Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Battling for Purity

According to El Centro’s youth survey from 2006, one in five pre-teen and teenage Latino immigrants report being sexually active. The oldest group in Kids Adelante has arrived at this threshold and we are praying that God will protect their innocence. Last Friday night, Megan McDermott and Molly Merrick, two of our summer interns, initiated a special Bible-study group with seven of these girls that will focus on issues related to purity and relationships.

The kick-off to the pre-teen girls Bible study was a slumber party complete with all the things girls do, including nail painting, baking cookies, watching “chick flicks”, dancing, and only a couple hours of sleep. In this context our interns saw another side of the girls and found that they were more than willing to open up to them about their personal struggles.

Through the rest of the summer, Megan will lead the girls through an eight-week study of a book called, Every Young Woman’s Battle. Discussion will include topics like, “body image”, “dressing to impress”, and “healthy boundaries with the opposite sex.” These topics and others will all tie together with an emphasis on developing intimacy and a sense of self worth in a relationship with God.

This is a ground-breaking step in the development of Kids Adelante. So, please pray with us for this group. Pray for Megan as she leads it. And pray for the girls who are involved. Join us in asking God to draw these girls into the kind of relationship with Him that gives them the confidence to have healthy relationships with the young men that are already beginning to pursue them.

In other news:
  • Eighty-five adults and kids were directed to the basement at Mission Adelante Headquarters last Thursday evening when the severe weather sirens sounded. Fortunately, a heavy thunderstorm was as severe as the weather got, and everyone was able to go home safely. Gregg Frost obtained a weather radio for the building so we'll be well-informed of threatening weather in the future.
  • Sofie Strohmeier arrived on Sunday after finishing her school year to join the other interns. We're excited to welcome her to the neighborhood for the next two months!

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for God's blessing as Jarrett forms a team of volunteers for the Leaders In Training and tutoring program slated to begin this fall. This will be an opportunity for intensively relational mentorship for a select group of kids.
  • Pray for Molly's effort to learn Spanish to be successful this summer.
  • Please continue to pray for the Hispanic couple in our community that has faced ongoing trouble in their marriage. They've been back for the past two Sunday evenings! Ask God to bring them to a new level of consistency in their faith and marriage relationship.

Current needs:

  • rectangular folding tables, 8-foot preferred
  • gas grills
  • gas powered weed eater

Important upcoming dates:

  • June 28: Soccer clinic for Kids Adelante kids and families
  • July 3: No ESL classes or Kids Adelante (trimester break)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What if the Church Served Together?

A lot happened around Mission Adelante this past week, but the most noteworthy highlight occurred on Saturday. Hoards of volunteers, from professionals to kids, with tools ranging from mops to a 125-foot lift machine, converged on Mission Adelante's property for a work day. There were so many volunteers doing so many projects that I couldn't even count them. My best guess is 200 +. Needless to say the impact was nothing less than a breath-taking aesthetic transformation of our property.

This workday was neither thought up nor led by Mission Adelante staff. Instead it was an inspired experiment of three suburban churches that have recently begun to discuss the disappointing divisions and territorialism they see among American churches today. As the three pastors of these churches began talking and praying with one another, an idea was born. One thing led to another and the Lord led them to develop a three-part series called, "What if the Church...believed together, prayed together, served together?". To drive the message home, each part of the teaching was acted upon in a tangible way. First came the "pastor swap" as they talked about "what if the church believed together?", then a joint worship and prayer service at Shawnee Mission Park, and finally a serve day in which all three churches mustered all the physical resources and volunteers they could to serve at several urban sites in the city. The response was overwhelming, and the name of Jesus was lifted high above the name of any one church or organization.

For Mission Adelante, the physical impact to our property was quite significant. But, beyond that, there were several layers of impact that aren't seen by the casual observer. The immigrant members of our small congregation continue to be awed by love and generosity shown by American Christians toward them. It is something that they don't expect and certainly don't feel entitled to receive. Secondly, the servant-hearted example set by these churches motivates and casts vision to our developing community regarding what it looks like to use out gifts and talents for the kingdom of God. And thirdly, our rag-tag church feels the blessing of knowing that we are not in this alone. We are part of a bigger movement of God in our city, something that is so important for us as we struggle to become established and vibrant.

So, thank you to those who served, to those who prayed, and to those who planned. And thank you to all who have ever served, planned, and prayed for Mission Adelante. We feel the blessings of our partnership with you!

