Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eleven Bhutanese Students Join the Ranks of Leaders In Training!

Written by Kristen Maxwell, Bhutanese Children's Ministry Director
About a year ago I had the privilege of walking two of our Nepali sixth grade girls--refugees whose families had resettled in Kansas City--through the application process for an afternoon scholarship program.  Part of the application involved a placement test which had three portions to it:  reading, math and writing.  When I picked the girls up from the placement test,  I asked them how it went.  With a panicked expression they asked me, “Kristen, what is a spaceship?”  The writing assessment prompt that they were asked to respond to involved a spaceship, and they didn’t know what that was.  Two of our brightest girls who spoke very good English had no clue what a spaceship was.  

This fall, we are setting out with the goal of teaching everyone what a spaceship is.  Well, not really, but we are hoping that through partnership with students, families, community members and volunteers we will be able to expose a select group of students to enrichment activities and experiences that will set them up for success!  Who are these kids?  They are the 11 new Bhutanese Leaders in Training students!  

We are thrilled to be launching this new branch of Mission Adelante’s Leaders in Training program to our Bhutanese students.  This fall marks the fifth year of the Latino Leaders in Training and the first for the Bhutanese.  We are excited about dreaming of the future the Lord holds for these kids, and what it will hold as they become leaders, changing their lives, families and communities!

If you are interested in investing in our Leaders in Training we are currently in need of volunteer tutors for both the Latino and Bhutanese ministries, which take place Monday through Thursday afternoons in the 3:00 to 7:00 time frame.  We also have a list of current material needs.   For information on the Latino LIT Program, contact Megan McDermott at Meganm@missionadelante.org.  For more information on the Bhutanese LIT Program, contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.

In other news:

  • The Latino Leaders in Training Program had a Volunteer Training and Ice Cream Social on Tuesday evening to gear up for this school-year.  All 13 of the children invited were present with their parents! We are excited to kick off the program next week. 
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for our volunteers and students as they make commitments for the fall trimester. We are thankful that the Lord is so faithful, leading some to serve and others to rest. May his purposes be accomplished by the teams he puts together this fall!
Current needs:

  • Six volunteers to serve in Bhutanese Kids Club on Tuesday evenings from September 11 through December 4. Please contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org.
  • A folding card table and 4 folding chairs for use by the Bhutanese Leaders in Training.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org if you can provide one.
  • Sixteen-ounce packages of pasta, pinto beans, and bottles of oil, which we include in food staple bags that are distributed through our Resource Center. Please contact Molly at mollym@missonadelante.org if you can provide any.
  • Christ-following men and women to volunteer as mentors in Leaders In Training, our after-school tutoring program. Four females and seven males are still needed. Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org to find out more!
  • Materials for this year's Leaders In Training programs:
    • 4 wireless capable laptops (Used is great as long as they are wiped clean)
    • Snacks for a month at a time (purchased in bulk for 25 kids, three days a week)
    • Matching tee shirts to wear on field trips/service projects for 35 adults and kids
    • Team Kid Character Challenge: Lifeway: Leader Guide and Enhanced CD for grades 1-6:
    • 13 Team Kid Character Challenge: Activity Book for 4-6 grade: 15 copies
    • Stickers/construction paper for cards/activities/thank you notes
    • Walmart gift cards for science experiment supplies
    • Small groups to sponsor small reward activities/enrichment fields trips for 25 kids ($7 -$10 per kid)
Important dates:
  • Volunteer Orientation & Training--Saturday, September 8 @ 9:00 a.m.  All volunteers should attend this training once at the beginning of serving with Mission Adelante.  It's also a great way for someone to become familiar with Mission Adelante.  If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about what we do, and about our volunteer opportunities, please plan to attend/encourage him or her to attend this informative training.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert--Monday, September 10 @ 6:30 p.m.  We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our fall trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch.
  • Fall trimester program launches--Week of September 10

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Point 11 Camp: Overcoming Fears and Laying Down Struggles

