culture

Connecting to Culture

By Jenny Dunn, Bhutanese ESL Coordinator

A couple Saturdays ago, the Bhutanese volunteers and team had a chance to celebrate our students and the end of yet another trimester of classes. The summer parties are always a special time; they're our most low key parties but are always filled with lots of American culture with the picnic and lawn games as well as Bhutanese-Nepali culture with lots of singing and dancing.

This summer, we had an opportunity to have two outstanding Bhutanese interns, one of who is an excellent dancer. He teamed up with one of our volunteers and choreographed a Hindi dance for a group of us Americans to perform at the party.  We started practicing a month and a half in advance; we wanted the first American dance to be unforgettable. And it was!  It was fun and unforgettable for the dancers as well as for our friends in the audience.

Here are a couple pictures from the "historical party," as said by one of our Bhutanese friends.

In other news:

  • We’re negotiating the lease for Adelante Thrift and starting to pull together the team to help launch sustainable community development in our community. Interested in serving on our Adelante Thrift Action Team? Join us at the next Volunteer Orientation and Training on September 13 (see below for details) or email Matt at mattt@missionadelante.org.
  • We are having an amazing time with our Cuban family! Five members of the RAICES ("Roots") ministry team are visiting for about two weeks. We have had a lot of great relational time as well as intentional ministry time.  The RAICES team will join the Latino community on our retreat this weekend, where we will be learning about praising God in a variety of contexts.

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for our fall trimester planning process. Pray for volunteers, students and kids to be drawn to our programs. Pray that hearts are soft and ready to respond to God’s leading.

Current needs:

  • Volunteers for our Fall Trimester, beginning the week of September 15:
    • Monday-Thursday afternoons: 20 volunteers to serve one afternoon a week at Leaders In Training, our after-school tutoring and character development program for a select group of 8-13 year old Bhutanese and Latino students.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.
    • Tuesday evenings: 8 volunteers to serve at Kids Club, our outreach Bible study for 1-13 year old Bhutanese kids.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
    • Thursday evenings:
      • Volunteer conversation partners for our Adult ESL classes.  Contact Morgan Ham at morganh@missionadelante.org.
      • 5 volunteers to serve at Kids Adelante, our outreach Bible study for 5-12 year old Latino kids.  Contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • We are making progress on the house rehab and Christ Community Church has been partnering with us every step of the way.  They are organizing work days this Saturday, August 30 and next Saturday, September 6th starting at 9:00.  We will be installing siding, caulking windows, repairing the porch, and painting.  Email Sarah at sarahw@missionadelante.org for more information or to sign up to help.
  • LIT has been gifted tablets to use with LIT this school year.  We are in need of cases to protect the tablets.  If you would like to donate one, check out our Wishlist: LIT Wishlist.  If you have questions please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@Missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, September 13, 9:00-12:30 All volunteers should attend this training once at the beginning of serving with Mission Adelante. It's also a great way for someone to become familiar with Mission Adelante's ministry. If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about what we do, and about our volunteer opportunities, please plan to attend/encourage him or her to plan on attending this informative training, and to contact Morgan at morganh@missionadelante.org for all the details.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert: Monday, September 15, 6:30 p.m. We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our fall trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch. 
  • Fall trimester programs launch: Week of September 15

Where Do I Belong?

Written by Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director

When you travel the streets of Kansas City, KS, the diversity of cultures that you encounter is pretty remarkable.  Over the years, as we have grown stronger in our relationships with the families of our community, we have received the precious gift of being let into the struggles that our friends face. The children, in particular,  are often caught between the many cultures that surround them, always trying to fit in but never quite feeling like they belong anywhere.  As one teen expressed to me,

"The only place I feel like I can really be myself is around other kids that understand the 

feeling of not fitting in anywhere."

Over the past two years, as the Latino and Bhutanese Leaders in Training  (LIT) programs have blossomed, we have placed a strong emphasis on encouraging the children from the two cultural backgrounds to become friends and to simply have fun together.  We feel so strongly about it because we recognize that all of our children are constantly struggling to find a place where they can fit in.  We desire to offer them not just a place, but a community where they can truly feel accepted and affirmed for who they are in Christ.  

Last Friday, we got to live this out in a very dynamic and fun way! We took all thirty of our LIT kids and fifteen volunteers on a field trip to Science City and Zonkers as a reward for all of their hard work.  It was encouraging to observe all of the children learning together, playing together, and laughing together. Discipling and loving the future leaders of our community takes time, diligence, and compassion. We believe that the Lord has specifically chosen each and every one of these unique children to effect change in their community. 

What a privilege it is to be part of God's amazing plan for this community through the children we pray will

 one day lead it!    

