Monday, October 18, 2010

Mission Adelante Celebrates Five Years!

Mission Adelante Celebrates Five Years!

The story of Mission Adelante is the story of God fulfilling dreams and creating something beautiful from humble beginnings. When we moved back from Bolivia we knew that God was calling us to engage in ministry to Hispanic immigrants in our own city. We identified with the feeling of being aliens in a foreign land, the language struggles, the cultural differences, the challenge to fit in, the feeling of vulnerability. When God applied the Greatest Commandment to immigrants and strangers by saying, The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself “ (Lev 19:34), He also appealed to Israel’s experience as foreigners in the land of Eqypt to urge them to compassion and understanding. “…for you were aliens in Egypt…” From the beginning, the heart of Mission Adelante has been to help outsiders in our city become insiders in the Kingdom of God.

From a dream born in prayer and written on one page of paper, to our first team meeting, finding the perfect house in our immigrant community, buying the first computer for the ministry, eating boiled goat in an ice cream shop on Independence Avenue, our first English class in our dining room, kids program in the basement, first Bible study in our home, teaching Spanish, Hugo and Leticia becoming Christians, renting office space, buying an old funeral home to house the ministry, lath and plaster, amazing volunteers, church partners, dedicated board members, monthly worship services, discipleship groups, crises in the community, apprentices graduating, our first interns, full-time staff for Kids Adelante, Leaders in Training, summer VBS camps, LIT canoe trip, Latino church plant, moving into our new offices, Latino Outreach, Bhutanese Outreach, Cuba Extension. What will God do in the next five years?

What will God do in the next five years? That indeed is the question I’m asking myself after having celebrated our Five-Year anniversary last month. I really couldn’t have imagined what God would do in this time. Sure, some of what has happened was planned and strategically pursued. Indeed the heart of the fruit from these five years sprang from the dream God put in our hearts before we began. But so much of the way it has come about is so surprising and unexpected that it leaves me in awe of God. And some of the bigger manifestations of this dream, like the miracle gift given by Heartland Community Church to buy and remodel our building, the amazing board of directors that so wisely governs with a clear love for me as well as for the ministry, and the arrival of certain staff like Jason Schoff and Megan McDermott to fill critical roles at critical moments were outside of our ability to plan or even strategically pursue. Simply put, God provided! And the things that are completely beyond the scope of our dream, like the Bhutanese Outreach and the Cuba Extension Project make me kneel and praise.

In the next five years the dreams we are strategically pursuing include continuing to mature our current ministries, a greater emphasis on developing emerging leaders for cross-cultural ministry, and more opportunities for reproducing our ministry model in other places. As we look ahead, we know we will need you in this journey and hope you will find as much satisfaction in your role as supporters, volunteers, donors, pray-ers and friends as we have found in the roles God has given us. We are deeply thankful for your partnership with us in reaching this mission field in our own backyard, and look forward to what the Lord will do through all of us together in the next five years! Praise Him!