Written by Brooke Coon, Latino Teens Ministry Coordinator

In mid July 15 teens and 6 adults from Teens Adelante spent a week at Point 11 Camp on Table Rock Lake. It was our first trip as a group out of Kansas City and for some, the longest they had been away from their family! We did lots of fun and challenging activities that pushed our faith in God and our trust in each other. Overcoming a fear of swimming was enough to humble some of the teens before God. For others, the challenge was in the high ropes team-building course or in the inner struggle of letting God and new people into their hearts. Whatever the fears and struggles, Jesus was there to ask us to lay them down. I think many of the teens returned to Kansas City with a new found courage to face their struggles in areas where they have given up hope.  Here are some different teens' perspectives: 



Talking about summer camp with teens Johnny, Alejandra and Salma

"I have had a lot of fun this year. Our group, Teens Adelante, went to camp for a week. Best experience ever. I will never forget those days when we gathered around and just worshiped."  
-Johnny

What kind of stuff did you do at camp? 
"We did some pretty cool, fun stuff like swim in the lake, have pool parties at night, go tubing in the lake, and a lot more activities."  -Alejandra
What was your favorite thing? 
"One of my fav things was tubing when it would go fast ^.^"  -Alejandra

What did you learn about yourself? 
"I learned that I could do things that I used to say I couldn't do."  -Alejandra

What did you learn about God during small group times (when we went to the beach to do Bible studies)? 
"I learned about God que El perdona a todos (that He forgives everyone.)"  -Alejandra

Why did you decide to go to camp? 
"Because my friend said to go with her and because Sam said camp helps a lot with life."  -Alejandra

Have you changed since you came home?

"Yeah I think I changed a lot like I don't be going out, party anymore like back then, and now my mom and me we have a great relationship."  -Alejandra
 
When did you say "I can't do this" and realize fear?
"When we went tubing and also talking to a girl that I heard stories about."  -Salma
What did you decide to give to God at the end of the week when we said, " I can't ______, but I trust you with this."?
"I decided to give him my fears of going back home and dealing with many things. I also trust Him with the things He wants to send me."  -Salma
View more photos from the teens' trip to summer camp at  http://www.immigrantheart.org/.


In other news:
  • We are excited to announce that Yanelis L√≥pez, the leader of RAICES, our partner ministry in Cuba, was approved and has received a visa to come visit Mission Adelante next month! We’re excited to host her and see how God uses this opportunity to further deepen our partnership!
  • Our partnerships with local schools are going deeper and wider!  Staff and volunteers working with our Leaders In Training programs are having more and more opportunities to work with teachers and principals in KCK schools.  This year we have connections in 10 local schools!
  • The Bhutanese refugee community held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning in partnership with New Roots for Refugees to celebrate a successful harvest of the first season in their new community garden on 14th street.
Prayer needs:
  • Ask the Lord to increase the faith of our staff as we trust Him to provide more donors to come alongside us with financial support.
  • One teen boy in our community has partial face paralysis right now from an unknown cause. Please pray for healing and protection against permanent damage.
  • Please pray that God would continue to reproduce healthy leaders in our house churches, and that He would raise up leaders who are passionate for Him from within the immigrant community to lock arms with us in impacting the community at large.
  • Please continue to ask the Lord to supply wisdom as we allow Him to possibly reshape the Bhutanese Teens Club.
Current needs:

  • A folding card table and 4 folding chairs for use by the Bhutanese Leaders in Training.  Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org if you can provide one.
  • Sixteen-ounce packages of pasta, pinto beans, and bottles of oil, which we include in food staple bags that are distributed through our Resource Center. Please contact Molly at mollym@missonadelante.org if you can provide any.
  • Christ-following men and women to volunteer as mentors in Leaders In Training, our after-school tutoring program. Four females and seven males are still needed. Contact Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org or Megan McDermott at meganm@missionadelante.org to find out more!
Important dates:
  • Volunteer Orientation & Training--Saturday, September 8 @ 9:00 a.m.  All volunteers should attend this training once at the beginning of serving with Mission Adelante.  It's also a great way for someone to become familiar with Mission Adelante.  If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about what we do, and about our volunteer opportunities, please plan to attend/encourage him or her to attend this informative training.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert--Monday, September 10 @ 6:30 p.m.  We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our summer trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch.
  • Fall trimester program launches--Week of September 10

