Finishing Strong: Leaders in Training Go Canoeing

Written by Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director
There's something about the wildness and unpredictability of nature that awakens something in all of us.   I think it returns us to a place of simplicity and purity, giving us a faint glimmer of what the Garden might have been like. Being out on a river with the tree branches swaying and the gentle lapping of  the waves, and seeing trees and rocks that were formed long before we were, reminds us of our smallness in comparison to God's grandeur.  It reminds us that we are part of God's glorious and infinitely lovely creation.  We are part of something bigger than just our own selves.

One of the biggest struggles the children in our community face is finding where they fit in.  They strive and push to find a place where they can find their significance and worth.   The Lord has blessed our community with a small group of twelve children that we have had the privilege to walk with in discipleship,conflict, love, and laughter this year in our Leaders in Training Program.  As we chose the best way to reward them for their incredible efforts this year, we thought about their struggle to belong.    We wanted to offer them an opportunity to get completely out of their comfort zone and really see the glory of the Lord in their surroundings.  Often, with the environment they live in on a daily basis, it is a fight to see the Lord at all.  After a great deal of prayer, we decided to take them on a weekend canoe trip to the North Fork River in Caulfield, Missouri.   

Thirty of us packed into cars and drove the five hours down to our campsite. This was many of the kids' first experience camping and sleeping outside.   We cooked over a campfire, made s'mores, and saw the majesty of the starry night sky in all its glory.  There were also many unexpected adventures and blessings along the way in which we saw the Lord intervene in mighty ways: car trouble, overturned canoes, communication between partners, snakes falling INTO canoes, and even a mini waterfall!  When we prayed for safety, we never imagined how powerfully God would answer those prayers!  

It wasn't until the end of our journey that I believe I really got to see the Lord's heart for His children and why this particular trip was so important.  Like many other outdoor activities, once you begin, you have to finish.  This is often a challenging concept for our kids because when things get tough in their lives in school, with friends, or at home, they tend to give up.  God was so faithful in not just giving us challenging circumstances to overcome on this trip, but also helping us all push through to finish together, as a family.  There is something very powerful about starting and finishing something as a group. It builds confidence in a truly necessary way.   I believe this trip will be more than just a fond memory of a great weekend out in the wilderness for the children.  I think it will continue to echo throughout their lives as a moment where they didn't just try, they succeeded.

In other news:

  • A team in the ballpark of 50 volunteers from Westside Family Church, Heartland Community Church, Grace Church, and Life Church, Olathe spent the What If The Church Serve Day with us last Saturday.  The things that were accomplished were far beyond our expectations.  We want to give a special thanks to John Craiglow, our site coordinator, for using his skill, his passion for the Kingdom, and his servant leadership to plan for and lead very well on Saturday.
  • Eighteen kids, ages 12 and up, finished the week of Free Wheels for Kids,  a new program that, in the course of one week, taught them bike maintenance and road safety.  They each earned a bike that they helped to refurbish, and celebrated the completion of the class with a ten mile group ride.  We at Mission Adelante were glad to partner with Ben Alexander and Free Wheels for Kids.
  • Around thirty middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, and staff from Christ Church Anglican have come up to KCK the past two evenings for our first week of Summer Kids' Camp.  The camp has been going really well, and 109 neighborhood kids turned out the first night!  We're eager for our final evening with the Christ Church Anglican team tonight.
  • Kristen Maxwell, Bhutanese Children's Ministry  Director, was privileged to share this week about Mission Adelante with 500 kids participating in Westside Family Church's VBS.  Kristen got to expand their definition of "missionary" by explaining how the Lord has brought people of other ethnicities here who need to hear about Jesus, and how she and the rest of our team have dedicated ourselves to the task.
Prayer needs:
  • Please keep Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director, in your prayers.  In the course of just a few days, Lauren broke her foot and then underwent emergency surgery a week ago today for a detached retina.  The Lord has given her a faster-paced recovery from the surgery so far than what is normal.  Please pray for continued supernatural healing, and continued patience with that process for Lauren and her husband Drew.
  • Pray for the evening Kids' Camps going on this week and the next two weeks here at Mission Adelante.  Pray for the kids to have fun, be safe, and most of all to see the Lord more clearly through the activities.
  • Please lift the members of our partner ministry in Cuba up in prayer; pray especially for their financial stability.
Current needs
  • Kids flip-flops of various sizes in neutral colors.  Please contact Kristen Maxwell at
  • Monetary contributions to offset the cost of replacing four laptops that were stolen from our building during a break-in the weekend before last.  (We've already purchased replacements.)  Contributions may be mailed to Mission Adelante, 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102, and "laptop replacement" indicated in the memo line.
  • Paper and plastic grocery sacks for resource distribution in our Resource Center.  Why not gather up all the sacks that have accumulated in your kitchen and bring them up with you the next time you come to the neighborhood?  Please contact Molly Merrick at 913-281-6274 x5 to tell her when you'll be bringing some.
  • Eight copies of The Action Bible, which are used in our Bhutanese children's ministry.  If you would like to provide some of the Bibles, please contact Kristen Maxwell at 913-281-6274 x9.  If you like, you can have them shipped directly to us at: Mission Adelante, c/o Kristen Maxwell, 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102.
Important dates:
  • Saturday, June 30, 9:00-12:00 Adelante Missions Institute Seminar at Mission Adelante featuring Noel Castellanos, CEO of Christian Community Development Association.  There is limited space, so we've offered priority registration to our staff and volunteers, and are now opening registration to a wider group.  There is a cost of $10 per person, which includes a continental breakfast.  Register here.
  • Week of July 2 Summer break; no programs
  • July 17, 19, 24, 26, 31, August 2 Observation nights.  Ever wondered what goes on here on a typical evening of programming?  Come on up on a observation night and find out!  Tuesday evenings are Bhutanese outreach, Thursday evenings are Latino outreach.