Building Interdependent Relationships

by Jarrett Meek

"What would make cross-cultural missionaries more effective at ministering the gospel of Christ?"  That's the question author and long-time missionary Duane Elmer asked believers from many different countries before writing his book,

Cross-Cultural Servanthood

.  The answer, which was repeated over and over again in different forms and sometimes in these exact words, might surprise you:

"Missionaries could more effectively minister the gospel of Christ if they did not think they were so superior to us."  

As I have processed through this book with the staff of Mission Adelante, obvious questions have arisen.

 "What is it that causes people from other cultures to perceive our efforts at serving in this way?"  "Do we indeed have an underlying or unconscious attitude of superiority that comes across when we relate with others?"  "How can we reflect the humility of Christ when we serve and share life?"  Elmer's book is one of the best I've read at addressing these questions.

At Mission Adelante we are becoming a new community, a multicultural community, a community where immigrants and others thrive and use our gifts together to transform our neighborhood.  In the process we are all learning a lot and God is causing us all to grow!

"Relationships" have always been a core value of our ministry.  We believe that ministry is a relational endeavor... not programs, not services, but relationships!  They are the context for making disciples, for loving our neighbor, for equipping leaders, for serving, for sharing Jesus.  Relationships rule!  But, it's not just any kind of relationship we're talking about.  When ministry is done in a relational way, many wrongs are made right, and we see much greater effectiveness.  But, it's also possible to form relationships in a way that's not helpful.  So the kind of relationships we're especially talking about are "interdependent relationships."  That's how it's written in our values document.

"We believe that ministry is relational at its core.  And when relationships are interdependent, learning is mutual, serving is reciprocal, and friendships are life-giving." 

Interdependence means both parties give and receive.  Interdependence means that I learn as much from the other person as he learns from me.  Interdependence means that we need each other.  The times when I've experienced relationships like this, God has moved powerfully in my life, in my friends' lives, and through our ministry together.

As the Mission Adelante community presses into what it looks like to build interdependent relationships and minister the gospel of Christ effectively in a multicultural context, we are aware that if the things that seem like strengths in our own respective cultures make it difficult to relate to others humbly, those very strengths can become our biggest weaknesses in ministry.  The Lord said to the apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness".

2 Corinthians 12:9a

Prayer needs

  • Praise God for a recent opportunity Jason Schoff had to engage pastors and church leaders as part of a four person immigration panel at the Sentralized conference.  Pray for all our pastors who are stepping out to call for new immigration policy.

Current needs

  • We need books!!! Do you have some at home that you might be willing to part with, or do you frequent yard sales or thrift stores? We are in need of easy to read, high interest books to add to our LIT library! Contact Kristen or Megan for more information: Kristenm@missionadelante.org or Meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • We are in need of volunteers to join the Bhutanese Transportation Team! No CDL drivers license required! The greatest need is for drivers on Tuesday evenings. if you or someone you know is interested, please contact Drew Hammond at drew@missionadelante.org.

Sharing the love of Jesus one backpack at a time

All families know that back-to-school season is one of the most expensive times of the year. The fees, the supplies, the new shoes--it can be a little overwhelming. Imagine coming to a new country with only the clothes on your back and few other resources. For the first couple of years it is going to be quite a struggle. If you look at the back-to-school season through that lens, school supplies for your child are probably going to fall pretty low on your list of priorities, and your child will most likely go back to school with few, if any of their needed supplies. Is that a fun way to start a new school year?

The kids outreaches at Mission Adelante have the opportunity to disciple around 190 kids and teenagers on a weekly basis. Ranging in age from 9 months to 19 years old, they all have a unique and wonderful story to tell and it is a blessing to get to be a part of it. We get to plant seeds, water them, and see the fruit of Jesus changing lives and families. What a privilege! 

The most practical way that we can show our young friends the love of Jesus is by providing for physical needs like school supplies. When we do that, we are able to have conversations about why people care about them, and ultimately, why Jesus cares about them. The Gospel can be communicated through the giving of a backpack! Not only that, but the student can go back to school with the confidence and dignity of having what they need to be successful in the year ahead.

Would you be able to help us share the love of Jesus by putting together a backpack for one of our friends?

Please contact Kristen Maxwell



) or Megan McDermott (


) for more information.

