relationships

Connecting to Culture

By Jenny Dunn, Bhutanese ESL Coordinator

A couple Saturdays ago, the Bhutanese volunteers and team had a chance to celebrate our students and the end of yet another trimester of classes. The summer parties are always a special time; they're our most low key parties but are always filled with lots of American culture with the picnic and lawn games as well as Bhutanese-Nepali culture with lots of singing and dancing.

This summer, we had an opportunity to have two outstanding Bhutanese interns, one of who is an excellent dancer. He teamed up with one of our volunteers and choreographed a Hindi dance for a group of us Americans to perform at the party.  We started practicing a month and a half in advance; we wanted the first American dance to be unforgettable. And it was!  It was fun and unforgettable for the dancers as well as for our friends in the audience.

Here are a couple pictures from the "historical party," as said by one of our Bhutanese friends.

In other news:

  • We’re negotiating the lease for Adelante Thrift and starting to pull together the team to help launch sustainable community development in our community. Interested in serving on our Adelante Thrift Action Team? Join us at the next Volunteer Orientation and Training on September 13 (see below for details) or email Matt at mattt@missionadelante.org.
  • We are having an amazing time with our Cuban family! Five members of the RAICES ("Roots") ministry team are visiting for about two weeks. We have had a lot of great relational time as well as intentional ministry time.  The RAICES team will join the Latino community on our retreat this weekend, where we will be learning about praising God in a variety of contexts.

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for our fall trimester planning process. Pray for volunteers, students and kids to be drawn to our programs. Pray that hearts are soft and ready to respond to God’s leading.

Current needs:

  • Volunteers for our Fall Trimester, beginning the week of September 15:
    • Monday-Thursday afternoons: 20 volunteers to serve one afternoon a week at Leaders In Training, our after-school tutoring and character development program for a select group of 8-13 year old Bhutanese and Latino students.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.
    • Tuesday evenings: 8 volunteers to serve at Kids Club, our outreach Bible study for 1-13 year old Bhutanese kids.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
    • Thursday evenings:
      • Volunteer conversation partners for our Adult ESL classes.  Contact Morgan Ham at morganh@missionadelante.org.
      • 5 volunteers to serve at Kids Adelante, our outreach Bible study for 5-12 year old Latino kids.  Contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • We are making progress on the house rehab and Christ Community Church has been partnering with us every step of the way.  They are organizing work days this Saturday, August 30 and next Saturday, September 6th starting at 9:00.  We will be installing siding, caulking windows, repairing the porch, and painting.  Email Sarah at sarahw@missionadelante.org for more information or to sign up to help.
  • LIT has been gifted tablets to use with LIT this school year.  We are in need of cases to protect the tablets.  If you would like to donate one, check out our Wishlist: LIT Wishlist.  If you have questions please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@Missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, September 13, 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 plan on attending this informative training, and to contact Morgan at morganh@missionadelante.org for all the details.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert: Monday, September 15, 6:30 p.m. We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our fall trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch. 
  • Fall trimester programs launch: Week of September 15

Where Do I Belong?

Written by Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Ministry Director

When you travel the streets of Kansas City, KS, the diversity of cultures that you encounter is pretty remarkable.  Over the years, as we have grown stronger in our relationships with the families of our community, we have received the precious gift of being let into the struggles that our friends face. The children, in particular,  are often caught between the many cultures that surround them, always trying to fit in but never quite feeling like they belong anywhere.  As one teen expressed to me,

"The only place I feel like I can really be myself is around other kids that understand the 

feeling of not fitting in anywhere."

Over the past two years, as the Latino and Bhutanese Leaders in Training  (LIT) programs have blossomed, we have placed a strong emphasis on encouraging the children from the two cultural backgrounds to become friends and to simply have fun together.  We feel so strongly about it because we recognize that all of our children are constantly struggling to find a place where they can fit in.  We desire to offer them not just a place, but a community where they can truly feel accepted and affirmed for who they are in Christ.  

Last Friday, we got to live this out in a very dynamic and fun way! We took all thirty of our LIT kids and fifteen volunteers on a field trip to Science City and Zonkers as a reward for all of their hard work.  It was encouraging to observe all of the children learning together, playing together, and laughing together. Discipling and loving the future leaders of our community takes time, diligence, and compassion. We believe that the Lord has specifically chosen each and every one of these unique children to effect change in their community. 

What a privilege it is to be part of God's amazing plan for this community through the children we pray will

 one day lead it!    

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for the Bhutanese ESL volunteers and teachers as we meet next Tuesday and talk over literacy ideas in an attempt to bridge the literacy gap in the community.
  • Please continue to pray for the Adelante Thrift site search process. We are interviewing two new realtors in the next week and pray that the right person partners with us to move forward with the search and selection.