Friday, August 17, 2012

Everybody Loves a Party

Everyone loves a party!!  Well, almost everyone... and I guess it depends on the kind of party and whether or not you feel like you fit in.  For example, if you like country music and the partiers are playing heavy metal, you might feel out of place.  Or, if you are a Wildcat fan and everybody is dressed in crimson and blue and yelling "Rock Chalk", you might wish you were somewhere else.  Or if you're over 25, at a wedding reception, and the song "Call Me Maybe" suddenly comes on, you might end up sitting on the sidelines wondering what is happening around you.  The point is that common cultural preferences and experiences go a long way toward making us feel like insiders...or outsiders.

When it comes to planning parties for people from other cultures, I have to admit it's not easy to know how to create the kind of experience that will really allow them feel like insiders.  Maybe the key is to let them run it their way!  Last Sunday night something exciting happened at Wyandotte County Lake Park.  At shelter #6, 200+ people from our Bhutanese ministry gathered to party, while just up the road at the beach shelter, another 200+ from our Hispanic ministry were together celebrating.  Though we had done parties like these many times in the past, there was something different this time.  The Bhutanese party felt a little more Bhutanese, and the Hispanic party felt a little more Hispanic.  At Shelter #6, Bhutanese and Americans sat and stood together conversing in a very comfortable environment, while Jonga, an emerging Bhutanese leader, emceed for the the awards ceremony.  At the beach shelter, Alejandro was on the microphone sharing about what God has done in his life and marriage, the teens were showing a video they had made about their experience at summer camp, and Janoy and Jaime were leading a Latin dance party.  A shift had taken place! Our parties were beginning to feel more like they were for the immigrants in our neighborhood than for the American neighbors and volunteers who serve and share life with them!

It's pretty hard to separate our culture from our faith.  But as missionaries and friends of people from other places, we can never stop evaluating this and working at it.  Whether it's learning their language, understanding their values, or partying the way they do, we must follow Jesus' example of incarnation and become like those we wish to serve.  After all, as much as I love my country, my goal in life is not to make converts to my culture and preferences, but to make disciples who love Jesus and treasure Him above all else.

In other news:
  • New Bhutanese families continue to arrive from Nepal each month needing assistance and support.  This month we received 3 new families: 2 families from Nepal (primary migrant refugee) and 1 family from Kentucky (secondary migrant refugee).
  • A passionate volunteer at Mission Adelante, successful businessman and entrepreneur has begun coaching a few Bhutanese community leaders in a possible business start up.  We look forward to the possibility of empowering the leaders of these communities in business.
  • Nine Latino teens turned in applications to attend the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) conference!  Three will be selected to join the staff and key volunteers at the conference the last week of September.
Prayer needs:
  • We’ve been getting reports that many of our ESL students are practicing English at home! Praise God for the gains they have made, and pray they continue to speak English outside of class during the break.
  • Please pray for some teens who are retaking the same grade (or barely made it into the next) to start the school year off strong and to stay focused. Please also pray for one teen who has a new found interest in college, but has a financial obstacle to overcome in order to start college classes this year.
  • There is conflict between the children of a particular family in the community.  Please prayer for discernment and wisdom for the mom to prayerfully make the right choices in leading her family.
Current needs:
  • 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 meganm@missionadelante.org Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org if you can provide  one.
  • gas stove and a refrigerator have been requested in our resource center.  Please contact Molly Merrick at mollym@missionadelante.org if you have one to donate.
Important dates:
  • Volunteer Orientation & Training--Saturday, September 8 @ 9:00 a.m.  All volunteers should attend this training once at the beginning of serving with Mission Adelante.  It's also a great way for someone to become familiar with Mission Adelante.  If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about what we do, and about our volunteer opportunities, please plan to attend/encourage him or her to attend this informative training.
  • All Volunteer Huddle & Dessert--Monday, September 10 @ 6:30 p.m.  We encourage everyone that will be volunteering with us during our summer trimester to attend so we can prepare for a great launch.
  • Fall trimester program launches--Week of September 10

