refugees

Have You Ever Met a Dreamer?

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director, Founder

Mission Adelante takes seriously the biblical mandate to speak on behalf of vulnerable people who don't have a voice.  In our case, some of those voiceless people are our neighbors and friends.  In these strange times, when a lot is being said about immigrants and refugees, we, as a ministry and community, have embraced all the more our slogan, "loving people from all places."  From undocumented immigrants, who form a large part of the very fabric of our neighborhood, to legal permanent residents and citizens who are hoping to be reunited with aging parents through a family reunification visa, to refugees who are displaced, without a country to call home, many members of our community are directly impacted by our country's immigration laws.  At Mission Adelante, we find ourselves with beautiful opportunities to serve, share life, and share Jesus with people from all places who are often looked upon as outsiders by the world around them.  As we live out our mission to make disciples, we find special significance in the disciple-making ministry of Jesus that emphasized serving the vulnerable and marginalized as a hallmark of those who would be His followers.

Open your mouths for the mute; for all those who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.  Proverbs 31:8-9

We know that many of our partners and friends look to Mission Adelante for information and leadership in issues related to immigrants and refugees.  This, for us, is a solemn responsibility that we don't take lightly.  We are standing in a unique place, at the nexus of current issues that have deep biblical, social, and political significance.  By following the Lord we follow, by living where we live, by serving whom we serve, and loving whom we love, we have become part of a "new we" that includes people from different countries, backgrounds, races, and cultures.  As a part of this new we, we look with special interest at the question, "who is my neighbor?".  In light of our unique context, we marvel at the parable of the Good Samaritan, which demonstrated that an outsider, a foreigner, a person of a different race or religion, might just be the neighbor God calls us to love.  You, as a friend of Mission Adelante, are also part of this "new we", and we are honored to be part of this journey together.

Maybe you are aware of the ongoing push for legislation to provide a permanent solution for "Dreamers", young immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. without proper immigration documents.  There are new developments nearly every week on this front, and we continue to pray for a compassionate solution for these young friends and neighbors.  The video at the top of this post will give you a glimpse into some of the realities facing the Dreamers. Recently, World Relief led the way in drafting a letter to Congress and to President Trump in support of the Dreamers and other vulnerable groups.  This letter was published in the Washington Post on February 7th, along with the signatures of 100 prominent Evangelical leaders, including Beth Moore, Bill and Lynne Hybels, Ann Voskamp, and Max Lucado.  Thousands of other Evangelical leaders and organizations, including Mission Adelante, signed on to the online version of the letter, which called on Congress and President Trump to give consideration to four groups of vulnerable people including, Dreamers, Refugees, Persecuted Christians, and Families awaiting reunification.  I encourage you to read the letter here.

If you are interested in staying up-to-date with good information and thoughtful, Christian responses to issues related to immigrants and refugees, two of our trusted sources are World Relief and The Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), led by Dr. Russell Moore.  Recently, Mission Adelante's board adopted the ERLC's Evangelical Leader Statement on Dreamers as our own position.  If you are so inclined, we invite you to join with us and others across the country to pray for Dreamers, specifically on Monday, March 5th over the lunch hour.  World Relief has put together a prayer guide for Dreamers that many will be using on this day.  Thank you for walking with us and standing with our beloved community through all the challenges we face together.

dreamers_ap_photo-alex_brandon.jpg

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

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/