Amigos Center

Monthly Archives: June 2014

By Pastor Bob Selle

Our Hispanic ministry at Hope Lutheran Church, Bonita Springs has begun a music ministry designed to enhance the worship experience during our Sunday afternoon worship service. Church member and lead guitarist Reynaldo Bernal directs Roberto Velazquez (key board), Carlos Garciá (Drummer), Cesar García (Base guitar), Ebert Enriquez (Percussionist), and Orleisy Lima (lead singer).  Orleisy and Ebert played professionally in Cuba before immigrating to the United States.  In order to share the blessing, Orleisy will sing at Faith Lutheran Church on July 27.  Everyone is welcome to participate in our 1:00 PM Spanish language each Sunday at Hope Lutheran, Bonita Springs.

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By Karl Glander (Vicar)

Our volunteer staff continues to amaze as they take on more responsibility so I can continue my studies with the SMP (Specific Ministry Program).   The program is very challenging but the rewards are priceless as it is for the service to our Lord for the expansion of his Kingdom.  This is a four-year distance education program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO that prepares for ordination as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  As Paul prays for the Philippians I ask yours also.

Philippians 1:6  “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”

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By Karl Glander (Amigos Center Service Director)

We are in the process of upgrading our audio visual equipment thanks to a grant from the LIPMAN Foundation we received to support our English language studies program in Immokalee, Florida.  Lipman, North America’s largest open field tomato grower, has an extensive and growing history of giving back to the community.  Amigos Center is thankful for their support.

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By Karl Glander (Amigos Center Service Director)

This last quarter has been an eventful one.  Our English classes are in full swing Monday through Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am.  We also will soon start training our volunteer staff with new computer literacy classes.  It will help students develop basic computer skills such as how to set up an e-mail address, fill out an online job application, log on to the parent portal at their children’s school, etc.

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If you would like to make a meaningful contribution of your time and talent let us know.   We have volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups: food and clothing distribution, tutoring English, children and youth ministry, etc.  What ideas do you have?

If you would like to learn more about our Amigos en Cristo ministry, visit our website www.amigoscenter.org,  or Facebook www.facebook.com/AmigosCenter.  Better yet, visit us in person.  We host tours of our Immokalee Amigos Center at your convenience.  Call Pastor Selle for more information (239) 281-1664.

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By Ed Christenbury (Amigos en Cristo board member)

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Recently, Pastor Bob Selle and other representatives from Amigos en Cristo were invited to an invitation only summit on Human Trafficking sponsored by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida’s 25th Congressional District.  The summit was held at Ave Maria University. Congressman Diaz-Balart is currently co-sponsoring five pieces of legislation in the United States Congress addressing problems associated with Human Trafficking. The purpose of this summit was to raise the awareness of community leaders as to the magnitude and seriousness of this problem in our community and throughout southwest Florida.  In addition to the congressman, speakers at this summit included Anna Rodriguez, Executive Director and Founder, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking; Doug Molloy, former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in Fort Myers and Don Hunter, Marco Island Chief of Police and former Collier County Sheriff.

The speakers emphasized that Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.  Human Trafficking is a $32 billion per year global industry — second only to drug trafficking — and there are more slaves today than at any time in human history according to the Department of Homeland Security.  Annually, millions of men, women and children are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs, often by people they trust, to instead find themselves forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude or other types of forced labor. Trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality — young or old, U.S. Citizen or foreign nationals, with or without legal status.  They can be found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including agriculture, restaurants, hotels and domestic service.  Traffickers prey on victims with little or no social safety net.  They look for victims who are vulnerable because of their illegal immigration status, limited English proficiency, and those who may be in vulnerable situations due to economic hardship.

The congressman and each of the speakers urged the community leaders at the summit to use the influence of their organizations and their personal contacts to broaden the awareness of this very cruel and inhumane crime in our community.  The congressman emphasized that awareness of this crime and an understanding of its magnitude, by ordinary citizens, is the first and most effective step in combating and eliminating Human Trafficking from our community.

If you suspect that a person may be a victim of human trafficking, please call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations tip-line at 1-866-347-2423.  You can also report online at www.ice.gov/tips. However, non-law enforcement personnel should never attempt to directly confront a suspected trafficker or rescue a suspected victim.  Doing so could put both you and the victim’s safety at risk.

 

 

English Language Ministry in Immokalee

By Pastor Bob Selle

Second generation immigrants live within two cultures, that of their parents and that of the country they call home.  They are the “Hypheners”: Mexican-Americans, Haitian-Americans, Guatemalan-Americans, etc.

 While many adults in Immokalee immigrated to the United States from Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti, there are also many who either came as very young children or were born here in the United States to their immigrant parents.  Of the 53,000,000 Hispanics in the United States almost 65% were born and raised here in the United States (“A Future for the Latino Church” by Daniel Rodriguez). They often do not feel comfortable in the Spanish/Haitian language church of their parents. They are too “Americanized,” too “adapted” to the American culture. Their cognitive language is English, not the language with which their parents grew up.

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At the same time they often do not feel welcome in the existing American churches where they are seen as foreigners. They don’t feel they belong.  They may have experienced discrimination (or they feel that they have experienced discrimination).

There is a danger of the Christian church losing this generation when they become old enough to leave home. People don’t want to go to a church where they will be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable or that will make them embarrassed.

 While continuing our outreach to first generation Hispanics and Haitians, we are now expanding our ministry to establish a multi-cultural, multi-racial English-dominant Lutheran church focused on the 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants in Immokalee.  Our church will promote a global, multicultural vision where our identity is first and foremost as members of the Kingdom of God.

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Vicar Karl Glander has already started a Wednesday evening group that meets for Bible study, prayer, worship, food and fellowship in English at our Immokalee Amigos Center.  We expect to start an English language Sunday worship service later this summer.

 

 

 

An innovative intergenerational approach to Family ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Myers produced among other mission projects, enough food to serve 80 families in Immokalee.  This intergenerational approach provides opportunity for families to come together for worship, fellowship and mission service.  During a recent weekend event entire families gathered and assembled food bags for Amigos en Cristo, flood buckets and also sorted nails for Habitat for Humanity.  Family Life Ministry DCE Rebecca Duport innovated the concept and organized the weekend event to replace the traditional children’s Vacation Bible School model.  According to Zion’s Pastor Peter Weeks, “This intergenerational approach is a unique tool that embodies the partnership between the church and the home to reach out to the community.”  Thrivent Financial for Lutherans partnered with Zion Lutheran to match funds through their “Care Abounds in Communities” matching grant program.

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Blessings.

Amigos en Cristo

Amigos en Cristo, connecting agencies, resources and people together. We are a 501(c)3 organization.

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