Business as Ministry

Will Adelante Thrift Be Profitable in 2017?

Customers lined up outside on March 14, 2015, waiting for the doors to open on our first day at Adelante Thrift.

Customers lined up outside on March 14, 2015, waiting for the doors to open on our first day at Adelante Thrift.

Written by Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director

Last year at this time I was worried. The dream of Adelante Thrift was on the ropes after two years of preparation and a year and a half in business. How much longer could we make it? There were amazing things happening at the store, but we were still losing a lot of money. As I made phone calls to raise more cash for the endeavor, I had to answer the brutal question: "How long do we support a business-as-mission endeavor that is losing money?" I remember processing that question out loud on the phone, "I won't be coming back to ask for more money again. If we haven't seen significant improvement by this time next year, we'll be making some hard decisions." That was 2016.  

What is perseverance? What does faith look like when the results you're longing for can't yet be seen? I have a favorite line from the movie Pearl Harbor, spoken by Alec Baldwin as Lt. Col Doolittle. "Victory belongs to those who believe in it the longest." This quote eloquently expresses the interaction between faith and perseverance. The journey of Adelante Thrift has developed both faith and perseverance in me in ways that I couldn't have predicted and wouldn't have signed up for if I had known they were part of the deal. And yet, looking back, I wouldn't trade those lessons for anything. I'm a different person, a more mature leader, a more faithful follow of Jesus. And, here we are, entering the fourth quarter of 2017, with a real shot at a profitable year. God is so faithful!

As we press into the final quarter of the year, I'm so thankful for the many volunteers who've served, the individuals, businesses, and churches who've given merchandise and money, the customers who've shopped, and the staff from all places who've created a unique environment at the store that exudes the love of Christ. Will Adelante Thrift be profitable in 2017? Will the store start to realize it's potential in terms of financial impact on the community in 2018? I invite you to be part of answering these questions! Is it time to donate more stuff? Does your small group, your family, or your business want to come down and serve? Your treasures can transform a community. I invite you to help Adelante Thrift finish 2017 strong and celebrate our first profitable year!



  • Help us finish 2017 strong! Volunteer with your family, small group, or business at Adelante Thrift. For more information or to sign up, go to .
  • Do you have a gently-used keyboard or acoustic guitar that you're not using? Adelante Arts Community needs it! We are in need of two keyboards and three acoustic guitars for our new program. Please email Gissell Vazquez at if you would like to donate an instrument.
  • Are you interested in combining your love of the arts and disciple-making? Mission Adelante is launching Adelante Arts Community in January 2018 and is looking for volunteers to help! Visit for more information.


  • You’re invited to the Mission Adelante Thanksgiving Open House November 11th from 2:30-6:30pm. Stop by and enjoy a relaxed afternoon at the Meeks’ home meeting members of the Mission Adelante staff and community, celebrating culture, and giving thanks for God’s faithfulness.  

Adelante Thrift to Accept Donations On-Site Beginning March 7, 2015!

Have you been saving up "treasures" in your basement or garage to donate to Adelante Thrift?  If so, you're a part of an exciting ground-swell of support for this new sustainable ministry project in KCK!  Soon, you and many others will have a few options for dropping off your donations and seeing your "treasures" become community transformation!


On January 15th we took possession of the thrift store space so we could begin transforming what has been a vacant and deteriorating commercial space into a thriving neighborhood business.  With permit in hand, our construction process has begun with demo work and is projected to be complete by February 20th; a pretty tight timeline, but within reach according to our physical space team!

Demo began on the Adelante Thrift site on January 15th.  We're on track for a March 14th opening day! 

Demo began on the Adelante Thrift site on January 15th.  We're on track for a March 14th opening day! 

As we prepare the store for a March 14th opening day, there are a few earlier options for those who are anxious to clear their basements of accumulating "treasures" and help provide the initial inventory for Adelante Thrift.

