Light in the Dark

Written by Andrew Pollock and Rachel Schwagerman, Mission Adelante summer interns

The Prescott neighborhood is across the street from Mission Adelante. The historic neighborhood is tight-knit with cute old houses, but over the years has become run down and is now home to many immigrants and aliens living below the poverty line. All of the problems that parallel poverty, such as drug abuse, drunkenness and gang activity have made it a less-than-desirable neighborhood. This is where many of the Mission Adelante families live. Last week we had the great privilege to host one of our kids camps in the neighborhood park and had the great help of the youth group from Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC). For three evenings, we took over the park, which included playing, dancing, singing, running, and laughing with around 40 children, transforming it from darkness to light for a couple of hours these evenings. To be able to provide that experience for those kids is such a great feeling, because certainly no one else is. We sang fun Bible songs, and neighbors drove by, some gawking and some smiling through their windows. These summer events are our outreach time and having the youth of EBC to help was a great blessing. As a result, several new kids came to Kids Adelante on Thursday night and hopefully they will keep coming throughout the year.

One of my (Rachel) favorite things about living in this immigrant neighborhood and serving as an intern for the summer is the availability that I have for the kids and families who live right in my own back yard. Getting to surprise-visit kids who have been sitting all day in their homes dying of boredom really excites me when I knock on their door and they see my face. One little girl who I spent a lot of time with this week by taking her to the kids camp was my sweet friend, seven year old Galilea. Previously that week, I promised her a visit and she grew in excitement. When I showed up at her door, she was ready to go in less than 30 seconds. We first took a trip to the Paleteria, a famous ice cream shop that is right behind Prescott Park where we had planted our kids camp. I got her a cool treat before we spent the next few hours playing games outside. The joy that she had on her face and the excitement that it brought me when seeing her participate in fellowship with her friends and singing songs, encouraged me for the rest of the week. I see the work of the Lord everywhere, even in places where you least expect it.

I (Andrew) have been playing around like a kid with several of the Adelante boys this summer, and I believe it is the most valuable work I do. There are so many heart-wrenching stories of lost dads, older brothers in jail and all kinds of traumatic events that fill our kids' lives. So when I can spend an afternoon riding bikes, or an hour kicking a soccer ball with one of these guys, I know my time is well spent because of the smile stuck on their face and the joy in their eyes. In a world that constantly crushes these families, having hope is a struggle. That’s why God blesses us by giving us hope and faith. The freedom that Christ brings us can be made real, here and now! Therefore, the Gospel is of tremendous worth to these young souls, and mine too, and even more so now that I have joined them in a small way in their experience of living as outsiders.

In other news:
  • Immigration seminar on July 24: We're very excited to announce the next Adelante Missions Institute Saturday Seminar on Saturday, July 24. Dr. Danny Carroll and Jenny Hwang will speak on the timely and important topic of immigration. Please follow this link for all the details and to register!
  • Two of the summer interns are celebrating birthdays this week. On their own initiative, they used the occasions to host a birthday party here in the neighborhood last Saturday and invited our whole Latino community to celebrate with them! We are so proud of the way they're fully engaged in Mission Adelante's vision.
  • Last weekend the Board of Directors approved the Bhutanese outreach pilot as a permanent component of Mission Adelante's ministry! This came sooner than expected because of the obvious viability and relevance of the outreach. The approval opens the opportunity to begin to hire staff to fill key roles.
Prayer needs:
  • Praise God with us! A Latino family that we've been pursuing for four years through our English classes and Kids Adelante outreaches took the step to come to our worship celebration for the first time on Sunday. Please pray that they would be moved to worship with us again.
  • Please continue to pray for deep discussion and for the young people's understanding of spiritual things to be nurtured as Latino pre-teen girls, teen girls, and teen guys meet in separate Bible studies throughout the summer.
  • Pray for refreshment for staff and volunteers during this break week, and that our outreach programs will not have suffered any loss of momentum when they meet again next week.
Current needs:
  • We're looking for a couch to help furnish the home of a Bhutanese family. We can pick it up anytime during the day this Monday, July 5. If you have one that you would like to donate, please e-mail David Stetler, and attach a photo of the couch if possible.
Important dates:
  • Today, June 29: Mid-Trimester Break. No Bhutanese outreach programs.
  • Thursday, July 1: Mid-Trimester Break. No Latino outreach programs.