Learning is a two-way street in Mission Adelante's ESL program

Written by Paul Kienzle, Latino ESL Director

Since joining the Mission Adelante Staff last fall as Latino ESL Director, I have experienced firsthand the volunteer culture that Mission Adelante is famous for. That culture is not only what keeps the ministries of Mission Adelante up and running, it is also part of one of Mission Adelante’s values, Interdependent Relationships: “We believe that effective ministry is relational at its core...”

As God’s creation relies on the sun and the rain to bring forth new spring growth, Mission Adelante relies on it’s precious volunteer force to be Jesus’  hands and feet in the implementation of our ministries. In our ESL classes, volunteers use their voices and their lives as they build relationships with the students.  At face value, they make a commitment of two hours a week for twelve weeks (one trimester). Classes are taught by a lead teacher; volunteers then work one on one with the students as the lead teacher directs them, there is no need to be fluent in another language. Many volunteers come anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes away, and many come straight from work.  During the course of the trimester, the volunteers are encouraged to form a relational bond with their students and meet at least once outside of the classroom setting.

It is amazing to witness how our Latino volunteers connect with their students.  I will mention a few ways they have bonded.....

  •    Volunteers visiting students’ family members in the hospital or in their homes.
  •    Volunteers sending weekly encouraging texts to students.
  •    Volunteers gathering fun props that make learning Bible stories come alive by constructing a life-sized Goliath.
  •    Volunteers working alongside the students in service related projects.
  •    Volunteers inviting students over for dessert, Thanksgiving dinner, or game night.
  •    Volunteers answering life's questions about who God is, and how much He loves them.

Impact is not just one sided, it is reciprocal.  It is not just the student who is impacted by these acts of kindness, but the volunteers themselves are impacted as well. This is the other part of our value, Interdependent Relationships: “...When relationships are interdependent, learning is mutual, serving is reciprocal, and friendship is live-giving” Walking just a short way in these students shoes brings new understanding, appreciation, and love. Some volunteers comment that when they volunteer in ESL, it is the best day of their week.  

Hearing and witnessing what God is doing in the hearts of our volunteers is so satisfying to me.  I have learned so much personally as I witness others sacrificially loving people in practical ways.  If you are looking for a place to invest some of your time, please consider visiting us at, www.missionadelante.org/serve/, and check out the opportunities for impacting the lives of others.

Current Needs:

Our Bhutanese programs could not happen without our wonderful bus drivers!  We are in need of 2 additional drivers for our summer programs.  If you would like more information, contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org

Important Dates:

  • Bhutanese Spring Party: Saturday, April 9, 5:00-7:00 at La Fe En Jesus Christo Church, 1500 Central Ave Kansas City, KS 66102 (park in the back parking lot and enter through the back door). Please come and help us celebrate the accomplishments of our ESL, Teens, Kids Club, and L.I.T. students this trimester and honor our volunteers who have continued to serve with us.
  • Latino Spring Party: Sunday, April 10, 4:00 - 8:00 at Bethany Community Center, 1120 Central Ave Kansas City, KS 66102 (between 11th & 12th Street, behind the fire station). Please come and help us celebrate the accomplishments of our ESL, Teens, Kids Adelante, and L.I.T. students this trimester and honor our volunteers who have continued to serve with us.