Church Donation Drives: A few partner churches are hosting donation drives at their churches before the store opens.  They have agreed to receive donations, during specific hours, on specific dates, for Adelante Thrift.  If you attend or live near one of these churches, you may contact the point person for those donation drives to find out more about dropping off donations at their sites. 

  • Westbrooke Church- Friday, February 20 from 5pm-9pm AND Saturday, February 21 from 8am to Noon.  Contact the church office for more details: 913.888.4750.
  • Mill Creek Community Church- Saturdays, February 21 and 28 from 10am-4pm.  Contact Carrol Moore:
  • Heartland Community Church- Sunday, February 22nd.  Contact Ben Morrill:

Adelante Thrift Drop-Off: Beginning Saturday, March 7th, Adelante Thrift will be set up to receive donations at the store (3720 State Avenue, Kansas City, KS  66102).  Contact Matt Totsch for more information at  We will be able to receive donations during the following hours:

  • Saturdays (beginning March 7)- 10am-4pm
  • Monday-Friday- 10am-4pm

No Home Pick-ups Yet: We have not yet set a date to begin doing home pick-ups.    

Business, Ministry, and a Burmese Grocery Store!

Written by Kristen Allen, Director of Community Development

One of the most exciting things about living in the community is seeing how God is using different people to accomplish His purpose. I love hearing stories from our Bhutanese and Latino ministries and also learning from my friends first hand what it means to follow God and trust in His provision.

I’ve been blessed by a friendship with a local Burmese shop owner. I originally connected with her when I visited the Falam Chin church down the street from my house where another friend serves as the pastor. Our friendship blossomed over the next few months as we shared about our lives and dreams.

My friend had lived in the United States for several years before following God’s call to move her family to Kansas City and open an Asian grocery store. She and her husband borrowed a few thousand dollars from a relative, opened their store in July of 2012, and prayed into the vision God had for them.

There is something special when you visit the store. If you are like me and don’t speak Burmese or Falam Chin, you would still perceive the high level of customer service. Everyone is greeted, everyone receives a smile, and everyone is valued when they are shopping in the store. My friend and her husband see their store as an opportunity to reach the community for Jesus and as business grew, they knew that God was calling them to further expand their ministry.

My friend prayed, she fasted, and she asked God for a store just down the street that had parking, retail space, and the ability to expand to include a children’s outreach program so she could hire teachers to help children in the community improve in school and retain their native language. And God said no to that space. Undeterred, she continued to believe and pray for the dream that God gave their family.

One day I received a text from my friend asking me to come to the store. “Please hurry” it said and I wondered what was going on. When I arrived, I learned she had received a lease for an even better space. We both celebrated and thanked God for moving in amazing ways to make the expansion  of their business possible.

At the end of January 2014, their community pitched in and helped move their grocery store to the new location God provided them. This is where their dreams continue. Later this year they will open a restaurant to serve delicious Burmese dishes. Profit from grocery store and restaurant will help fund outreach programs to children in their community. The journey of following God continues and I can’t wait to see where it will take them next.

In other news:
  • A group of teens, kids, and volunteers braved the cold last Friday to attend Winter Jam! We had a blast and an amazing time worshiping God together!
  • The Bhutanese teens are really stepping up their leadership and have planned an "American Idol" formatted teens club this trimester. It’s going to be very fun, but also a lot for them to pull off. It’s fun to see them learning as they go, and growing in their creativity and vision for their own community.

Prayer requests:

  • Please pray for Bhutanese teenagers as they navigate how to honor their Hindu families while discovering their own personal faith in Jesus.
  • Please continue to pray for stable employment for our refugee friends.

Current needs:
  • The LIT (Leaders in Training) kids come straight from school each day so we try to have a healthy snack for them. We are looking for a few individuals or a small group to purchase (in bulk) some granola bars, goldfish, nutri-grain bars, or any other healthy snacks to bless the kids.  Please contact Megan if interested:
Important dates:
  • Child Protection Meeting--Saturday, February 22 at 9:00 a.m. All volunteers that serve the kids and youth of Mission Adelante should attend.

