Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Servant-Hearted Molly

written by Jarrett Meek

I've known Molly Merrick since she was a child at Heartland Community Church. As she grew into her teenage years she could often be found in the children's ministry classrooms serving as a volunteer. Her heart of service began early and is genuinely the legacy of her servant-hearted mom, Marcia, whom many of you know.

Molly's involvement with Mission Adelante began as a volunteer in the winter of 2008. By Spring she realized that God was fulfilling her heart for missions right here in the immigrant mission field in our own backyard. She moved to our neighborhood and joined our team as a summer intern. Molly's journey continued adelante (forward) through the year, and by January of 2009 she had joined our staff in a more permanent capacity as a ministry aide, on a part-time basis.

As a Ministry Aide Molly has made a significant contribution to our ministry in many ways. Her role includes hands-on help with our Leaders-in-Training program for kids, organizing our Resource Center, and generally helping keep our ship afloat. Molly's love for kids, her heart for helping people in need, and her humble heart to pitch in wherever she may be needed have all found robust expression through her role with Mission Adelante.

As I have observed Molly over the past two years, I has witnessed a young woman who has gained self-confidence, begun to find her wings, and has followed the leading of Jesus to make an impact in the lives of others for His glory. I am proud of Molly and thankful for the way Jesus has called and used her in our our lives and in the lives of those we serve.

In other news:
  • We're in the early stages of planning a knitting and weaving co-op to help the Bhutanese refugee women in our neighborhood begin to generate income for their families.
  • Nineteen volunteers began the lower level of our Spanish class last night with four volunteers continuing to the upper level, and four Hispanic volunteers helped Jarrett teach. We're very excited about so much interest being shown by volunteers in becoming effective at cross-cultural ministry.
  • Leaders-In-Training students and volunteers celebrated accomplishments with two of their own students yesterday: Odalis earned her first "A" on a math test, and Gaby brought three awards to show off that she had received at school including one for academic improvement and two for good citizenship. These kinds of improvements are the gratification that our L.I.T. tutors find so rewarding!
  • L.I.T. students will hold a Bake Sale at the Mission Adelante facility next Thursday, February 4 at 8:30 p.m. Proceeds will be donated to World Vision for their earthquake relief effort in Haiti.
  • The Mission Adelante facility is undergoing significant transformation as all-star volunteer and renovation manager James McClure and his crew of skilled volunteers have spent every Saturday this month here working. Last Saturday kitchen cabinets and counter-tops were installed and doors were hung throughout the second floor.
Prayer needs:
  • Praise God with us for providing a couple of more volunteers for the Thursday morning ESL class at M.E. Pearson Elementary School.
  • Also, praise God for bringing several of the new ESL students to Worship for the first time last Sunday evening.
  • Please pray for a Hispanic woman in our community who courageously left her job after suffering workplace abuse and sexual harassment over the course of a few years. Pray for God to allow her to find a new job where she'll be respected.
  • Megan McDermott is expecting as many as 25 Hispanic teenagers tomorrow evening for the first Teens Adelante meeting. Please pray that they won't be hindered from coming and that they'll find an atmosphere of acceptance and honesty. Also, pray for volunteers to have wisdom, patience, and flexibility.
Current needs:
  • A refrigerator for the newly constructed kitchen on the second floor of our facility.
  • Paper towels
Upcoming dates:
  • Saturday morning, February 27: Adelante Missions Institute presents Kirk Ogden, Director of South American Missions for a seminar on cross-cultural ministry. Look for more details soon!
  • Thursday, March 18: Spring break. No evening activities.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mission Adelante Launches a New Pilot Project!

Bhutanese Outreach Pilot Launch from Jarrett on Vimeo.

It's not English, and it's definitely not Spanish! Nepali is the language spoken by the Bhutanese refugees that are being relocated to our neighborhood after years of living in refugee camps on the border of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Mission Adelante has officially begun a pilot project to reach out to this cultural group and to determine if what we do best can be easily reproduced to reach immigrants from other places besides Latin America.

After months of prayer and preparation, a new ministry project was finally born last night at Mission Adelante. A fresh group of volunteers representing five churches has formed under our newest staff member, David Stetler, and last night they launched the Bhutanese version of our English-as-a-second-language and Kids Adelante programs. With about 23 adult participants and as many children, the ministry was instantly viable. A small army of ESL volunteers led by Justin Berger from the Gathering Network and Lauren Timberlake from Hillcrest Covenant Church launched an English program for adults that looks very much like our program for Hispanics. In the other wing of our building, Bhutanese kids with names that we could hardly pronounce demonstrated that kids are kids, by engaging in fun games, skits, songs, and small group activities. David Stetler, Rachel Yeargin, and several more committed volunteers corralled the kids and began to smother them with the love of Christ, something we pray will till the soil of their hearts in preparation for God's word to be planted there.

Although the new programs for the Bhutanese refugees are held on a different night than our programs targeting Latinos, Guadalupe, an Hispanic graduate from our ESL program, was intrigued by this new group of neighbors and showed up to help in the English teaching effort. This melding of cultural groups is something we're not pushing, but cautiously hoping for, recognizing that only God can create the kind of unity that has allowed different churches to serve together, and will someday see people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation worshiping Jesus together in heaven.

