Written by Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director
While many of our ESL students come to class ready to learn and form friendships with their conversation partners, some do not. When Huka began attending ESL, she was quiet--so quiet she did not even repeat words we were trying to teach in class or say her own name. She avoided eye contact and did not smile. She faithfully came to class, though, and we prayed she would respond over time.
Lois Osborn began volunteering three months after Huka arrived. She wasn’t sitting with Huka in class, but Lois decided to pursue her anyway. Lois said, “I was encouraged to befriend a student outside of class. Huka is quiet and reserved, and I thought she needed a friend.” Lois and another volunteer decided to take Huka’s family and another immigrant family to the zoo over spring break last year.
Lois connected with Huka’s entire family that day. She told Huka’s children they could call her Grandma Lois, and she took note of each family member’s birthday. She has made it an effort to celebrate each of them this year with a cake, dinner or even a small party. Lois has made time in her schedule for tea and food before or after English class, and even brought them to the Christmas Eve service at her church.
“I feel a special love for that whole family,” Lois said. “Huka thinks of me as her mother. She lost her mother when she was young and hasn’t seen anyone from her own family in decades. She has adopted me as much as I have adopted her.”
A year later, Huka is full of life. She jokes with other students and volunteers on Tuesday nights, smiles easily, actively cleans and cares for her home, and is ready to pass Level 1 English. Some of that is due to good medical and mental health care she has received here, but I believe a significant part of her growth is in response to God’s love that Lois has so faithfully represented to her.
Mission Adelante believes that God calls Jesus-followers to demonstrate special hospitality for immigrants like Huka, going out of our way to show them compassion. Simple acts of kindness do much good here. We pray that God sends us more volunteers like Lois to show His love to others in our community, and that they will respond with open hearts to Him.
Huka and Lois have become close friends through experiences inside and outside of the ESL classroom at Mission Adelante.
In other news:
- The Latino teens and volunteers surprised one of our young ladies with a party on Saturday, which was her 18th birthday. What a blessing for her to be surrounded in love!
- The ladies from Level 3 Bhutanese English class got together for a tea party at a conversation partner’s home last weekend. It was a great way to connect outside of class and have fun together.
- A faithful, long-term volunteer and church member donated a well-running car to Mission Adelante, which we provided to a newly-arrived Bhutanese refugee in need of transportation.
- Please pray for a member of our Latino church whose family’s visa to immigrate was denied this week. They plan to appeal and we ask for God’s mercy over their request.
- Please pray for maturity for the growing leaders of our house churches.
- Our kids room serves more than 150 kids and teens each week. We would love to receive two Foosball tables to further equip the room. If you can provide one, please contact Megan McDermott at email@example.com or Kristen Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Final Observation Day: Thursday, March 14 (Latino) 6:30-8:30 Have you wondered what all goes on around here on a typical evening of programming? Here's your opportunity to come and see for yourself! Come to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102.
- Training by Amy Williams, Gang Intervention Specialist: Saturday, March 16, 9:00-12:00 at Mission Adelante. Register here!
- Spring Break: Monday, March 18-Saturday, March 23. None of our regular programs will meet. The Mission Adelante office will be closed Wednesday, March 20-Saturday, March 23.
- Bhutanese ESL Volunteer Dinner: rescheduled for May 4 at Lauren Timberlake's house. Please contact Jenny Dunn for more details at email@example.com.