Important dates:

  • Observation Days: Tuesdays, November 5 & 12 (Bhutanese)/Thursdays, November 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!
  • Kansas Bhutanese Concert: Saturday, November 16th from 4pm-10pm at Wyandotte High School (2501 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102)Everyone is invited to come and celebrate Nepali Culture at this exciting event sponsored by Mission Adelante and coordinated by our dear friend Ram Rai. It will feature comedians, cultural dances, and ethnic food. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the RG Asian Store (101 S 18th St, Kansas City, KS66102). Don’t miss this chance to learn about and celebrate the rich culture of the Bhutanese Refugee community!

Learning from Jesus in Cross-Cultural Ministry

Written by David Stetler, Bhutanese Outreach Director

Cultural and language barriers come together upon those engaged in cross-cultural ministry. Whether you have been in it for years or you are just a beginner, cross-cultural ministry can be challenging, overwhelming and sometimes even disorienting. With these challenges comes an opportunity to look to the One who provides us with all the things we need. The life and teachings of Jesus reveal to us a way to minister cross-culturally that are quite literally already transforming the world. 

First we see that Jesus came to serve. In Philippians 2 we see the humility of Christ "making himself nothing by taking on the very nature of a servant". As we engage in cross-cultural ministry our posture must mimic that of Christ, in taking on the very nature of a servant, to come as one who serves.

Second, Jesus teaches us through the life of Paul.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul expresses his desire for relationship with those to whom he is ministering. "We loved you so much that we shared not only the gospel, but our very lives as well." Paul shows us that relationship is vital in embodying the gospel as we share life with those to whom we seek to minister. 


Lastly, we see by Christ's example in John 1 that "...the Word became human and made his home among us." Jesus became a man and entered a new culture as a humble baby who grew up in the Jewish culture. He became one of us. And just as Christ came and lived among the people in his own time and culture, we to have an opportunity to go and live among people at this time and in their culture. Jesus was not just the message of good news, He embodied the message.  As He went into the Jewish culture of that time He embodied the good news and transmitted it through servanthood and loving relationships that would eventually transform the world.


May we follow Jesus in embodying this life-transforming message and learn to serve, share life and share Jesus with people from all places through Christ-centered, loving relationships.


In other news:

  • We are excited to reward our Bhutanese and Latino LIT (Leaders in Training) students with a group field trip to this Friday! We will spend the day at Science City and Zonkers!
Prayer needs:
  • Last week we shared the important need for prayer as we move forward with Adelante Thrift. Please continue to include this community development initiative in your prayers.
Current needs:
  • Our LIT students earn “Mission Adelante Money” for exemplary behaviour and doing extra academic work, which they can spend at a reward store once each trimester.  We are in need of items to stock that store!  Ideas include sports equipment, craft supplies, room decorations, or any small items that might appeal to 8-14 year old students.  If you would like to contribute please contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org or Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:
  • Observation Days: Tuesdays, November 5 & 12 (Bhutanese)/Thursdays, November 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!
  • Kansas Bhutanese Concert: Saturday, November 16th from 4pm-10pm at Wyandotte High School (2501 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102) Everyone is invited to come and celebrate Nepali Culture at this exciting event sponsored by Mission Adelante and coordinated by our dear friend Ram Rai. It will feature comedians, cultural dances, and ethnic food. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the RG Asian Store (101 S 18th St, Kansas CityKS 66102). Don’t miss this chance to learn about and celebrate the rich culture of the Bhutanese Refugee community!

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.

Responding to Student Needs

Bhutanese men talk together at the ESL Launch Party last Tuesday night.

Bhutanese men talk together at the ESL Launch Party last Tuesday night.

There is always a break between each trimester at Mission Adelante.  During this break, staff and lead volunteers ask ourselves questions like: “Is what we are doing meeting the needs of the community?” and “How can we meet those needs better?”

This spring, the Bhutanese ESL Lead Team felt that it was time to give our students a little more of the “social” experience that many of our students long for –especially the women. We have done this in the past by changing our registration night from a formal process to being a time to hang out, talk, eat, and listen to some great music with a little business on the side. But we felt we should take it a step further this trimester, not exactly knowing what it will bring.  Instead of doing our usual four levels of English classes, we are doing only two classes: one men's class and one women’s class.  We want our students to learn English but also to build community and strong relationships with each other.  The dynamics of the classes are completely different-- lots of joking and talking during the entire women’s class and lots of nonsense and then getting down to business in the men’s class.

We hope to see Bhutanese and American relationships grow stronger, and we want the Bhutanese community to become even more unified this summer.  Please pray this with us as we experiment with this new program format. We want to be constantly listening to our community and meeting their needs.

