Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Intersection of Two Worlds

Mission Adelante is not only a ministry to Hispanic immigrants; it is also a ministry for people who have a heart for cross-cultural ministry. From our inception, we have realized that there are many, many people in suburban churches in America who feel some sense of calling to invest in people from other cultures. Some have lived oversees. Others have been on short-term mission trips. Many feel a sense of unease about wrapping themselves in affluence without ever rubbing shoulders with people experiencing the brokenness of poverty or struggling to survive here in a foreign land. Mission Adelante stands as a bridge between these two worlds which are geographically so close but whose intersection with one another is so very limited.

Bethany Croasmun is a volunteer who recently joined the Mission Adelante team. Growing up in urban Chicago, Bethany learned to speak Spanish in school and with friends and has had a lot of cross-cultural experience for a woman her age. Mission trips to Ecuador, followed by a year of Bible college there were some of the building blocks of her desire to serve in a cross-cultural context. As a part of her International Relations program at Georgetown University, Bethany studied abroad in Mexico City. And, following her study abroad experience, was beginning a short-term stint working as a missionary there when a serious illness struck and she had to return home.

With a passion for Hispanic culture and ministry, Bethany doubted she would find an outlet for her calling here in Kansas City. But, in her words, “God took something that could have been really traumatic in my life and turned in into an opportunity to grow in cross-cultural ministry in a different context.” For Bethany, like most of us, it was surprising to find a mission field in her own backyard. For many of us who have lived in another country and been welcomed with open arms it is easy to imagine how lonely and isolating the experience would have been without the support and hospitality of people in our host country. Unfortunately, that is the experience of many immigrants in the U.S. However, when Christians show godly compassion and hospitality to “outsiders” in our country they are surprised and moved by it. Bethany notes, “The combination of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs really puts people in a place where they are open to hearing about God’s love.”

It has been exciting to see how God has used Mission Adelante to connect people like Bethany to a cross-cultural ministry opportunity right here in our own city. Currently more than 70 ongoing volunteers serve on a regular basis at Mission Adelante in addition to many more who come as part of occasional work projects. Even with such a strong team of volunteers, the opportunity and need is much larger than we can address. As the Mission Adelante board and leadership look forward over the next five years, we anticipate the need for more staff and more volunteers to continue to meet the needs in our current neighborhood as well as other areas of the city where Hispanic immigrants make up a significant portion of the population. Please pray with us as we continue to make the effort to mobilize people who are called to serve in cross-cultural ministry to this mission field right here at home.

In other news:
  • The Board of Overseers met Sunday and approved the Five-Year Plan, which details the development of Mission Adelante's ministry through 2013. Please pray for board and staff members to have wisdom to discern the initial steps to implement during 2009.
  • The Resource Center Team including one Hispanic opened the Center on Saturday morning. A very thankful family received food and clothing items.
  • Spanish classes to help equip volunteers have ramped up again this fall, with ten students.
  • We're grateful for Karen Harvey and her team from Christ Community Church that provides a complete meal for Leaders In Training students and volunteers each Monday.

Prayer needs:

  • Please pray for Seth Sears' family, as they're grieving the loss of Seth's grandfather this week. Also, keep Jason Schoff and his family in your prayers, as Jason's grandfather is in his last days.

Current needs:

To restock our resource center:

  • baby items, especially diapers and wipes
  • non-perishable food item
  • winter clothes

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

Important upcoming dates:

  • Monday, December 1 @ 6:30: All Volunteer Team Meeting
  • Saturday, December 13: Trimester-End Party

No comments: