Community Leaders

Volunteer Journey: A Primer on U.S. Immigration

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The Adelante Volunteer Journey
Serving and growing together!
Sara Forsythe shares about volunteering in Adelante Arts Community.

Volunteer Journey: A Primer on U.S. Immigration

Dear friends,

With the midterm elections last week and the approaching caravan from Central America, it's not surprising that immigration has been in the news a lot the last few weeks. There was talk of an invasion; troops were sent to the border; an executive order was signed changing the legal process for seeking asylum, and the President suggested that he may use an executive order to end "birthright citizenship."  Our study of Soerens' and Yang's book, Welcoming the Stranger comes at a perfect time!  This edition of the Volunteer Journey will contain highlights and a summary of chapters 2-4, which provide a critical base of knowledge about immigration that can help us build a well-informed understanding of the issues facing us today.

The authors continue in Chapter 2 by addressing the question, "who are undocumented immigrants?".  In doing so, they differentiate between naturalized citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and undocumented immigrants.  Using the stories of Pedro and Martha and Francisco and Allison, they paint a picture of the everyday struggles and decisions that undocumented immigrants face.  They describe some of the many reasons immigrants come to the U.S., why some may come illegally and why others may overstay their visas.  The authors reveal some of the struggles of "mixed-status families" and talk through a common misconception that suggests that undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes.  And what about young people who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents and grew up here?  Soerens and Yang give us a picture into the unique situation of the approximately 800,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers", who qualified for President Obama's program called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." 

"Understanding the history of immigration to the United States will help us have a perspective on how to view and act toward newer immigrants entering the United States." (p.65) The overview presented in Chapter 3 of our book is a fascinating look at our history as it relates to immigration.  The authors organize the thoughts chronologically, highlighting key legislative markers along the way.  I'll list them here as a reference, but you'll have to read the book to get the details!    "Immigration has always been and will remain a defining issue for the United States of America." (p.65) 

  • The Early Days
  • The first great European wave: 1820-1860
  • Indian Removal Act: 1830
  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: 1848
  • Chinese Immigration and Exclusion: 1848-1890
  • The Second Great European wave: 1880-1920
  • The Quota System: 1924-1965
  • The Bracero Program: 1942-1964
  • The 1965 Reforms
  • Immigration from the 1970's to today
  • The Refugee Act of 1980
  • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Over my years at Mission Adelante I've heard countless people ask, "why don't they just come legally?"  In chapter 4 the authors discuss our current immigration system and the pathways to legal status in the U.S.  To summarize, there are four basic categories of immigrant visas. 

  1. Employment-based: Available by petition by a U.S. employer, there is a numerical limit and "the majority of these visas are reserved for individuals who have extraordinary or exceptional ability."
  2. Family-based: Based on close family relationships with the intention of reuniting families.
  3. Diversity Visas: A set number visas distributed by a random lottery of qualifying entrants from underrepresented countries.
  4. Refugees and Asylees: Immigration status granted based on a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" for a handful of specific factors.

With the basic foundation of knowledge presented in these chapters, you will be much better equipped to filter through and process most of the information that is talked about so often these days. If you'd like to jump in on this study, here's the plan.  It's not too late!

  1. Purchase the book and read it at your own pace through the trimester.
  2. Follow along as I process the book through regular Volunteer Journey emails during the trimester.
  3. Join me for a lunch and learn discussion at Mission Adelante on December 6th, 11:30-1:00
Please feel free to participate in as little or as much as you would like!

In His Grace,
Jarrett
Buy "Welcoming the Stranger"

Volunteer Journey Lunch-And-Learn 
Thursday, December 6th, 11:30-1:00

Please mark your calendars!  For those who would like to discuss what you're learning on your journey and/or through your reading of Welcoming the Stranger, we will be hosting a "lunch and learn" for all volunteers.  Lunch will be brought in from a local restaurant, so we will need to get an accurate count.  Please RSVP to jarrettm@missionadelante.org to let us know you're coming!


 
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Invest in Immigrant Leaders Making Disciples!

