There is so much happening at Amigos en Cristo. We love sharing with you all of the blessings God has given us these past few months. We have several things for which to be thankful. This past week, Pastor Karl and his team at the Immokalee Amigos Center hosted the Summer Vacation Bible School: Splash Canyon. This past Saturday, Karl and his team also participated in a Backpack Giveaway event sponsored by Lipman Family Farms in Immokalee. For just over a month, I had the opportunity to teach 7 young people and they were able to receive First Communion last Sunday. We anticipate a confirmation class forming in the upcoming weeks as well. Also, we have a new permanent, yes permanent, location for our immigration staff to call home and we have also hired on a new staff member to assist us at this new location. Lastly, we have been in talks with Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Lehigh, Florida to help launch a new mission start. This will help me fulfill part of my call to Amigos en Cristo to start new ministries and to help Anglo churches do effective ethnic outreach.
A NOTE FROM PASTOR KARL: VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL “SPLASH CANYON”
“For three days this week, our Vacation Bible School was a time of fun and learning about our Lord and His love for His children. We learned how God is always there for us through the “wild ride of life”. We started with 17 children and over 14 support volunteers and ended with over 27 children in attendance. We started by traveling with baby Moses down the Nile River, and learned that God was there
with Moses the whole time. We learned about the Israelites entering the Promised Land, and we ended with the baptism of our LordJesus. Through all of these lessons, we explored just how big and wide the Love God has for us.
The children listened toBible stories, played games, and did crafts. They prayed together and sang songs about God’s love for us through all of our good and bad times. They also enjoyed breakfast and lunch prepare by the ladies of Amigos Center in Immokalee. A special thanks to all who made this event a success and especially thanks to God our Father who loves us so much he sent His Son to earth to save us.”
~ Blessing ~ Pastor Karl ~
For More Photos Click Here
Though I was not able to attend this years giveaway, due to a previous commitment, I received word of some great accomplishments that happened at the event last Saturday. I am so proud that we were a part of such a great event. It is a great gift being able to share and receive such great blessings while also helping out the community at large. From what I heard, the exhibitors to the volunteers to the vendors lent a hand, and they estimated helping over 2,000 people get ready to go back to school and have one last bash with their families before school begins. I feel it really was a true success in every sense of the word. I know that our staff and volunteers enjoyed themselves as they got to interact with all of the good families who made it out on Saturday. Everyone at Lipman is truly grateful for our support and participation in this event.
I hope you all can join us next year.
HOLY FIRST COMMUNION
On July 27 and 28, we had 7 First Communion candidates successfully complete their studies and self-examination in preparation to receive the Lord’s Supper on July 29th at Amigos en Cristo Church in Estero Florida. These young people went through instruction, self-examination, confession and absolution, and were publicly admitted to receive the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins. It was a great time to see the youth make public profession of their faith and the church to celebrate this joyful reception of members to the Lord’s Supper. Our confirmation class will being when school starts as well. This will allow for a continued education of these young people in the way of the Christian faith, life, and practice as they live out their calling as Christians in world.
OUR NEW LOCATION
Over the course of the year, you have heard of our recovery efforts for our immigration office due to Hurricane Irma. We moved from Hope Lutheran Church in Bonita Springs to a temporarily location at Thrive Community Church in Estero and now we are pleased to announce our new permanent, yes permanent, home at: 1560 Matthew Drive in Fort Myers. We are in the process of consolidating our immigration offices and bringing all of our immigration employees under one roof for more effective and further outreach to the immigrant population of Southwest Florida. With this said, we would also like to welcome to our staff, Eileen Ortegon, who has accepted the position of Immigration Administrative Assistant. We hope as we continue to grow and set down deeper roots in our new permanent location, we will be more efficient and effective in the way we help the people of Southwest Florida. We are excited and truly grateful to everyone who made this possible.
We will be hosting a Grand Re-Re-Opening and Dedication Open-House on:
October 24 from 4pm – 7pm.
Hope to see you there.
Mission Start – Lehigh
In furthering our mission, “To help immigrants to an abundant life and the kingdom of God,” we have began to partner with Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Lehigh Acres. This new “Mission Start – Lehigh,” will help me to fulfill part of my calling in helping to start one of the two multicultural ministries, one being out in Lehigh Acres, Florida. We look forward to seeing where the Lord directs and guides our planning. We will keep you posted as things start to develop.
I pray that God continues to bless our work here and that God would continue to bless you as you all have been a blessing to us. And as we are directed by God to continue to teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all; please continue to keep us in your prayers and pray that God would open the hearts and the minds of those we meet to receive the Good New which is Jesus Christ; His life, death, and resurrection for us all. God be with you now and always.