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for the Bhutanese ESL volunteers and teachers as we meet next Tuesday and talk over literacy ideas in an attempt to bridge the literacy gap in the community.
  • Please continue to pray for the Adelante Thrift site search process. We are interviewing two new realtors in the next week and pray that the right person partners with us to move forward with the search and selection.

Important dates:

  • Observation Days: Tuesdays, November 5 & 12 (Bhutanese)/Thursdays, November 7 & 14 (Latino) 6:30-8:30  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!
  • Kansas Bhutanese Concert: Saturday, November 16th from 4pm-10pm at Wyandotte High School (2501 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102)Everyone is invited to come and celebrate Nepali Culture at this exciting event sponsored by Mission Adelante and coordinated by our dear friend Ram Rai. It will feature comedians, cultural dances, and ethnic food. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the RG Asian Store (101 S 18th St, Kansas City, KS66102). Don’t miss this chance to learn about and celebrate the rich culture of the Bhutanese Refugee community!

Learning from Jesus in Cross-Cultural Ministry

Written by David Stetler, Bhutanese Outreach Director

Cultural and language barriers come together upon those engaged in cross-cultural ministry. Whether you have been in it for years or you are just a beginner, cross-cultural ministry can be challenging, overwhelming and sometimes even disorienting. With these challenges comes an opportunity to look to the One who provides us with all the things we need. The life and teachings of Jesus reveal to us a way to minister cross-culturally that are quite literally already transforming the world. 

First we see that Jesus came to serve. In Philippians 2 we see the humility of Christ "making himself nothing by taking on the very nature of a servant". As we engage in cross-cultural ministry our posture must mimic that of Christ, in taking on the very nature of a servant, to come as one who serves.

Second, Jesus teaches us through the life of Paul.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul expresses his desire for relationship with those to whom he is ministering. "We loved you so much that we shared not only the gospel, but our very lives as well." Paul shows us that relationship is vital in embodying the gospel as we share life with those to whom we seek to minister. 


Lastly, we see by Christ's example in John 1 that "...the Word became human and made his home among us." Jesus became a man and entered a new culture as a humble baby who grew up in the Jewish culture. He became one of us. And just as Christ came and lived among the people in his own time and culture, we to have an opportunity to go and live among people at this time and in their culture. Jesus was not just the message of good news, He embodied the message.  As He went into the Jewish culture of that time He embodied the good news and transmitted it through servanthood and loving relationships that would eventually transform the world.


May we follow Jesus in embodying this life-transforming message and learn to serve, share life and share Jesus with people from all places through Christ-centered, loving relationships.


In other news:

  • We are excited to reward our Bhutanese and Latino LIT (Leaders in Training) students with a group field trip to this Friday! We will spend the day at Science City and Zonkers!
Prayer needs:
  • Last week we shared the important need for prayer as we move forward with Adelante Thrift. Please continue to include this community development initiative in your prayers.
Current needs:
  • Our LIT students earn “Mission Adelante Money” for exemplary behaviour and doing extra academic work, which they can spend at a reward store once each trimester.  We are in need of items to stock that store!  Ideas include sports equipment, craft supplies, room decorations, or any small items that might appeal to 8-14 year old students.  If you would like to contribute please contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org or Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:
  • Observation Days: Tuesdays, November 5 & 12 (Bhutanese)/Thursdays, November 7 & 14 (Latino) 6:30-8:30  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!
  • Kansas Bhutanese Concert: Saturday, November 16th from 4pm-10pm at Wyandotte High School (2501 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102) Everyone is invited to come and celebrate Nepali Culture at this exciting event sponsored by Mission Adelante and coordinated by our dear friend Ram Rai. It will feature comedians, cultural dances, and ethnic food. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the RG Asian Store (101 S 18th St, Kansas CityKS 66102). Don’t miss this chance to learn about and celebrate the rich culture of the Bhutanese Refugee community!

Loving People from All Places

by Jarrett Meek, Founder, Pastor/Executive Director

Anyone who's spent much time in a foreign country understands how challenging it can be to navigate the  language, culture, systems and relationships in a place that's not your home.  That was certainly our experience when we were in Costa Rica for language school in 2002 and 2003.  But, out of nowhere, we were surprised by the friendship of a Costa Rican family who took us under their wing and walked with us in the ups and downs of adjusting to a new culture and context.  This experience became foundational for us in understanding how God wants us to embrace and befriend people from other places.

