Important: A Big Transition for our Bhutanese Ministry

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to share about a significant transition that will be taking place with Mission Adelante’s Bhutanese ministry over the next four months.  After a prayerful and thoughtful process, the Bhutanese staff team has come to the decision that it is time to wind down our formal outreach programming for the Bhutanese.  We will hold one last, great trimester and end with a big party on April 22nd to celebrate all the Lord has done through our Bhutanese outreach these seven years.  At the end of April, our Bhutanese staff team will transition off of our staff and Mission Adelante will re-define our ministry with the Bhutanese and explore opportunities for broader refugee ministry in our neighborhood.

As you might imagine, it's hard to decide to wind down something that has been so fruitful.  It's kind of like Michael Jordan retiring while he was still one of the best players on the court!  As we walk carefully through this process, we are sure of a few things. First, the needs of the Bhutanese community are much different than when we began this ministry outreach seven years ago, and we've seen very few new families be resettled in Kansas City since 2013. Second, there are now several Bhutanese-Nepali led churches in KCK.  And, finally, each member of our Bhutanese staff team has a growing sense of "mission accomplished" and a feeling that God is ushering in a new season in each of their personal lives.  These three factors form the basic outline of the "why" behind this big transition.

I'm very proud of the Bhutanese staff team for their courage and faithfulness in the decision-making process.  Their thoughtful prayer and processing through the fall brought them to a point of consensus as last trimester was ending.  For my part, I've had the privilege of walking with them, listening, providing counsel, and giving them my support as they landed on a unanimous decision and have begun walking it out.  While this transition wasn't in the master plan, and there is still a lot of work that could be done, it is clear that the Lord is at work in new ways, which we are discovering with each step we take in this new direction.

As we consider what our ministry with the Bhutanese will look like after our formal outreach programs end, the rising themes are partnership, empowerment and leadership development.  With a great foundation already established, we envision collaborating in new ways with our closest Bhutanese partners as we equip emerging leaders and support Nepali-led initiatives that serve the community.  Our expectation and hope is that this transition will open the way for Mission Adelante to live out our passion for equipping and empowering refugee leaders in new ways.  

The idea of starting a ministry outreach for refugees from Bhutan took us by surprise in 2009 and broadened our vision.  In much the same way, we are sensing that the Lord may be using the ending of the Bhutanese outreach to broaden our vision again to include other refugee groups who are being resettled into our community.  Though there are still a lot more questions than answers regarding this broader vision, we are entering this new season with a sense of expectation about how the Lord may be calling us to lean into the identity He has given us as a ministry with immigrants AND refugees.

Our Bhutanese staff team members will all be transitioning off of our staff at the end of April.  Their willingness--and desire--to stay on for this final trimester has set the stage for us to be able to finish well and celebrate what God has done these seven years.  During this final trimester, they are each discerning the Lord's direction for this next season and they will surely communicate their future plans to many of you when they feel the time is right.  In an effort to make these next four months lighter, we are cutting back on some of their responsibilities and giving them some extra freedom and flexibility to pursue future employment opportunities.  Please pray that the Lord would guide them in this transition.  

This season of change comes with a mixed set of emotions, as you might imagine: a sense of satisfaction about "mission accomplished", a sense of sadness at something ending, a sense of uncertainty about next steps, and a sense of excitement about new vision.  But the overarching feeling for me is that the Lord continues to bless Mission Adelante abundantly.  Our Latino Ministry is thriving under Latino leadership, reaching new people each trimester, making disciples, and developing leaders.  We are creating jobs and transforming our community through Adelante Thrift.  Youth from our community are being developed through our internship.  Our multicultural leadership core is growing deeper and getting more diverse.  Financial support for the ministry remains strong, and our operational infrastructure is efficient.  A major transition like this brings with it waves of different kinds of emotions, but in it all it is clear that God is sovereign and that He is a good, good Father.  

So what’s your part?  Pray us through this next season!  We invite you to engage with us in actively praying for the Bhutanese people and for our Bhutanese staff team as they finish well and discern their next steps.  Pray for our partnerships with Nepali-led churches.  Ask the Lord to guide us as we re-envision refugee ministry and dream about the future.  And pray for our staff, that we would handle change gracefully, patiently, and with encouraged hearts.  For those of you who have supported the ministry of one of our Bhutanese staff team members, we would ask you to continue your support through April.  After April, we invite you to consider continuing to contribute through our Community Leader Fund, which helps us hire staff from within the immigrant and refugee community.  You have an important part to play in this transition!

If you’ve read this far, you must be truly interested in what the Lord is doing in our community and through Mission Adelante.  We thank you for your love and support, for your prayers and concern.  And, we would love to hear from you in this season.  May the Lord bless you richly and grant you peace.

In His Grace,

Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director