Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Leaders In Training Retreat Highlights

When we started our Leaders in Training program at the beginning of September for a group of 13 kids from our neighborhood we hoped they would all make it through the first semester, but it seemed unlikely. The commitment was significant, requiring three afternoons totaling eight hours per week. The content is challenging academic tutoring and character development; a tough sell when the alternatives are watching TV or playing with friends. Yet last weekend we celebrated the completion of the semester with all 13 kids! Everyone met the challenge, some overcoming significant obstacles to stay in the program.

Our celebration retreat, a night at Great Wolf Lodge, illustrated the principle that hard work and diligence bring about great rewards. Surprisingly, it was the first time for many of the kids to stay overnight in a hotel. Great food, loving volunteers, and a warm welcome by a choir singing Christmas carols in the lobby were all aspects of their experience that added to the excitement of playing for hours in the water park. The most notable aspects of the retreat were relational. The five adult volunteers observed that kids who began as acquaintances had become a community, caring for each other and having fun together. Throughout the course of the weekend we set aside three times for worship and sharing. During these times we gave each kid a turn on the hot-seat as the rest of the group, volunteers and kids alike, showered each one verbally with compliments, appreciation and encouragement. It was beautiful to see kids shine (and cry) with joy as their peers and role-models affirmed their worth.

With half of our pilot LIT year now complete, we can already see great fruit in these kids’ lives. And it's not hard to imagine what great things God will do with them in the future!

In other news:
  • Praise God! He has met our year-end giving goal of $25,000 through contributions from 42 generous donors!
  • Praise God for providing a well-working vehicle for the single mother-of-three that desperately needs it!
  • Six neighborhood families with limited finances were adopted by local Christian families and small groups, who shopped and generously supplied Christmas gifts that otherwise wouldn't have been under the tree this year.
  • We'll celebrate Christmas Eve together as a community of faith for the first time this year in our facility.

Prayer needs:

  • Pray for the Hispanic members of our community that are suffering being apart from their immediate family during the holiday season.

Current needs:

  • Food items for the resource center, including rice, cooking oil, sugar, dry beans, dry pasta, and baby formula.
  • Beds--any size

Upcoming dates:

  • Thursday, January 22: ESL classes and Kids Adelante resume

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Celebrating Christmas the Mission Adelante Way

Last Saturday evening the Mission Adelante Christmas Party, which had around 250 in attendance, ended our 10th trimester (and 3rd full year) of ministry with a bang! For those of you who have a hard time getting your arms around how Mission Adelante works, the Christmas Party (or any of our trimester-end parties for that matter) is perhaps the best panoramic view of our entire ministry. Besides the fellowship and a wonderful meal (Chinese food--go figure!), we use the opportunity to recognize stand-out kids from our Leaders in Training and Kids Adelante programs with awards that include “Perfect Attendance”, “Bible Memory”, “Enthusiasm”, “Leadership”, and “Servant Heart”. The adult ESL students also have their moment to shine as they graduate from one level of our program to the next and receive their certificates. Volunteers who have served for one or two full years also receive an award and special recognition. With family and friends of students and volunteers present it is a perfect opportunity to share a message from scripture and encourage newcomers to join our Bible studies and sign up for the next trimester of English classes.

This year two volunteer groups from local churches helped with different aspects of the party. Sari Higgins’ small group from Christ Community Church created a festive environment by providing all the decorations and doing the set up for the party. Casey Kapple and a group of youth from Emmanuel Baptist Church handled over 100 kids in the gymnasium during the adult portion of the program. I can’t imagine doing this party without that kind of help! A big thank you to all who pitched in!

In the end the event was a blessing for everyone involved and an exciting glimpse of what God is doing among Hispanic immigrants in Kansas City, KS.

Prayer needs:
  • Praise God with us for the funds He has already provided through year-end contributions. We have now received $18,415, given by 37 donors! Continue to pray with us for God to meet our goal of $25,000.

Current needs:
  • A used minivan or car (for a single mother of three in a desperate situation)
  • Food items for the resource center, including rice, cooking oil, sugar, dry beans, dry pasta, and baby formula.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Meeting the Cold with Warmth

Today a snowy, windy cold front moved into Kansas City. Thanks to the generosity of local churches and volunteers, Mission Adelante played a role in helping Hispanics prepare for this cold season. Last Thursday night, we set out a table of more than 50 kids' hats, gloves, and scarves to benefit the families who take English classes or participate in Kids Adelante. We were filled with joy as we watched each family take what they needed. What a great way to meet an immediate need and to hopefully draw these folks closer to God, the Provider. We told the families that coats would be available on Saturday.

Two days later, 18 families came through our resource center and received coats for the family members needing one. Some left with clothes and food as well. It was incredible! Their smiles said it all! We have never had such a response to the items we can offer. Without the help of those who partner with us through coat drives, food drop-offs, or personal donations, we would not be able to meet these needs. God’s timing and provision is always perfect and so was the timing of generous givers. Today, the wind and snow is much more bearable for a group of Hispanics.

If you can help us prepare to meet future needs, please partner with us by donating some basic food items including rice, cooking oil, sugar, dry beans, dry pasta, and baby formula.

