Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apples in the Desert

When Mission Adelante launched three years ago, our hope was that one day we would see Latino immigrants who had received Christ through our ministry beginning to discover the blessing of serving others and doing ministry alongside us. This, in fact, is precisely what Jesus did this with His disciples. He called them to follow. He taught and modeled the Christian life. He demonstrated ministry and delegated responsibilities. He supervised and gave feedback. The ministry of Jesus, as much as it was to the multitudes, was even more focused on twelve “disciples” who he was equipping and mobilizing to one day bring to fruition the first phase of his plan to redeem people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Today, half way around the world, and in every corner of the earth, we are still carrying out this same mission.

This evangelizing-establishing-equipping-mobilizing process does not take place over night! It requires a long-term commitment and investment in the lives of people who are learning to seek God for the first time. For nearly a year the core team of staff and volunteers involved in our first Bible study poured themselves into one couple who had received Christ and many others who we were meeting through our English classes. In year two, many more began to join our group and grow in Christ. Now, at the close of year three, we are seeing many of these fledgling believers begin to find their wings in serving. For the first time we have two Latino couples co-leading Bible studies in homes. A young Hispanic woman leads our “service team” with several other Latino members who maintain our new facility. Another Hispanic woman coordinates hospitality for our worship services. And, as our small congregation continues to grow, members from our own community have begun to take responsibility for developing a children’s ministry on Sunday nights. God is producing fruit.

The spiritual process of planting, watering, and harvesting is not without its heartaches. It seems that each victory is hard-fought in our context. The volatility of immigrants’ lives, the cultural obstacles to overcome, and the raw brokenness that comes from sin make for some pretty discouraging days. And so, I find myself writing this brief update, not only to fill you in on God’s work, but also to encourage myself to reflect on the ways God has produced fruit from some very dry and weary soil. Please pray with us for the immigrants in our community who are beginning to serve. Pray that they would serve with joyful hearts. Pray that they would become more and more consistent and diligent in their service. Pray that their faith and commitment to Christ will grow through their work for Him.

In other news:
  • Thirty-five English Language Learners, 49 kids, and 33 American volunteers made for a great first night of our fall trimester last Thursday!
  • Twenty-five adults attended small groups in neighborhood homes on Sunday evening and began studying Paul's letter to the Philippians.
  • Marty Siler of Epic Landscaping volunteered his time to level the soccer field that is being built on the Mission's property and prepare it for seeding.

Prayer needs:

  • Jose, who we told you returned to Mexico last week to care for his ill son, arrived there and called with an update: His son has come out of a coma and is no longer mortally ill, but faces several more months in the hospital. Please continue praying for his recovery.
  • Please petition God to stabilize the financial situation of one of our community families.
  • Pray for Rogelio, the 11-year-old son of a family in our community. He is displaying a lot of rebellion and becoming quite a challenge to his parents.
  • Jacob and Michelle Holland, volunteers and faith-community members, are expecting the arrival of their baby girl this week. Please pray for a safe and pleasant delivery.

Current needs:

To restock our resource center for the new trimester:

  • baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.)
  • non-perishable food items

To find a complete list of requested items to stock the Resource Center, click http://www.missionadelante.org/docs/ResourceCenterOngoingNeedsList.doc.

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