Other News

  • IGNITE 2013 is this Saturday! A Workshop on Developing Businesses for Kingdom Impact - July 20 at 8:30am. You are invited to join us as we learn how fostering entrepreneuership can tranform lives and communities in under-resourced areas.Check out the link below for more information and to register for the event!

IGNITE 2013 Information and Registration:

July 20, 8:30-11:00 a.m

  • The medical clinic team continues to develop partnerships and learn from various community members as they seek to understand the complex medical needs in the neighborhood. We appreciate all of the feedback we are receiving this trimester and know it will help form a medical clinic that represents the diversity of culture and need among our neighbors. 

Prayer Needs

  • Pray that program participants and volunteers would finish out the trimester strong!
  • Please pray for the Adelante Business Coaching Team’s time with Rudy Carrasco this weekend as they continue to develop the ministry. Also pray that those in attendance at Ignite would be inspired to deepen their commitment to business as mission. 
  • Pray for an immigrant family from one of our suburban churches who has a member in deportation hearings.  Please pray for God to open a way for this man to stay in the US with his wife and five children. 

Current Needs

  • 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 Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org if you are interested. 
  • Looking for an intentional way to impact the future leaders of our community? Our LIT(Leaders in Training, after-school tutoring program)  is currently seeking mentors for the fall..  Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org if you would like more info.
  • The hot weather is here, and the resource center is in need of two window AC units for a family. If you are about to help, please contact Molly at mollym@missionadelante.org.

Important dates

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

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

Dignity and Freedom

Written by Drew Hammond, Bhutanese Logistics Coordinator

The Apostle Paul’s passion for the freedom of all people from sin and death that we see as we read Romans is perhaps the most powerful of all his writings. His letter to the Romans is written to both the Jew and the Gentile: people of extremely different first century cultures, but both crushed by the burden of sin. Similarly, in twenty-first century Kansas City, Kansas, we find ourselves weaving between Eastern-Nepali culture and Western-American culture, which are probably as culturally different as they could be.

Much of what Paul writes to the Romans is unpacking what it means that Jesus came to save both the Jew and the Gentile, bearing the burden of sin and redeeming them through his death and resurrection. In Romans 1:16 Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Paul teaches us that the Gospel is for all people of all cultures.

At Mission Adelante, we long to see people of every culture living in freedom from sin and death while maintaining cultural identity and dignity. We strive to proclaim the truth of Jesus to our brothers and sisters from other cultures in ways that affirm their culture and ultimately their heart. That can be as simple as sharing meals with our immigrant friends in their homes and enjoying the food they offer us. It can also be more complex, like discipling indigenous leaders to lead house churches in their first language, and helping them incorporate elements from their native culture in ways that proclaim Jesus as Lord. Our goal is to live our lives in the freedom Jesus offers alongside our friends from other tribes, tongues, and nations, so they can join us in experiencing His grace every day.

In other news:

  • Our Missional Community met Monday evening to welcome the Meek family back.  We meet each month for fellowship because we strongly believe in the importance of relationships. It was a fun time for the children and adults from our multicultural community to share a meal, play soccer, and catch up with each other.
  • Last week we welcomed Kristen Allen onto our staff officially to lead our Community Development Initiatives.  This weekend she is attending the Christian Community Health Fellowship conference in Atlanta to get heavy dose of vision and encouragement as we continue doing surveys in our community and building our team for this initiative.
  • The Adelante Thrift board is considering locations within our target area for our thrift store.  We are dreaming of a “business as missions” venture that will create jobs for people in our neighborhood and provide a sustainable source of income for some of our other ministries.
  • We are preparing to do our first ever summer internship for Latino youth from our own neighborhood!
  • Yanelis Lopez, the leader of RAICES, our partner ministry in Cuba, will be joining us for the summer to help lead our summer internship and learn along with our staff.
  • A dozen English class volunteers met last weekend to discuss building authentic relationships with our Bhutanese friends and their families. We were encouraged and went home with several practical ways to engage more deeply with them.

Prayer needs:

  • In order to pull off our weekly programming it takes an army of volunteers! These programs are very important because they serve as the initial jumping-off point for many of the relationships that develop in our community. Please join us in praying that the Lord would provide the volunteers needed to make this Summer’s trimester programming successful.
  • Please pray for the final part of the selection process for our summer internship.  We are praying that God will bring forward the right group of Latino youth for the pilot year of our program!