We are praying the Lord would provide $60,000 this year-end to support our "Community Leaders".  www.missionadelante.org/give

We are praying the Lord would provide $60,000 this year-end to support our "Community Leaders". www.missionadelante.org/give

by Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director

When we set out to start Mission Adelante, I didn't fully appreciate the potential for immigrants and refugees to play a critical role in transforming a community and a ministry.  Now, I'm continually amazed and inspired to by leaders from all places and the impact they are having in our neighborhood.  From entrepreneurs to ministry leaders, our community is full of courageous people who are cutting new pathways through the thick brush of cultural and language barriers to realize their dreams and be a part of transforming individual lives and the entire community.

Yanelis López, Gissell Vázquez, and Laxmi Gurung are three of these leaders.  As new arrivals to the U.S. each of them has had to overcome challenges and forge a trail through what sometimes seems like an overgrown jungle.  Their perseverance, faith, and vision inspire me and all those who are close to them.  Mission Adelante is blessed to have them as part of our staff!

As we approach the end of 2017, I'm looking back at the impact our immigrant staff members have made over the last year and anticipating what the Lord will do through them in 2018.  Laxmi, as an apprentice, is learning ministry with us and has launched our new Refugee Kids Club, which is already including kids from Nepal, Burma, and Latin America.  Gissell has integrated worship into nearly every corner of Mission Adelante, from our staff meetings to our Kids ministry and beyond.  She has transformed our Latino worship team and is preparing a new program called Adelante Arts Community that will develop and disciple young through music and the arts.  And Yanelis has made tremendous contributions on the senior leadership level, walking our team through transitions, creating healthy dynamics on our staff ministry team, and accepting an increasing level of leadership responsibility in our organization.  The impact of these leaders is only just beginning as they continue to adjust to life in the U.S.  As people, they are cherished, and as leaders they have the ability to take our ministry to new places.

This year-end, we are praying the Lord would provide $60,000 to help support the 2018 salary and benefits of Yanelis, Laxmi, and Gissell, through what we call our Community Leader Fund.  As you pray about your own giving this year-end, I invite you to consider making a special contribution to our Community Leader Fund.  If you already give monthly, maybe the Lord will lead you to make an additional year-end gift.  If you give annually or occasionally, we encourage you to jump in again with us.  Or maybe your are looking for new ways to make an impact with your resources.  Investing in Yanelis, Laxmi and Gissell is at the heart of our mission as they are all involved on the front lines of disciple-making with people from all places.  I have every confidence that supporting their work through Mission Adelante will produce Kingdom fruit in ways that will glorify Jesus! 

Giving online is easy at www.missionadelante.org/give.

You can give online at: www.missionadelante.org/give

Igniting a Disciple-making Movement

by Jarrett Meek, Founder, Pastor/Executive Director

Few moments in Mission Adelante’s history have been more significant than the Leadership Community launch retreat we held last weekend.  It was, in many ways, the culmination of ten years of disciple-making and leadership development efforts, coming into bloom on a precious plant that has been often tossed and beaten by the wind and hail of the challenges that we face in our community on a daily basis.  

Forty-eight emerging leaders from our Latino, Bhutanese, and English-speaking communities came together to begin a year-long, multicultural training experience focused on learning to make disciples as Jesus did.  Using stories from the gospels to demonstrate that Jesus’ work on earth focused on equipping disciples who make disciples, we observed and expounded eight principles of his disciple-making ministry (also expounded in the classic book, “Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman).  Each principle was introduced by a member of our team (Yanelis, David and Jarrett) with a short teaching segment, and participants were able to listen simultaneously with headphones to a translated, pre-recorded version of the segment in their own language (Nepali, English, or Spanish).  The concise teaching segments were followed by longer small group discussion times that moved from observing Jesus’ disciple-making ministry to putting it into practice in our own neighborhood and context.  What made this time especially effective was the years of disciple-making culture and values that are embedded deep within our ministry’s DNA.  Many expressed that we were putting words to concepts we had been living out, giving a clearer vision of what we’re all working toward.

While we covered a lot of content, the retreat was also full of fun and games.  The first night’s games of dominoes and Dutch Blitz were followed up by an afternoon of soccer, foosball, and ping-pong, and then dramatically eclipsed by a spontaneous two hours of karaoke in Spanish and English on the final night.  All I have to say is Mission Adelante’s got talent!!  

