by Jarrett Meek, Founder/Pastor/Executive Director
The end of one season often signals the beginning of another. As Mission Adelante celebrated the winding down of seven beautiful years of ministry specifically with the Bhutanese, new doors were beginning to open for a broader ministry with refugees from all places in our neighborhood. A meeting with Catholic Charities underlined the ongoing need for complementary refugee services that go beyond the initial three-month resettlement window. Relationships with key people from several refugee communities including Bhutanese, Chin, Karen, Karenni, Iraqi, and Syrian, confirmed once again the deep desire our new neighbors have for friendship and their need for assistance with practical matters related to integrating in their new context. An ESL class that we taught for adults, in partnership with refugee and immigrant students at Schlagle High School, highlighted the potential and passion that exists in youth from all places. In so many ways it seems the Lord is leading us to press into our role and identity as a ministry with immigrants and refugees from ALL PLACES!
This summer we will be pressing further into our purpose to "love people from all places" by experimenting with two new initiatives that are open to all refugees and immigrants; an English Club for adults and a Refugee Kids Club. These two initiatives launched on Tuesday night with several exciting highlights!
Our English Club Pilot, led by Lena Chan, is an informal, activity-based ESL program. Participants practice their English and build friendships as they enjoy cooking, playing games, talking about health-related issues, and address practical issues that may arise in their everyday lives. It is a combination of fun, relationships, and English-learning in a social environment, rather than an academic one. Our initial group of 15 English Club students came from countries including Thailand, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Our Refugee Kids Club Pilot is led by Laxmi Gurung, a refugee from Nepal and Mission Adelante's newest Staff Apprentice. It is so beautiful to see the fruit of many years of different people investing in Laxmi's life being reproduced now in her own desire to invest in the lives of others. In fact, the volunteer team Laxmi leads includes four other youth from Nepal who once participated in our Bhutanese Kids Club, among others. It is a truly multicultural team in which the fruits of long-term disciple-making are being harvested in the multiplication of leaders who are now sharing Christ with others.
It is an exciting new season at Mission Adelante with exciting challenges and big opportunities! Please pray with us as we take these next steps in exploring ministry with refugees from all places in our neighborhood!