Current needs:

  • Sets of 5-7 toddler-friendly board books (baby animals, counting, body parts, etc) for a Mommy & Me English workshop this summer. If you are able to provide one or more books, please contact Lauren at laurent@missionadelante.org.
  • The Bhutanese outreach needs women college-age or older to volunteer at the Bhutanese Teens Club on Tuesday nights this Summer from 6pm-8:30pm. Volunteers would get the opportunity to show Bhutanese Teen girls the love of Jesus as they interact with them during the Teens Club program (youth group) through games, music, telling bible stories, praying, etc. If interested please contact Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org.
  • We are looking for four Bhutanese Kids Club volunteers who would be interested in spending 10 weeks investing in small group of kids!  We need assistant leaders for the 4 year-olds, 2nd graders, 3rd graders and 4th-6th grade boys (would need to be a male volunteer).  If you are interested in serving, or would like more information contact Kristen Maxwell at Kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • The resource center is in need of boys and girls and toddler clothing  Please help us out by not leaving donations outside of the Resource Center, or inside or outside of our facility!  The weather can make a mess out of them and render the donation useless!  Please contact Molly at mollym@missionadelante.org to arrange a time to drop-off your donation.

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

One God, Many Cultures

Written by Hannah Hume, Bhutanese Outreach Intern

I was visiting one of my Bhutanese friends last week when she asked me to teach her how to pray to Jesus. So we talked a little bit about what prayer is, and then I encouraged her to try it for herself. She was nervous to try praying in English, so I urged her to pray in Nepali. Shocked, she looked at me and asked “Jesus knows Nepali?”  

It’s fun to imagine heaven and the multitude of cultures from all around the Earth that will partake in extravagantly worshiping our Lord.  Revelation 5:9 declares of Jesus, “

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”  Will we be seated in pews, or on rugs on the floor?  Will we understand the speech in each language we hear?  Will there be electric guitars and drums, or violins, or an organ? Maybe all of the above!

To see the way that other cultures worship can sometimes seem odd or even make us uncomfortable. A few weeks ago, most of the Mission Adelante staff and a number of volunteers attended the Christian Community Development Association Annual Conference. While there, we were blessed to worship Jesus with some Native American brothers and sisters who have a worship style that's very different than we've ever experienced. They wore brightly colored traditional clothing, danced, beat drums and chanted. After the dancing was done, one of the dancers explained that with every step of the dance prayers were being offered to God for the Native American people to come to know Jesus. This seemed odd to me. However, 

this is the most natural way

for the Native American people to pray to and connect with God.

Mission Adelante loves to see people worship the one true God within their own culture, in a way that makes sense to them. We constantly consider how to share the Gospel and and how to show what it means to follow Jesus within the context of their lives and norms--becoming a Christian doesn't require one to become an American first. We're learning as we go--it's for this reason that we continue to made changes to our programs. For example, the Bhutanese Teens used to sing English worship songs while seated in chairs arranged in rows. However, now when we congregate each Tuesday evening, we gather around in a circle, seated on Nepali rugs, and sing “Yeshu Bhajans” or "Jesus songs" in the Nepali language. It's an atmosphere that's just more naturally conducive for Bhutanese people to worship.

Won’t it be a beautiful sight to behold when every tribe, nation and tongue worships Jesus together in heaven? Imagine all the colors, the motion, and the noise! It's going to be beyond our imaginations, and its going to represent the vast creativity and beauty of God. Until then, we want to paint a picture of that heavenly kingdom on Earth each time we tell Bhutanese, Latino, and American girls and boys that “God created you just the way you are, and he wants you to worship Him just the way you are”.

In other news:

  • Two Bhutanese ESL classes are taking field trips to local pharmacies. These field trips strengthen the relationships between students and their American conversation partners, and can really help students take better care of their families health needs.

Prayer needs:

  • Many of our new volunteers are visiting the homes of the students that they work with for the first time. Pray for God’s presence, wisdom, and love to be poured out during these friendly visits.

Current needs:

  • The weather has changed! 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!
  • The kids in our Kids Club are growing up and we need some board games to entertain older kids on Tuesday nights.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org for more information, or if you have some games to donate.

Important dates:

  • Tuesday, October 23/Thursdays, October 18 & 25:Ever wondered what goes on here on a typical evening of programming?  Come on up on a observation night and find out!  Tuesday evenings are Bhutanese outreach, Thursday evenings are Latino outreach.  Come to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102 between 6:30 and 8:30.
  • 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.