Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life-Change through Volunteering at Kids Adelante

Written by Rylee Bacon

As a 20 year-old college student home for the summer, exploring the city in which I grew up, I found myself searching for a community that truly “practiced what they preached.” What I found was Mission Adelante: a community of true brothers and sisters in Christ, who live out their convictions in a lifestyle truly reflective of God’s love, and moreover seek God’s love with some of the most fervent passion I’ve ever witnessed. As I worked as a volunteer for Kid’s Adelante, I saw God’s love and majesty work throughout this body without the man-made borders of age, skin color, language or ethnicity, and replaced with love, compassion, respect, and sacrifice. What I found was truly life-changing.

Through Kids Adelante, I witnessed first-hand how God does some very big things in some very small (and by small I mean young) people. As I was embraced by the entire Adelante community, I saw that, while although I was there to help teach, I began to see that others were teaching me. Under the direction of Megan McDermott, Kid’s Adelante’s phenomenal and driven leader, and an incredible group of passionate fellow volunteers, I began to see how committed this community is to one another and to the teaching of God’s love. As I began to work with some of the greatest, most mature and loving children I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, I saw the deep barriers of today filled and replaced with love and understanding, in both the children I worked with and myself.

From free back-to-school backpacks and supplies for each child, to cook-outs and community parties, from the heartfelt embraces every time I walked in, to the undeniable support I saw for each member of this community, I saw the very hands of God at work. May we as the body of Christ, always remember, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12.”

A number of volunteers are still needed for the fall trimester in all of our program areas. Our needs are:

  • Bhutanese Kids Club: 4 volunteers, at least one of whom is male
  • Bhutanese Teens Club: 2 male mentors; a worship leader
  • Kids Adelante: 3 volunteers, preferably male
  • Latino Teens: 2 male mentors
  • Latino Adult ESL: 6 conversation partners
  • Leaders In Training: a small group to provide a meal for 20 people each Monday afternoon throughout the school year; 1 male tutor for Wednesday afternoons
If you, or someone you know is interested, click here for more information. Then contact the staff person listed with the information about the program that most interests you. Our fall trimester is right around the corner, kicking off on September 13.

Current needs:
  • An individual skilled in small motor diagnostics and repair to take a look at our lawn mowers and weed eaters and advise us in terms of their repair. Please contact Molly at 913-961-2984.
Prayer needs:
  • Please join us in praying for the Lord to provide the remaining volunteers that are needed to fully staff all of our outreach programs for this fall.
Important dates:
  • Volunteer Orientation & Training: Saturday, September 10, 9:00-12:30. This orientation is a great way to get to know the scope of our whole ministry in one sitting, so if you'd like to find out more about us, even if you're unsure whether you can commit to volunteering, please come!
  • Volunteer Team Meeting: Monday, September 12, 6:30 p.m. All of our active volunteers gather once at the beginning of the trimester to prepare for a great program launch.
  • Bhutanese Trimester Launch: Tuesday, September 13, 6:30 p.m.
  • Latino Trimester Launch: Thursday, September 15, 6:30 p.m

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Lesson in Discipleship at the Pool

Written by summer intern Michelle Morency

At Mission Adelante we believe that making disciples goes far beyond what happens in a classroom or in a Sunday School program. My experiences this summer have echoed this truth as I’ve had the chance to invest in a handful of girls throughout my time here. This past Saturday I took two girls, Ashley (9) and Perla (8), to the local pool. These girls hardly ever get
to go to the pool, and so they began with trepidation, neither wanting to admit their fear of deep water. We slowly moved from the shallow end to deeper water, learning how to hold our breath, swim without plugging our noses, and float on our backs. We advanced to drills of jumping in and swimming longer distances. I would swim beside them, ready to hold them up and all the while encouraging them. Throughout this whole process the girls also learned how to encourage each other as they took risks and faced their fears. The girls were overjoyed each time they accomplished a challenge and were motivated by their successes to push themselves further.
After many little victories and lots of excitement, the girls were determined to jump off the diving board before we left. Although I was hesitant, there was no stopping them. It was a wonderful victory for each of them to jump off for the first time and they both left the pool beaming with pride of their success.

It may seem tedious, tiresome or time-consuming to disciple children at all, and especially to concentrate on only a few, but I believe that real growth happened for Ashley and Perla on Saturday through the challenges that were set before them. Also, countless situations during our time at the pool opened up teachable moments or spiritual conversations. What is exciting to me is not that Ashley and Perla learned to swim better. I am encouraged by the fact that they are the future leaders of this community and that they learned in a really small way how to trust God when he asks them to take a risk for Him.

Going to the pool was not what I pictured for summer discipleship. My suburban, task-oriented mindset gave me dreams of weekly Bible studies and prayer with the girls. I used to feel that time spent with them was ineffective if we had not talked about God. I have learned that discipleship, however, is about sharing life. To make real change in a girl’s life demands much more of my time than a weekly Bible study and calls for a friendship first. Jesus trained the 12 not in classes or seminars but by spending a lot of time with them. Consequently, he was able to speak truth into their lives.

Jumping off a diving board is a small challenge, though it seemed big to the girls. In their Christian lives they are sure to face greater trials, as the early apostles faced trials and persecution. We are told over and over in Scripture that trials await, but that God is purifying us through them and developing perseverance (James 1:3 and 1 Peter 1:7). We must be constantly strengthening each other for Jesus has said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37). We must take on a view of discipleship that equips others, even children, to become workers for God’s Kingdom, and for his harvest field.

Upcoming dates: Everyone is invited to our End-of-Trimester Parties! Come celebrate the accomplishments of adult English learners, teens, and kids, and the incredible dedication of our many volunteers! Both the Bhutanese and Latino parties will be Sunday, August 14 at Wyandotte County Lake Park. The park entrance is at 91st Street and Leavenworth Road in Kansas City, KS.
  • Bhutanese End-of-Trimester Party: Sunday, August 14 at 4:00 p.m. in Shelter #6 at Wyandotte County Lake Park. Please bring a dish or drink to share.
  • Latino End-of-Trimester Party: Sunday, August 14 at 5:00 p.m. in the "Beach Shelter" (Turn right after passing Shelter #6) at Wyandotte County Lake Park. We'll be grilling 'burgers and 'dogs, so please bring a side dish, dessert, or drink to share.