night I heard it, I saw it; the Lord opened my eyes. The answer to our question, "What are we supposed to do with this overwhelming burden on our hearts?" Johnny and Jessica. These two teens are David's and my opportunity for obedience to change darkness into light on 16th street. It wasn't to start some alley restoration project, or neighborhood watch, or prayer team. It was to use the light that HE HAD ALREADY PLACED there; to invest in and nurture these teens.

Johnny and Jessica are only 14 and 15, but age doesn't hinder the Holy Spirit. I am humbled by the fact that I didn't need to find a solution to the problem. That street is the Lord's and He is fighting for it. He was on it, and there is a role for me to support and guide these teens, who will have more impact than David or I ever could on that street. I was overwhelmed with the size of the problem and I almost forgot that the burden, that compassion, was from Him. He was already moving. It was and is His heart in me that cries for 16th street. It is His heart that burdens me to pray, that beckons me to ask, “What is my role there?”

As I sat in church with Jessica last night, she passed me a note that said that Matthew 5:13-16 is her favorite passage of the Bible.  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I was struck. I wrote her back, “That is awesome because I have always seen you as the light of your family...and the light of 16th street.”  Her smile was eternally beautiful.

In other news:
  • One of the Bhutanese families that we have been praying for and walking with for over two years experienced a death in their family that sparked a spiritual breakthrough in their family.  We are excited to continue walking with them in their pursuit of Jesus.
  • Our staff enjoyed a visit this week from David Chan, Missions Pastor at Hillcrest Covenant Church.  David explained to us the ways that he and the rest of the Hillcrest Covenant Church leadership are striving to empower and equip every person to live missionally through their individual skills and passions, right where they live.
Prayer needs:

  • As a way to better emphasize equipping immigrant leaders for ministry, our Latino worship community will begin meeting as several house churches in November.  Praise God for the turnout of nearly all the individuals making up the leadership team for each house church last Sunday at the first meeting in preparation for this transition.  Please pray for the momentum to continue.

Current needs:
  • A Multi-Media Specialist, who will devote two to three hours a week to the use of multi-media to tell the story of Mission Adelante, its programs, and its people in ways that increase ownership and passion and inspire others to get involved.
  • A female volunteer to tutor two girls in our Leaders In Training program on Mondays from 4:00-6:30 beginning November 28 through the rest of the school year.
  • Adults' and children's fall and winter clothing in all sizes to stock our Resource Center.  Please call Molly at 913-281-6274 x5 to arrange dropping off your donation.
  • Bibles for use in Kids Adelante Bible studies.  These are our preferred type.  Feel free to have them shipped to Megan McDermott's attention at Mission Adelante, Inc., 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102.
  • Board games appropriate for kids ages 3-12, in good condition and containing all of their pieces 
Upcoming dates:
  • Observation Days: Tuesday, November 1 for Bhutanese outreach; Thursdays, October 27 and November 3 for Latino outreach.  If you've never seen how we serve immigrants, please come observe.  If you're a regular volunteer, bring a friend who would be interested to find out about the mission field in our own backyard.
  • Staff Open Houses: Saturday, November 19, 3:00-6:30, Mission Adelante staff homes in Kansas City, Kansas 66102.