Business as Mission Workshop Launches Adelante Business Coaching

by Kristen Allen, Director of Community Development

On Saturday, July 20, 2013, Adelante Business Coaching launched with a Business as Mission workshop presented by Rudy Carrasco of Partners Worldwide. Thirty-five men and women came to listen, learn, and dialogue about partnering to foster business development to transform the community. We see God stirring the hearts of men and women to use their experience and skills in relationship with other entrepreneurs to expand job opportunities and His Kingdom.

If there is one word that could sum up Rudy’s Business as Mission presentation it is “partnership”. God created us for relationship with Him and each other. We can partner together to do great things for Him and this includes partnership in business.

Adelante Business Coaching promotes and supports the development of immigrant and refugee owned businesses in our community. One of our key strategies for this ministry is partnership with immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs in mentor relationships to share experience and help encourage enterprise development. Men and women on both sides of the mentor relationship will share wisdom, experience, encouragement, and accountability. In true partnership, we all have something to give and we all have something to gain.

We’ve shared the story of

R.G. Asian Store

 and know there are more success stories to be told in our community. As Adelante Business Coaching continues mentoring businesses and expands to offer training and further develop a network for collaboration and advocacy between community organizations, business owners, and potential entrepreneurs, we are excited to see individual transformation become community transformation.

Other News

  • Jasmin and Cesar, Latino house church members, moved back to Kansas City last week after spending a year in Texas.  We were overjoyed to see them join us at house church. 
  • Jason Schoff joined two of our local partner ministries for a meeting in Washington, D.C. with Evangelical Pastors and Leaders who are advocates on behalf of immigration reform as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table .

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for a refugee-owned business in the community who has been working with Adelante Business Coaching on a new business plan. They will soon submit information to the bank as they seek a loan to purchase a new location and expand their business.
  • The Adelante Business Coaching team had a great strategic planning session with Rudy Carrasco. Please pray that this ministry continues to follow God’s calling for community development as they move forward with the plans for the rest of this year.
  • Please pray for the Adelante Thrift team as they continue to work through the site selection process for the thrift store.

Current Needs

  • We are looking for a volunteer or volunteers to trim a tree away from the blue house so we can move forward with roof construction. Please contact Sarah at if you can help.
  • The Kids Adelante ministry needs an ipod with a long battery life.. We would use it multiple times each week and would be so grateful to receive one.  Please contact if you are interested. 
  • Looking for an intentional way to impact the future leaders of our community? Our LIT program (Leaders in Training, after-school tutoring program)  is currently seeking mentors for the fall. Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.orgif you would like more info.

Important Dates

Summer Parties are

August 11th

at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, KS 66109.  After entering the park, you'll come to a fork in the road;

go left.

  • The Latino party begins at 3:00 with an informal time to socialize, followed by a pot-luck meal at 4:45 and program at 6:00.  It will be in the "Beach Shelter." Turn right after passing shelter #6.
  • The Bhutanese party begins at 4:00 in shelter #6.

Working Together: The First Bhutanese Store in KCK

by Kristen Allen, Director of Community Development

At Mission Adelante we began talking and praying seriously about how individual transformation could become community transformation in the fall of 2011. As we explored how Mission Adelante can help make a community impact through empowering our immigrant friends and working in partnership to address the needs of our community, others were dreaming too. Two Bhutanese refugees dreamed of opening a store to meet the cultural needs of their community and approached Mission Adelante to share their vision and ask for guidance.

We looked through our network and found volunteers willing to collaborate on this business venture.  A successful business owner saw the potential for individual and community transformation and came forward to provide technical assistance to the two entrepreneurs. Another Mission Adelante volunteer encouraged the entrepreneurs and assisted with various activities including using a box truck to go and pick-up store fixtures the entrepreneurs found through their own network. The Bhutanese community pooled money together to help make a down payment on the building. A long-time supporter of Mission Adelante used his business to finish furnishing fixtures in the store. And on December 9, 2012, R.G. Asian store opened at 101 S. 18th Street in Kansas City, Kansas. When God’s people work together it can be a powerful, transformative thing.

