Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Mother's Sacrifice

Four years ago, Graciela and her six kids boarded a plane in Argentina bound for the United States. She sought the best possible education for her children. She left behind a fifteen-year career as a pediatrician. From what she has shared, Graciela had spent her whole career working in a hospital. It was the environment she felt most comfortable and thrived in. However, she wanted more for her six kids than what was available to them in their home country.

When they arrived with their visas and lawful residence in the United States, the kids enrolled in elementary, middle and high school. Graciela got right to work to provide for them and found herself in a totally different environment than she was used to. She knew no English, didn't have the credentials to practice medicine, and was living in a foreign land. All of her years studying and practicing medicine were seemingly worthless. After four years of working in factories and doing part time Spanish tutoring, Graciela came to Mission Adelante.

In the last six months, we have encouraged Graciela in her effort to learn English and attempted to help her return to the vocation she is passionate about: medicine. However, fear and discouragement filled her thoughts. Many doctors here in the US had told her she would not be able to pass the boards, others said she was too old to master English (at age 50), and her own heart doubted herself. Our goal was not only to teach Graciela English, but also to help her believe again. Thanks to one of our ministry partners, Graciela has been offered an opportunity to begin working in a clinic next month. No she won’t be a doctor (just yet!) but she is elated to be “home again” in a clinic where she hopes to begin as a Medical Assistant. In the mean time, her kids are doing well in school making the most of the opportunities before them, thanks to their mom’s sacrifice.

In other news:
  • There will be no events this Thursday, November 27, in observation of Thanksgiving. ESL classes and Kids Adelante will resume next Thursday, December 4.
  • We celebrated Seth Sears' completion of his 3-year apprenticeship with Mission Adelante on Saturday night.
  • After a year of absence from our Bible study community, an honest conversation helped persuade Gaby to return to fellowship with us.
  • Leticia helped lead a Bible study group on Sunday night by leading prayer and part of the lesson.

Prayer needs:

  • Please join us in praying that God would launch us into 2009 by providing a significant portion of our funding in year-end gifts. Last year, God provided $27,000 in year-end gifts. Our goal for this year is $25,000. Please help us pray that many people will answer God's call for sacrificial giving.
  • Two young women in the Leaders In Training program are struggling with difficult situations at home. Please pray for God to transform their homes into peaceful and nurturing environments.

Current needs:

  • An electric stove
  • A washing machine
  • Plain white copy paper

Important upcoming dates:

  • Monday, December 1: All-Volunteer Team Meeting. 6:30 @ the Mission
  • Saturday, December 13: Trimester-end/Christmas Party. 5:30 @ Bethany Community Center

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You Video from the Meek Family

Enjoy this home video of Meek Family highlights from 2008 as a "Thank You" for your support for Mission Adelante.

Thank You from the Meek Family-2008 from Jarrett on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Losing Our Lives

Last night I struggled with the increasing tide of immigrant families facing economic and other crises. How do you remain standing in a tsunami of human needs? I don't have the answers, but I am thankful that God has put us here to befriend, to serve, and to encourage desperate people with the hope that their Creator loves them. 1 Thessalonians 1:8 has encouraged me. "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."

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!

Jarrett Meek

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.

Prayer needs:

  • 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.

Current needs:

  • 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!

Upcoming dates:

  • 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