Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stop! What does the Bible say?

Written by Jason Schoff

Stop! Too many times we fail to study the Bible before we consider how to address the issues of our day. One issue very dear to our heart here at Mission Adelante is the question of immigrants and how the church should respond to them. What does the bible say about immigration? This must be the starting point. How many sermons have you heard preached on immigrants? I can honestly say I had never considered the issue prior to joining with Jarrett Meek in 2005, much less listened to a sermon on the topic. Did you know the answers to our questions about the immigrant are spread throughout the Old Testament as well as the New Testament?

We invited Dr. Daniel (Danny) Carroll, distinguished professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary, to address our volunteers and friends this past weekend. He wrote the book, "Christians at the Border" and his 2.5 hour morning session led us to look at the lives of Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, Nehemiah, and others who were all immigrants on the move. We also examined the OT law and its provisions for the foreigner as well as the teachings from the New Testament. Compassion, provision and justice all address the ways God provides for the immigrant, and he chooses to use us in the process. Danny emphasized reading the complete canon of the bible in context to answer the question of the immigrant and immigration and letting this change the way we shape the laws and our views of immigrants.

"It's okay to try and change the law because we do it all the time." This is the reality of the democracy we live in. Why wouldn't we change the laws to reflect God's values? Our laws have been discriminatory toward the Chinese in the late 1800's, the Irish and Italians in the early 1900's, and the Mexican migrants during the Depression. Perhaps we should consider our current laws and see if they are prejudiced in any way. The last major comprehensive legislation passed in 1965 and was signed into law by President Johnson. There are many pieces of legislation being considered today. One is the Dream Act, which provides a path to legal status for kids who complete high school, have lived in the US five years, and enter the military or complete two years of college. Otherwise these kids would be left with no option but to flip burgers all their lives or return to a country that they hardly know. What would God say about this? I would encourage all of us to read Danny's book and also to look even deeper into scripture and pray for God to guide us. Stop! Consider this for more than just a day because an immigrant considers it daily. Putting real life stories to this debate changes the lenses through which we see immigrants amongst us.

Investigating alongside you,
Jason Schoff

In other news:
  • A group of more than 20 volunteers visiting our area from Colorado was loaned to us by Marcia Merrick, whom they were serving alongside, to join many from our community and help a Latino family move last week. We were so grateful for the unexpected help, which made fast work of the move.
  • Friday evening, about 75 people belonging to our Latino church community gathered for pot-luck dinner and fellowship at the Meeks' home and to get acquainted with Danny Carroll. This type of social gathering does so much to energize our body of faith.
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for God's mercy upon 4 families dear to our community. Each of these families is presently separated from one another due to a variety of situations. Please pray for them to be reunited.
  • We're approaching the busy end of another trimester here at Mission Adelante. Please pray for God's hand to be over us, the staff, as we complete the tasks He's set before us.
Current needs:
  • A twin bed.
Upcoming dates:
  • Saturday, August 14, 5:00: Bhutanese End of Trimester Party @ Bethany Community Center
  • Sunday, August 15, 5:00: Latino End of Trimester Party @ Wyandotte County Lake Park
  • Saturday, September 25: Mission Adelante Five Year Anniversary Celebration @ Mission Adelante Headquarters

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Step Into the Water

Written by David Stetler

When the Israelites came to the riverbank of the Jordan, the Lord commanded them to first step into the water. As soon as their feet touched the water, the river began to dry up and the people could cross on dry land.

Often times the Lord asks us to take a step of faith, to step into the water first and then to wait and see the faithfulness of God. This year we have taken a step of faith in the launch of the Bhutanese Outreach Pilot project. We stepped into the water and waited to see the faithfulness of God unfold right before our eyes.

