multicultural

Leaders from All Places on the Playing Field

Staff and interns from "all places" getting on the ministry playing field in KCK. 

Staff and interns from "all places" getting on the ministry playing field in KCK. 

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Founder/Executive Director

In the midst of life and the ups and downs of ministry, the Lord is quietly carrying Mission Adelante through important milestones.  For some years now we have been focused on mobilizing volunteers and raising up leaders from within the immigrant and refugee community in KCK. In 2011 we began measuring the number of ongoing immigrant volunteers that were serving in ongoing, defined roles in our ministry.  At that point the number represented about 14% of all of our volunteers, a modest, but decent start for a ministry that had initially emphasized recruiting volunteers from suburban churches.  Slowly, each trimester we've made progress.  In 2013 we shifted the focus of our summer internship to equipping youth from our community.  We experimented with different leadership team models that were meant to provide a place at the table for people from other places.  And, with two steps forward and one step back, we began to see fruit.  

Mobilizing "community leaders" for the mission field in our own backyard is not just a strategy, but it is value that comes close to the heart of our mission.  We are convinced that to truly live out our mission in this community, we must do it together!  Not as "us" serving "them", but as a new "we".  Every day I see evidence that we still lack a lot in this regard, but I also see that the Lord is moving us forward.  While we still have a long way to go, this summer trimester marks the first time that more than 25% of our 130 ongoing volunteers are immigrants or refugees.  And, if patterns remain consistent, we might expect to make another significant jump in September.

There is another important and related transition taking place at Mission Adelante;  half of our staff Leadership Team are from other countries, and, during the summer, with our summer interns included, almost half of our staff (46%) are first or second generation immigrants.  These statistics may not break any records for urban ministries, but they represent significant fruit from our efforts at becoming "a multicultural community of disciples making disciples where immigrants and others are thriving and using our gifts together to impact our neighborhood and world for the glory of Jesus Christ. "

Important Dates:

  • Mission Adelante will be on break next week, July 4th - 7th.  There will not be any programs that week so that our staff and volunteers can enjoy the holiday with their family and friends.
  • Observation Nights are coming soon!  If you have ever wondered what goes on during a night of programming at Mission Adelante you can join us on Tuesday July 11th & 18th from 6:30 - 8:30 to observe our Refugee Ministry or on Thursday July 13th & 20th from 6:30 - 8:30 to our observe our Latino Ministry.  We are located at 22 S 18th St. Kansas City, Kansas 66102. Visit our website at: www.missionadelante.org/serve/

New Refugee Ministry Pilots at Mission Adelante

Our new English Club for people from all places launched on May 30!

Our new English Club for people from all places launched on May 30!

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.

English Club participants practice English as they enjoy a game of Jenga.

English Club participants practice English as they enjoy a game of Jenga.

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.  

Laxmi Gurung with her amazing team of volunteers for Refugee Kids Club

Laxmi Gurung with her amazing team of volunteers for Refugee Kids Club

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!

From Tajikistan to Mission Adelante: Introducing Elena Mamadnazarova

It's common to hear "Buenos días" or "Namaste" at the Mission Adelante office in the mornings.  However, if you stop by now, you are likely to hear "Dobrea utra" as well.  That's Russian for "good morning," and it's been brought by our newest staff member who comes all the way from Tajikistan!  Elena Mamadnazarova joined the Mission Adelante team in January to lead our community development ministry and is already making an impact.

"Lena" brings with her a Master's degree in International Development from Brandeis University, as well as over 10 years of international community development experience in Central Asia.  Her most recent role was managing the Central Asian office of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Kazakhstan.  Her educational background, along with her depth of experience and cross-cultural competency have raised the level of excellence on our leadership team almost overnight.

Beyond her professional qualifications, Lena's faith journey is deep and inspiring.  She experienced being a refugee during Tajikistan's civil war, having to flee to Russia when her father's race and culture made their family the target of ethnic cleansing.  During this time she prayed fervently to a God she did not yet know for her father's safety.  God answered her prayers.  Later, when they returned to Tajikistan, Lena received Christ with a friend who invited her to attend a church that had been started by Korean missionaries in her town.  She grew and served and began to feel a calling to live out her faith in practical ways that would help communities.  

Of course, a relationship brought Lena from the East coast to Kansas City.  Her husband, Ray Chan is a pediatrician with Children's Mercy and they have a daughter, Samila who is three.  Together they are members of Christ Community Church where they attend the Downtown campus.  Lena has served at Christ Community as a member of their Global Leadership Team.  

Mission Adelante is delighted to have Lena on board and excited for her leadership as she helps our team turn individual transformation into community transformation!







Igniting a Disciple-making Movement

by Jarrett Meek, Founder, Pastor/Executive Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other news:

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

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

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

Prayer requests:

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

Upcoming dates:

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

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

Mission Adelante Year-End Giving Opportunities: A Record Year!

A Record Year and New Opportunities!

Three cultures, one community, a big celebration!

It's been a record year at Mission Adelante and the timing couldn't be any better!  As we bring 2012 to a close, we're both praising God for His beautiful work among us, as well as praying for the strongest year-end we've ever had financially.  Will you be a part of it with us?  

The fruit of seven years of serving in our neighborhood has translated into some exciting opportunities for 2013 that we're praying will impact our community in new ways for years to come.  We invite every one of you to partner with us in whatever way you can as we press into these new challenges and opportunities!  Give online and then share our 

online giving page

with your friends.  It's easy!

Coming soon in 2013...

