A Spiritual Family for Third Culture Students


Written by Drew Hammond, Bhutanese Youth Ministry Director

Our students from other places grow up in a difficult world. Their family has a deeply rooted sense of culture from their home country, and their classmates know and understand the culture here in our urban neighborhood. Our students are dropped in between those two places, into a third culture. Since they aren’t growing up in their home country, pieces of their culture are falling away; and since they aren’t from the United States they don’t always understand exactly how and where they fit in here. It is in this place that we meet our students.We believe that God’s image is reflected uniquely and beautifully in diverse human cultures. We help students to understand the cultures of their family, their neighborhood, and how to live in the third culture they are growing up in.

In the book of Acts, we find a community of people similar to our students. This community of people are  just learning what it means to live their lives according to the ways of Jesus in a political and social environment that had recently put Him to death. In Acts 2:42-47, we see how they dealt with this struggle. "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."

The community described in this passage sounds like a spiritual family; where they are caring for one another and being cared for, walking together through life, and experiencing daily transformation. This is this kind of spiritual family that we long to build with our students. In light of this goal; in the Fall of 2016, we will be launching Youth Group.

Youth Group is a place where our students can be welcomed, loved, and accepted as who God has made them to be; and encouraged to become followers of Jesus. Youth Group is different from our structured programs; it is a space where our students will learn how to take the stories of Jesus they have been learning in our structured programs for the last 7 years and apply them to their daily lives.  It is also a place where our students will be surrounded by people who can help build a spiritual family with them; sharing meals and resources, having lots of fun, hearing stories of Jesus, beginning to worship Him, and learning to serve Him as Lord. Our hope is that Youth Group is a  place where they can process and understand the new culture they live in, understand who their spiritual family is, and grow to learn who God is calling them to be.

Important Dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation: Saturday September 10, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. Orientation is an introduction to our vision and ministry programs at Mission Adelante.  We will also tour the neighborhood and share a meal from a local restaurant.  A $5.00 donation is suggested to help with the cost of the meal.  If you are interested in serving at Mission Adelante visit: www.missionadelante.org/serve.
  • Volunteer Huddle: Monday September 12, 6:30 - 8:00 pm.  Our volunteer huddle is a time for us to gather together with our current and new volunteers to give them a deeper look into our ministry programs.  We will also have dessert and fellowship time.
  • Our Fall Trimester will begin soon; with our Bhutanese programs starting Tuesday September 13, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm and our Latino programs starting Thursday September 15, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.