In the early days of his ministry, Jesus met two fishermen along the banks of the Sea of Galilee and gave them this invitation: "Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." It says that they immediately dropped their nets and followed after him. Little did Peter or Andrew know how drastically their lives would change by taking Jesus up on his offer!
In November of last year I received a similar offer from my pastor at Mission Adelante. I was invited to join a group of committed believers to meet together to learn what it means to become fishers of men and then to encourage each other in the process.
Because I already work with kids on a weekly basis through Kids Adelante (KA), it made sense that I would choose one or two kids to invest in more deeply. I made a list of all the kids who have a special place in my heart. It was a long list! But as I reviewed it again, two names stood out above the rest.
One was that of a girl in my class at KA. Galilea is an outgoing, fun-loving 8-year-old girl with a heart after God. If I had to describe her in one word it would be "enthusiastic." She is hungry to know God and someone I can count on to participate in class. She has that child-like faith that Jesus treasured. I knew that investing in her life would be a worthwhile endeavor.
When I thought about Galilea, the next logical thought was "Meme," (short for Emmanuel). He's also in my class; he and Galilea just "happen" to be cousins; they just "happen," to really enjoy each other. They sit side by side in class and it's obvious they have a close relationship.
In March of last year I began spending time with them almost weekly. Now, when you think about discipleship, you probably think about sitting around a table with Bible pages rustling, pen posed, notebook open. Discipleship with Meme and Galilea looked a lot different at the beginning. Initially it looked like outings to go skating, swimming, or to eat ice-cream. This was the relationship building part.
Eventually it came time to go deeper. I'll never forget the day we sat around a picnic table at Shawnee Mission Park and they leafed through their very own Bibles. I showed them where they could find a devotional designed for kids written alongside the various Bible stories. We read through one together that day. I encouraged them to make a little time to read each day.
Now when I pick up Galilea to go on our various adventures, I love to hear her tell me about what she is learning. She tells me that she has a routine most days of reading her Bible once she has eaten supper and finished her homework. Last week when I picked them up, she came out of her house carrying her Bible. We stopped by Meme's house and she got out to get him. He came out carrying his Bible too! We had some time on a picnic blanket after playing at the park to review the lesson from KA that week about God's Word, the letter he has written so we can know him better.
Just like Peter and Andrew experienced, my life has been blessed by following Jesus and obeying his command to make fishers of men. The smiles, the hugs, the silly conversations and laughter we have while driving around, the opportunity to invest in two lives and see them grow in their love for Jesus fills my heart with joy!
In other news:
- Ministry Aide Molly Merrick hosted a work group of 15 seniors from Wyandotte High School on Tuesday morning. They came with a great attitude and willingness to work, and did a great job sprucing up our building and property!
- Bhutanese ESL Director Lauren Timberlake is really enjoying the extra time she's been able to dedicate to ministry since joining the Mission Adelante staff a month ago. She has enjoyed visiting Bhutanese ESL students in their home, and having greater interaction with volunteers.
- Bhutanese Kids Outreach Director Kristen Maxwell was invited to address the teachers and staff of Mark Twain Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas about the experience of refugees; particularly the Bhutanese refugees who have resettled in Kansas City and with whom Kristen has become friends. The group to whom she spoke was grateful to gain a better understanding of the culture and experiences of this growing sector of their student body.
- An extended Bhutanese family in Kansas City has expressed for the first time the desire to follow Jesus. Praise the Lord for drawing them to Himself, and also pray for David Stetler and the Bhutanese Outreach staff as they begin to disciple the members of this family. In addition, please continue to pray for wisdom for leaders during the beginning stage of our Bhutanese house church.
- Pray for some changes we're making to the way our Latino church worships. Pray that deeper involvement and more discipleship will be fostered.
- Some of the Leaders In Training participants have recently displayed challenging attitudes. Please pray for an improvement in their attitudes, as well as stamina for volunteers and students.
- Two queen beds, one double bed, a sofa, a dining table and chairs, and a washing machine are needed by Bhutanese families. Please contact David at 913-281-6274 x6 if you're able to donate any of these furniture items.
- We need a wheelbarrow for landscape maintenance on our property. Please contact Molly at 913-281-6274 x5 if you can donate one.
- Two dressers have been requested through our Resource Center. Please contact Molly at 913-281-6274 x5 if you can donate one.
- We need three iPods for use in Kids Adelante, Bhutanese Kids Club, and the Bhutanese church. Older iPods are fine; however, we need control of playlists, so Shuffles won't serve our purposes. If you're able to donate one please contact Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-281-6274 x3.
- The majority of the Mission Adelante staff will travel to the Christian Community Development Association National Conference in Indianapolis October 12-16. Check out CCDA at ccda.org. Therefore, there will be No Latino Outreach programs Thursday, October 13.
- Observation Days: Tuesdays, October 18 and 25, and November 1 for Bhutanese outreach; Thursdays, October 20 and 27, and November 3 for Latino outreach. If you've never seen how we serve immigrants, please come observe. If you're a regular volunteer, bring a friend who would be interested to find out about the mission field in our own backyard.
- Staff Open Houses: Saturday, November 19, 3:00-6:30, Kansas City, Kansas