In other news

  • Our Leaders in Training programs celebrated a successful year by heading out on a camping trip (Latino LIT) and to Great Wolf Lodge (Bhutanese LIT). It was a blessing to reward the kids for all of their hard work this year.
  • The level 1 Latino English class began with the largest turnout ever! We also have a vision to start a new house church through this group of people.
  • The Bhutanese community of Kansas City celebrated a cultural festival last weekend that included music, poetry, awards and food.

Prayer needs

  • Please pray Kansas Senator Moran and Congressman Yoder.  We have shared real-life stories of undocumented immigrants with them and asked them to vote for immigration reform that keeps families together.

Current Needs

  • One of this year's high school graduates will be the first from our community to go on to college! As she heads to KU this fall, we would love to bless her with a new laptop or Chrome book to set her up for success.  We are looking for a person or small group to purchase the computer.  Please contact Megan McDermott (meganm@missionadelante.org) if you would like to help.  (Please no cash donations.)
  •  
  • We need several 4x8 foot ivory-colored cloth tablecloths to be used for events at the building. If you are able to provide these, please contact Jenny Dunn at jennyd@missionadelante.org.
  • We still need a few more board books for our Mommy & Me ESL and early literacy class in June. Please contact laurent@missionadelante.org for book titles.

Hasta and Bibi play the piano together while they wait to register for English class.

A Deaf International volunteer comes each week to work with our deaf ESL students.

First Times with Friends

Written by Hannah Hume, Bhutanese Teens Coordinator

My Freshman year of college I lived in India for 5 months. It was a great experience, and one where I got to try a lot of things for the first time. I had my first motorcycle ride there, I ate lots of new foods, took bucket baths, and learned how to barter in the marketplace.

Similarly, many of our Latino and Bhutanese friends get to try lots of things for the first time when they move to America. Some of them are really fun, and some of them are not as fun. Whether it’s using a soda fountain for the first time and marveling at the world of modern convenience, seeing snow for the first time and sledding in it, or doing something less fun like learning how to read utility bills, immigrants get to have lots of firsts.

On Sunday, the Bhutanese outreach got to be a part of an exciting first-time event with our friends: bowling! Mission Adelante ends each trimester with a big party for the community. This trimester some of our staff got creative with the party planning, and we held our party at nearby St. John’s Catholic Club and bowling alley! For most of our Bhutanese friends, this was their first time ever bowling, and they loved it!

Inversely, the American volunteers got to experience some things for the first time, too. There was henna for the ladies to paint their hands, and Nepali Carrom board games for kids and adults to play. And of course we finished the night off with a lot of dancing to Hindi music!  It was a great time to celebrate the end of another trimester of learning English, making new friends, deepening old friendships, and growing in our knowledge of God together!

In other news:

  • Forty-nine Bhutanese ESL students were honored at our party last Sunday night for their consistent attendance this trimester. We are so proud of the way they continue to press into language study!
  • We celebrated our Latino program graduates, both kids and adults, at a party this past Saturday at Bethany Community Center in KCK.  It was a huge success! All of the main courses for dinner were prepared by participants and their families and our Leaders In Training students led activities for all the kids during the adult portion of the program.

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for compassionate and family-friendly immigration reform.
  • Sunday afternoon we will have meetings for students and parents interested in participating in the Leaders In Training program during the 2013-2014 school year.  Pray that the Lord would bring the right kids and guide everyone through the application process.
  • Pray for the Meek family as they're preparing for their return from sabbatical to the States on April 29! (Keep reading below this post for Jarrett's recent "Sabbatical Reflections from Costa Rica!")

Current needs:

  • We're always grateful for donations to our Resource Center. 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! Please contact Molly at mollym@missionadelante.org to arrange a time to drop-off your donation.
  • A Bhutanese family is in need of a car seat for their 18-month-old daughter. If you could provide one, please contact Drew at drewh@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:

  • Saturday, May 4, 2:00: Bhutanese ESL Volunteer Snacks and Training,at Lauren Timberlake’s house. Please consider joining us for fun, prayer and some cultural training as we keep learning how to love the Bhutanese well. Please contact Jenny Dunn at jennyd@missionadelante.org for more details.

