Last week at Kids Adelante, I was assigned the post at the front door of the kids’ room. My job was to make sure that once kids were signed in and entered the kids’ room, they stay there safe and sound and out of mischief until programming started —the gatekeeper, it you will. Before the kids arrived, I was messing around with other staff, making gatekeeper jokes. I playfully took a broom, pounded it to the floor and in my best Gandalf voice shouted, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
For those less geeky than myself, I should note that this was a reference to a scene in The Lord of the Rings. The wizard Gandalf was fighting off a demon-like creature from deep inside the mountain while the rest of his companions escaped across a narrow rock bridge to safety in order to continue their quest to destroy a magic ring and save the world from total domination by the evil power that sought the ring. While the “You shall not pass” line is the most famous and memorable line from that scene, I looked up what the rest of the dialogue said. It is interesting that Gandalf began with his declaration of his identity, “I am a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Anor” and established authority over the dark power that the creature wielded. He then asserted its boundary which climaxed with “you shall not pass.”
Okay, all geek-ness aside, isn’t that the role of believing adults in the lives of children they love? At least for our own children, while they are young, we serve as gatekeepers. We long to guard against anything that would seek to destroy them. Of course, with kids we only see once or twice per week, we really can’t shield them from the evils of the world or the sometimes harsh realities of living in an under-resourced neighborhood. But what we can do is pour love into them and teach them about who they are. Our hope is that in investing in them relationally and giving them the scriptural foundation of their identities in Christ they will grow to take authority over the things in their lives and community that would seek to harm them. They can say to poverty and hopelessness, violence and prejudice, immorality and anger, “I am child of the most High God, purchased through the blood of Jesus.” They can begin to confront the injustice that seeks to encroach on their lives, their families, and their community and declare “You shall not pass!”
In other news:
- Twelve Latino teenagers and five adult volunteers are at summer camp at Point 11 Camp on Table Rock Lake this week. We'll be eager to find out how it went when they return on Saturday--without their phones and Internet access, there are no Facebook posts being shared this week! Funds are still needed to provide partial scholarships for the teens. You can scholarship one teenager's trip to camp for $200.
- Lauren Timberlake, Bhutanese ESL Director, is pleased with some produce she purchased earlier this week from Bhutanese refugees who had grown it through the New Roots for Refugees program. At least two of our former ESL students have successful businesses. CSA (community supported agriculture) shares are available for the entire season, and many farmers also sell at the weekly markets around town. Click here to find out at which local farmers' markets they sell, and to learn more about New Roots for Refugees.
- Jarrett Meek, Executive Director, returned last week from another successful leadership development trip to Qba. While there, he got to celebrate with the discipleship ministry with whom we partner there two years of ministry. Praise the Lord for the way he's working in people's lives there, and for the privilege we have to call them family!
- Please continue to pray for our Latino teens at summer camp this week; for God to speak to them through what they're learning, and for their safety during sports and activities.
- Please ask the Lord to provide encouragement to, and endurance for, our staff, to finish out the last three weeks of our summer trimester well. Also, as we begin recruiting volunteers for the fall trimester, pray for us to trust in God's provision.
- Pray for new seeds of the Faith that are being planted in the heart of a Bhutanese friend to grow. Also, pray that God will help some Bhutanese teenagers to deal well with conflict.
- It is our vision to transfer much of the ownership and execution of our end-of-trimester parties to our immigrant friends. Beginning with the parties coming up on August 12, pray that we'll be brave and trust our friends to begin leading, even at the sacrifice of everything running smoothly.
- Wireless Internet-capable laptops for use by our Leaders In Training during the upcoming school year. It's okay if the battery doesn't work! Contact Megan McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org Kristen Maxwell at email@example.com if you can provide one.
- Ten 60"x102" rectangular felt-backed plastic tablecloths. We spread them on the floor to use them as "activity centers" for our Bhutanese Children's Outreach. We've recently seen them on clearance at discount stores. Contact Kristen Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can provide any of them.
- Thank you, everyone who has donated items to our Resource Center, which distributes clothing, household goods, and food to immigrants in need. If you have items to donate, please contact Molly at 913-281-6274 x5 in advance to schedule a time to make the drop-off. Calling ahead will help us tremendously to keep things orderly around here!
- July 19, 24, 26, 31, August 2: Observation nights. Ever wondered what goes on here on a typical evening of programming? Come on up on a observation night and find out! Tuesday evenings are Bhutanese outreach, Thursday evenings are Latino outreach. Come to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102 between 6:30 and 8:30.
- August 12: Summer Parties at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, KS 66109; afternoon. More details TBA.