empowerment

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

Placing Books into the Hands of Kids

Written by Megan McDermott

Can you remember the very first book that you fell in love with? It was that book with the well-worn cover and the dog-eared pages that you read over and over.  For me, it was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  I remember being so touched by the love that the tree had for her “boy.”  Over the years, wandering through book stores, I have often stumbled upon this familiar childhood memory.  To this day, I love sitting down and reading that book.  I even had the opportunity to read it to a few of the girls that I disciple, sharing the love of my favorite book with them.

For many of the kids in our community the presence of books in the home is not a reality.   According to Susan Neuman in Changing the Odds for Children at Risk, 2009, "In middle class neighborhoods there are about thirteen book titles for every child. By contrast, in neighborhoods of lower socioeconomic status, there is only one book title for every 300 children."

How do we address the lack of literature in the homes of our children?  At Mission Adelante, we believe that urban, multicultural ministry requires fresh ideas and new approaches.  We promote a culture of innovation that encourages creative solutions for unique circumstances.  A fresh idea took root as we thought about how get books in to the homes of the children.

Last Wednesday we had our first book distribution!  We decided to start small with our Leaders in Training and focus on getting three books into the hands of each of the thirty kids.  It was so much fun to watch the kids dig through the bins of books, choosing titles that spoke to them.  From Diary of a Wimpy Kid to a Jackie Robinson biography, the books that we had collected went directly into the hands of the children.  We are excited about our next book distribution in December to bless all one hundred of the children that attend our Outreach Bible Studies.  Our hope is that, just as The Giving Tree was the first step in my love of literature, the children of our community will develop a passion for reading.  After all, don’t we all deserve to find that one book that touches our heart and instantly transports us back to our childhood?  If you would like to provide gently-used children's books in the Kindergarten through sixth grade reading level range for distribution, please visit http://www.missionadelante.org/serviceprojects/ for more information.

In other news:

  • Some of our staff members participated with our Bhutanese friends recently in a popular Nepali festival during which they go house-to-house caroling. Several Bhutanese friends expressed how special it was for them to see Americans learning about and participating with them in their Nepali traditions.
  • Our level 1 Latino ESL class has a record number of students and volunteers participating this trimester!

Prayer needs:

  • Please pray for two marriages in our Latino community that are currently going through significant struggles.
  • Please pray for many Bhutanese English students who suffer from chronic pain.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit's leading as we choose goals and plan for 2015.

Current needs:

  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs for use in our facility. Contact sarahw@missionadelante.org
  • A Bhutanese family from our community is in need of a crib for their new son. If you are able to provide a crib, please contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org.
  • Bhutanese LIT is still in need of a few more Thursday mentors.  If you would like more information contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • LIT is in need of individually packed, healthy snacks. Please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Fall break: Tuesday, November 25-Saturday, November 29 No programs. Happy Thanksgiving!

Generosity Rises to Meet our God-Sized Backpack Goal!

Written by Kristen Maxwell, Bhutanese Children's Ministry Director, and Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director

One of the greatest blessings of doing what we do, is getting to watch the community of believers in Kansas City come together around a common cause.  This past week, we got to see that in a big way!  Around a month and a half ago, we set a God-sized goal of collecting 190 filled backpacks to outfit our kids and teens as they head back to school.  The Lord provided in a mighty way through twenty-five different individuals, families, and churches from all over the Kansas City area.  Thank you to those that contributed through prayers, giving, and spreading the word.  We hope you enjoy some pictures of the fun that we had last week.  

In other news:

  • Last week we concluded our first summer internship for four emerging leaders from our own neighborhood!  It was a huge success as we saw them grow in exciting ways!
  • Conversation partners from Bhutanese ESL class visited student homes during the last week of class. The students loved it, and volunteers got a better picture of what life is like for refugee families!
  • Party, party, party!!  On Sunday afternoon we got a beautiful dose of sharing life at Wyandotte Lake as our Bhutanese and Latino ministries both held summer parties, complete with food, awards, songs and even some dancing!
  • Frank and Yanelis, our partners from the RAICES ministry in Cuba, spent a good portion of the summer in Kansas City with Mission Adelante, learning and sharing from their experiences. They’re now back in Cuba ready to engage with their work there.  We’re missing them!
  • Serving together!  The Lord is creating a new “we” in the neighborhood as new, community-driven leadership teams are forming for all of our Latino ministry programs.
  • We are thankful for all of the community partners who are working with us to gather data for the medical clinic. This information is helping us form a clinic that remains true to the vision of a clinic that is culturally accessible and community owned.