Sabbatical Reflections from Costa Rica

by Jarrett Meek, Founder, Executive Director/Pastor

A sabbatical is a strange and wonderful thing; a phenomenon that defies the laws of productivity and normal 

adult experience.  The last time I can remember being free from responsibility for four solid months was before I entered kindergarten, which I naturally don't remember.  Even as a kid, the long summers of swimming, romping in the woods behind our house, and playing baseball always came to an abrupt end after just three months, and were replaced by the rigors of school and the constant pressure of much-dreaded homework.  And then, as an adult, there never really had been a break from responsibility.  Even during a rare two-week vacation there was always the knowledge that my work was waiting at home to punish me for leaving it unattended for so long.  And then suddenly (or not so suddenly if I think about all the preparation that was required), I was extracted from the battlefield of urban ministry in Kansas City on a snowy New Year's Eve morning.  When we landed that evening, I found myself surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of Costa Rica with fireworks lighting up every corner of the warm night sky in what seemed like an extravagant city-wide, "welcome to sabbatical" party; a celebratory beginning of four months free of responsibility and separated from ministry by 2500 miles.  The lessons learned and the experiences lived during this time are in some ways very profound and in others quite mundane.  If you had four months to read, I would share it all with you.  But, for now you'll have to settle for a few highlights!

Routines, Rhythms, and Habits

I learned that a sabbatical is not a vacation.  On vacation, every routine is thrown out the window along with a whole lot of money.  Well, a family can't live like that for four months!  Besides realizing that the high prices of most products in Costa Rica would mean we would be watching every Colón (1/5 of a penny),  we also discovered fairly quickly that if we were going to thrive here during this time we would need to establish some rhythms and routines.  The opportunity to do this without factoring in work meant that daily exercise with the kids, homeschooling (yes, I was in charge of homeschooling during sabbatical), family devotional times, regular time playing basketball and baseball with Charlie, and frequent dates with Kristen would be easily established.  What a rich family time!

My own personal study time was also factored into the daily rhythm; about 2 hours/day of reading, writing, prayer, and Bible study.  This time was not pressured in any way, but at first was simply my time, doing whatever I felt like. It later became a little more focused as I found my rhythm.  One of the things I read in the first month was a classic Latin American novel called "Cién Años de Soledad."  As I reached back to try to remember all of the things I've enjoyed doing in the past, but haven't had time to do, I was struck by the importance of having habits that keep me from having to spend the mental energy making every decision each day about what to focus on.  I discovered that where there are habits and routines established around some of the most important things in our lives we are able to execute them much more consistently because we're not starting from scratch each day trying to make a new plan.  I reflected a lot on the inconsistency of my own spiritual disciplines over the last several years, and a personal goal for this sabbatical became to gently re-establish habits and rhythms around some of the things that are hard to maintain or restart during the busyness of life and ministry on the battlefield.

Primacy of Relationships

In the abundance of family time, devotional time, reading, and the relaxed schedule, the Lord brought me back many times to one important word: relationships.  Where have I put ministry productivity above loving others?  Where have I put ministry function above loving my teammates?  Where have I put results over relationships?  I don't want to be that kind of leader.  I don't want to be that kind of person.  I've seen it before; strong and gifted leaders whose competence replaces character and whose talent becomes a substitute for healthy relationships.  Surely results in ministry are enhanced by rich and thriving relationships over the long-haul.  Surely relationships are the essence of real godly ministry.  I pray the Lord will allow me to grow in this area and give me the eyes to see how I need to change and where I need to pursue reconciliation with people I've hurt along the way.

Being vs. Doing

The tension between "doing and being" is often talked about in ministry circles.  I don't know how this happened, but I think I've always misunderstood what was meant by the "being" side of this equation.  I guess I thought it meant inactivity, rest, just existing, the OPPOSITE of doing; kind of like the difference between work and rest.  Somehow during this sabbatical God changed my understanding of what the "being" side of this balance looks like and gave me a new excitement for it.  First, I discovered that it really isn't a balance at all.  Second, although the work vs. rest rhythm is very important, "BEING" in this sense should not be equated with rest as though it were the opposite of doing.  I spent a lot of time plumbing the depths of my own heart and character and reflecting on who I AM and who I want to BE.  I tried to put some of those thoughts in writing in the form of personal values and found that many of them ended up identifying character qualities that I long to see God form in me.  BEING, I discovered, has to do with what kind of person I AM.  And instead of creating tension with doing, the who I am, is the fountain out of which the doing flows.  "Every good tree produces good fruit..." (Mt. 7:17).  So on sabbatical I had time to reflect on who I am and who I want to be... my own growth and what God is doing in me.  Here is one example:

Lover of Mercy:  I want to always see the potential in the people around me, even those who fail many times.  I want to be quick to show mercy even when I have been personally wronged.  I want to avoid taking harsh and critical views of others, opting instead to be a person who defends the dignity of those whom others judge harshly.

Run While You Can!