In other news:

  • The launch of our summer trimester last Thursday was was another huge success. ESL Level 1 is being held in the building for the first time, which allowed us to admit the largest group of students we've ever had! Furthermore, 45 kids came to Kids Adelante!
  • A family for whom we've asked for prayer in recent weeks returned to our Sunday Worship Celebration after a six-week absence. Their volatile lives are a continuous struggle for them, but we rejoiced to see them again!

Prayer needs:

  • Three pre-teen Latina girls have joined Megan's summer Bible-study on the topic of purity, while Megan is continuing to recruit more. Please pray for more girls to be interested in the study and receptive to the counter-cultural message.
  • Pray for Molly's effort to learn Spanish to be successful this summer.
  • Sofie Strohmeier, our third summer intern, will move to the neighborhood this Sunday, June 15. Ask the Lord to allow her a smooth integration into the intern team.
  • Pray for God's blessing as Jarrett forms a team of volunteers for the Leaders In Training and tutoring program slated to begin this fall. This will be an opportunity for intensively relational mentorship for a select group of kids.
  • A group of at least five volunteers from Warrensburg, MO are coming this Thursday through Saturday to hold an English Camp. Please pray that it runs smoothly and that our English students take advantage of the opportunity.

Current needs:

  • Gas-powered weed eater
  • Gas grills

Important upcoming dates:

  • June 28: Kids Adelante soccer clinic outreach

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Interns are Here!

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Jesus spoke those words in reference to the fact that the opportunities for ministry will always exceed the called, equipped and dedicated people available to fulfill those needs.

We recognize that those words are true in Mission Adelante’s context. With this in mind we have launched our pilot summer internship this week. Two interns, Molly Merrick and Megan McDermott have joined us already and Sofie Strohmeier will jump in on June 15th after she finishes her semester at DePaul University. As God continues to give us opportunities to expand our reach within our community we take seriously the responsibility He has given us to be diligent about growing new workers for His harvest.

Indeed, our internship is not only an opportunity to have a little extra help around here this summer, but is really more focused on equipping emerging leaders for cross-cultural ministry. It is a learning experience meant to orient interns to the reality of cross-cultural ministry and help them sort out the nudges they’ve been feeling in their heart towards pursuing this as a calling and vocation.

A very important part of the internship includes living in our neighborhood and being available to build relationship with immigrants on a daily basis. Mercy and Truth Medical Missions has provided housing for them in their dorm facility on the property that was formerly the Central Baptist Seminary; a perfect scenario that ensures safety, flexibility, and a very reasonable price. After a couple days of orientation, training, and community building with our staff families, Megan and Molly are already out spending time with kids in the neighborhood.

Heartland Community Church is providing another key component to the internship through their Leadership Training Project. Three mornings a week our interns will participate with Heartland’s interns in devotions and ministry related seminars. What a blessing our partnership with Heartland continues to be!

As you pray for Mission Adelante this summer, please pray that God would raise us workers for his harvest. Pray for a productive summer of learning for Molly, Megan and Sofie. And pray that God would use their service this summer to have a deep impact on the adults and kids in our community.

In other news:
  • Registration for summer ESL classes and Kids Adelante was last Thursday evening at 6:30. People began coming at 6:00, and the Level 1 ESL class was full by 6:35, with a waiting list resulting! We no longer promote our ESL program in the community; all the interest is cultivated through word of mouth.
  • We'll launch summer ESL classes and Kids Adelante this Thursday evening.
  • Bill Campbell, an audiologist who has volunteered in our ESL classes for over a year, offered his help to the father of one of his students last night. The man suffers from job-related hearing loss. Bill conducted a hearing test for him, and will provide him with a pair of hearing aids.
  • All 15 L.T.P. interns from Heartland Community Church visited the Mission Adelante Facility this morning to learn about our work in this neighborhood. We enjoyed their visit.
  • We're highly anticipating the "What if the Church Served Together?" event this Saturday. The event is a partnership between Heartland Community Church, Westside Family Church, and Cedar Ridge Christian Church, and we're anticipating receiving the help of a large number of volunteers that day, who will undertake various projects at our facility. For more information, check out http://whatifthechurch.shawncm217.com/.

Prayer needs:

  • The current economic downturn has lessened the demand in the industries in which many of our Hispanic friends work, creating desperation for jobs. Please pray for God's provision of their material needs, and their recognition that the provision has come from God.
  • Megan McDermott is planning a summer Bible study for pre-teen Latinas in our community on the topic of purity. Please pray for God's leading as she plans and conducts the study.
  • Pray for God to clarify Molly Merrick's calling and direction as she explores different avenues of serving this summer.

Current needs:

  • Gas powered weed eater

Important upcoming dates:

  • June 5: Summer ESL classes and Kids Adelante begin
  • June 7: "What if the Church Served Together?"