Many of us shared in open mic format, on the final morning, that the greatest highlight of the weekend was worshiping Jesus in three languages at different times during the retreat.  This aspect of our retreat was indeed a unique and profound experience.  Nepali songs led by AB, Ram and the Nepali band expressed praise for our Lord with voices and dancing.  Our Latino musicians passionately led us as we lifted up the name of Jesus.  And, our English speaking group guided us to that intimate place where Jesus is the center of everything.  It was a taste of heaven indeed.

As messy as multicultural endeavors can be, we are excited to continue experimenting, overcoming challenges, and experiencing the Lord together in the process.  And, as we press into making disciples like Jesus did, we are anxiously expecting and praying that the Lord will ignite a multiplying, multicultural movement in our neighborhood.  

“We envision a growing multicultural community of disciples making disciples, where immigrants and others are thriving and using our gifts together to transform our neighborhood and the world for the glory of Jesus Christ.”

I believe now that we are closer than ever to seeing what we’ve been envisioning for so long.  I invite you to pray that this vision will become reality at Mission Adelante.  

In other news:

  • The Bhutanese Teens Club launch could not have gone better! Last week, 14 high school and college-age students joined us to eat, play games, do homework and learn about Jesus in small group bible studies.  We've switched from Tuesday nights to Monday nights this trimester.

  • The Latino Leaders in Training are learning about the life of Jesus and the kind of leader He was as recorded by Matthew!  It is encouraging to see the kids growing in their pursuit of the Lord.

  • Last Thursday was "Superhero Night" at Kid’s Adelante.  It was a blast to see the well-known and made upcharacters the kids chose for their costumes!

Prayer requests:

  • Please pray that the Lord would draw closer to His heart the young mothers in our neighborhood that may feel isolated and that need love, support, and hope.  Pray that they'll find encouragement through community.

Upcoming dates:

Observation Nights: Each trimester we invite potential volunteers to come observe our ministry programs to get a better idea of what serving in our context looks like.  Come on up to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102 at 6:30 on any of the following evenings:

  • Tuesdays, March 1 and 8: Bhutanese ministry observations nights (Adult ESL, Kids Club, Middle School Club)
  • Thursdays, March 3 and 10: Latino ministry observation nights (Adult ESL, Kids Club)

Yurielvys Alonso Shares His Story

Yuri sharing his testimony before being baptized this summer.

Yuri sharing his testimony before being baptized this summer.

A Letter from Yurielvys Alonso (translated from Spanish)

I’m excited to introduce myself and share with you a little bit of my story and the opportunity God has placed before me to learn more about Him and be equipped for ministry through an apprenticeship at Mission Adelante.   I am a young Cuban, who like every other immigrant, came to this country seeking opportunities and better economic possibilities.  My wife, Natalhy, and I left our families, our friends, and our neighbors and we miss our customs and culture very much.  

When we arrived in Kansas City we had many challenges, including the cold weather, the different cultural traditions, and the English language.  By God’s grace, my wife reconnected with a friend from Cuba who told us about Mission Adelante's English classes, and we decided to attend.  It’s incredible how God has a plan for our lives!  We went looking for English, but we found something much bigger!  We found the greatest thing; The King of Kings!  

In my home country I had not had the privilege of knowing Jesus personally, and as I reflect back on God’s plan, it is incredible to see how He brought us to this city, how He used our Cuban friend to take us to church, and how He touched our hearts.  I have come to know Jesus the redeemer, the savior, and the teacher, and He has taught me how to enjoy each step I take with His presence in my life. Mission Adelante has offered me the opportunity to grow spiritually to the point that I have felt a strong desire to become a pastor and share with everyone the work of God in my life.  As I write to you, I am preparing to begin a three-year apprenticeship that will equip me with tools to grow more in my relationship with Christ and to take the Gospel to everyone.  I am excited to begin in January.  

The apprenticeship at Mission Adelante is a training program that includes academic study, individual mentoring, practical ministry experience, and a place on the Mission Adelante staff.  I will receive a full-time salary and benefits as a part of the program so that I can dedicate my full attention to my ministry training and responsibilities.  Thank you for your friendship and for allowing me to share my story with you.

Sincerely,

Yurielvys Alonso

If you would like to support Mission Adelante's Community Leader Fund, please visit missionadelante.org/give and choose the "Community Leader Fund" option.