Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Agradecido en Transicion--Grateful in Transition

We sit in awe of the blessing we have received by all the relationships God has placed in our path over the years at Mission Adelante and want to thank all of you who are part of the greater Adelante family.  We love you all!

No deja de asombrarnos por todo hemos recibido por las amistades que Dios ha puesto en nuestro camino durante nuestro tiempo con Mission Adelante y queremos agradecerlos quienes son parte de la familia del ministrio.  Los queremos!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Immigration Couldn't Be Ignored

I was na├»ve.  Megan and I started ministering to immigrants in 2005 and I thought this would be all about sharing the gospel of Christ.  I thought we would share in word and deed and our acts of service would show compassion.  I was sure moving to the neighborhood would help make us equal participants in our community together, but certain things would make this nearly  impossible.  One of those things was the divide between legal and illegal, native born and foreign born, and affluence and poverty.  I could proclaim the gospel and make disciples, but other realities were beyond my ability to change.

My heart became troubled over the circumstances that caused much of this and I began asking, Why do adults come to this country illegally when they knew the rules?  Why do we help educate immigrant kids, but aren’t willing to help them beyond graduation?  Why are some business owners taking advantage of immigrants?  Why does our government seem to ignore the problems?  How should we respond?  I didn’t like the answers and in my desperation to understand I kept coming back to God’s love.  I saw the faces of my neighbors and I remembered the repeated call in scripture to take care of the foreigner living among us.  I was convicted!  Then compassion moved me to look deeper into what it means to live incarnationally and I came to the conclusion that I needed to advocate on behalf of my neighbors.

This led me to work on behalf of immigration advocacy.  So, I began sharing the stories and realities of immigrant lives with Mission Adelante’s church partners and volunteers.  I testified to the brokenness of our immigration laws which are rarely and randomly enforced and helped to dispel common myths in the media.   I found that some evangelical leaders were already part of an effort to see immigration reform and it felt perfect to join in.  As a result, we locked arms and I traveled to Washington, DC three times this year to meet beside them and visit with our legislators.  We never once tried to offer a magic solution; we sought change.  We stood behind six basic principles of the Evangelical Immigration Table and asked for lawmakers to draft and pass legislation with these in mind (1. Respects the God-given dignity of every person, 2. Protects the unity of the immediate family, 3. Respects the rule of law, 4. Guarantees secure national borders, 5. Ensures fairness to taxpayers, 6. Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents).

While I never intended for immigration advocacy to ever be part of our ministry, I cannot deny its importance.  I have lain awake at night contemplating its consequences and I believe God looks down with concern on those who are vulnerable.  My hope and prayer is that He is glorified as we love our neighbor as ourselves.  May He show us how this looks!  Pray for immigrants, pray for our leaders, pray for the Mission Adelante.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

You're Invited!

On December 14th, we will celebrate friendship, individual accomplishments, and the love of Christ at our Mission Adelante Christmas party and you are invited! 

I think there are few events where you see such a beautiful mixture of faces as immigrants and Americans share a festive evening together.  This is why Megan, the boys and I enjoy living in our neighborhood.  Come join us at 5:30pm on December 14th for dinner at the Bethany Community Center in Kansas City, KS.  Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Now is the time for Reform!

Monday and Tuesday of this past week Kurt Rietema, Derrick Lynch, Gary Kendall, and I (Jason) flew to Washington, DC as part of a national fly-in for immigration reform.  The four of us who are pastors or serve in ministry shared our faith conviction for immigration reform with both the US Senators & all the Congressmen from Kansas as well as one MO Rep.  We joined a group from the KS Chamber of Commerce, KS Farm Bureau & other agricultural groups, landscaping industry and business owners to advocate together and found we could agree on the need for immigration reform.  Despite our diversity, we stood together on the need to take care of immigrants and to grant immigrants equal rights as members of our community.  None of us were advocating for amnesty but instead a process for illegal immigrants to come forth and have a way to get right with the government and legally join our workforce.

While our group seemed to reflect such an influential backing, one thing was certain in this battle to see a broken system changed...it will take a huge work of compromise and collaboration.  I believe God will have to be in this because there is so much dissension and lack of trust among our national leaders that only God can change hearts to work for the good of all people.  Pray for our President and our Congress to work together and join with me in the pray4reform.org campaign since we know prayer is a powerful force!

