Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a ministry outreach churches provide to educate children about God and all He has done for us. On a rainy June 7th the Amigos Center in Immokalee had a delightful and eager crowd of kids ready to have fun and learn more about their Lord and Savior. The theme this year was “A Mighty Fortress” in commemoration of the Lutheran Reformation – 500 years ago. Each day totaled 22+ kids and over 14 adult volunteers from Immokalee Lutheran Church and the Amigos Center who assisted to make this VBS possible. The ages of the kids ranged from pre-school to sixth grade. VBS has been held at this location for the past 2 years and continues to grow each year. This Vacation Bible School was a wonder opportunity for kids to socialize and learn more about religion in a relaxed and fun setting. V.B.S. has something for everyone, despite each person’s religious views. While activities are centered around teaching kids about God, V.B.S. combines fun and learning without the formality of a Sunday service. This event was provided free to the public because of the gracious donations given by members of Immokalee Lutheran Church and donations received by the Amigos Center.
We cannot thank you and the volunteers enough for your prayers and support.
By Pastor Bob Selle
Diego’s kind words are very gratifying. Over the 13 years since he arrived in the United States with nothing, he and his family have established three Metro PCS stores and have proven themselves as faithful servants of Jesus Christ and members of our Amigos en Cristo church.
Thank you for helping make our ministry possible. Last month I announced the launching of our 20th Anniversary Challenge Grant; any donation given in November and December of this year that exceeds the amount given in 2015 will be matched up to a maximum of $20,000. I am pleased to report that through December 15 we have received $15,451 in qualified donations. We still have a couple of weeks to go to meet our $20,000 goal.
Thank you for your kind support of Amigos en Cristo. You can double your gift to Amigos Center by making a special gift before December 31:
- Send a check, just write the word “Challenge” in the memo line, make payable to AMIGOS CENTER and mail it to our administrative office: 7401 Winkler Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919, or use the enclosed remittance envelope; or
Click the DONATE NOW button on our website www.amigoscenter.org and make your contribution by credit card or by Pay Pal. Write the word “Challenge” in the message
The last Sunday of each month is our Friendship Sunday where church members participate in an after service pot luck lunch.
Pictured is Pastor Selle entertaining some of our younger church members.
Over 30 children attended our Vacation Bible School this summer! The Sonrise National Park theme that Covenant Church of Naples brought to Immokalee was a delightful way to point children to Jesus! We are so blessed to have had this opportunity to provide something so great to the children of Immokalee. Thank you Covenant Church and the countless volunteers who made this possible as well as our dedicated staff in Immokalee.
Thank you to Pastor Jerry Lawson of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in North Fort Myers for leading our youth in confirmation classes again this year. Last year, most of the youth group participated in weekly Confirmation Classes led by Pastor Lawson and we are thankful that he has again made this great commitment to teach this year.
Thank you to a very generous mission group from Restoration Church in Naples for your dedicated efforts last weekend! We are so grateful for your time, energy, support and prayer towards our mission in Immokalee.
On May 21, family and friends gathered to celebrate the graduation from our Leadership Development 2011 course. The course was sponsored by Amigos Center. This is a step forward for many of these women as they look forward to filling leadership roles in Immokalee schools, community agencies and churches. Pastor Selle is forming an Advisory Board for our Immokalee Hispanic Church with some of these leaders. This course was designed and led by Amigos Center staff person Marcela Rice along with the help of 12 other individuals from the Immokalee community who help lead the various topics covered by the course.
Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church — Lehigh Acres, FL
Bethlehem Lutheran Church — Fort Myers, FL
Christ the King Lutheran Church — LaBelle, FL
Faith Lutheran Church — Naples, FL
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church — North Fort Myers, FL
Grace Lutheran Church — Naples, FL
Hope Lutheran Church — Bonita Springs, FL
Legacy Church — Estero, FL
Marco Lutheran Church — Marco Island, FL
Peace Lutheran Church — Naples, FL
Our Savior Lutheran Church — St. Petersburg, FL
Riverside Baptist — Fort Myers, FL
Saint Michael Lutheran Church — Fort Myers, FL
Summit Church — Estero, FL
Thrive Community Church — Estero, FL
Trinity Lutheran Church — Cape Coral, Fl
Zion Lutheran Church — Fort Myers, FL
Bonita Springs Amigos en Cristo Church
25999 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
phone: (239) 437-6727
Worship Service: Sundays 1:00 pm
Iglesia Luterana de Immokalee (Immokalee Lutheran Services in Spanish)
106 South 2nd Street, Immokalee, FL 34142
Pastor Roberto Selle: (239) 281-1664
Culto en Español: domingo, 9:00 AM
Escuela dominical para niños: 9:00 AM
Estudio Bíblico para adultos: domingo, 10:30 AM
Llamar al Pastor Roberto para el transporte (239) 281-1664
Eglise Lutherienne Immokalee (Immokalee Lutheran Service in Haitian-Creole)
Pastor Andre Mezilus: (239) 537-5725
Mardi Etude Biblique 7 h a 9,30 pm
Mercredi Evengelization adomicil 6/8 pm
Vendredi Jeuve de priere 7/10 pm
Dimanch 9/10h30 Ecole du dimanch
Dimanch 10h30 a 12 Adoration
Rele pastor Andre pou transportation (239) 537-5725
Oubien F. Liverner Jean (239) 324-3453
As we all get back into the norms of life, we all have time and peace of mind to look back over the past few weeks. Before the storm there was a roller coaster of uncertainty. Early in the week, it looked like Southwest Florida was in the dead center of the dreaded “cone”. As the week progressed, the “cone” shifted east, and we breathed a sigh of relief, but continued to prepare, just in case. Then the realization that the storm was shifting west again, and had the potential to pass just off our coast, resulting in wind damage, but also catastrophic storm surge. We watched with incredulous horror as this huge storm of historic proportions decimated several Caribbean islands, including St. Martin. The images coming from those islands were heartbreaking, and we worried: would Irma do the same to OUR home?