Prayer needs:

  • As we prepare for next trimester, please pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit as to what changes need to be made in our programs to better accommodate the needs of our community.
  • Please pray for God to bring forth volunteers for our Leaders In Training ministry.
  • Please pray for our Congressmen, on break from Washington, to hear our calls for compassionate immigration reform.
  • Please pray for Adelante Thrift as we continue searching for the right location.

Current needs:

  • We're in the process of setting up a brand new library for the Leaders in Training (LIT) students, and hoping to have it finished by the first week of September. Do you know of someone that would be interested in helping to paint some bookshelves or maybe even buy some bean bags or decorations to make it cozy? Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Volunteers for our Leaders In Training program, after school on Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays beginning on September 11th, and our Tuesday night Kids Club program beginning September 24th.  If you are interested in more information please email Kristen at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Mommy & Me ESL classes teach pre-reading skills

by Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director

I get excited when kids read. Board books, picture books, chapter books, audio books-- they are doors to all kinds of possibilities in life. Refugee kids have some large obstacles to overcome when reading. English is not their first language, so learning to read is a challenge. Also, refugee parents have endured years of turmoil, had little access to education, and now work hard to provide for their families. This leaves little time or attention for recreational reading. Many times, there are very few books in a refugee home. Although they receive lots of love at home, refugee kids don’t spend a lot of time reading with their families. Often, these kids are behind when they start school and can feel frustrated.

This summer, we offered a Mommy & Me workshop to our Bhutanese ESL students. Several mothers and grandmothers of young children participated. Rachel Pierce, a preschool teacher and close friend to several refugee families, led the group in a typical preschool storytime. There was circle time, read alouds, finger-plays, and several stations with early literacy activities. Moms helped their children to sort by color, “fish” for picture cards, put together puzzles, and look at books together.

We rarely get to offer programming to  the smallest children in the Bhutanese community, and everyone really enjoyed it. A local organization donated board books to send home with each family, so they can begin reading or looking at books together at home.

Please pray for the educational needs of the Bhutanese community and other refugee groups in Kansas City. Pray that children have access to books, mentors who challenge them to read, and teachers who equip them with the skills they need to pursue further education or job training after high school.

In other news

  • Two members of the Raices team along with two other Cubans led a seminar on Christianity in Cuba last Saturday. It was the first time to share publicly in English for two of them, and they did great! Around 40 people attended the event.
  • God used friends, volunteers and partner churches to provide backpacks for all of the children and teens of Mission Adelante.  They will go back to school with the supplies to start this year right!

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for our four interns and two Cuban guests who finish their summer with us this week and transition back to Cuba or to school and family.  Pray for their confidence as they return to normal life.
  • Pray we finish our trimesters strong and that the Lord would give us guidance as we seek Him for direction for our fall trimesters

Important Dates

Summer Parties

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 5:00 with a potluck meal, awards and a cultural program.  It will be in the "Beach Shelter." Turn right after passing shelter #6.
  • The Bhutanese party begins around 4:00 and will have a potluck meal, awards and a cultural program in shelter #6.

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 sarahw@missionadelante.org 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 Meganmeganm@missionadelante.org 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:

/missionadelante/2013/06/ignite-2013-workshop-on-developing.html

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

Raising up Leaders One Song at a Time

Written by Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director

Have you ever met someone that after knowing them for only five minutes, reminded you of the absolute joy found in Christ?  When Janoy first came to Mission Adelante, he brought an infectious energy and a passion for Christ that has continued to inspire everyone around him.  He is a man that does everything with 100% of his heart and this became even more obvious as he began to emerge as a potential leader in our house church.

One of his greatest gifts is leading others in worshiping the Lord with his voice. When a church has a worship leader that loves to praise the Lord whole-heartedly, it allows the church body to pursue the Lord in a really intimate way. One of the greatest desires at the heart of Mission Adelante is that we are

dedicated to reproducing and equipping Indigenous leaders for ministry.

   Therefore, it seemed only natural to encourage and empower Janoy to step into leading the Latino worship team. 

The majority of the worship team is composed of teenagers that are hungry to learn and play music.  However, because they are still learning how to play the instruments and they struggle with self-confidence, they often experience a great deal of frustration when trying to learn a new song.  It has been so incredible to watch as Janoy,

one Indigenous leader, reaches out to help raise up other Indigenous leaders!