One key thing we heard over and over is the fact that our leaders want to hear from you, too.  If you and I don't call or write them, they will be left to speculate on what we think.  Go to www.iwasastrangerkc.blogspot.com to learn more on how you can communicate your heart to care for the stranger in our midst.  (Matthew 25:35)  It really does matter!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Help Me Move that Boulder! That Immigration Boulder

Help me move that boulder!  That darn immigration boulder.  It's the one that has existed for more than 15 years.  It doesn't seem to budge and, yes, I need your help.  What on earth do I mean?  Well, I have been praying more and more for the hope of immigration reform.  I have been active mobilizing pastors, church leaders, and concerned Christians and I even received the opportunity to share with Congressional leaders why we need reform.  There is a lot of "I" in those statements and I know that God uses a united "we" who stand together.
The image of a boulder came to mind this morning.  I had a vision of what it would look like for more and more people joining me on the side of a mountain in an attempt to move a huge boulder out of the way.  It was clear that I couldn't do it.  As every added hand came to push, I became increasingly hopeful.   This is how I feel about our need to join with the Pray4Reform movement going on nationally among evangelical Christians.  Will you pray on your own or join a group of us on October 17th from 7-8am at Christ Community Evangelical Free Church.  1708 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO 64108 OR October 16th from 8pm-9pm at Mosaikon Church.  15320 S. Ridgeview Rd., Olathe, KS 66062.

Thanks for helping me move this boulder!
Pray for -- (1) House Speaker Boehner to bring Immigration Reform to the House floor; (2) our Legislators to make choices that are noble, right, and true; (3) divisions to be melted for the common good; (4) courage to win over in the decisions our leaders make.

If you want to pray and then do more, visit www.iwasastrangerkc.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Moving story of a 12 year old!

I listened to the story of a 12 year old boy today outside of Senator Moran's Olathe office on Thursday and wanted to share it with you. He wept as he read it and it moved me deeply. I'm going to change the boy's name because I want to respect him and his family.  He read this, "My name is Jaime Jimenez, and I am 12 years old. My two brothers and I used to live together with our parents. One day, my father was driving my mother to the hospital because my baby brother was going to be born. A police officer saw them and guessed that my dad had no driver's license so he stopped him and asked him why he was driving without a license. My father explained that my mom was having the baby but the police said that he better call 911 because he was going to jail and being deported. My mother was very afraid. My mother was taken to the hospital by an ambulance but because of all that happened she got sick and my brother was born too early and died in hours. My dad was deported and couldn't be with us for the funeral and he is in Mexico now wishing he was with us. Unless there is a immigration reform, we will never be together and be a family again."  Ugh!  I sent this to my Senator with hope that it colors in the reality our country is facing with a broken immigration system.  Pray for this boy, his family and our Senators.

In favor of reform, tell your Senator.  1-866-563-5608

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Policy Worth Backing

Our ministry has always looked for the best and fastest ways to meet the needs of our immigrant neighbors and we've initiated all our programs with the hope of meeting real needs of our community.  Sometimes we see a need that we cannot change.  I can remember one of the first times an immigrant friend came to me wanting to be right legally with the law--he was undocumented.  He wanted me to show him what to do and walk with him in the process.  As I investigated, I learned that it was impossible.  There was nothing I could do to help him!  Though his desire was good and right, he would not be able to find any resolve.

Why is this the case?  Many immigrants came to the U.S. on a visa and then stayed.  Some crossed the border illegally.  Now, we have 11 million individuals here without documents.  They have planted their lives here, raised children, and given to our economy and society.  However, our current public policy has not allowed for them to come forward, pay a fine, get in line, and have the opportunity to be here legally.  BUT, this may change.  This may change because our Senate is debating a bill which would do just that.  The bill would also secure our borders, expand visas for highly skilled workers, and more.  I've read the summary of it and I think should satisfy all sides.

Here's what is missing...our voices.  Our Senators don't know where we stand as Christians and many are making phone calls and emailing our Senators with negative messages.  Many of these negative messages stem from fear of immigrants.  Wow, have they not taken time to sit for an hour talking to an immigrant and getting to know them?  Friendship and dialog changes everything.  Then look at the Bible and see God's concern for the vulnerable and perspectives change!

I called Senator Moran's office yesterday and asked him to vote for this bill (S744).  It took only one minute!  Will you join me in doing the same?  My neighbors' future hangs in the balance of our response.  Here is an easy way to join me in asking for our public policy to change.  Go to iwasastrangerkc.blogspot.com .