Like many of you, our family scrambled to prepare our home and property. As the week progressed, we became more and more concerned, as there was NO plywood to be had anywhere, and we worried about several vulnerable windows. We prepared as well as we could: trimming bushes and trees and securing anything that could not be brought inside. All the while, there was an overlying worry: how were we going to protect our windows? However, God, in His power and goodness, was at work. On Friday evening before the storm we still had no plywood for our windows, but around 7pm, there was a knock on the door, and there was one of our neighbors, offering several sheets of his leftover plywood. Another neighbor had another extra sheet of plywood as well.
Thanks be to God! On Saturday, we boarded up what we could, and tried to get everything ready to ride out the storm. We kept a close eye on storm surge predictions, and when the worst-case scenario had our area under 6 FEET of water, we decided that it would be safer to evacuate. That left us with a dilemma, since it was such a last-minute decision. Should we just go to Immokalee? Or north toward Orlando? Or to the east side of the state? We worried about traffic jams and lack of gasoline if we tried to go too far. Once again, God provided. After some online searching and some phone calls, we were able to locate a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale. We arrived at the hotel just as the weather was starting to turn ugly, and then learned that they had been booked for weeks. A room opened up, literally as we were looking.
Later, someone commented that we picked a good hotel because it is a hurricane rated building. I told them I didn’t pick it; it was the only one available. It was a surreal experience, sitting in a hotel room with no power, and a tropical storm raging outside the window, while we streamed the live news on our phones and watched the eye of the storm pass right over our neighborhood. We prayed, (a lot!) and took comfort in God’s promises:
Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
As we left our house on Saturday afternoon, we honestly did not know what, if anything, we would be returning to. We tried to trust in God, and at the same time be mentally prepared for the possibility of losing our house and everything in it. When our neighbor texted us, during the eye of the storm, to let us know that our house was standing, with only minor damage, we wept with relief and thanked God for His protection. We returned on Monday after the storm to find a big tree down in our yard, some damage to the roof, but overall, our house was fine.
On Tuesday, I went out to Immokalee to check on members of the church, and the Amigo Center’s staff and volunteers. Thanks be to God: no one was hurt. Yes, they had damage their homes: to porches, siding and screen rooms but everyone was ok. The next day, Wednesday, Harry Chapin Food Bank sent a truck to Immokalee with water and MREs. After almost 200 families were served, Collier County workers arrived with a truck filled with water and more food. By the end of Saturday, one week after the storm, about 1,000 families were given food or a hot meal through the Red Cross in our parking lot. Time and time again, people told us that they had damage to their homes or yards, but invariably, they were thankful that they were safe; that their lives had been spared.
The next week, the volunteers worked every day, serving over 300 families per day. In addition, 1,000 hot meals were served through Friday. I received an almost constant stream of phone calls and text messages from all over the country, offering donations of food, clothing and supplies. Once again, God was at work through many people, making His love and grace known. On Sunday after worship, a family arrived with a van filled with clothing, food, and personal hygiene supplies. A short time later, a semi arrived from
Michigan, filled with donated water and diapers. With the help of a forklift, (and driver), graciously loaned to us by Grass Roots Kitchen, pallet after pallet was unloaded from the semi trailer and dropped in the parking lot. Then came the work of transferring everything into the Amigos Center lobby. In case you’re wondering, a pallet of bottled water is HEAVY, even with the help of a pallet jack! Thanks to the help of many volunteers who were willing to do a fair amount of heavy lifting, we were able to move all of the donated goods into the Center.
Our volunteers have worked hard, organizing the donated supplies and helping with distribution to hundreds of people. We are continuing twice weekly food distributions throughout the month of October. However, we are also focusing on church members and community members who have had severe damage to their homes; many have been deemed uninhabitable, and others have significant damage to the structure or contents. Some homes sustained flood damage, and others had water damage to the interior and contents because of roof leaks or broken windows. I have been working on identifying needs and locating assistance for these families.
As I look back over the past month, I am humbled and awed by the many demonstrations of God’s grace and power. Of course, there is the obvious; the storm itself, an awesome and terrible display of God’s power in nature. God’s providence has been shown in abundance, before, during and after the storm, in answered prayers, in neighbors helping neighbors, and in the generosity shown by so many people. God truly is good, and His power is made perfect in weakness as He says. We were all “weak” in the days after the storm; no electricity, limited or no cell service, no internet, wondering how we were going to ever get our lives back to normal. But time and time again, God provides. Thanks be to God!