In other news:
  • The Trimester-end/Christmas Party is this Saturday, December 13, at 5:30. Please join us at the Bethany Community Center, located at 12th Street and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. Everyone is invited! Please also invite anyone you know who is interested in learning more about Mission Adelante or possibly volunteering in the future!

Prayer needs:

  • Praise God with us for the funds He has already provided through the givers who have made year-end contributions. We have already received $13,500! Continue to pray with us for God to allow our goal of $25,000 to be met.
  • Thanks for praying for the two pre-teen girls we mentioned two weeks ago who are enduring difficult home situations. There has been progress for one of them, as Jarrett and another volunteer were able to meet with the girl's mother to discuss the situation. Please continue to pray for God to create peaceful and nurturing environments in these two young womens' homes.
  • Please pray for those individuals in whom we've invested during this trimester of classes and those we'll meet this Saturday at the party to accept our invitation to the Worship Celebrations.

Current needs:

  • A used minivan or car (for a single mother of three in a desperate situation)
  • Food items for the resource center, including rice, cooking oil, sugar, dry beans, dry pasta, and baby formula.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Year-End Giving Opportunities with Mission Adelante

Many of you may know that special contributions around year-end have made up a significant portion of our annual budget each year since we began. If you’re wondering whether your gift is needed or not, it is; and maybe more so than in years past. Though I know that God will provide for our needs as a ministry, those needs have grown as our ministry has begun to mature. We’re no longer a start-up ministry operating out of the director’s home! I also know that this provision doesn’t happen without personal sacrifice and generosity by those who support us. So, please pray for Mission Adelante’s financial needs and contribute however you are able.

General Fund Needs for 2009 ($108,000—to be covered by year-end and monthly contributions shown below) Our general fund covers everything from compensation for Jarrett Meek (Executive Director) and Morgan Ham (Executive Assistant) to strategic programs like ESL, Kids Adelante, Leaders In Training, Community-Building Events and Disciple-Making, as well as office supplies, equipment, utilities and other expenses.

  • Year-End Giving Goal: $25,000. We are praying that God would launch us into 2009 by providing a significant portion of our funding in year-end gifts. To meet this goal we know that God will need to move and many people will need to answer His call by giving sacrificially.
  • Monthly Contributions: $6916/mo. Whether your monthly amount is big or small, those of you who contribute to our ministry on a recurring or monthly basis are the backbone of our financial support. We are SO thankful for you and we need you! Of the $6916 we need each month to run our ministry, we currently have about $5217 in monthly commitments. That means we are about $1700 short each month. Some of you who currently give may be in a situation to increase your monthly amount. But, we are especially asking God to bring 15 new donors on board this year who give in the $25-$200/month range.

Staff Support Needs: Mission Adelante uses a missionary model of fundraising to cover expenses for Ministry Staff. Each Ministry Staff member must raise support funds to cover the amount of his/her salary, payroll taxes, benefits, and a small percentage of the overall ministry budget. Year-end giving provides an important boost to Ministry Staff support accounts that makes up the difference when monthly support commitments are low. Please consider making a year-end contribution to support our staff funding needs. You can include a note to designate your contribution in the following ways:

  • To support the ministry of Jason and Megan Schoff (Jason is our ESL Director)
  • To support the ministry of Molly Merrick (Molly is raising funds to begin as a Ministry Aide)
  • To support the ministry of Megan McDermott (Megan is raising funds to begin as our Director of Kids Adelante)

Again, thank you for your support! I look forward to this next ministry year and to keeping you informed about how God is working among Hispanic immigrants in Kansas City.

In His Grace,

Jarrett Meek

In other news:
  • Thanks to Christ Community Church in Leawood, First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, KS, and a local Girl Scout chapter, our Resource Center is completely stocked with winter coats and accessories. We're so glad to be able to make them available to people who need them!
  • Mission Adelante staff and volunteers enjoyed a break for Thanksgiving last week, and we're anticipating resuming ESL classes and Kids Adelante this Thursday, December 4.

Prayer needs:

  • Mayra is a member of our faith community. Her teenage son broke his foot in a motorcycle accident last week and will need surgery this week. Please pray for his quick recovery and for God's provision for the cost of the surgery.
  • Mission Adelante's Board of Directors will meet this Sunday to approve 2009 goals and budget. Please pray for their decisions to be made with wisdom for the sake of God's glory.
  • El Equipo de Crecimiento Espiritual (The Spiritual Growth Team), made up of Anglos and Hispanics from our faith community, are preparing to kick off another round of discipleship beginning in the new year. Please pray for high enthusiasm and momentum among participants.

Current needs:

  • A hot water heater for the Mission Adelante facility
  • Baby formula to make available in the Resource Center (please check the expiration date on the containers.)

Important upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, December 13 @ 5:30: Trimester-end/Christmas Party at Bethany Community Center (12th Street & Central Avenue, KCK). Everyone is invited! Please invite anyone you know who is interested in learning more about Mission Adelante or possibly volunteering in the future!
  • Saturday, January 10: New Volunteer Orientation & Training at The Mission