Written by Brooke Coon, Teens Adelante Director
As one of the volunteers, Karlie Cooper, was sharing with Teens Adelante about her spiritual gift of Shepherding, something she said pierced my heart. “One of the drawbacks, or temptations of this gift can be that we are easily discouraged by the condition of the flock.” In the past two years, I have seen teens come and go. I have seen them step into their full potential and then watched them lured back into destruction, and I struggle through the choice between relentlessly pursuing these straying sheep and giving them space to grow, while focusing my energy on the ready disciples.
Last week I felt a nudge to pursue a teenager that I had painfully let distance herself last Fall. Jesus reawakened my heart to be with her, so I hesitantly called her, not sure how she would respond, and she jumped at my invitation to spend time together.
By the end of our joyful evening together, I found myself humbled at what God had been doing in this young woman during the past few months. I asked her if she recalled one of the last spiritual conversations we had and we picked up from there. “Are you still angry at Him?” I asked. “No,” she simply replied, so lightheartedly. I was kind of shocked and asked her, “How did that change happen?” “Well, I pray,” she said. She continued on and I began to see that in her time away from this community, she has discovered what she doesn’t want to fill her life with. Some of us have to go through a process of elimination to get to the Truth and it can be painful to watch ones we love “turn away” from what we think is good for them. But I am so encouraged this week by the Good Shepherd.
I can so easily forget that he holds every sheep in his hand, no matter how ugly the battle appears. As much as I wanted to gain all my energy from the encouragement of a lost sheep regained, I reminded myself of how I don’t want all my energy to be lost over a sheep gone astray. I thanked the Lord for this encouragement and his consistent pursuit of her, and worshipped him for being the perfect Shepherd, always full of patience and compassion for those who are lost. Always in control of the Teens Adelante flock, whether united or scattered. It seems that they are just learning to distinguish the sound of His voice by hearing the way all the others contrast.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4
In other news:
- Our Easter celebration with our Bhutanese friends was a prayerful pursuit on the part of the staff to give families a context for worshiping Jesus that included elements familiar to their culture, so as to show them that commitment to Christ and the Lordship of Jesus does not mean a cultural conversion, but a new life in Jesus. It was well-attended and a thoroughly enjoyable celebration!
- Our Easter celebration with our Latino community was also very well attended, with immigrants leading the congregation through many parts of the worship.
- There will be a Bake Sale and Jewelry Sale this evening (April 12) at 8:30 (immediately following programming) to benefit the L.I.T. Canoe Trip at the end of the school year. This is a reward trip for the students that succeeded at meeting the expectations for L.I.T. participation throughout the whole school year.
- Join us for our Spring parties this weekend! The party with our Latino friends will be Saturday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m. The party with our Bhutanese friends will be Sunday, April 15 at 4:00 p.m. Both parties will be at Bethany Community Center, 1120 Central Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66102.
- Pray for staff members David & Holly Stetler and children, Kristen Maxwell, Drew Hammond, and several volunteers who will travel to Nepal/India next week for an exploratory-training-leadership trip. Pray for the Lord to grant them easy and trouble-free travel.
- Join us in praying for a couple of particular families going through really hard times right now. Also pray for an abundance of patience, discernment and courage for the members of our staff that are walking with them.
- Praise God for the amazing ways God was at work during Jarrett's trip to Q-ba last week, and for Jarrett's safe return to Kansas City on Monday.
- A washing machine, which has been requested through our resource center.
- Teens Adelante is hoping for summer swimming lessons for 10-15 teenagers. Please contact Brooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can teach swimming lessons to full-grown teens or can help us find a good instructor.
- A ceiling-mounted projector and protective cage
- Large storage bins with lids (Rubbermaid-type)
- Saturday, June 30 @ 9:00 a.m. Adelante Missions Institute Seminar. We're pleased to announce that Noel Castellanos, CEO of Christian Community Development Association, will visit Kansas City at the end of June. Mark your calendar!