Running has been an important part of my life since I was young.  I'll spare you the details of my glory days, but the point is that during this sabbatical I have renewed my love for running.  When we arrived here I have to confess that I was in the worst physical condition of my life.  My joints hurt, I had been dealing with a tight hamstring for nearly a year, I had a mild case of sciatica and a growing belly, and I really hadn't run much since a case of IT band syndrome had foiled my first attempt at training for a marathon back in the summer of 2011.  I felt like I was on a downward spiral in terms of exercise capacity and I was kind of depressed about it.  Well, here I've had ample time to rebuild little by little.  Somewhere along the way it dawned on me that there would come a day when I would not be ABLE to run anymore.  I would not be able to sprint.  I would not be able to run 2 miles.  "I need to enjoy this while I can", I thought.   And so I have!  And as we near the end of this four month half-time break, I am in better running condition that I have been in the last ten years.  I'm 32 years old again!  Just for fun, I've been running a slower version of the dreaded "quarter" workout we used to do in high school track and cross country; 16 x 400m sprints.   And now that I'm back in the exercise groove, my motivation to continue when we return is very strong.

Impact on Mission Adelante

It was never really in doubt, but that doesn't mean it was not significant.  The Lord has blessed Mission Adelante with some really gifted leaders who have been able to guide the ship and take new ground during my absence. And it is now clear that He has built a ministry that is not dependent on the personality of its founder.  All of the responsibilities of running the ministry were passed on to capable staff who led through highlights and challenges, without ever having to hit the emergency button and call me back in.  Not only did Mission Adelante survive, but its impact increased, and its leaders were challenged to grow in ways that would never have happened if I had been there.  And we will now have the opportunity to press into the lessons learned from this "disappearing leader" experiment as we look forward to how God will use this time in our future as a ministry.

With a couple of weeks left in this out-of-responsibility experience, my mind and heart are shifting back home, and I'm excited to reengage with the community and mission that God has given us.  There are exciting things on the horizon for Mission Adelante; things I am eager to share with you soon.  So, I invite you to pray for me in this transition, and for my family, and for the Mission Adelante community as we continue to live our God's calling to serve, share life and share Jesus with people from other places .  Thank you for your friendship and partnership!

I Was a Stranger...

Written by Jason Schoff, Latino Outreach Director


When you go about daily life in the city, you will almost certainly run across people from all reaches of the world.  Every day, more and more immigrants move to our cities seeking new opportunities and we see them in our grocery stores, restaurants, and public spaces like our parks.  Do you ever wonder what life is like for these residents of our city?  The cities we know and love are quite often not easy for foreigners to adjust to.  You can never really understand this reality until you have put yourself in their shoes.  While this might be impossible, Mission Adelante attempts to help staff and volunteers become more and more empathetic as they befriend and build relationships with our immigrant neighbors.


Have you wondered where the idea of "putting yourself in someone else's shoes" originated?  I would put my bet on God's Word.  "I was a stranger and you invited me in" are the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35.  These words communicate such a strong sense of both hospitality and concern for the stranger and there is no question that foreigners would have to be included in the category of "strangers."  What if God had commented more on this topic with relation to the foreigner?  He actually does, throughout the Bible!  We have been asking our staff and volunteers to join us on a 40 day challenge to read scriptures related to this topic and God has strengthened our resolve to help our immigrant neighbors and friends.  

Knowing God's word better will always help us to make informed and God-honoring decisions.  I would assert that we want to see God honored in the decisions our government makes, including decisions pertaining to our immigrant friends.  What will happen with immigration?  Should the laws be changed?  How should they be different?  The Bible has a lot to say on this!  I want to challenge you to join us in reading through scripture and answering these questions as a kingdom citizen.  You may find the answers will lead you to act on behalf of what God desires.  May God bless you for pursuing Him and his ways.

Join the 40 day challenge here.  


In other news:

  • Although our regular programs were suspended last week for Spring Break, many of our volunteers used the opportunity to get together with immigrants they've gotten to know through serving. Way to go, volunteers!
Prayer needs:
  • Pray for a strong finish to the school year for our current Leaders In Training and that the Lord will bring the right students and families to the informational meetings for next year's LIT on Sunday April 21st.
  • This summer, for the first time, we will be selecting immigrant teens to serve as interns. Pray for our staff as we finalize our summer intern selection.
Important dates:
Please note: The dates of the Latino and Bhutanese Spring Parties are reversed on the "2013 Key Dates" magnets. The dates listed here are correct.
  • Saturday, April 13, 5:00-8:00: Latino Spring Party, at Bethany Community Center.  Please come and help us celebrate the accomplishments of our ESL, Teens, Kids Adelante, and L.I.T. students this trimester and honor volunteers with sustained service. Bethany Community Center is located on Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas (66102) between 11th and 12th Streets, behind the fire station.
  • Sunday, April 14, 5:00-8:00: Bhutanese Spring Party, at St. John's Catholic Club and Community Center, 720 N. 4th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101.  Please come and help us celebrate the accomplishments of our ESL, Teens Club, Kids Club, and L.I.T. students this trimester and honor volunteers with sustained service.
  • Saturday, May 4: Bhutanese ESL Volunteer Snacks and Training, at Lauren Timberlake’s house. Please contact Jenny Dunn at jennyd@missionadelante.org for more details.

