Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Power of an Invitation

When you first meet nine-year-old Gaby, you immediately notice her smile and gentle eyes. She has an infectious energy about her that reminds you what it was like to be nine years old, questioning and exploring everything about the world around you.

As Gaby has grown over the last trimester, we have seen her become more attentive and excited to attend the Kids Adelante Outreach Bible Study, often encouraging her brother and sister to attend. Her love for the Lord and her desire to know Him made the decision to invite her to join LIT (Leaders in Training) a very easy one. However, the power of that invitation gave Gaby the confidence to step out as a leader because she realized that we believed in her!

Since that invitation, Gaby has consistently been praying over her family's dinner, even though her siblings often tease her mercilessly for it. At a recent garage sale fundraiser, she desired to step up and be the cajera, or cashier, simply because she wanted to help. This past Saturday at the resource center, Gaby saw the opportunity to volunteer again with the donations being handed out. She saw a need and met it. Without anyone even asking her; she very naturally began to serve.

Many of our kids battle against the societal norm that to love and serve the Lord isn't "cool." We teach them about God's love for them at LIT and the Outreach Bible Study, but when they walk out our doors, the world often paints a far harsher reality that contradicts this truth. Gaby is just one of the fourteen children that will be participating in LIT this year. How incredible it will be to continue to see our younger generations stand up and claim the truth of God's love and passion for their lives!

In other news:
  • The L.I.T. volunteer team is nearly staffed! The ten volunteers met last week for training. L.I.T. begins Monday, September 14.
  • During our break between trimesters, our staff is preparing and recruiting for the upcoming trimester, which begins September 17.
  • Our facility is becoming much more comfortable and inviting thanks to the interior design and decorating of one generous volunteer!
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for God to give clarity about his will to volunteers that are considering joining our team for the first time or returning for another trimester this fall.
  • Pray for our whole faith community to be encouraged by five consecutive Sundays together in worship celebrations, and praise God for four ongoing volunteers to rotate leading the Sunday evening kids Bible study.
  • Pray for God to allow local public school principles to accept Megan McDermott's efforts to meet them for the sake of supporting the L.I.T. students to the fullest extent possible.
Current needs:
  • People or small groups to provide light, healthy meals weekly for the 14 L.I.T. students on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons throughout the academic year.
  • baby wipes to make available in our resource center
  • Help paint at Mission Adelante with your small group or church on 8/22, 8/29, and 9/12. Contact jarrettm@missionadelante.org to help!
Important upcoming dates:
  • Volunteer Orientation and Training: Saturday, September 5, 9:00 - 1:00
  • All Volunteer Team Meeting: Monday, September 14, 6:30 - 8:30

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Backpacks Provide a Fresh Start

Can you remember the first day of school each year and all of the excitement that inevitably came with it? For me, the last few weeks of summer were always filled with anxious discussions about teachers, classmates, schedules, and of course, the all-important backpack. However, as we now know, it was the supplies that filled our backpacks that helped each of us begin the school year on the right foot.
As the summer began, we prayed that God would inspire local churches to partner with us in reaching out to our neighborhood kids. We were blown away as volunteers and local churches came together and donated more than eighty backpacks!! In addition, each backpack was packed with all the pencils, paper, rulers, erasers, and other supplies that each child would need to start the school year. Most of the backpacks were so heavy that the littlest kids couldn't even carry them!
Each child left Kids Adelante last Thursday armed to tackle a brand new school year, knowing that people around the city cared about them. When the kids experience compassion and generosity, they see God's love through others' actions. They recognize that the God they have been learning about all trimester loves them so deeply that he provided a blessing that will see them through the school year. Thank you to those of you who gave your time, finances, and hearts to remind the children of Kids Adelante of their worth in God's eyes.
In other news:
  • There was a great turnout at our End-of-trimester Party on Sunday afternoon with over 200 people in attendance! It was held in a large outdoor pavilion overlooking Wyandotte County Lake, where we grilled burgers and recognized program participants and volunteers.
  • A record number of adult students completed the level one ESL class this summer with 21 of the original 24 taking the final exam. We owe this success much in part to our faithful volunteer conversation partners!
  • We're thankful that God continues to provide new volunteers for our programs each trimester. If you're interested in volunteering, we have a spot for you! To find out about opportunities in the kids' ministry, e-mail Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org. For opportunities in the ESL program and the Resource Center, e-mail Jason Schoff at jasons@missionadelante.org.
  • This is Megan M.'s final week with the pre-teen and teenage girls in their Purity Bible Study. Megan has rejoiced as the girls have discovered their self-worth in Christ.
  • The next five weeks are a break between trimesters. ESL and Kids Adelante programs resume on September 17. All volunteers, please mark your calendar for the Volunteer Team Meeting on Monday evening, September 14.

