By Carla Flores, Ministry Apprentice
Believing in God has always been something difficult for me. Perhaps it was because I lacked faith or maybe because I was simply not exercising it. My mind always wandered off to existential questions, all demanding concrete answers. If God is perfect why would He love ME? Much less why, but HOW? How could a perfect, merciful, gentle God love a broken, selfish, hypocritical me? I came to Mission Adelante with an encyclopedia full of these questions expecting each and every one to be answered magically. Instead, I received something even better. I received a family and a community with people like me who speak to God about their doubts and their failures. Mission Adelante breaks the norm and accepts me for who I am, broken pieces and all.
Everyone knows what it’s like to be new and afraid. Maybe you felt this in third grade when you moved schools and had to present yourself to the class. Or perhaps you felt this when the coach asked you to get on the field after a long season of being on the bench. The first time I felt this was in kindergarten when my family migrated to the U.S. from Mexico. I felt this again in 6th grade when I joined the robotics club, and again each time I had a job interview. This emotion filled me again the first Sunday I attended house church at Mission Adelante. The same questions from before lingered in my head until they had achieved what they wanted. I felt scared, timid and nervous. I knew I wanted God in my life but what if God did not want me?
Mission Adelante opened its doors for me and transformed my thoughts about church and God. I was no longer scared or uncertain because Mission had made me part of a community that shared the same uncertainties. Through the Bible I learned that God not only loved me from the second I was created, but yearned to have a relationship with me too. I had been so desperate to feel his love for me that I was blind to the love I was already being shown. He showed me His presence when I volunteered at Teens Adelante, the love was so raw and honest. Volunteers had created a relationship with the teens like no other I had seen before. In any moment of fear, doubt, or darkness, a volunteer was there to listen and to pray. At this time, I was still not sure if God was in my life but now I was sure He existed. How could He not, if these volunteers loved each of these teens in such a profound way? How could He not, if the teens loved and cherished each of the volunteers?
God’s love was and continues to be what amazes me the most about our Creator. The infinite amount of love it must have taken to be humiliated, tortured and crucified for lost and broken people. That same love that He has planted deep within His people. The same love that the volunteers water each Wednesday evening with the teens. The same love that begins growing in them until stretching its limbs out to the heavens. I believe this is exactly what God wanted us to do with His love. How beautiful is it that God loves us so much that He has given us a gift to share with everyone around us too!
Today, I feel new in Christ. I feel renovated, restored, cleansed. Through Mission Adelante, I have learned that God has given me a new beginning. I no longer have to be scared of being unworthy because He has cleaned off my slate and filled it with His righteousness. By doing this, He shows me He is merciful and gracious. I am still sometimes doubtful and at times untrusting, and I know that this journey I have begun will not be an easy one. It will be full of new challenges, new teachings, but also so, so much love.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Latino ESL, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up: Monday, November 12, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; Tuesday, November 13, 6:30 - 8:30 pm; and Thursdays, November 8 and 15, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Visit www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!
Do you have a gently-used keyboard or guitar that you're not using? Adelante Arts Community needs it! Mission Adelante is in need of 3 portable keyboards and 5 acoustic guitars for their expanding Arts Community. Please email Gissell Vazquez at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an instrument you’d like to donate.