Members of Mission Adelante celebrate together at the

National Christian Foundation's Passion Awards

For Israel, the experience of living as foreigners in Egypt marked their identity as a people.  The Egyptian experience was a mixture of blessings and sorrows for God's people. Joseph's slavery, imprisonment and rise to power as Pharaoh's right-hand man is one of the most amazing immigrant success stories in history.  The escape from famine and the subsequent slavery of the Israelites in Egypt gave God's chosen nation a unique lens through which to view God's call to love the foreigners who would one day live in their midst.

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."  Leviticus 19:33-34

One phrase from these verses jumps off the page as familiar and powerful; "You shall love him as yourself".  This is one of the only places where this "Great Commandment", "love your neighbor as yourself", is applied so directly to a specific group of people.   And if you recall, when Jesus was asked, "who's my neighbor?", he told the story of the Good Samaritan, making the foreigner and outsider to the Jews the hero of the story, the neighbor, and the intended recipient of loving actions by God's people.  Jesus emphasizes that the commandment to love God and neighbor is at the very heart of all His commands.  This mandate finds a special expression in the way we show hospitality, compassion, and friendship to people from other places.

Whether you're from

Bhutan, 

Burma, 

Cuba,

Guatemala,

Honduras, 

Mexico, Nepal, the United States, or any other place, Mission Adelante takes seriously this Great Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This love for neighbor is practical.  It invites, 

befriends,

listens, learns,

embraces,

 shares, serves, celebrates, and grieves.  It creates a new community and redefines the "we".  It makes outsiders insiders and tells heroic stories about Samaritans.  Though we still have a long way to go, our heart's desire is that the phrase, "Loving people from all places" would be what most defines the Mission Adelante community.

In other news:

  • Staff and immigrant leaders returned on Sunday energized by the Christian Community Development Association conference where our immigrant leaders had already begun dreaming of new ways to impact our community.
  • We have two new additions to our Latino house church this week as we have welcomed two new babies! Please pray for good health and rest for the families.

Prayer needs:

  • Please pray for a family in the Bhutanese community who just had their first child! Pray for sound sleep and community support for this new family.
  • Pray for the registration tomorrow evening for our Latino ESL program where we hope to see a strong retention of past students and a healthy group of new students.
  • School can be a struggle for many of our Bhutanese High School students who don’t have strong English, making learning difficult, and the temptation to drop out strong. Pray for our school district to have the resources and knowledge to teach ESL students well, and pray for our students to have endurance and a strong work ethic in their studies.

Other needs:

  • Want to hang out with some fun kids and share Jesús in a meaningful way? We are looking for 3 or 4 volunteers for our Outreach Bible Study on Thursdays from 6:30-9:00.  Please contact Megan if you are interested at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Our Bhutanese Kids Outreach is looking for a few new friends!  We are in need of 5 mentors to walk with kids at part of our Outreach Bible Study on Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:00pm.  If you are interested in learning more please contact Kristen at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • If you are out and about and notice swimsuits on clearance, would you think about picking some up for kids at Mission Adelante?  We go swimming many times a year, even in the winter, and sometimes we find out on the way to the pool that some of our friends don’t have swimsuits that fit.  We specifically need suits that fit Elementary and Middle School boys, and one-piece suits that fit later Elementary and Middle School girls.  If you have questions, or would like to help, contact Kristen Maxwell at Kristenm@missionadelante.org

Important dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, September 21, 9:00-12:30 All volunteers should attend this training once at the beginning of serving with Mission Adelante. It's also a great way for someone to become familiar with Mission Adelante's ministry. If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about what we do, and about our volunteer opportunities, please plan to attend/encourage him or her to attend this informative training. 
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert: Monday, September 23, 6:30 p.m. We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our fall trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch. 
  • Fall trimester programs launch: Week of September 23

by Drew Hammond, Bhutanese Logistics Coordinator

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Children are one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. They bring us joy and hope for the future. It is our calling as followers of Christ, to raise them in the ways of the Lord in everything we do.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, the Bhutanese house church community had the joy of answering this call together. We gathered in the home of a family who had asked us to come and help them dedicate their baby to the Lord. There were 25 people there, most of whom were directly related to the family. Our indigenous leaders led the community in cultural worship songs, and in prayer for the baby and family.

The most powerful moment of the service was when the community and parents were asked if they were willing to accept the call to raise this baby girl in the ways of the Lord. Both the community and the family responded with great joy and accepted their challenge.

Pray with us that this baby would be blessed and kept in the care of the Lord to grow healthy and strong. 

Other News

  • Several of the Mission Adelante staff and volunteers recently took a group of children and teens to swim at the Mission Municipal pool. It was lots of fun and a good chance to conquer fears and try new things together. Some of the teens swam for the first time ever, and a few kids even jumped off the high dive!
  • LIT (Leaders In Training) was given tickets to see “Footloose” at the Starlight this Friday. We are excited to be taking the girls in both LIT outreaches to share a new experience together!

