Introducing Kristen Allen: Director of Community Development!

by Jarrett Meek, Founder, Executive Director/Pastor

I’m pleased to introduce you to Mission Adelante’s newest staff member!  For nearly a year and a half we have been dreaming, praying and planning for the launch of our new “Community Development Initiatives”, a new ministry division that will address some of the broader needs of our community including health-care, jobs and job skills training, and small business coaching for immigrants and refugees.  Because we believe that ministry begins with a called leader, many of our prayers have been for God to provide just the right person to lead this new effort.  We’ve prayed for someone who is an experienced organizational leader, someone who has passion for and cultural competence in working with immigrants and refugees, a person who is excited about living in our neighborhood, a leader whose competence and character will inspire the health-care professionals and business people who will be our partners, someone whose love for God and neighbor are deep and proven, and a person who is able to build strong and effective partnerships within our community to accomplish community development goals in a collaborative way.  Those qualifications seem like a tall order, but we believe God has provided just the right person!

So, with great enthusiasm, I present to you Kristen Allen, our new Director of Community Development!  Kristen, her husband Josh, and their three year old daughter, Samorn, moved to our KCK neighborhood in December, and have spent the last several months getting personally involved in the Mission Adelante family and helping to lay the foundations for some of the new initiatives we hope to launch in the coming months.  Although Kristen is a recent addition to our neighborhood, her experience working with refugees in our area and her knowledge of the unique needs of our community are extensive. Having worked as the Director of Refugee and Migrant Services at Catholic Charities in KCK from January 2008 to May 2012, Kristen’s leadership in developing programs, leading staff, and her cultural competence are well-proven.  During her tenure at Catholic Charities, Mission Adelante staff had frequent interactions with Kristen and experienced her collaborative spirit first hand as we coordinated services together for our Bhutanese friends.  Kristen brings with her many significant relationships with community leaders within other refugee groups in KCK, including the Chin, Karen and Karenni groups, opening up possibilities for Mission Adelante to serve new ethnic communities in our area.  The Mission Adelante community and the larger community of KCK is very blessed to have her as a part of the team!

In other news:

  • Welcome, Jude Elden Stetler!  Jude was born to David & Holly and siblings Anna and Isaac on Friday, April 26.  Everyone is doing well!
  • Jarrett & Kristen Meek and family were greeted by a lively welcome party at the airport upon their arrival back to Kansas City on Monday evening.  They say they were ready to conclude their four-month sabbatical to Costa Rica and come back to Mission Adelante.  We're very happy to have them back!
  • We've known Iris, now a high-school senior, for around six years while she participated in Kids Adelante, Leaders In Training, and Teens Adelante.  Megan McDermott dedicated many hours last fall and this spring walking Iris through college admission and scholarship applications.  Iris has decided to attend K.U. and aspires to become a doctor.  We're enormously proud of her!
Current needs:
  • Sets of 5-7 toddler-friendly board books (baby animals, counting, body parts, etc) for a Mommy & Me English workshop this summer. If you are able to provide one or more books, please contact Lauren at
Important Dates:
  • Bhutanese ESL Volunteer Snacks and Training:
     Saturday, May 4, 2:00, 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 for more details.
  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, May 18, 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 attend this informative training.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert: Monday, May 20, 6:30 p.m.  We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our summer trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch.
  • Summer trimester programs launch: Week of May 27