In His Service with You,
Pastor Seth DeBartolo
Amigos en Cristo, Inc. d/b/a Amigos Center – April 29, 2018
This past week has been an exciting and adventurous one. At the beginning of the week one of the kids of our host family took us to different pueblos (small towns) throughout the country side. This gave Karl and I a chance to learn a bit more about the raw culture and the challenges that face the people of the DR. We met Adalgisa Gomez a cosmetologist and hair styler. It is her hope that one day she would have an institute for hair and nails.She wants to help teach others in the community a skill so that they can live better lives to provide for themselves and their families. In a letter, she asked if we knew of anyone willing to help with supplies, from as small as a comb to as big as a blow dryers. Contact me if you have questions. Seth@amigoscenter.org
After we met Adalgisa, we proceeded to go up and down the hilly country side where we saw tobacco plants growing
and storage huts for drying. We were then brought to a high point and saw a piscina (pool area) with a fantastic view. Check out the website for more amazing pictures. Once we finished our tour it was time to head back for dinner. We had an opportunity to join the rest of the family for a fish dinner at one of the local establishments. Fried or oven cooked we could have it our way.
During our class education this week, we were learning about conversational Spanish and talking about directions.We found ourselves at a memorial park dedicated to Christopher Columbus. Like many areas around Santiago, there was iron work. At this park there were the three ships most commonly associated with Columbus’ journey, as well as a few painted murals depicting his arrival.
Karl and I have been in contact with several of the missionaries and their families throughout our stay. Just this past week, the Office of International Missions – LCMS (Latin American/ Caribbean Region) had their summit meeting in Palmar Arriba, about 30 minutes outside of town. On Monday, we were able to make contact with Ruth and Arthuro Maita and spend some time with them. After that we met up with the president of the Venezuelan Lutheran Church and he once again thanked us for our support through Arepas Para Venezuela fundraiser. Please keep them in your continued prayers.
It was at this time we had a tour of the LCMS mission office in Santiago. Here is a picture of all of the mission locations in LatinAmerica. The next picture is of all thirty-two missionary families. Later on in the week after our Thursday class we took leave from assisting the instructors teaching and went to see the other missionaries at the seminary. They had just finished their renovation and construction of the building.
The first floor is social services, the second floor is a chapel and next to that are professional education rooms and the third floor is the seminary for theological education. It was great to hear about all the mission opportunities in other countries as well as gain insight as to how to do outreach to the hispanic population in Southwest Florida.
Last, but not least, on April 25th, I received the call officially to serve as pastor at Amigos en Cristo. This day was shared with my wife and family over Skype. I will be notifying everyone as to when the ordination service will be in upcoming blogs or through a special announcement.
Leonardo Garcia, one of the Amigos Center board members, is coming to visit us this week at the institute so I am sure we will have more to talk about next week. Please check the web page for new updated photos of our trip.
www.amigoscenter.org/dr-trip. Please keep us and our families in your continued prayers.
God’s Richest Blessings,
Our job, as people of faith, is not to just help people to a better life in this world, but to a new life in the Kingdom of God. Jesus saw people who were focused on satisfying their own physical needs. It’s not that he didn’t care about that. He gave them food, he healed their bodies, he delivered them from devils. But he didn’t stop there. And neither can we. Jesus came to give them eternal life. That’s why he said:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Twenty years ago a handful of forward looking church leaders saw the challenge. They saw the Hispanic population growing in our communities, but not in our churches. After 20 years I can report with all certainty that the challenge has not been met. If there was a challenge 20 years ago, that challenge has quadrupled since then. It has grown with the unprecedented increase of immigrants moving to our Southwest Florida paradise.
How will we respond? With horror or with hope? The response to this challenge must be met by the new, up-and-coming leadership of the immigrants themselves. We have a lot to learn from them. Immigrants are not a threat, they are our future. We have already trained and ordained two Haitian pastors.
By God’s grace Sergio Campos, a leader of our Immokalee Hispanic church will be ordained into the pastoral ministry within a few years. If we lean forward with the training of new leaders, if we are willing to take risks by entrusting leadership into foreign hands, we may very well be looking forward to a growth that will rise to the challenge we have before us. Our choice as a church is to grow or to die. I chose to grow. Thank you for being a part of this.
If you would like to hear more about our plans for the future, please join us by R.S.V.P. to our Annual Luncheon March 21, 2018.
We hope to see you at the Southwest Florida Event Center in Bonita Springs, FL. For more information contact Donna Selle (239) 437-6727 or visit our website www.amigoscenter.org.
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.