Written by Paul Kienzle, Latino ESL Director
Mission Adelante at its core is intentional in obeying the call of God to love our neighbor because we believe it is at the heart of all His commands. It is a love that expresses itself by extending hospitality, compassion and friendship to people from other places.
My wife and I have the privilege of living in a multicultural neighborhood. When I walk in the nearby park and see people from other places enjoying their families, playing soccer, or pushing a stroller, I feel a sense of gratitude that we get to experience being part of a multi-ethnic landscape. Living in this kind of neighborhood heightens our awareness of those around us, deepens our desire to compassionately understand our differences and challenges us to change deeply embedded misconceptions that hinder us in our journey and in God’s call to love people from different places.
Recently, I heard a heart breaking story of a white, American woman, who on occasion, shared kindnesses and pleasantries with her next door neighbor who was of a different ethnicity. It was a pleasant friendship, a friendship built on actions but very few words, as neither knew the other's language! One day, the neighbor stopped by to say hi. After inviting her neighbor in and exchanging the customary smiles and hugs, the neighbor did something that took this woman totally by surprise. With her customary warm smile, her neighbor gently touched and pointed admirably to the woman’s white skin and in her broken english said, “good, good.” Then, she pointed to her own skin color and said with indifferent matter-of-factness, “no good, no good.” Floored, the white American woman looked at her neighbor with a warm and compassionate smile, admirably touched and pointed to her skin, saying, “you, beautiful, good, good.” What this woman would have given to have been able to speak into her beautiful neighbor, the words of God’s unconditional love for people from different places.
Many of us never get to experience the joys and the challenges of being a part of such a colorful tapestry, and yet, obeying God’s call to love our neighbor, at its core, is not exclusively about color or ethnicity. It is about loving the people God has placed around us. For my wife and I, it is the ethnic diversity of urban KCK. For you, it may be the same or it may be somewhere else. It may be a neighborhood primarily comprised of one ethnicity or it may be one with many ethnicities. Jesus said that loving God was the greatest commandment but He also said there was one like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 23:37-39)
- Our LIT, Kids Adelante, and Refugee Kids Club programs are in need of volunteers for the fall trimester beginning September 12th. For more information or if you are interested in volunteering, please visit our website at www.missionadelante.org/kids.
- Our kids ministry programs are looking for people to purchase and deliver new board games for our Tuesday & Thursday programs. If you are interested, please contact Megan McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org.