These feelings have been growing over the past week as a handful of fresh crises and challenges have arrived on Mission Adelante's doorstep. However, two visitors to the Bible study we have in our home each Sunday night brought it all to the surface. Catalina, a recently widowed immigrant, and her friend Isabel, whose husband is in prison, showed up at our Bible study with a set of life circumstances that would have caused even the strongest person to buckle. Between tears and contagious laughter they shared their stories with our group and we talked about what it means to care for one another in Christian community. As we went around the room and shared prayer requests, Isabel gave thanks for Catalina's friendship and the generous act of taking her in after her husband was arrested. Without English, having arrived in the U.S. only a few months before, her husband in prison, and with the responsibility of caring for two children, Isabel is hard pressed to find work in this flagging economy and this foreign land. And Catalina, having lost her husband just four months ago, is now faced with the reality of having to provide for herself and her youngest son who is sixteen years old. They talked about making tamales, Mexican hot chocolate called "atole", and cleaning houses to make ends meet. Hope and desperation mixed as I saw an older Catalina giving motherly hope to the vulnerable Isabel, and a youthful Isabel giving comfort to a mourning widow.
For me personally, I am challenged by what to do when surrounded by these circumstances. My hoarding heart wants to guard what is mine. And yet, the Spirit of God pushes me to act sacrificially. "How much is enough?" I ask myself. "What can I consider my own?" "Is this not a black hole of needs that can never be met?" Then I remember that Jesus said, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:25.
Lord, help us to give our lives away in service to you. Help us to consider others more important that ourselves. Help us to be willing to lose our lives and all we consider ours to find abundant life in you!
In other news:
- Alberto, Hispanic co-leader of the Schoff's small group, led the study himself for the first time on Sunday evening while Jason was at the Mission with the children's ministry. He is continuing to show potential for a role of greater leadership in our community of faith!
- The Sunday evening children's ministry is developing, with three rotating point-people and most community members routinely volunteering to help.
- Wisdom to reallocate Seth Sears' responsibilities to staff members and volunteers. Seth's apprenticeship ended last week so he and Andrea can focus full-time on fundraising for their family's upcoming ministry in Costa Rica.
- God's financial provision for the Meek and Schoff families, who are fundraising for 2009, Molly Merrick and Megan McDermott, who are fundraising to come on staff, and the Sears family, who is fundraising for their new role with Christ for the City.
- an electric stove
- a washing machine
Call the office at (913) 281-6274 of you can provide one of these items.
If you come to the Mission routinely, you may have noticed the gray Rubbermaid bin in the front foyer to collect food donations. It will remain there permanently, so feel free to drop off your donation of non-perishable items whenever you come to the neighborhood!
- Thursday, November 27: Fall break (Thanksgiving.) No ESL classes or Kids Adelante.
- Monday, December 1: All-Volunteer Team Meeting. 6:30 @ the Mission
- Saturday, December 13: Trimester-end/Christmas Party. 5:30 @ Bethany Community Center