Written by Kristen Allen, Community Development Director
Recently I’ve heard some awesome stories from our volunteers that highlight how God is moving in the Mission Adelante community to draw individuals deeper into relationship with Him and people from other places. A few weeks ago a Bhutanese ESL volunteer shared with me how a stop to buy Gatorade for her sick mother led to meeting new people and an opportunity to learn Nepali from someone in her Olathe neighborhood all because she made the effort to greet a stranger with a simple “Namaste”. God wants us to be in relationship with others and when we start to follow His call, the doors start to open.
My friends and neighbors, Rachel and Jeremiah Pierce, are examples of how following God’s calling for their family has led to incredible opportunity to partner with people from other places. Four years ago the Pierces were part of Westside Family Church's JOSEPH Campaign and learned about openings to serve here in Kansas City and around the globe. Rachel’s heart was drawn to children’s issues and anti-trafficking efforts, but she clearly remembers not marking the box for refugees because she wasn’t interested. Around the same time Westside was hosting a short-term missions trip to Thailand to visit their ministry partners and the Pierces decided to go for their 10th wedding anniversary. There Rachel and Jeremiah met Karen refugees from Burma and by the time they returned to KC, God had put a love for refugees deep in Rachel’s heart and the family decided to get involved with mentoring a family from Burma.
As the Pierces started to get to know the newly arrived refugee family they were matched with, they started to learn more about themselves and how their lives might be used through cross cultural friendships. They prayed and moved to Kansas City, Kansas, they started volunteering at Mission Adelante, and they kept listening to God and loving people from other places.
Over the past year, their lives have intersected with more refugees and led to helping people prepare for the citizenship test, teaching about home maintenance, assisting with doctors appointments, befriending refugee mothers at McKinley PTA meetings, and working with the Kansas Chin Christian Church to prepare a home for a newly arrived refugee family. And that is really just a snapshot of their lives; Rachel and Jeremiah have too many stories to share of the opportunities God has given them to partner with others because they kept following His heart.
We celebrate all of our volunteers who step out in faith to follow God’s command to welcome the stranger and how those initial meetings turn into meaningful, interdependent relationships. Next week a new trimester starts and so do new stories of volunteers experiencing challenge and growth. Please pray for the life change that happens as children, ESL students, and volunteers come together to build community.
In other news:
- There were 14 high school graduates from the Bhutanese community this week. These kids arrived in the US as teenagers and have overcome great obstacles to finish high school in America. We are proud to celebrate with them!
- We’ve received lots of board books for our Mommy & Me ESL class--Thank you! If you still have books to donate, please contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can use them year round.
- Recent storms have prompted us to want to make our outdoor activities a little safer. So, we are putting together an outdoor safety kit. Please contact Sarah at email@example.com if you or your community group would like to donate a lightning meter, a portable weather radio, a first aid kit, or crank-powered flashlights.
- We are in need of a high-quality vacuum that can keep up with our heavy foot traffic. Please contact Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
- Summer trimester programs launch: Week of May 26