Prayer Needs

  • As the end of a trimester nears and a program break approaches, pray that Mission Adelante Staff would rest well. Pray that we would be personally renewed. Pray also that the Lord would renew our vision and guide us as we dream and pray about the way He may desire to grow our ministries in coming trimesters!
  • Please pray that we continue to develop a greater understanding of health needs and health care access in our community as our health needs survey progresses. Join us in praying for additional community leaders to work with us to help discern and represent the needs of their respective community.

Current Needs

  • Leaders in Training (LIT) is trying to set up a brand new library for the kids. Do you know of someone that would be interested in helping to paint some bookshelves or maybe even buy some bean bags or other decorations to make it cozy? We are hoping to have it finished by the first week of September. Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.

Important Dates

Summer Parties are

Sunday, August 11th at 4:00

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 will be in the "Beach Shelter." Turn right after passing shelter #6.
  • The Bhutanese party will be at Shelter #6.

Breaking Bread Together

Written by Kristen Maxwell, Bhutanese Children's Ministry Director

Bhutanese & Latino LIT students on a field trip to Union Station

Bhutanese & Latino LIT students on a field trip to Union Station

The Fall 2012 trimester brought another exciting enhancement to the Bhutanese Outreach with the launch of our Leaders in Training program.   It is hard to believe that we already have one trimester behind us and are a few weeks in to our second trimester.  It has been such a joy to add these 11 young leaders to the ranks of the already-existing Latino Leaders In Training program.  Both programs meet three afternoons a week, but have different formats because the two groups of kids have different sets of needs.  Wednesdays, though, have become quite the highlight of each week.  On Wednesdays we gather to eat.  

Each Wednesday afternoon in the

Mission Adelante

 Kids' Room, something beautiful takes place; a feast reflecting what heaven will look like.  The13 Latino LIT kids and the 11 Bhutanese LIT kids come together for a meal with their mentors.  Each group provides a main dish, fruit or vegetable, and dessert.  The menu is always a surprise, and we've come to expect anything from spaghetti or pizza to flautas or tacos to chow mien or curried potatoes.  The parents in our communities take turns providing the dishes, which is something that their kids usually love.  

It has been beautiful to watch the kids' relationships grow by way of sharing meals with one other.  Foods that may have once looked foreign and weird are now more familiar.  Common ground has been found in a fondness for sweet rice; who knew that Kheer and Arroz con Leche were that similar?  In a neighborhood where Latino people and Bhutanese people daily pass each other on the street without much interaction, the Lord has made a way for kids from these two cultures to come together every week to learn about His creative nature by learning about the distinct people and cultures He created.  

Won't you join us in praying for the trimester of LIT that is underway?  Pray that our kids would finish strong and continue to grow in relationship with each other and the Lord.

In other news:

  • The Bhutanese Outreach was recently given a generous gift of Nepali Bibles and Nepali language Jesus Film DVDs to share with our Nepali speaking Bhutanese friends who want to know more about Jesus in their native language.
  • Four teenage Bhutanese boys have taken on volunteer roles in setting up for Teens Club each week and helping with Transportation Team prep work. It’s exciting to see teens serving their own community and growing in leadership. Please pray that our Bhutanese friends would take increased ownership of the ministry and values of Mission Adelante as the trimester proceeds.

Prayer needs:

  • Please pray for Jesus, the father of one of our Latino church members, who has been hospitalized with various health issues.
  • Please pray for one of our kids that is going through a difficult separation from his family. Pray for peace, protection, and healing.
  • Please pray for our Bhutanese friends who recently suffered a break-in and theft at their newly opened Asian convenience store.
  • One of the families in our community lost an uncle this past week.  Pray for peace, and for moments for us to speak truth and love into their lives.

Current needs:

  • We are looking for a volunteer who is skilled in welding and would be interested in helping serve on a Saturday afternoon.  Please contact David Stetler at davids@missionadelante.org.
  • Three sofas have been requested through our Resource Center. We also need diapers sizes 2-5, wipes, and pull-ups in all sizes. Please contact Molly Merrick at mollym@missionadelante.org
  • A dining table and chairs for a recently-arrived family from Nepal. If you have one available please contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org
  • Expo dry-erase markers for use in the Bhutanese Kids Programs. Please contact Kristen at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Bhutanese ESL Volunteer Dinner: March 2 at Lauren Timberlake's house. Please contact Jenny Dunn for more details at jennyd@missionadelante.org
  • Observation Days: Tuesdays, March 5 & 12 (Bhutanese)/Thursdays, March 7 & 14 (Latino) 6:30-8:30  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!