Click the image above to register now for Ignite 2013!

Thanks to R.G. Asian Store, our Bhutanese friends now have access to culturally appropriate and familiar food, clothing, and other products. Customer service is a high priority, and when Bhutanese refugees ask for a new item the owners work through their network in the US and Nepal until the item is on the shelves of their store.

The store owners’ contributions to the Bhutanese community go deeper than providing cultural items -- they also focus on the needs of the Bhutanese teens. R.G. Asian store supports the KC (BEST) Bhutanese Ekata Soccer Team and encourages the young men to be responsible and hard-working. Recognizing that the Bhutanese teens face the challenges of every teen (high school, fitting in, becoming independent, etc.) and the additional struggles faced by newcomers trying to integrate into a new culture, R.G. Asian created a space in the building behind the store where teens can hang out and play games like ping-pong so the teens have a positive outlet and are less likely to get mixed up in less desirable activities like gangs. Our friends at R.G. Asian Store remind us that business can make a community impact.

We hope to build on this experience and further develop a model of for equipping and coaching entrepreneurs through our emerging Adelante Business Coaching ministry. We envision those passionate about business sharing their skills with immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs and a coaching environment where individuals on both side of the mentoring relationship are contributing, learning, and growing. This is not an effort to “do for” - it is an effort of partnership to “do with” in a spirit of collaboration and dedication to the community.  

Do you want to dive deeper into how businesses can make a Kingdom impact? Learn more about Business as Mission at Ignite 2013: A Workshop for Developing Business for Kingdom Impact on July 20th. Read more about the workshop here:


and register for this event that coincides with the formation of Adelante Business Coaching.

Ignite 2013: A Workshop on Developing Businesses for Kingdom Impact- July 20@8:30am

Adelante Missions Institute Presents...


Join us for a workshop on how fostering entrepreneurship can transform lives and communities in under-resourced areas.  Rudy Carrasco of Partners Worldwide will lead us on the exploration of a philosophy for job creation that includes business as mission, collaboration, business training, business mentorship, and advocacy.  Learn working models for ending poverty through job creation in the United States and the potential for community transformation right here in Kansas City, Kansas.  This event coincides with formation of a team for our new “Adelante Business Coaching” ministry.

The event will be held at Mission Adelante, Inc.

22 South 18th Street

Kansas City, KS 66012

Please contact Kristen Allen for more information:

"Adelante Business Coaching" Prepares to Launch

by Kristen Allen, Director of Community Development

Exciting things continue to unfold in Mission Adelante’s Community Development Initiatives as our new "Adelante Business Coaching" ramps up for launch. Twenty years ago many were convinced that our community was dying, and studies predicted that by the year 2000 our neighborhood would be a ghost town.  Driving around Mission Adelante, it is evident that this prediction was false: the community is being revitalized by immigrant families and small businesses.

According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Latino owned businesses brought in $1.3 billion in receipts in the state of Kansas. Mission Adelante is excited to add fuel to this fire as we ask God to use business to transform individual lives as well as our entire community.

Bhutanese refugees opened a grocery in KCK.

One of the core values for Adelante Business Coaching is the belief that work is a redemptive activity that God designed for man to enjoy from the beginning of creation. Work promotes dignity, contributes to the broader needs of our community, and improves an individual’s or a family’s financial situation. Our immigrant and refugee friends come with a diverse array of business ideas, skills, experiences, and a strong desire to succeed. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles for newcomers who want to open businesses, and instead, they are often stuck working unskilled, entry-level, low-paying positions that are far away and don’t provide a sense of dignity or purpose.