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Demonstrating the Love of Christ

Written by Drew Hammond, Bhutanese Outreach Intern

Living in the Midwest comes with a few "perks". One of those being the grueling summer heat. This summer has been exceptionally hot: the first six months of 2012 were the hottest on record, and July temperatures continued to soar. Try to imagine living in this heat without air conditioning. The temperature inside your home may get up to say, 93 degrees. Your initial thought may be, “I could tolerate that. I could visit the air-conditioned home of family or friends during the hottest part of the day, and it would’ve cooled off by the time I return home to sleep.” But not if you work the night shift...in a shipping warehouse that also isn't air-conditioned, and you must sleep during the day. So now, you come home after working through the night, the temperature in your home is pushing 100 degrees, and you have to get good sleep so you can perform well at work again tonight.

That is precisely the situation in which one Bhutanese refugee family recently found themselves. They told their family about the hardship, who told their friend, who told us at Mission Adelante. At that point, we took the opportunity to visit the family. Not only did they not have air conditioning, the fan set up in the window was missing a blade. We replaced the fan with a new one, to encourage them and let them know we were looking to help them. Not long after that, some friends from a local coffee shop heard their story. Responding in obedience to the call the Lord put on their heart, they graciously donated a window a.c. unit to our ministry for the benefit of that family.

After we delivered the a.c. to their home, helped them install it, and explained how it works with a mind for their future electricity bills, the family was eager to make a modest donation to Mission Adelante.  That sounds odd, doesn’t it? Mission Adelante turned around and sold a donated item to a refugee family?!?  We understand.  It’s a pretty new concept for us, too.  But it’s called “dignity,” and it has become one of our core values.  At Mission Adelante, we value the dignity of the people the Lord has called us to serve, share life, and share Jesus with.  Rather than being spoon-fed, this Bhutanese family became empowered to “provide” what they needed for themselves, even with their admittedly limited resources. To take part in overcoming a problem, rather than helplessly accepting an external solution.

Thanks to the donation of an air conditioner at a key point in time, we were able to demonstrate the love of Christ to our Bhutanese friends. Not only that, the family was able to maintain their dignity, and ended up with a real sense of ownership and empowerment. Most importantly, the Kingdom of God was given more ground on earth.


In other news:

  • A big thank you to Mill Creek Community Church and Christ Church Anglican for providing backpacks and school supplies for all of the kids in the Latino and Bhutanese Outreach!
  • We are excited that some of our teens are beginning the process of visiting area universities, and applying for admission. Megan McDermott, Latino Children's Outreach Director was honored to accompany a high-school senior on her visit to UMKC Medical School on Monday.
Prayer needs:
  • Please pray for moderate temperatures (under 100!) for our end-of-trimester picnics this Sunday so we can safely enjoy this special event.
  • Mission Adelante staff will attend the Christian Community Development Association annual conference at the end of September, and we're going to use the opportunity to
    invest in emerging leaders by
    taking a few immigrant teenagers with us. Please pray for the application and selection process, through which we'll choose which teens we'll take. Decisions will be made within the next week!
  • Please pray for the Bhutanese Teens Club as we dream about possible new changes for next trimester.
Current needs:

  • 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 meganm@missionadelante.org Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org 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 kristenm@missionadelante.org if you can provide any of them.
Important dates:
  • August 12: Summer Parties at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, KS 66109.  After entering the park, you'll come to a fork in the road; go left.
    • The Latino party begins at 3:00 with an informal time to socialize, followed by a pot-luck meal at 4:45 and program at 6:00.  It will be in the "Beach Shelter." Turn right after passing shelter #6.
    • The Bhutanese party begins at 4:00 in shelter #6.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A New Response

Written by Jason Schoff, Latino Outreach Director


Too many times in the past, after posing a question to our house church,  I have waited, hoping for an authentic answer, only to hear what sounds like a memorized statement.  This happens all to often with men.  We men tend to stand proud, laugh at weakness, and talk like life's obstacles are easily overcome.  Santiago often tells the group how he offers up the same prayer each morning and it gives him all he needs for the day.  While that might work for him, such a simple pattern has never worked for me or, I would venture to say, for most of us.