A Direct Line to the Father

Written by Jenny Dunn, Bhutanese ESL Coordinator

At the beginning of the year, I was pretty overwhelmed with the season the my husband Garett and I were entering into.  The weekends are among the best times for us to connect with our Bhutanese friends relationally, and it seemed that we would be spending most of them either out of town or working on our house as we try to get it in order for the new baby that will be coming, God-willing, in August.  As I began praying about the dilemma, God showed me that this was to be a season of praying for them with expectancy.  At first, I thought it would be one of those things that you commit to at the beginning of the year and then forget all about, but God has not let that happen.  He has driven me into His Word, brought song lyrics into my mind that express my heart, and instructed me.

During that time, Garett and I were studying Matthew 6 along with other Mission Adelante Bhutanese outreach staff and volunteers.  Two nuggets have stuck with me as I've continued to mull over them: First, He is our Father, as we see in Matthew 6 and throughout the New Testament, and second, He is head over the universe and deserves to be honored among all peoples, as Job 38 shows us. Oh, how I long for our immigrant friends to know Him! “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (
Matthew 6:9-10) Yes, yes, yes! Jon Foreman’s song, Your Love is Strong, emphasizes for me the power of The Lord's Prayer. It finds words for the ache of my heart, not only for the salvation of our friends, but for all peoples.


As I have been talking with God more and praying more for our friends, He has instructed me about ministry.  For about six years, Garett and I have been friends with Indian Hindus that we got to know in college.  In spite of the experience that gave us relating with culturally similar people, we have continued to learn a ton since being here in KCK with the Bhutanese. One of those things is that we need to err on the side of speaking about Jesus, rather than waiting for our friends bring Him up.  Since becoming convicted of that, we have been able to use a situation to tell one of our good Bhutanese friends about Jesus' character.  God is good.  We thought that we would spend this season semi-absent from our ministry/friends and therefore praying as an alternate activity, but He has shown us that, rather, prayer is the critical work of ministry, and that which will transform the time we spend with our friends and make our conversations intentional.

We pray that prayer becomes even more central to our approach to ministry as God truly is the One who changes hearts and guides us to speak or not to speak.


In other news:

  • Gang intervention specialist Amy Williams will be coming from Chicago to train Mission Adelante volunteers on Saturday, March 16 on understanding and ministering to the fatherless generation.  We are eager to gain insight from her experience and wisdom!


Current needs:

  • Snacks for the preschoolers at Kids Club, such as Goldfish, animal crackers, cereal, or pretzels.  If you are able to supply any, please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • The Bhutanese and Latino LIT programs would love a generous friend to purchase healthy after-school snacks packaged in single servings for the kids.  We would be blessed to receive 2 months worth of snacks.  Please contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Do you have experience as an early elementary school teacher or a reading interventionist, or know someone who does?  The Bhutanese LIT program could use a few extra tutors to come on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoons to work individually with students who are struggling with reading.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • Five twin beds, two dressers, two kitchen tables, and a living room chair have been requested by families through our Resource Center. If you can donate any of these items, please contact Molly Merrick at mollym@missionadelante.org.

Upcoming dates:
  • Bhutanese Kids Ministry Volunteer Dinner: Saturday, February 23 at 6:30
  • 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.
  • Training by Amy Williams, Gang Intervention Specialist: Saturday, March 16, 9:00-12:00 at Mission Adelante.

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.





Breaking Bread Together

Written by Kristen Maxwell, Bhutanese Children's Ministry Director

Bhutanese & Latino LIT students on a field trip to Union Station

Bhutanese & Latino LIT students on a field trip to Union Station

The Fall 2012 trimester brought another exciting enhancement to the Bhutanese Outreach with the launch of our Leaders in Training program.   It is hard to believe that we already have one trimester behind us and are a few weeks in to our second trimester.  It has been such a joy to add these 11 young leaders to the ranks of the already-existing Latino Leaders In Training program.  Both programs meet three afternoons a week, but have different formats because the two groups of kids have different sets of needs.  Wednesdays, though, have become quite the highlight of each week.  On Wednesdays we gather to eat.  

Each Wednesday afternoon in the

Mission Adelante

 Kids' Room, something beautiful takes place; a feast reflecting what heaven will look like.  The13 Latino LIT kids and the 11 Bhutanese LIT kids come together for a meal with their mentors.  Each group provides a main dish, fruit or vegetable, and dessert.  The menu is always a surprise, and we've come to expect anything from spaghetti or pizza to flautas or tacos to chow mien or curried potatoes.  The parents in our communities take turns providing the dishes, which is something that their kids usually love.  