Prayer needs:

  • During out break from programs, our focus shifts to our Sunday evening worship services, called Celebrations. Please pray that people who first learned about our ministry at the party last Sunday will be interested in investigating our faith community.
  • Kansas City, Kansas schools begin this Monday, August 17. Please pray for kids to be exited for a good school year.
  • Please pray for Alberto, who is beginning training to prepare him to preach his first sermon at Celebration on September 13. He will be the first Hispanic from our own community to give a message.

Current needs:

  • dining room chairs
  • a microwave
  • a washer and dryer
  • pasta
  • baby wipes, all for distribution to needy families through our Resource Center

Important upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, September 5 @ 9:00: Volunteer Orientation & Training. All volunteers should attend this orientation at least once, preferably at the beginning of volunteering.
  • Monday, September 14 @ 6:30: All Volunteer Team Meeting
  • Thursday, September 17: Fall trimester begins; Thursday evening programs resume

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reflection on the Summer Internship

By Becky Masters

The past six weeks with Mission Adelante have flown by faster than I thought possible. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the ESL classes and other ministries I have participated in. The biggest thing I learned was how to minister to adults, a big change from working exclusively with children. I was often out of my comfort zone, making visits and teaching adults, but I was able to establish connections with a handful of ladies from the level-three class.

Working in the level-three English class was one of the biggest highlights during the internship. It was a small class, but full of energy and fun. All of the students worked hard to learn the language. Most of the energy came from a student named Raquel. She kept everyone on their toes. Raquel is a quick learner. She is smart and fast, and does not wait for other people to answer; she shouts out the answers with enthusiasm.

At the end of class a week ago, we played a version of Jeopardy. Raquel gave the opposing team no chance to even attempt an answer. It took the other group a couple of rounds to jump in and score any points, but it made them all get into the game. They had to be more attentive and work harder. Raquel, along with the other ladies in the class, welcomed me and made me feel comfortable whether in class or enjoying limeades after class. It was a joy to teach and spend time with her and the group.

Even though I have only seen a glimpse of these ladies' lives, I have seen enough to know that there is a need for God's love. Six weeks are not enough to make a huge impact, but it is a start. I still have a lot to learn, but I was able to help plant seeds in some cases and water them in others. I am still too close to see all the fruit that is going to come from this internship, but I know that God has been working in me and in others. I am looking forward to seeing what God is going to reveal.

In other news:
  • The Mission Adelante staff team enjoyed a retreat last week together with families from Heartland Community Church at the Ozark Family Adventure. It was both an effective team-builder and a relaxing get-away for all of us.
  • We have seen a huge response to our request for backpacks and school supplies for the kids in our neighborhood! We especially want to thank Matt Alexander and Joy Shiner for organizing drives at church and among friends, and for delivering a carload each!
  • We were encouraged last Saturday as our faith community was mobilized to help meet the needs of one member by organizing a car wash and garage sale fundraiser with minimal staff involvement.

Prayer needs:

  • Pedro and Imelda, a neighborhood couple, have recently begun attending our Bible study. Please pray for God to give them a hunger to know Him and draw them to Himself.
  • Please continue to pray for God to bring additional volunteers with a heart to serve kids in Kids Adelante and Leaders In Training.
  • Pray for ESL students and volunteers to maintain their momentum during the upcoming five-week break.
  • Pray for Becky as she concludes her summer internship with us and transitions back to her role as a resident assistant at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.

Current needs:

  • Volunteers for Adult English classes and LIT tutors beginning in September. If you're interested in being and English conversation partner, please e-mail Jason at jasons@missionadelante.org. If you're interested in tutoring kids weekday afternoons, please e-mail Megan at meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • A trailer for transporting large items to ministry events.
  • A flat screen computer monitor
  • A microwave, washer, and dryer for families in our community
  • Infant formula to make available through our Resource Center.

Important upcoming dates:

  • Sunday, August 9: Trimester-end Party at Wyandotte County Lake Park: Beach shelter. 4:00--free time, 6:30--dinner, 7:30--program. All are welcome!
  • Monday, August 10 - Wednesday, September 16: Break between trimesters