  Wouldn’t it be incredible if one day the teens themselves were mentoring the future worship leaders of our community, teaching what they learned from Janoy?

It is a blessing to walk alongside my brother, Janoy, as the Lord encourages and challenges him to lead others.  His passion for Christ is cultivating the melody of the song that the Lord desires to love His children with.

In other news:

  •  
  • We have been busy planning for our summer ESL classes. Bhutanese students will learn useful English words for gardening, food packaging, and road signs. We will even have a workshop for moms and their preschoolers. It’s going to be a great summer!
  •  
  • Cindy Green from Senator Jerry Moran’s office came to visit our ministry last week and learn about how we are serving and connecting with immigrants and refugees in our community.
  •  
  • Director of Community Development, Kristen Allen, attended the Christian Community Health Fellowship’s annual conference in Atlanta last weekend to continue networking and developing our vision for a community-based medical clinic for immigrants and refugees.

Prayer needs:

  •  
  • We are visiting 8 Latino teens this week with the hope they will move forward in applying for our summer internship.  Pray for these teens to catch a vision for how God wants’ to use them.
  •  
  • Please pray for emerging partnerships in our neighborhood with refugee groups from Burma.
  •  
  • Please pray for ongoing renewal and rest, deepening passion, and relational unity for our staff and missional community as we serve in a sometimes difficult urban context.

Current needs:

  •  
  • A set or two of 5-7 baby board books for our “mommy & me” Bhutanese ESL workshop. Please contact Lauren at laurent@missionadelante.org if you can help purchase one or more books.
  • Volunteers to join the Transportation Team for the Bhutanese Outreach. There are positions available on Tuesday evenings for the summer, as well as Tuesday - Thursday evenings in the month of June. For more information, contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, May 18, 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, May 20, 6:30 p.m. We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our summer trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch. 
  • Summer trimester programs launch: Week of May 27

Reaching Out to the Fatherless Generation

Written by Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director

A valuable training opportunity is coming up on Saturday, March 16 at Mission Adelante.  Gang Intervention Specialist Amy Williams is coming from the Chicago area to present a workshop called, Feeding Father-Hunger: Understanding And Ministering To The Fatherless Generation.  We hope you will consider joining us as we learn from Amy that morning, but first, allow me to explain why this topic is so relevant to ministry today.

Walking side by side with the children, teens, and families of our community, I have found myself in the privileged position of being trusted enough to be shown glimpses of the wounds that afflict many of our friends.  By far, the most profound and tender wound is the ache of a life lived without a father-figure.  I had never understood the severity of this struggle or how the Lord might want to work in our community in light of it until the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) Annual Conference last September.  During the conference, five Mission Adelante staff members and two of the teens on the trip with us attended a workshop that plumbed the depth of the wound and its implications.  It was the Feeding Father-Hunger workshop, and this was the written description that persuaded us to attend:

"Oftentimes both kids and adults are unaware of the lifelong effects that an absent father has in the life of a child.  The emotional response of the fatherless can be linked to poverty, high-school dropout rates, crime, drug use, and teenage pregnancy.  The fatherless live a lifestyle living with a father they don’t see, while filling the empty space with painful outburst and pseudo-comfort realities.  We hope to provide you insights for helping youth to discover their identity, pinpoint side effects that are gripping them from growth, and discover practical mentoring approaches to free their souls and not block their blessings."

Each of us found the workshop deeply meaningful because Amy Williams didn't just provide statistics, she appealed to our hearts and suggested practical ways for us to minister to those that struggle with the absence of a father.  Above all, Amy reminded us that regardless of whether we had grown up with a father figure or not, our Heavenly Father desires to fill the ache for approval in us.  One of the teens that attended had this to say: " I really loved  Amy's workshop because it showed me that I have pain and problems with my Dad," and the other reflected, "Amy's presentation helped me to notice that I still have some pain about my dad that I have to work on. She also opened my eyes to see that others around me are in a similar position."

We are very excited that Amy is coming to Kansas City to present the same workshop at Mission Adelante on Saturday, March 16 from 9 AM-12 PM!  Please consider joining us for this amazing  training opportunity!  We think it will strengthen our ability to understand and minister to people affected by fatherlessness.  While there is not a fee to attend, free-will donations will be accepted to help offset Amy's travel expenses.  Child care will not be provided.  Register by clicking here!