It has been beautiful to watch the kids' relationships grow by way of sharing meals with one other.  Foods that may have once looked foreign and weird are now more familiar.  Common ground has been found in a fondness for sweet rice; who knew that Kheer and Arroz con Leche were that similar?  In a neighborhood where Latino people and Bhutanese people daily pass each other on the street without much interaction, the Lord has made a way for kids from these two cultures to come together every week to learn about His creative nature by learning about the distinct people and cultures He created.  

Won't you join us in praying for the trimester of LIT that is underway?  Pray that our kids would finish strong and continue to grow in relationship with each other and the Lord.

In other news:

  • The Bhutanese Outreach was recently given a generous gift of Nepali Bibles and Nepali language Jesus Film DVDs to share with our Nepali speaking Bhutanese friends who want to know more about Jesus in their native language.
  • Four teenage Bhutanese boys have taken on volunteer roles in setting up for Teens Club each week and helping with Transportation Team prep work. It’s exciting to see teens serving their own community and growing in leadership. Please pray that our Bhutanese friends would take increased ownership of the ministry and values of Mission Adelante as the trimester proceeds.

Prayer needs:

  • Please pray for Jesus, the father of one of our Latino church members, who has been hospitalized with various health issues.
  • Please pray for one of our kids that is going through a difficult separation from his family. Pray for peace, protection, and healing.
  • Please pray for our Bhutanese friends who recently suffered a break-in and theft at their newly opened Asian convenience store.
  • One of the families in our community lost an uncle this past week.  Pray for peace, and for moments for us to speak truth and love into their lives.

Current needs:

  • We are looking for a volunteer who is skilled in welding and would be interested in helping serve on a Saturday afternoon.  Please contact David Stetler at davids@missionadelante.org.
  • Three sofas have been requested through our Resource Center. We also need diapers sizes 2-5, wipes, and pull-ups in all sizes. Please contact Molly Merrick at mollym@missionadelante.org
  • A dining table and chairs for a recently-arrived family from Nepal. If you have one available 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 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!

The Road to Life-On-Life Discipleship

Written by Drew Hammond, Bhutanese Logistics Coordinator

At Mission Adelante we believe that ministry is primarily a relational endeavor, that genuine compassion and reconciliation requires relationship, and that disciple-making must be life-on-life.

Nearly eight months ago I received a phone call that required an immediate response. A Bhutanese family, who had been in the USA for less than three months, was being forced to move out of their home into a motel at 78th Street and I-70. The house next door to theirs had burned down, the fire severely damaging their home, and they found themselves relocating to the motel located some distance from the majority of the Bhutanese community in Kansas City, KS. As a representative of Mission Adelante, I responded by taking the family food to last them a few weeks until they could relocate to a permanent residence.

When we arrived at the motel, we met the family and delivered the food. The family began to eat and invited me to join them, per the cultural norm.  I tried to refuse, saying, "we brought your family this food since you won't be able to prepare all the food you like while living here.  Keep it for yourselves." A young man about my age responded to my refusal by placing a full plate of food onto my lap.

At that moment, I didn't realize that not only was I beginning a relationship with this family, but that that family would later become my family, and the man that served me the plate of food would become my brother.  You see, now I have the honor of living with this family and sharing my life, and more importantly, the truth of the love of Jesus with them everyday.

In other news:

  • We're so thankful for the Lord’s continued provision!  He has provided so many wonderful new volunteers with the Spring trimester launch!
  • Martin, Iris, Jai and Janga were highlights at our recent volunteer training as they shared parts of their immigrant story with our new volunteers.
  • The Bhutanese outreach programs launched for this trimester on Tuesday night! We are super excited to watch and see what the Lord will do this trimester in everyone’s hearts as we serve and learn together.
  • We were so excited to see our LIT (Leaders in Training) kids back and in action this week!

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for one of our Latino leaders to have wisdom in his decision as he considers moving out of Kansas City.
  • Praise God for growing our immigrant leadership teams! Please pray that they continue to develop leadership skills and increase ownership of our outreach activities.