What if we prayed with our immigrant and refugee neighbors, helped break down cultural barriers, and instead of looking at their lack of US business experience, we equipped them to become business owners making an impact in the community and for the Kingdom? We believe we would start to see individual and community transformation.

We are excited for where we feel God is leading us. As we launch Adelante Business Coaching, we want to partner with others who feel God’s calling to use their business or their business expertise as an avenue for ministry. Next month we are bringing Rudy Carrasco from

Partners Worldwide

 to lead a workshop to help us and our partners further explore business as mission.

Save the date for Saturday, July 20


  from 8:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m. so you can j

oin us for a workshop on how fostering entrepreneurship can transform lives and communities in under-resourced areas.  Rudy Carrasco will lead us on the exploration of a philosophy for job creation that includes business as mission, collaboration, business training, business mentorship, and advocacy.  He will share working models for ending poverty through job creation in the United States and the potential for community transformation right here in Kansas City, Kansas.  


"Ignite 2013" will be held at Mission Adelante, Inc.

22 South 18th Street

Kansas City, KS 66012

Please contact Kristen Allen for more information:

Other News

  • Our Mommy & Me English class has been a success so far! There are six refugee mothers and their tots singing, clapping, reading, and playing games together--all while practicing English skills. We have one more class next week.
  • We had the privilege to hear from some of the New Roots for Refugees farmers on Tuesday during our study of vegetables and the farmer’s market in the Bhutanese ESL classes.  It was a great listening exercise for our students and both students and conversation partners learned a lot!
  • The Kansas City Bhutanese Ekata Sports Team is traveling to Texas for a nationwide Bhutanese Soccer tournament this weekend.
  • Frank, a leader with Raices in Cuba, was given a visa to come visit Mission Adelante for two weeks in July.  He will learn more about business coaching strategies and will also share his own experiences with our staff.

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for the formation of the Adelante Business Coaching leadership team. We meet next week for the first time and are excited where God is leading us.  
  • Pray for immigration reform that upholds our values of human dignity, family unity and respect for the rule of law and for our senators who will vote on this issue.

Current Needs

  • The resource center is in need of kitchen items, dishes, and summer kids clothes. If you are able to help, please give Molly Merrick a call to set up a drop of time at

Important Dates

Observation nights: July 16, 18, 23, & 25.

Have you wondered what all goes on around here on a typical evening of programming?  Here's your opportunity to come and see for yourself!  Come to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102 at 6:30 p.m.

A New Ministry Beginning at Mission Adelante!

by Jarrett Meek, Founder, Executive Director

Marking Milestones

There are important milestones in the life of every person, organization, and ministry; moments that mark movement forward, new growth, or the beginning of a new season.  These moments do a lot to define our lives and our development.  For Mission Adelante I can look back over our eight years and see many of these moments, but three events rise to the top of our list of milestones.  The launch of the ministry, and specifically the beginning of our first "house church", the acquisition of our building, and the launch of our Bhutanese ministries.  The initial launch of our ministry qualifies as a major milestone for obvious reasons, but the beginning of our first "house church" in that same season specifically represented the spiritual first-fruits of our ministry and evidence that what we began could really work. What was a dream had become a reality as we saw the first immigrant family receive Christ and join our fellowship.  The acquisition of a building was another major milestone in that it was truly a game changer.  Heartland Community Church provided the funding for the purchase and remodel in a amazing show of support that vaulted us years forward in our development.  And the launch of our Bhutanese ministries represented the proving of our ministry vision/model with a cultural group other than Latinos, something that has caused us to grow dramatically and open our eyes even wider to what the Lord may want to do with us in the future.  And now, I'm excited to share with you that Mission Adelante is at the beginning of what I believe will be another major milestone in our ministry's development: the launch of a new ministry division called "Community Development Initiatives."