In other news:

  • Twenty Bhutanese Kids Outreach volunteers gathered a week ago Saturday to enjoy food and fellowship and to learn about how to better serve our friends!  Thank you to everyone who came out!
  • All of the snow during the past couple of weeks gave several staff members the opportunity to take some of the Bhutanese children and teens sledding for their first time! It was fun to be with them for their first time experiencing this American Winter activity!
Prayer needs:
  • Pray for restored momentum for our outreach programs.  The recent snow days can take away from our immigrant neighbors’ rhythm of participating in activities.
  • Pray for continued vision and guidance for our disciple-making and church planting efforts.  Pray that the Lord would guide us and that He would break through.
Current needs:
  • Our Resource Center is requesting bags of sugar, dry beans, rice, flour, and pasta to include in Canastas Basicas, or bags containing staple, non-perishable food items that we make available to families that need them. To learn more about the Canastas Basicas, click here. To provide any of the food staples, contact Molly at mollym@missionadelante.org.
Upcoming dates:
  • Observation Days: Tuesday, March 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!  Come to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102.
  • Bring-A-Friend Fund-Raiser for Bhutanese Teens Coordinator Hannah Hume: Saturday, March 9 Email Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org for more information.
  • Training by Amy Williams, Gang Intervention Specialist: Saturday, March 16, 9:00-12:00 at Mission Adelante. Register here!
  • Spring Break: Monday, March 18-Saturday, March 23.  None of our regular programs will meet.  The Mission Adelante office will be closed Wednesday, March 20-Saturday, March 23.
  • Bhutanese ESL Volunteer Dinner: rescheduled for May 4 at Lauren Timberlake's house. Please contact Jenny Dunn for more details at jennyd@missionadelante.org.

Equipping Leaders to Serve

Written by Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director

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Mon Maya, level 1 class captain, takes attendance on a Tuesday night.

Chuda, the Level 4 captain, by the Kansas River during a class field trip to Kaw Point last summer.

Mission Adelante desires to build indigenous leaders.  

We believe that the essence of the great commission is reproducing disciples and leaders who are capable of multiplying the work.

We want the people we serve to take ownership of our programs, to care deeply for their neighbors, and to see themselves as leaders. Ultimately, we want to see shepherds leading the way for their community to know Jesus. So many of our students don’t see themselves as having much to offer. They have been pushed to the fringes of their own culture and ours, and sometimes they don’t see their worth.

On registration night, each Bhutanese ESL class now chooses one or more leaders to “captain” the class. The class votes on the leader and decides what his or her responsibilities should be. They even came up with the term “captain”. Each group’s leaders may have different responsibilities, but most of them are responsible to help the lead teacher with attendance, name tags, time-keeping, and checking in on absent students.

When we introduced class leadership last fall, most of our students shied away from it. They said we should find someone younger, with more education, or who could speak better English. One student told me, “I cannot read the names. I cannot help you.” Another said, “I am too old.”

Rachel Yeargin, the level 2 instructor, said, ‘This is unique opportunity for them. Many of our students are old, have physical challenges, or lack education.  Student leadership gives them a platform to lead and serve that they have not had before. It has even had an impact on class and gender barriers in the classroom.”

Mon Maya is the captain in our level 1 class this session. She cannot read or write in English or Nepali, her native language. She stepped into leadership after watching a friend do it last fall. Before class begins each week, she has already counted and sketched out attendance using her own system. She helps students understand what is going on in class, and is ready to assist at any time. She is engaged, and her enthusiasm draws other students in as well.

A hurt arm has kept Chuda, the level 4 captain, from getting a job. He said, “Because I cannot go to the job, I can be a class captain and help my friends in that way.” He said he is glad for the opportunity to contribute.

Please join us in praying for our ESL class captains. Pray that God blesses them and draws them to himself. Pray that they have a deeper understanding of their own value, and that this taste of leadership would show them the capacity they have to serve others in their community. And finally, pray that the staff at Mission Adelante would find new and meaningful ways to partner with our community, to increase their ownership of our programs and grow leaders ready to change lives around them.

In other news:

  • Our Bhutanese and Latino LIT kids have worked hard to earn a pizza party this Saturday where we look forward to having some fun and fellowship!
  • Our Bhutanese house church leaders have begun to meet regularly for discipleship training, worship and fellowship!

