When Oscar arrived in Kansas City four years ago, it was hard to imagine the impact he would make in the lives of others in his school and in the Mission Adelante community. Though he was born in the U.S., he had grown up in Mexico. Arriving again in the U.S. as a young teen brought with it all of the challenges you might imagine: a new culture, a new school, new friends, and a new language. While many would be crushed by such intense changes at such a vulnerable age, the Lord was doing something special in Oscar that would be revealed in due time.
I couldn't believe my ears the first time Oscar grabbed a microphone at Mission Adelante and began to speak. Having scarcely heard a word from him in his first two years in our community, he was now standing in front of our Latino congregation telling us about how he had shared the gospel with and encouraged classmates at school. The Lord was using him to counsel and guide his friends. Somewhere along the way, the word of God had taken root in his heart and was beginning to blossom and bear fruit: a young disciple beginning to make disciples!
Oscar took things even deeper as a participant in our Summer Internship in 2016. The power of God's word to set us free was proven yet again in his life through forgiving someone who had hurt him. The intensive discipleship and community dynamic was the context for some significant breakthroughs in his life. With a genuine, servant heart and love for others, Oscar was becoming a leader before our eyes. He was up for any challenge, whether it was leading worship, investing in kids, or sharing his story. He was becoming a disciple who makes disciples.
It shouldn't have surprised me to see pictures of Oscar on Facebook sharing his story and teaching our Latino youth group last Wednesday. His example of character, love for God and neighbor, a transformed life, and a growing passion for justice issues that affect our community uniquely qualify him to teach other youth. The caption on the Facebook post said, "Inmigrante es una palabra hermosa", which means, "Immigrant is a beautiful word." At a time when immigrants are often maligned and looked upon with disdain, Oscar coined a phrase that the youth of our community desperately needed to hear; "Immigrant is a beautiful word." God is using him to heal wounds and lift others up. It will be exciting to see what the Lord does with Oscar in the coming years!