New seasons in life are always a challenging time. Since I moved from Cuba to the US four months ago, I’ve been experiencing many life changes, and many opportunities to grow in faith and life. Everything is so different here; the language, the culture, the weather, the economy, the political system, the way people value life and time, and that is only the beginning. There are many other small things that are too numerous to mention. I have two things that have been my anchor in this season. One is the presence of God by my side every day, giving me hope and strength. The other, are some brothers and sisters in Christ whose have helped by caring for my husband and myself. They have made our transition much easier. As I write these lines there is one person in particular that has been present the entire time, Yanelis Lopez, our Latino Ministry Director. If there is someone who has taken my burdens as her own in almost every detail, it would be Yanelis. She has helped me and given me her total support. Her love and passion for helping the immigrant community comes from a heart that feels what God feels, and from the experience of living through the same process.
There are many stories of how she has been there for me. From when she picked me up at the airport in Kansas City on September 21, 2016 and took me to her house to live with her for a month without paying a cent, to buying food and things for me. When we went to a restaurant, she was my voice in English because I didn’t know the proper way to ask for something. My favorite thing that Yanelis has done for me is being my personal driver. As I reflected on this I said to myself, “Well Gissell, you are very lucky. Wealthy people are the only ones who have personal drivers, and you’re not paying a penny and you have at your disposal the director of a ministry from Mission Adelante going wherever you need, at any time, and yet with a smile on her face”. I mean, when you see this happening you have to say, "there is a humble person who does what Jesus would do to help an immigrant." And I know as I write this that she wouldn’t like that this story is about her, because humble people are like that, they don’t want to be under the spotlight. But I know she will understand that there is a sense of glory in this story that points out someone greater, and that is Jesus.
A few days ago she took me to do take the written exam for my learner’s driving permit. We had time to talk as we waited in a very long line and I told her, “Yane, you know what? When another person moves here, I want to be there for them, to help in every way I can, not because someone tells me to, but because you have done it for me.” There is no better way to serve and help others, than by helping without asking for anything in return. That’s what Jesus did with us, that’s what Yane did with me, and now I have the honor to do it with others.
- Are you looking for a practical way to help refugees and immigrants? Consider purchasing from Mission Adelante's Top Ten list on Amazon. Mission Adelante serves a large number of men, women and children each week and is in need of various items. A link to the wish list can be found on Mission Adelante's website under Give Stuff.
- Adelante Thrift is in need of High Impact Volunteers. If you are interested in serving at Adelante Thrift in an on-going basis, please visit our website at www.adelantethrift.com/volunteer
- Have you ever wondered what goes on during a night of programs at Mission Adelante? Join us March 2nd & 9th, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm at our Latino ministry ESL & Kid’s programs. 22 S 18th St. Kansas City, Kansas 66102