Prayer needs:

  • As we begin to lay the foundation for a family practice medical clinic in our neighborhood, we recognize the immense value of input from immigrant and refugee families in our community. Please pray for the health care surveys that we're conducting with Latino and Bhutanese ESL classes this month. Please pray that God guides this process and shapes these ideas into something that will bring him glory.
  • Praise God for a miracle!  Graciela, a Latina woman in our church, was hospitalized and it seemed that she would need heart surgery.  It was concluded that she does not need surgery, and she was released from the hospital yesterday.  Pray for Graciela as she will still need to make healthy lifestyle adjustments.
  • Janoy is a friend and member of our Latino church. His wife and children have been awaiting permission to immigrate and join him in Kansas City for quite some time, and have become discouraged that the process is taking so long. Please pray for Janoy’s family as they await their visa--the final step in the process.
  • Praise God for answered prayers!  One of our Bhutanese house church leaders recently found a new, full-time job with a great employer.  Please continue to pray for others as they seek employment.

Current needs:

  • Our Resource Center is low on gently-used kitchen items. Please contact Molly at mollym@missionadelante.org if you have items to donate.

Upcoming 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!
  • Bring-A-Friend Fund-Raiser for Bhutanese Teens Coordinator Hannah Hume: Saturday, March 9 Email Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org for more information.

A Dream Worth Fighting For

Written by Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director 
and Iris Venegas, Teens Adelante participant

One of the best privileges that comes with serving and loving the kids of our community is hearing what they want to be when they grow up. Their dreams range from professional soccer player to special needs teacher to firefighter!  However, many of our kids reach a point where, because they are undocumented, the possibility of attending college becomes unrealistic.  If you have ever seen a child lose hope in his or her dreams, you  understand the heartbreak of what many of our neighborhood kids face.  It takes a strong person to continue to fight for his or her dreams, even when the odds are stacked against him or her.  I would like to share with you, in her own words, the story of one young woman that is paving the way for others in our community to pursue their dreams as she pursues hers.

My name is Iris Venegas and I’m a senior at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science. I’ve been attending Mission Adelante for about six years now, and currently I’m part of the Hispanic teens’ program at Mission Adelante. Being a senior, I’ve been working on college-related things like applying to colleges and working on scholarship applications.
The application process has been very difficult and new, since I’m the first in my family to graduate from high school and aspire to go to college. Through this process Megan McDermott (my friend and mentor) has been helping me with my personal statement, essay questions, and letters of reference.  So far, this process has been challenging and sometimes even disappointing, but it is nice to know that I’m taking advantage of an opportunity that not many have.
Some of the disappointments I have faced are being overwhelmed with the cost of medical school and not getting into the 6 year BA/MD program at UMKC, where I initially wanted to attend.  I have applied and gotten accepted for general admissions at KU, K-State, and UMKC.  I have chosen to attended KU and study medicine. My dream is to become a pediatrician and someday do medical missions. I am so thankful to all the people that have helped me with this process because I know that I would have not been able to do this on my own. 

The heartbeat of Mission Adelante is relationship and when the Lord provides a way for a young leader, such as Iris, to not only pursue college but to also have a desire to serve others in His name, we are blessed to walk alongside them!

In other news:
  • God continues to bless our Latino church with musicians.  This week a teen, Jaime, stepped up to play the drums at our worship service for the first time!
  • Bhutanese Teens Volunteers will be meeting together on Sunday for fellowship and to learn how to better engage our Hindu friends with the gospel. One of Mission Adelante’s Bhutanese House Church leaders will be sharing about his own journey from Hindu to Yeshu Bhakta ("Jesus Follower").

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for the family of one of our Latino church members who is mourning the loss of their older father.  Pray also for us as we minister to them at the funeral this Friday.
  • Please pray for a Bhutanese family, who lost a family member this past week.  Pray that Jesus would continue to reveal His character to them through our presence at the funeral last weekend.
  • Please pray that The Lord will provide good jobs for several people in our church community who are seeking employment.

Current needs:
  • We are searching for more drivers to join the Bhutanese Transportation Team for our Tuesday evening outreach. If you are available to drive our shuttle bus for one hour on Tuesday evenings (must be 25 years old, no CDL required), 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 Teens Volunteer Dinner and Training: Saturday, February 9 Email Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org for more information.
  • 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!
  • Bring-A-Friend Fund-Raiser for Bhutanese Teens Coordinator Hannah Hume: Saturday, March 9 Email Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org for more information.





