Suburbia met KCK four evening this week as busloads of teens from Emmanuel Baptist Church have unloaded at Mission Adelante for kids’ camp. Watching their arrival seems to me akin to aliens stepping off their spaceship into uncharted territory. There is a sense of boldness and anticipation mixed by a touch of uncertainty. The feeling seems familiar to me, having been here for only two months. However, in that short time the Lord has spoken to me in my uncertainties, and I’ve seen him do the same with the groups of people that come to volunteer.
In conversations with staff and volunteers, it’s become evident that the Lord’s favor is the thing that enables countless relationships that happen here. There is no other explanation for the vulnerability and encouragement that is cultivated. I have left dinners with my immigrant family speechless because of the connection I feel with them as a family, causing me to ponder the way that Jesus served and lived among the people he worked with. I often plan the right questions to ask and stories to tell before I walk into situations and in reality, I sense the Spirit most in the times when I’m left with no words.
My prayer has become for there to be a growing awareness in the nearby suburbs of the proximity in location and of the heart of KCK. Walking into situations where the culture and history of the people you’re working with is foreign territory only increases our dependence upon God and his ability to work. The hearts of the people here look no different than our own in this sense: they are just as much in need of a holy touch from the Lord as any person that lives in the suburbs.
I see a connection to the Israelites in the Old Testament. God is calling us into a deeper relationship with him that our hearts long to have. You see that he knows the reality of the deep rebellion of our hearts, and our lack of lasting commitment to a relationship with Him. I want to believe that the thousands of years that separate me from the Israelites is enough to cleanse humanity of those tendencies. Wake up call; I’m flesh, and although the world has developed in the outward physical ways, the human heart remains the same. Acknowledging the darkness of our motivations does not end the sinfulness, but it does still us before Christ’s infinite grace in our daily living. I think this is the unifying piece and an ever-present reminder of the ways that God can truly connect the heart of the suburbs with the heart of the city through our joint need for Him.
In other news:
- Teens Adelante Coordinator Brooke Coon is focusing increased attention on the Latino teens that are "stepping up" in terms of their dedication. She has learned to identify the "hungry" ones as those individuals who show up to events that aren't primarily to have fun--like a service day they had last Saturday.
- Bhutanese Outreach Director David Stetler and volunteer Drew Timberlake have returned from a very successful trip to Nepal. They were honored when the pastor-leader of the Bhutanese house church network with whom they've established a relationship told them, "We need you to partner with us in this ministry." The global connections that God continues to make for Mission Adelante are remarkable!
- Each summer intern has dinner with the same immigrant family one night a week as a way to foster relationships that hopefully become the context for ministry to occur. After about two years of participating in English classes and being invited to church, the family that hosts intern Ariel for dinner each week has responded to her invitation and have come to church twice recently!
- Teens Adelante staff and volunteers are preparing to have a series of talks with the Latino teens on the topic of purity. Please pray for the teens to receive their message as one that is credible, and that they can relate to.
- We emphasize discipleship, or the sustained effort of believers to study and learn together in small groups, as an essential means to personal spiritual growth for our Latino church congregation. Please help us pray for an increase of the momentum and depth of each discipleship group.
- Pray for perseverance and for maximum learning potential for our summer interns, as they've passed the half-way point of their internship.
- There are a number of neighborhood kids that we see every summer for the various VBS events that we host in local parks, but not throughout the rest of the year. Please pray for outreaches targeted specifically at those kids that will begin next week. Pray that they'll be attracted by the Holy Spirit to begin attending Kids Adelante regularly.
- Window air conditioning units for neighborhood immigrant families. Please contact Molly Merrick at 913-961-2984 if you would like to donate one.
- A Bhutanese family in our neighborhood is in need of a car. If you have a running car that you're willing to donate through Mission Adelante, please contact David Stetler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Articles of clothing for school uniforms, including elementary and middle school boys' and girls' khaki and navy pants as well as navy and white polo shirts. Please contact Kristen Maxwell 913-980-7627 to donate this clothing.
- Please contact a Mission Adelante staff member to arrange a time to drop-off donations to our Resource Center. We request that items not be left outside our building or outside of the Resource Center. You can reach Molly Merrick at 913-961-2984.
- Wednesdays July 20 and 27, and August 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.: Latino kids outreach events. To find out how you can get involved, contact Cassie at 816-527-0947 or Michelle at 630-730-3283.