As I wandered through Mission Adelante’s neighborhood for the staff open houses a few weekends ago, I was struck by what a difference a year can make.
I was a new addition to the staff at open house time last year, and it was the first event I attended in the neighborhood. Unlike most of the staff, who volunteered before coming on board, I came to Mission Adelante with very little cross-cultural experience and no friends within the community, save for the Meek family. I was vaguely uneasy walking down unfamiliar streets, searching for the homes of people I saw at work but had no real relationships with and whose families I had not met. As a lifelong suburbanite--who had always lived, worked and played with people very much like me--I didn’t know what to expect. Is the neighborhood safe? (yes) What if I sit next to someone who doesn’t speak English? I’m not skilled at small talk in my own language; What will someone from a different culture think of me for nodding and smiling awkwardly at them when I can’t understand them? The community is already so close-knit. Do they even want me around? In short, last year I felt like an outsider.
While the event itself changed very little from last year to this, my place in the community had. I confidently navigated the streets to the homes of friends. I greeted their spouses and children by name, and nibbled on food that is becoming less foreign to my taste buds. Although I am still not good with small talk, the self consciousness of the previous year had been replaced with the ease of knowing that I belong.
If tiptoeing outside the comfort of my own context was enough to make me feel uncomfortable, how much more courage does it take for our immigrant friends and neighbors to take a giant leap out of their contexts to be here? Have they found us welcoming? It is our prayer that God will use our community to make “outsiders” feel like “insiders”--not just cultural insiders, but Kingdom insiders that will impact our neighborhood, our community, our world.
In other news:
- Drew Hammond, Bhutanese outreach intern, has recently moved in with a Bhutanese family in the neighborhood to live incarnationally among them.
- The overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge for the LIT kids last weekend was a success, and the kids had a blast enjoying the fruit that comes from working hard!
- The band Aradhna is coming to perform for the Bhutanese Outreach Party this Saturday. www.aradhnamusic.com. "Aradhna" is a spiritually charged Hindi term that means, "adoration." The band makes music that is centered around spiritual enlightenment and transformation while keeping ethnic integrity intact.
- Janoy from our Latino Church preached to our congregation on Sunday for the first time and did a really great job.
- Pray for growth and commitment in the leaders of the Bhutanese House Church as they continue to learn how to follow Jesus and lead others to do the same.
- Please pray for the Bhutanese as they hear Aradhna’s songs this weekend at our Outreach Party.
- Each Tuesday night at Bhutanese Teens Club we have been learning different Bible stories beginning with Adam and Eve and working our way towards Christ. Please pray that over Christmas break these stories would work their way deep into the hearts and minds of the teens.
- Pray for the Lord to provide opportunity for growth in the relationships between mentors and kids during the trimester break from programming in the form of relational time spent together.
- Pray for Latino parents who are struggling to find work and are worried about providing gifts for their kids this Christmas.
- A Conference Table: 6’ long, dark brown, and in good condition. Please contact Morgan Ham at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can point us towards one.
- The Bhutanese and Latino LIT programs need a small group (or groups) to purchase pre-packaged, healthy, after-school snacks for the kids. We would be blessed to receive a couple months worth of snacks. Please contact Megan at email@example.com.
- Fifteen or twenty 8 GB flash drives for the Latino LIT students to use, preferably with a ring or another way to attach them to lanyards. Please contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Latino Christmas Party: Saturday, December 8 @ 5:00 Bethany Community Center, 1120 Central Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102
- Bhutanese Christmas Party: Saturday, December 8 @ 5:00 First Baptist Church of Kansas City, 2900 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102
- Christmas Eve Service: Monday, December 24 @ 6:00 at Mission Adelante. This will be our first combined worship service with both our Latino and Bhutanese communities! Multi-ethnic refreshments will follow.
- The Mission Adelante office will be closed for Christmas December 25-January 1.