Written by Paul Kienzle, Latino ESL Director
Everyone has a story and everyone’s story is unique. Listening to the life experiences of those who have passed through the doors of Mission Adelante has opened my eyes and given me insight into the lives of our neighbors from other cultures. Many of them feel the pain of being separated from loved ones. A part of their very self has been left in their country of origin. Yet, their stories are filled with amazing victories, ingenuity, perseverance, and hope. My wife Laura and I recently had the privilege of hearing first-hand the story of one of our Level 5 ESL students and his wife. Their warm hospitality and gentle spirits filled our hearts with gratefulness as we ate a traditional Guatemalan meal and sipped Guatemalan coffee.
Jose Dimas Posadas is a determined man! I’ve seen his intensity and faithfulness to attend and study ESL. Recently as I have gotten to know his story, I have discovered that his spirit of determination was formed many years ago. Jose grew up in Guatemala in a family that needed him in the workforce at age six, so midway through the first grade he exited school. At the age of 18, he married Marisol and life began! As his coffee business and his family grew, he struggled with debt and eventually left for the U.S. in search of work. His season away from his family was very difficult for Jose, but his relationship with God and a leadership role in his local church helped him keep his focus. After ten years working 12-hour days in a variety of jobs, including eight years in landscaping, Jose was able get out from under the debt. Jose and Marisol have nine children ranging from ages 15 to 33. For those ten years his only contact with his family was via phone and Skype. A year ago, he was able to send for four of his children, and just last month, after 15 years of being apart, Marisol and two more children arrived, finally face to face! Can you imagine the joyful reunion?
Jose and Marisol’s three remaining children run the coffee business in Guatemala, while Jose now manages his own landscaping business, proudly showing Laura and me the long list of English speaking clients stored on his phone! How does he communicate with them? In part, by speaking into a translator app that translates his Spanish into an English text message. However, Jose is quick to remark that his ESL class has been foundational for him, and he hopes that as he continues to learn English, he will need his translator app less and less!
Jose and Marisol’s story is a unique one, and just one of many that form and shape the tapestry of Mission Adelante, Kansas City, and our nation. We drank at least three cups of coffee with them that evening. I knew I wasn’t going to sleep, but it was worth every minute.
- Adelante Arts Community needs one or two volunteers to teach guitar to kids! No need to be an expert. If you enjoy playing a few chords and would like to share that ability with others, fill out an interest form at http://www.missionadelante.org/arts.
- We are beginning to collect filled backpacks to bless kids from the community in August. Are you or your small group interested in helping out? Visit www.missionadelante.org/serviceprojects/backpacks/ for details and to sign up!
- Are you passionate about education and kids? Our Leaders in Training program is always looking for new volunteers. Please contact Megan if you would like more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.