A Soccer Ball and an Emerging Leader

Written by Michael Pollock, Teens Adelante volunteer

At the end of September, the Mission Adelante staff, a few volunteers including me, and five neighborhood teens traveled to Minneapolis for the annual CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) National Conference.  There was a lot of great teaching and training in the plenary sessions, workshops, and luncheons.  However, it began to feel like an information overload, so we enjoyed the scheduled (and a few unscheduled) breaks from time to time.  

During a break, Johnny (one of the teens) and I went out to explore downtown Minneapolis.  
Johnny was in search of some postcards featuring Minneapolis to show his family and friends where he had been. I was bent of buying a soccer ball, because, in an unprecedented lapse of judgement, none of the teens had brought one on the trip!


After we found the items we were looking for, we were faced with a challenge: where, in a dense downtown urban area, do you find a large enough space
to kick around a soccer ball?  The nearest field that I saw on Google maps was a good 25 minute walk away, but just then Johnny suggested playing in an alley less than a block from our hotel.  So there in the middle of a big city, on a beautiful day, during an intense conference, Johnny and I kicked the ball off the walls of the buildings lining a dirty alley.  Normally scuffing up a brand new ball on brick walls and splashing it in dirty puddles isn’t ideal, but in this case it was perfect.


The time we spent together not only helped me improve my ball handling skills, but Johnny and I deepened our friendship.  In one of the workshops that I attended at CCDA, I learned that this type of relationship is the kind that can lead to the emergence of leaders from our neighborhood (one of Mission Adelante's core values.)  Another stage in the development of leaders, according to the workshop, is “turning spiritual corners” (see, I did learn something!)  Johnny had shown interest since he started coming to Teens Adelante, and we've detected ongoing spiritual growth in him, but since CCDA I have noticed a heightened desire in him to deepen his relationship with Christ particularly through the Word.  Just last week at Teens Adelante, he expressed a desire for a devotional that would help him get into the Word more!

I feel so blessed to know Johnny and the rest of the 
Teens Adelante teens, and God has been showing me more and more what it means to share my life with them.  One of the first speakers at the CCDA conference emphasized how our stories are the method by which we enlarge the kingdom of God, and by God’s providence the first day I was back from the conference I read a verse that confirmed that: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Rev. 12:11 [ESV] (emphasis added).


In other news:

  • Girls from Teens Adelante have started a Bible study on Thursdays and prayed last week that teens will come “because they want to know Jesus, not because someone is making them.”
  • The Bhutanese and Latino Leaders in Training took an enrichment trip to Deanna Rose yesterday. As they're getting to know one another and learning more about one another's cultures their friendships are growing. The Bhutanese kids were especially excited to see the goats, an animal that is commonplace in Nepal, but that they haven't seen since moving to the U.S.
Prayer needs:

  • Halloween night falls on Wednesday next week--Teens Adelante night. Please pray for wisdom, discernment, faith, and that the Lord’s will be done that night at the home of the Coons!
Current needs:

  • 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!
  • Bibles for Teens Adelante youth. Please contact Brooke at brookec@missionadelante.org for more details if you would like to contribute.
  • Kids Club, our Bhutanese kids' outreach, is growing in number and growing up.  Many of our kids have outgrown the games in our game cabinet.  We are in need of board games suitable for 4th-6th graders!  Some ideas include Blokus, Battleship, Simon, Perfection, and Jenga. Please contact Kristen at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
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.