Community Development: Individual and Community Transformation

While much of what we've done up to this point could be considered community development, we are now poised to build on the relational network and the emphasis on individual transformation that we've worked so hard to establish and begin addressing some of the larger issues and needs we have seen in our community.  Being very passionate about our identity and vision as a disciple-making mission, we are intent on holding on to this core calling even as we begin engaging in broader community development initiatives.  We believe that community transformation can spring forth from individual transformation, and that those who at one time were recipients of care and service can become owners and stakeholders in initiatives that improve our entire neighborhood.  Our community development ministry will involve emerging leaders from our neighborhood in developing new initiatives that make a community-wide impact in areas such as entrepreneurialism, job-skills training, and health care that is accessible to people who come from other places.

The Impact of Business: Empowerment, Jobs, Economic Sustainability

At the nexus of business and ministry there is a powerful synergy that moves beyond charity and betterment to development.  Equipping people with marketplace skills and entrepreneurial tools, and helping them start small businesses is empowering, promotes community ownership, improves the financial outlook for their families, and contributes to the economy of our entire community.  In a conversation with Pastor Rick Behrens he shared his perspective on the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs on our neighborhood; "Twenty years ago an economic study was done on the Central Avenue area in KCK, and based on that study they predicted that by the year 2000 our area would be a ghost town.  But, they didn't know who was coming and what God had in mind."  Today immigrant-owned businesses are fueling an amazing comeback in our area.  A study done by the

Hamilton Project

states, "Today's immigrants possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit.  In fact, immigrants are 30% more likely to form new businesses than U.S.-born citizens."  Imagine the impact training, coaching, and start-up capital could have on immigrant entrepreneurs and on the economic development of our community!

The Need for Accessible Health Care

For those of us who were born in the U.S., navigating our health-care system can be an intimidating and confusing experience.  Now, imagine trying to make your way through this gauntlet of paperwork, long sterile halls, and sky-high bills as a new refugee coming directly from a camp in Nepal with very little English.  A 2013 study done by the

Population Health Institute

ranks Wyandotte County 99th out of 102 counties in Kansas for health outcomes (mortality and morbidity), while neighboring Johnson County is ranked #1.  In addition to other factors, our community is clearly under-served in terms of health-care.  Our immigrant friends often hesitate to visit the doctor because cultural and language barriers create a sense of fear and distrust that are very difficult to overcome.  High health-care costs and lack of insurance make preventative or primary care seem like an un-affordable luxury, and the emergency room often becomes the first stop for patients who could have prevented a crisis by seeing the doctor sooner.  As we explore ways to address some of the most glaring needs in our community, making health-care accessible both culturally and financially to immigrants has emerged as one of our highest priorities.

What's Happening Now?

Over the past several months Mission Adelante has begun preparations to launch three new initiatives:

  • Adelante Thrift: We have formed a board of directors and are working on a launch plan for a neighborhood thrift store that will provide jobs and job-skills training, and will serve as an incubator for small immigrant-owned businesses.  Income generated by Adelante Thrift will provide another source of sustainable funding for other Mission Adelante ministries.
  • Micro-lending/Small business start-up ministry: Last fall we piloted our first business as ministry project as we helped the RG Asian store (ethnic groceries) start-up in our neighborhood.  This summer, as we form our team for this new ministry program, we will be hosting Rudy Carrasco from Partners Worldwide for a training seminar on business as ministry.  Stay tuned for more details!
  • Medical Clinic: A team of people from our neighborhood has been hard at work doing surveys and focus groups within the Mission Adelante community to assess the real health-care needs of the people we serve.  We are hoping to finish these surveys in the next couple of months.

Funding Needs

One of the biggest challenges and most important aspects of our plan to launch these new initiatives will be to raise the funds necessary to move forward.  During the second half of 2013 we will praying earnestly and  making a significant effort to both increase funding for our General Ministry Fund, as well as secure funding for our new Community Development Initiatives.  We will be approaching current donors to suggest an increase in giving for those who are able, and inviting new people to partner with us financially as well.  Though our "campaign" has not yet begun, if you would like to begin contributing or increase your giving you may do so online by visiting