From Barbie Dolls to High Heels: A Coming-of-Age Celebration!

By Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director

One of the best parts of sharing life with the community of Mission Adelante is that we are privileged to be invited into milestone celebrations. We love embracing the uniqueness of the different cultures that we serve and celebrating that culture right alongside our friends!  

Within the Latino culture, one of the most important days in the life of a young Latina woman is when she turns fifteen years old.  This milestone, also known as the Quinceanera, occurs when a young girl is presented to her community as a young woman. Before the eyes of friends and family, she receives her last doll, dances a special waltz with her father, and exchanges flat shoes for a "grown up" pair of high heels.  All of this symbolizes the transformation and celebration of  a little girl becoming a woman.  I was blessed to be invited to the quinceanera of a young woman that I have known for many years.

I met Gissel seven years ago when I began serving at Mission Adelante.  At the time she was eight years old and had this very sweet spark of innocence in her.  She has always had a very special place in my heart because of her inherent goodness, compassion for others, and her tenacious spirit.  As she has matured, she has grown up participating in our outreach Bible study, our after-school tutoring program, our teens program, and recently gained admittance to Bishop Ward, one of the best hig schools in Kansas City!  God has blessed us with the opportunity to walk with her and her entire family.  

We have seen the importance of planting the seeds of Christ early in the life of a child and how, when tended over the years, those seeds can grow into strong saplings.  Watching Gissel walk up to the altar with her parents on the day of the quinceanera was a strong reminder to me of God's goodness and faithfulness. Investing in the children of our community requires time, patience, and faith that God is in control.  As I looked at this beautiful young woman, remembering her when she was so young, I found myself praising God for how He has lovingly guided her over the years.  I am excited to see where He will lead her!

In other news:

  • We relaunched one of our Latino House churches this weekend.  It was exciting to see some members reconnect who had been absent for a long time.
  • We are excited to welcome our Cuban family, Raices ("Roots"), as they arrive in Kansas City for ten days.  We are looking forward to fellowship, laughter, fun, and the Lord to continue uniting our ministries to spread the Gospel.

Prayer needs:

  • The RAICES team from Cuba will be in Kansas City for 2 weeks!  Please pray that their visit will be fruitful, that there would be mutual learning between our community and theirs.
  • Please pray for Adelante Thrift while we work through the lease for our location.
  • Continue to pray for members of our community looking for work. Pray for good pay and healthy work environments.
  • Please pray for the health of one of our dear friends in the Bhutanese Community, Mon Maya, as she has been sick for several months.
  • The family members of one of our Cuban community members just received visas to join him in Kansas City after a four year wait. Please pray for the Lord to guide them through all that immigration to the US entails, and to provide for their needs as they settle here.

Current needs:

  • Volunteers for our Fall Trimester, beginning the week of September 15:
    • Monday-Thursday afternoons: 20 volunteers to serve one afternoon a week at Leaders In Training, our after-school tutoring and character development program for a select group of 8-13 year old Bhutanese and Latino students.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at or Megan McDermott at
    • Tuesday evenings: 8 volunteers to serve at Kids Club, our outreach Bible study for 1-13 year old Bhutanese kids.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at
    • Thursday evenings:
      • Volunteer conversation partners for our Adult ESL classes.  Contact Morgan Ham at
      • 5 volunteers to serve at Kids Adelante, our outreach Bible study for 5-12 year old Latino kids.  Contact Megan McDermott at
      • LIT has been gifted tablets to use with LIT this school year.  We are in need of cases to protect the tablets.  If you would like to donate one, check out our Wishlist:  LIT Wishlist  If you have questions please contact Kristen Maxwell at or Megan McDermott at
      • The RG Asian store is expanding their store to include a restaurant. They are currently in need of a few small tables and chairs.  Please contact David Stetler at  
      • We are making steady progress on the house rehab, and will soon need appliances.  Please contact Sarah at if you are able to donate an electric range/oven, washer, electric dryer, or dishwasher.
      • We want to re-open our resource center well-stocked with food baskets.  Check out this link  or contact Molly Merrick at for more information about how to get involved.

Important dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, September 13, 9:00-12:30 All volunteers should attend this training once at the beginning of serving with Mission Adelante. It's also a great way for someone to become familiar with Mission Adelante's ministry. If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about what we do, and about our volunteer opportunities, please plan to attend/encourage him or her to plan on attending this informative training, and to contact Morgan at for all the details.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert: Monday, September 15, 6:30 p.m. We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our fall trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch. 
  • Fall trimester programs launch: Week of September 15