I love the way God uses Scripture and His Spirit in us to shake everything up.  I almost couldn't believe my ears at our last house church meeting when Santiago vulnerably shared some temptations of his.  We had been studying the temptation of Jesus and split into men's and women's groups to discuss it deeper when Santiago surprised me with his response.  As a result, the whole group began to share similar temptations and we found ourselves talking about our common weaknesses.  We were transparent with one another in a new way that I could never have made happen.  It was powerful!


Perhaps the greatest fruit of this was to hear us confess humility toward God and our need for Him.  No, Santiago didn't revert back to saying he would pray that same prayer and all temptation would go away, but instead recognized how important a heartfelt plea to our Father is in our times of need.  I pray that this heartfelt plea to God touches each day and every area of these men's lives and that God would amaze us all by His Almighty Power.


In other news:

  • Several of our Bhutanese ESL classes have enjoyed field trips the past two weeks. Classes learned about shopping at Sunfresh, fixing household problems at Lowe’s, and geography at Kaw Point Park. These practical out-of-the-classroom experiences empower students to use community resources and create opportunities for relationships to grow between volunteers and students. And, best of all, it’s fun!
  • Our summer interns are reading the great missionary biography Bruchko, about a 19-year old American who embarks on a mission to share the gospel with a Stone-Age tribe in the jungle region between Venezuela and Colombia.  Beyond all odds, and in the face of disease and hostility from many directions, Bruce Olson was used by God not only to bring the gospel to this untouched tribe, but also to advocate for their rights in light of violent encroachment by Colombian settlers and foreign oil companies.
  • At Bhutanese Teens Club we heartily encourage our volunteers to hang out with students outside of our weekly programming. The past few weeks our volunteers have really stepped up to the challenge, inviting students over for family fourth of July celebrations, practicing reading skills with students in their homes, and attending Nepali dinners. It’s fun to see cross-cultural friendships built where everyone can laugh and learn about each other’s cultures.



Prayer needs:

  • One group of Latino teen girls is about to start a Bible study of their own initiative, as a result of a hunger for God that was stirred up at camp last month. Please pray
     for the deepening of discipleship relationships with the teenagers and for more small groups to naturally form.
  • Please pray for the children and adults in our outreach programs to stay connected to us and
    finish strong
    these last two weeks of the trimester.
  • Please pray for moderate temperatures (under 100!) for our end-of-trimester picnics so we can safely enjoy this special event.
  • Please pray for our friend and volunteer Daylin as she travels to her native Cuba to help develop leaders.

Current needs:

  • 1-3 NIV or NLT Teen Bibles, 1-5 "True Images" Bible for teen girls (will be on sale at Family Christian Bookstore starting Aug. 3)  Please contact Brooke at brookec@missionadelante.org if you can provide any of these Bibles.
  • 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 meganm@missionadelante.org Kristen Maxwell at kristenm@missionadelante.org 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 kristenm@missionadelante.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!
Important dates:
  • August 2: Final observation night.  Ever wondered what goes on here on a typical evening of programming?  Come on up for our Latino outreach this evening and find out!  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.  After entering the park, you'll come to a fork in the road; go left.
    • The Latino party begins at 3:00 with an informal time to socialize, followed by a pot-luck meal at 4:45 and program at 6:00.  It will be in the "Beach Shelter." Turn right after passing shelter #6.
    • The Bhutanese party begins at 4:00 in shelter #6.