Current needs:
  • Two women who would be excited about forming discipling/mentoring relationships with Bhutanese teenagers through Bhutanese Teens Club on Tuesday evenings. Please contact Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org.
  • Volunteers for Mission Adelante’s Bhutanese Transportation Team! Our transportation needs are great for our Tuesday night outreach, and we are looking for more volunteers to join the team as drivers. Must be 25 years of age or older, NO CDL REQUIRED. For more information, please contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org
  • A dining table and chairs for a recently-arrived family from Nepal. If you have one available please contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org.
  • Small toys and trinkets (valued at about $1 each--ie Target dollar bins, or dollar store) to be added to our Kids Club prize box, which contains reward for excellent behavior during our Tuesday night program for kids ages 5-12.  If you can help us out contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • Bhutanese and Latino kids' programs are in search of a gently used lamination machine to keep our frequently used materials usable for longer. Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Expo dry-erase markers for use in the Bhutanese Kids Programs.  Please contact Kristen at Kristenm@missionadelante.org.

The Story After the Story

Written by Jason Schoff, Latino Outreach Director


In the days leading up to our Christmas Eve service, I visited several community families in their homes to talk with them about their Christmas plans and to make sure they knew the details for our service.  I found out that one young Latino couple and another single man didn't have any plans for Christmas Eve following our service.  This seemed tragic, especially given that Latinos stay up past midnight on Christmas Eve celebrating with family and friends. What could I do?  I was leaving early the next morning to join my family.  I love to be involved in God's plan but sometimes He reminds me that I am not the main solution, others are.  

Cynthia was the solution.  God used Cynthia and her love for people and hospitality to make the night complete.  When she found out these three friends would be going home without a party to attend, she extended an invitation.  Maybe there was no room in the inn for Jesus nor was there room at other parties for Martin, Sindi and Michael, but Cynthia allowed these fellow believers that opportunity to join her family for tamales, posole, and other traditional Mexican foods.  Cynthia is one of the bright spots in our ministry because she understands the importance of relationships to our discipleship efforts.  It will be exciting to see her take other steps to lead in the year ahead.  

Our Christmas Eve service was a wonderful end to our 2012 ministry season, but so much of what makes us excited happens outside of the big events when perhaps only God is watching.


In other news:

  • The Mission Adelante staff enjoyed a restful and refreshing break spent with family and friends! Thank you for your prayers to that end.  Most of us returned to the office reinvigorated (there's some illness about), and we're looking forward to diving into a new trimester.
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for our new volunteers as they come for orientation this Saturday. Pray that they would feel welcomed and encouraged by the opportunity to serve with us!
  • Please pray for the Bhutanese Leadership team meeting on Sunday.  Pray for ownership, direction, and vision for this team.
  • We would love prayers for all of our outreach activities as they ramp back up over the next week, that the Lord would guide us to be His hands and feet to the community that we love and serve. Pray particularly on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for smooth, stress free, and Spirit-filled days as our outreach programs launch for the spring trimester.

Other needs:
  • Volunteers to serve once per week for the duration of the spring trimester, beginning next week (the week of January 14) and concluding the week of April 8:
    • Two men and 1 woman who would be excited about forming discipling/mentoring relationships with Bhutanese teenagers through Bhutanese Teens Club on Tuesday evenings. Please contact Hannah Hume at hannahh@missionadelante.org.
    • Volunteers who love kids and love Jesus to mentor Bhutanese kids ages 5-12 on Tuesday evenings. Specifically, two more men are needed. Please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
    • Volunteers to mentor Latino kids through either Leaders In Training on Monday or Tuesday afternoons, or Kids Adelante outreach Bible study on Thursday evenings. Please contact Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org.
    • Volunteers to help organize our Resource Center on Wednesday afternoons between 1 and 3 pm. The Resource Center provides food, clothing, and household items to immigrants in need of these items. Please contact Molly Merrick at mollym@missionadelante.org if you're available at that time.
  • A dining table and chairs. If you have one available please contact Drew Hammond at drewh@missionadelante.org.
  • Two twin beds, 1 queen bed, a sofa, and a kitchen table and chairs to seat 6 or 7 have been requested through our Resource Center. The Resource Center also needs inventory including new and gently used kitchen items, bedding, towels, and medium stuffed animals. 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.           
  • Small toys and trinkets (valued at about $1 each--ie Target dollar bins, or dollar store) to be added to our Kids Club prize box, which contains reward for excellent behavior during our Tuesday night program for kids ages 5-12.  If you can help us out contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • The Bhutanese and Latino LIT programs need a small group (or groups) to purchase pre-packaged, healthy, after-school snacks for the kids.  We would be blessed to receive a couple months (@ 3 days/week) worth of snacks.  Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Fifteen to twenty 8 GB flash drives for the Latino LIT students to use, preferably with a ring or another way to attach them to lanyards. Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • Bhutanese and Latino kids' programs are in search of a gently used lamination machine to keep our frequently used materials usable for longer. Please contact Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.

Important dates:
  • Volunteer Orientation & Training--Saturday, January 12 @ 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.  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, January 14 @ 6:30 p.m.  We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our spring trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch.
  • Spring trimester programs launch--Week of January 14