As we continue to explore this new opportunity God has opened up to us, we have seen His provision in many ways, including the financial support necessary to hire David Stetler and the volunteer participation needed to run these new programs according to our ministry values. God is also providing solutions to unique challenges associated with this ministry such as transportation for the Bhutanese participants, most of whom do not drive. Please pray with us as we take the next steps on this exciting journey!

In other news:
  • Mission Adelante is planning our first missions training trip to Costa Rica in mid May to further equip volunteers and staff in cross-cultural ministry.
  • Our faith community has met together for Sunday Worship six weeks in a row since transitioning away from in-home small groups. It has been a positive change, as the continuity of gathering all together has allowed the community to become even more tightly-knit. Thanks for helping us pray for this favorable outcome!
Prayer needs:
  • Three Hispanic men from our community and a staff member were able to help a single mother-of-three move in only four hours, without a u-haul. The family has temporarily moved in with relatives while they look for affordable housing. Also, the mother is expecting her fourth child in mid February. Please pray for strength and an extra measure of faith during this stressful season for this woman who has become dear to us.
  • Pray for God to arrange a sustainable solution for transporting Bhutanese adults and children to our outreach programs every Tuesday evening. Very few of the adults of this immigrant population know how to drive.
  • Please pray for God's blessing upon the launch of the Hispanic outreach programs, including adult ESL and Kids Adelante, tomorrow.
  • Financial limitations often keep families from being able to come to worship events. Pray for God to make a way for them to come when they don't think they'll be able.
Current needs:
  • Baby blankets for newly arrived Bhutanese families.
  • A family of five that has been faithfully involved in our worship community for over a year continues to experience transportation problems. Their only car has been broken down for almost two weeks and seems to need extensive repairs that are unaffordable. If you have a used vehicle that you would be able to donate to their family, please contact Jarrett at jarrettm@missionadelante.org.
Upcoming dates:
  • Thursday, January 21: Spring trimester begins, including Adult ESL classes and Kids Adelante
  • Thursday, March 18: Spring break--no ESL classes or Kids Adelante.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Joy of Being a Child

written by Megan McDermott

When I first began volunteering at Mission Adelante, I was struck by how different the kids were in comparison to others I had worked with. I noticed that although on the surface they were children, there was an edge to each of them. For some that edge came from the responsibility of having to help raise their sisters and brothers at a very young age. For some it was because of the loss of family or friends due to violence or prison. For others, it was simply the environment of the inner city that too often forces the kids to grow up too quickly in order to survive. That is why the trip to Great Wolf Lodge with the LIT (Leaders in Training) kids was such a significant time of joy!

After much anticipation, December 18 came too slowly for many of our kids. Complete with three water slides, a huge water park, Jacuzzis, basket ball hoops in the pool, and a lazy river to float down, Great Wolf was a world away from the “norm” that the kids experience each day. It seemed that for the first time in a long while, I saw the carefree nature of the kids return. They were able to play, laugh, and joke together in a way that I have rarely seen. I think they felt free enough to leave their “edge” at the door and be kids again! I pray that God enables us to continue to provide opportunities to let the children know the joy of being a kid and are allowed the freedom to have a child-like faith.

In other news:
  • We're praising God for His provision for our ministry. Generous year-end giving met our goal and gave us a great boost going into the new year.
  • Last week thieves struck again at Mission Adelante. This time our new security doors and alarm system stopped them in their tracks. However, they were able to get into our garage and get away with some tools and building materials.
  • We saw the greatest turnout of new volunteers yet at our Volunteer Orientation last Saturday morning! This was much in part to the attendance of the whole Bhutanese Outreach Pilot volunteer team.
  • We launched the newest form of our discipleship program, Trios, at the Worship Celebration Sunday evening. Dividing our whole community into groups of three provides the opportunity for more deeper, more personal, and more intentional fellowship.
Prayer needs:
  • The Bhutanese Outreach Pilot Program launched on Tuesday evening with adult English class registration and kids club registration. Please pray for the Lord's guidance and blessing upon this brand new outreach to the Bhutanese refugees that continue to be placed in KCK.
  • Please pray for a strong start to the Trios discipleship strategy. Pray that all our community members would be excited to meet together, as well as consistent.
  • Registration for our Hispanic outreach programs is this evening. Please pray for the Lord to allow to come all those whom He's chosen. Also, please pray for the accommodation of all our volunteers into the correct role as we make final preparations to launch the programs next week.
Current needs:
  • A family of five that has been faithfully involved in our worship community for over a year is experiencing transportation problems. Their only car has been broken down for almost two weeks and seems to need extensive repairs. If you have a used vehicle that you would be able to donate to their family or if you have mechanical expertise and would consider repairing their car, please contact Jarrett at jarrettm@missionadelante.org.
Important upcoming dates:
  • Monday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. at The Mission: Volunteer Team Meeting.
  • Thursday, January 21: Spring trimester launch--ESL classes and Kids Adelante.