A Soccer Ball and an Emerging Leader

Written by Michael Pollock, Teens Adelante volunteer

At the end of September, the Mission Adelante staff, a few volunteers including me, and five neighborhood teens traveled to Minneapolis for the annual CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) National Conference.  There was a lot of great teaching and training in the plenary sessions, workshops, and luncheons.  However, it began to feel like an information overload, so we enjoyed the scheduled (and a few unscheduled) breaks from time to time.  

During a break, Johnny (one of the teens) and I went out to explore downtown Minneapolis.  

Johnny was in search of some postcards featuring Minneapolis to show his family and friends where he had been. I was bent of buying a soccer ball, because,

in an unprecedented lapse of judgement, none of the teens had brought one on the trip!

After we found the items we were looking for, we were faced with a challenge: where, in a dense downtown urban area, do you find a large enough space

to kick around a soccer ball?  The nearest field that I saw on Google maps was a good 25 minute walk away, but just then Johnny suggested playing in an alley less than a block from our hotel.  So there in the middle of a big city, on a beautiful day, during an intense conference, Johnny and I kicked the ball off the walls of the buildings lining a dirty alley.  Normally scuffing up a brand new ball on brick walls and splashing it in dirty puddles isn’t ideal, but in this case it was perfect.

The time we spent together not only helped me improve my ball handling skills, but Johnny and I deepened our friendship.  In one of the workshops that I attended at CCDA, I learned that this type of relationship is the kind that can lead to the emergence of leaders from our neighborhood (one of Mission Adelante's core values.)  Another stage in the development of leaders, according to the workshop, is “turning spiritual corners” (see, I did learn something!)  Johnny had shown interest since he started coming to Teens Adelante, and we've detected ongoing spiritual growth in him, but since CCDA I have noticed a heightened desire in him to deepen his relationship with Christ particularly through the Word.  Just last week at Teens Adelante, he expressed a desire for a devotional that would help him get into the Word more!

I feel so blessed to know Johnny and the rest of the 

Teens Adelante

teens, and God has been showing me more and more what it means to share my life with them.  One of the first speakers at the CCDA conference emphasized how our stories are the method by which we enlarge the kingdom of God, and by God’s providence the first day I was back from the conference I read a verse that confirmed that:

“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by

the word of their testimony

, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Rev. 12:11 [ESV] (emphasis added).

In other news:

  • Girls from Teens Adelante have started a Bible study on Thursdays and prayed last week that teens will come “because they want to know Jesus, not because someone is making them.”
  • The Bhutanese and Latino Leaders in Training took an enrichment trip to Deanna Rose yesterday. As they're getting to know one another and learning more about one another's cultures their friendships are growing. The Bhutanese kids were especially excited to see the goats, an animal that is commonplace in Nepal, but that they haven't seen since moving to the U.S.

Prayer needs:

  • Halloween night falls on Wednesday next week--Teens Adelante night. Please pray for wisdom, discernment, faith, and that the Lord’s will be done that night at the home of the Coons!

Current needs:

  • We are in need of cold-weather clothing for the whole family to stock our resource center.  The resource center is also low on household items such as pots and pans, dishes and cups, small and large appliances, etcetera.  Please contact Molly Merrick at mollym@missionadelante.org  to set up a time to drop-off your donation.  Please help us out by not leaving donations inside or outside our facility.  Thanks!
  • Bibles for Teens Adelante youth. Please contact Brooke at brookec@missionadelante.org for more details if you would like to contribute.
  • Kids Club, our Bhutanese kids' outreach, is growing in number and growing up.  Many of our kids have outgrown the games in our game cabinet.  We are in need of board games suitable for 4th-6th graders!  Some ideas include Blokus, Battleship, Simon, Perfection, and Jenga. Please contact Kristen at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Saturday, November 17, 3-6:30 p.m.: Mission Adelante Staff House Parties
    • Jarrett & Kristen Meek, Molly Merrick: 251 N. 15th Street
    • Jason & Megan Schoff, Megan McDermott: 410 N. 15th Street
    • David & Brooke Coon: 245 N. 17th Street
    • David & Holly Stetler, Drew Hammond: 438 N. 17th Street
    • Drew & Lauren Timberlake, Kristen Maxwell: 706 N. 17th Street
    • Garett & Jenny Dunn, Hannah Hume: 335 N. 15th Street
      All homes are in Kansas City, KS 66102.  RSVP is not necessary.
          • Wednesday, November 21-Saturday, November 24: Fall Break Mission Adelante office closed.  No programs Tuesday, November 20-Saturday, November 24.