This project was a pilot ministry. An experiment, so to speak. An experiment to see if Mission Adelante's ministry model was reproducible to a new immigrant population and to see if God was calling us to expand the ministry to this new growing refugee population right here in our midst. After 6 months of watching his incredible faithfulness, we believe it is safe to answer that question with a big "YES!" in true confidence in the Lord. The Board of Directors has approved ending the pilot season early and continuing this new ministry as a permanent part of what Mission Adelante does. We believe this is truly where God is leading us.

As we finish up our second trimester we are thrilled to report that we have over 40 students in our 3 levels of English classes and over 35 kids at our Kids' Club. In addition to the growth of the Tuesday night outreach we continue to see friendships deepening with our Bhutanese friends, Bibles studies starting, meals being shared, community forming and Jesus being shared through both word and deed.

We love them so much that we are delighted to share with them not only the gospel of God but our very lives as well, because they have become so dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

We continue to seek the Lord's guidance and blessing in this amazing adventure.

In other news:
  • The Mission Adelante Missionary Team met on Sunday for one of the first times since the Bhutanese and Latino outreach teams have been combined. The team is comprised of volunteers and staff people who are deeply committed to developing the mission and the church sides of the ministry, and many of whom have relocated to the neighborhood.
  • Volunteers Rachel Schwagerman and Kristen Maxwell, along with staffer Molly Merrick have just leased a house very near Mission Adelante. In addition, volunteers David & Brooke Coon have a contract on a neighborhood house and are lined up to move in at the end of August!
  • Over 45 people are registered to come to the seminar featuring Dr. Danny Carroll this Saturday, and there's still space available. This training opportunity is one of the best things Mission Adelante can offer our volunteers and friends! To get all the details about this seminar covering a Biblical overview of issues related to immigration and to register, follow this link.
Prayer needs:
  • Violence in Mexico has claimed the life of the husband/father of one of Mission Adelante's families. Please pray for that family as they try to work through the loss, and for our church to support them in just the right way.
  • Alberto, a leader in our church community, received notice of an appointment to take his citizenship exam sooner than anticipated! Please pray for his preparation for this final stage of the immigration process.
Current needs:
  • A rocking chair for our new church nursery
Upcoming dates:
  • Saturday, August 14--Bhutanese Trimester-end Party at Bethany Community Center
  • Sunday, August 15, 4:30 p.m.--Latino Trimester-end Party at Wyandotte County Lake Park

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All Star Volunteers: The Holland Family

written by Jason Schoff

"Lord send me." This simple statement reveals a willingness to go anywhere and take risks. Individuals who speak these words are always welcome members to any team. Jacob and Michelle Holland exemplify this type of individual.

I met the Hollands two years ago as they began to investigate Mission Adelante. They were looking for more than just a place to volunteer; they were looking for a place to invest their lives and make a kingdom impact. What the Hollands had done two years prior to meeting anyone from Mission Adelante was to take a risk for what they believed God wanted for their lives: they moved into our neighborhood without really knowing anyone! This was a huge jump, from being students at K-State and having never lived in Kansas City to a multicultural urban core filled with Hispanics.

Once we met the Hollands, it was an immediate connection. They were looking for a place to make a greater impact and we were moved by their bold convictions to serve. Jacob began volunteering with our ESL programs and Michelle jumped right into the mix of Kid's Adelante. Their involvement has only grown since that initial encounter and our community only continues to grow fonder of them and the part they play in our church, our mission, and our missionary community. When God added to their family during the past two years, they did not look for a reason to step away from serving but have found creative ways to serve as a family. Please join us in thanking God for the Hollands and their impact on Hispanics and our lives.