  • Adelante Thrift: A neighborhood-based Thrift store that will provide jobs and a produce sustainable income to help fund other Community Development initiatives.
  • Summer Internship:  A ministry internship for emerging leaders among Latino Teens from our neighborhood.
  • Foundations for a Medical Clinic: In 2013 we will be conducting focus groups in our community and forming a Board of Directors and a business plan for a Family Practice clinic in our neighborhood, which we hope to open in 2014.
  • Multi-cultural Worship: On Christmas eve we will hold our first ever multi-cultural worship service in Spanish, English and Nepali.   In 2013 we plan to experiment with more ideas to foster multi-cultural interactions and worship.
  • Disciple-Making: The core of our mission and purpose will always be reproducing disciples of Jesus who can also make disciples.

Year-End Giving

This is a very exciting time to invest in what God is doing through Mission Adelante.  As we prepare for these new opportunities and pray for our strongest financial year-end ever, we want to invite you to give, and give generously to be a part of changing individual lives and an entire community.  Our year-end giving goal is $65,000.  This goal includes $21,000 we need to raise to receive a "last in" grant to hire a Community Development Director!  Here are a two ideas to help us get there!

  • Give Stock (click here to learn more) When you give appreciated assets, your giving capacity goes further and your tax advantage could be greater.  Mission Adelante partners closely with the National Christian Foundation to help donors establish "donor advised funds", an effective and tax-efficient vehicle for giving.  With a donor advised fund you can give appreciated assets, such as stock, avoiding capital gains taxes.  While no one knows how congress will resolve the "fiscal cliff", there has been talk of placing new limits on itemized deductions, which would impact deductions for charitable giving in future years.  The president of the National Christian Foundation, Aimee Minnich, has given me permission to distribute her mobile phone number, (816) 853-4469,for anyone who would like to discuss giving stock or other assets through a donor advised fund.

A Grand, Heaven-like Celebration!

By Jarrett Meek, Founder, Executive Director

On Monday night the National Christian Foundation honored Mission Adelante with an award at their annual Passion Awards banquet.  Ninety people affiliated with our ministry, many of them Bhutanese and Hispanic participants who have become owners with us in our mission, celebrated together at the event what the Lord has done among us.  

As we led up to the event, I was drawn to 

1 Corinthians 12:26...

The body is ONE, 

"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.  If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it"  

As we invited members of our community to join us receiving this honor at the event, one thought kept going through my mind: "This is OUR award. So often our community suffers together, and this week we will rejoice together!!"

Indeed we did rejoice, and as we passed around the trophy I was deeply moved by the way God was using this extravagant event to exalt humble people from many different places to the status of honored guests at the banqueting table.

I considered the cost to the ministry of having brought so many people to this event, and I remembered the story of the woman who broke her bottle of perfume and poured it over Jesus' head. When some questioned this seeming waste, Jesus said, "she has done a beautiful thing for me."

Mark 14:6

. and "Whatever you did for the least of these...you did for me."

Matthew 25:40

As we enjoyed this generous gesture of affirmation from the Christian community in Kansas City, I dreamed of what God might do in our neighborhood with this growing group of disciples and emerging leaders, and contemplated what is becoming a new motto for us: “doing with vs. doing for”.  It wasn’t hard to imagine God using this new group of “Kingdom insiders” to transform our urban community!

And then there was the coming together of our ENTIRE community; people from Bhutan, Nepal, Latino America, and North America, celebrating as ONE community and I couldn't help but think about the party we'll have in heaven together!! 

"

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,

 standing before the throne

 and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes

 and were holding palm branches in their hands.

10 

And they cried out in a loud voice:  '

Salvation belongs to our God 

who sits on the throne, 

and to the Lamb.'”

Revelation 7:9-10

To top it off, I was blessed to have my parents and some of my very best friends there to enjoy it with me.

So, please forgive me if my joy continues to overflow for a while.  It's not really about receiving an award or a nice grant for the ministry.  It's about what God did through the whole event in the lives of people I love a lot!

In other news:

  • Our Latino house churches met together for a celebration service last Sunday and person after person came forward to share testimony of how God had been working in their lives.  There’s nothing more encouraging than to see the hand of God at work in those around you!  
  • Jarrett and Kristen Meek and their family are preparing for a sabbatical next year after seven years of service with Mission Adelante!  Please pray for them and for our staff as we make preparations for their absence and they make preparations for a time of learning, growth, and renewal.
  • We want to give a big "thank you" to Maria Morris and her team for providing awesome shirts for all of our LIT kids!
  • With the help of volunteers, two Latino teenagers are starting a purity Bible study this week for all the girls coming to Teens Adelante. They’re excited to get creative and minister to their peers.

Prayer needs

:

  • The Bhutanese Teens Club volunteer team is currently studying the book “Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman together. Please pray for us as we delve deep into discovering what discipleship is, and explore the next step for each of us as we try to obediently follow Jesus.
  • Please pray for the Spirit’s leading through the two teen girls launching this new purity Bible study, as well as for all the girls that will come.
  • Pray for our volunteers and students to experience meaningful relational interaction outside of class together. This is a busy time of year, but full of great opportunities to spend time together, and for our immigrant friends to learn about American culture.

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.
          • Latino Christmas Party: Saturday, December 8 @ 5:00  Bethany Community Center, 1120 Central Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102
          • Bhutanese Christmas Party: Saturday, December 8 @ 5:00  First Baptist Church of Kansas City, 2900 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102

        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.