A Place to Belong

Written by Jenny Dunn, Bhutanese ESL Coordinator

Citizenship can mean much more than the right to vote or even travel internationally. To our students, citizenship is the chance to belong.  The Bhutanese refugees came from a place where they were neither wanted nor belonged.  Most of our students were born in Bhutan and were forced to leave and go back to their “homeland,” Nepal. However, since their ancestors lived in Bhutan for more than a hundred years, Nepal was no longer their home, either. They lived in refugee camps for nearly 20 years, but were never granted citizenship there. When the Bhutanese-Nepalis come to America, they hope for a brighter future, one in a place where they belong.
As our friends near the time when they can pursue citizenship (after 5 years of permanent residency), we have realized how hard it is for them to achieve. The exam requires them to know 100 civics facts and to read, write and speak English. The civics questions are about American history and government, and many natural-born U.S. citizens would not be able to answer them. In response to this need, we are excited to offer a citizenship class as part of our Bhutanese English program!  We focus on the reading, writing and interview portions, while our students practice the civics questions in another class offered through the Kansas Bhutanese Community. Please pray for our students as their exam dates approach. We eagerly anticipate the day when this community finally feels what it means to belong here as Americans!
Our Bhutanese ESL Citizenship class had a great turnout of interested students!

In other news:
  • The Bhutanese teen ministry staff attended the Catalyst workshop last weekend at Heartland Church. They learned new things about making disciples, and enjoyed connecting with other people in ministry in Kansas City. We are grateful to our awesome partner churches for their support of our mission in KCK, as well as for their contribution to the Kingdom of God in their corners of the city.
  • The Latino Outreach is excited to launch a kids' worship team. We will begin teaching the kids in our community interested in learning to play an instrument.
  • Our Latino LIT (Leaders in Training) program launched our first Spanish class last Wednesday! It was a huge success and the kids loved it!  Although many of our kids have grown up speaking Spanish fluently, we are hoping to encourage improved Spanish literacy as well as the appreciation of their native culture.
  • Immigrant entrepreneurs continue to be a catalyst in transforming our neighborhood and we celebrate that one of the local refugee owned businesses signed a lease for a new space to expand their grocery store and add a restaurant.

Prayer needs:
  • Family relationships are often the context where our character flaws and sinfulness are most evident. Please pray for the marriages and families in KCK. Pray that Jesus would change and redeem hearts, and that His love would seep out into our most intimate relationships.
  • Please pray for Alejandro, who is taking the lead role in one of our Latino house churches.  He is enthusiastic and willing!  Pray for God to give him the humility and courage to lead well and to remember to utilize the other leaders God has placed beside him.
  • Pray for our national leaders who will be considering immigration reform this spring to have wisdom and courage with these important decisions.
  • One of the Bhutanese families in our neighborhood requested prayer for work opportunities to make ends meet and healing from chronic pain for their mother. Please pray for this family to see Jesus working in their life.
  • Please continue to pray for the Adelante Thrift Board as they consider two possible properties for the thrift store.

Current needs:
  • Both Leaders in Training (our after-school tutoring program) and Kids Adelante (our Outreach Bible Study) are still looking for some dynamic volunteers to work with the kiddos. There are opportunities to volunteer Monday-Thursday.  Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org if you are interested.
  • Foosball is one of the most popular games at our kids events any given week.  After multiple years of service our foosball tables have begun to show their age.  We are looking for a foosball table in good condition (all players and table legs in working order) to be used in our kids room every week.  If you have one you would be willing to donate please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Important Dates:
  • Child Protection Meeting--Saturday, February 22 at 9:00 a.m. All volunteers that serve the kids and youth of Mission Adelante should attend.