In other news:
  • Coming up on Saturday, July 24, Dr. Danny Carroll will present a Biblical overview of issues related to immigration, especially relevant for all Christians who have a heart for serving the stranger in our midst.
    The event will be held at Grandview Park Presbyterian Church, 1613 Wilson Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66102, located just a couple of blocks from Mission Adelante. Please note that a fee of $20 per person will be collected at the door and child care will not be provided. The schedule for the day is as follows:

    8:30 Doors open
    9:00-12:00 Seminar by Dr. Daniel Carroll
    12:00-1:00 Lunch, provided at the church
    1:00-2:30 Policy discussion by Jenny Hwang
Space is limited! You can register by filling out the form at this link: Register Now.
  • Our Bhutanese and Latino ESL classes and kids programs saw great attendance last week following our break week. Praise God for bringing everyone back!
  • Jarrett and Jason enjoyed the opportunity to give a seminar at Westside Family Church on Saturday about creating a great volunteer culture.
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for the July 24 seminar with Danny Carroll to draw many attendees, as the discussion has the potential to affect change that can impact our church community.
  • Join us in praying for our friends in Cuba who are experiencing discouragement in their ministry.
Current needs:
  • A baby changing table and pad for our new church nursery
  • A twin bed for a family in our worship community

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Adelante Missions Institute Presents: A Seminar on Immigration

I am extremely excited to announce a special training opportunity to take place on Saturday, July 24 on the timely and important topic of immigration, sponsored by Mission Adelante, and co-sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals and Grandview Park Presbyterian Church. We have invited Dr. Danny Carroll, author of Christians at the Border and distinguished professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary, to present a Biblical overview of issues related to immigration, especially relevant for all Christians who have a heart for serving the stranger in our midst.

Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals writes, "Immigration issues grip American politics and opinions. But what does the Bible say? What is at the heart of the Christian view on immigration? Danny Carroll's voice on this issue is like no other."

If you are interested in seeing a snapshot of Dr. Carroll's presentation, follow this link to see his talk at Willow Creek's Compassion and Justice seminar. Dr. Carroll was also a speaker at the annual Christian Community Development Association conference in 2009.

In addition to Dr. Carroll, we will also hear from Jenny Hwang, Director for Advocacy and Policy for World Relief's Refugee and Immigration Program and co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate. Ms. Hwang will present a policy discussion on Immigration.

The event will be held on Saturday, July 24 at Grandview Park Presbyterian Church, 1613 Wilson Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66102, located just a couple of blocks from Mission Adelante. Please note that a fee of $20 per person will be collected at the door and child care will not be provided. The schedule for the day is as follows:

8:30 Doors open
9:00-12:00 Seminar by Dr. Daniel Carroll
12:00-1:00 Lunch, provided at the church
1:00-2:30 Policy discussion by Jenny Hwang

Space is limited, so please don't delay to register and to spread the word to anyone whom this event may interest. Because of limited space, we may not be able to accommodate walk-ins on the day of the seminar. You can register by filling out the form at this link: Register Now. This is the only way registration will be accepted.

Again, we are extremely excited about this event and feel that God has provided us with a unique opportunity to explore a Biblical perspective on a challenging issue that is especially relevant for our ministry. We would love for you to join us!

In His Grace,

Jarrett Meek
Executive Director, Mission Adelante

In other news:
  • Our Latino church community celebrated Independence Day together after the service with a cookout and fireworks in the parking lot on Sunday evening. We were encouraged to have our typical turnout for church in spite of the many options families had for entertainment that evening.
  • David Stetler invited a bunch of Bhutanese kids to his house to watch the fireworks. Having arrived in the United States during the past few months, it was the first time the kids had viewed fireworks, so it was an exciting experience for David to be able to share with them.
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for a woman in our church community that is seeking discernment about whether to keep her job. She has been facing pressure in her workplace and wants more time with her family.
  • Please pray for participants in our outreach programs to return enthusiastically this week following the break last week.
  • Five teenage girls came to the first summer Bible study last week and had meaningful discussion. Please pray for their study tonight as they learn about the lies of the deceiver.
Current needs:
  • A TV and a DVD player for use in our kids program
  • Christian books and DVDs such as Veggie Tales that are suitable for small children
  • Fans to help cool our classrooms and offices (We're trying to save money on electricity!)