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.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com Kristen Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can provide one.
- A gas stove and a refrigerator have been requested in our resource center. Please contact Molly Merrick at email@example.com if you have one to donate.
- 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