Amigos Center

Posts By: Bob Selle

Dora is used to fending for herself.  But sometimes everyone needs a helping hand.  From childhood she learned to work hard.  Dora started picking Texas cotton when she was 7 years old.  She and her parents traveled from Texas to Colorado, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Ohio in search of work picking sugar beets, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.  When she was 21 she heard that they were picking oranges in a place called Immokalee, Florida.  That is where she has lived for the past 45 years.   Though she never married she did raise one of her nephews in a trailer home she still lives in.  Hurricane Irma caused severe water damage throughout her home last September.  Now she wonders what she will do.  She heard about Amigos Center from her brother, a member of our church.  That’s why she came to Amigos Center and eventually to our Spanish worship service.  She likes that the church helps people with food and clothes.  She knows that many in Immokalee are hurting and are in need.  Now in her need, she is thankful for the emergency food and small cash assistance that Amigos Center has provided her during this prolonged recovery period.

Pray for Dora and the many others in Immokalee who are still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

I invite you to hear more stories of “A Friend in Need” during our annual fundraising luncheon:

Wednesday, March 21 at noon 

SW Florida Events Center 11515 Bonita Beach Road SE Bonita Springs, FL  34135.  
 

RSVP by telephone: (239) 437-6727, or Email:  dlselle@amigoscenter.org 

or on our webpage:  http://amigoscenter.org/annual-luncheon/

Tulisha is one of the most memorable people you will come across when you visit our  Immokalee Amigos Center.  Her love for people shines throughfrom her smile, her assertive leadership style and boundless energy.  Before moving to Immokalee in 2015 she was a social worker in New York City. There she helped broken families and foster children navigate the legal and social service bureaucracies. It was a major culture shock for her when she first moved to Immokalee in 2015.  Compared to New York City, Immokalee seemed like a ghost town.  Her first impression was “Where are all the people?” However, she was determined to return to her birth state of Florida where her mother once worked picking cotton, vegetables and oranges.  It didn’t take her long to connect with the people of this small agricultural town of 22,000.  After coming to our Amigos Center in search of emergency food Tulisha saw what she was looking for, a place to have fun and help people.  Even though she doesn’t speak Spanish or Creole, she has been a key volunteer at the center.  She recently recruited several people and instituted a new service of home delivery of essential food items to the shut-in elderly people of Immokalee. Her arrival at the Amigos Center has also renewed her spiritual life. Tulisha says that “Before coming here I had not been to church   since my   grandmother   died in 1977.”  She has made our Sunday bilingual  worship part   of her spiritual routine.  She delights in providing the children of our congregation with special meals and snacks for special occasions. With few entertainment opportunities in Immokalee, Tulisha sees opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ by offering outdoor Christian movies and popcorn in our parking lot.  She says this is a way to keep kids out of trouble and a lot happier.  She plans on beginning this movie ministry once we finish our Vacation Bible School in June. Pray for Tulisha and her God inspired ministry in Immokalee. I invite you to hear more stories of “A Friend in Need” during our annual fundraising luncheon:

Wednesday, March 21 at noon 
SW Florida Events Center
11515 Bonita Beach Road SE Bonita Springs, FL  34135.  
RSVP by telephone: (239) 437-6727, or Email:  dlselle@amigoscenter.org 
or on our webpage:  http://amigoscenter.org/annual-luncheon/

Anita walked into our Spanish language worship service in Immokalee a couple of months ago.  I admit that I did not recognize her at the time, but I do now.  She and her husband, Daniel, are the embodiment of my vision for how the Gospel is proclaimed by word and deed.
Thirteen years ago our paths crossed when Hurricane Wilma destroyed their Immokalee trailer home.  It was devastating to this farmworker family, especially since Daniel suffers from a long term disability.  Amigos Center and I partnered with many other kind hearted Immokalee residents to eventually provide a new trailer home for Daniel and Anita.  The day they moved into their new home they were held up by an armed intruder.  Since this holdup qualified them for a special immigration visa program, the Immokalee sheriff’s office put them in touch with our Amigos Center in Bonita Springs.  Lindsay, our immigration attorney was able to help them get their immigration papers.  Last spring they finally received their permanent resident visa.
 After Hurricane Irma last September, Anita was unable to work for two months because the crops
 had been destroyed by the hurricane.  Desperate for food aid they came to our ImmokaleeAmigos Center where Pastor Karl and our team of volunteers were distributing tons of donated food and water.  When Karl heard that Hurricane Irma had wrecked the roof of their trailer home he purchased new roofing materials and coordinated a team of volunteers to replace their roof.
Now when Anita and Daniel walk into our Sunday worship service I recognize who they are.  More importantly they recognize how good and gracious God is. They are grateful for a blessed life.
I invite you to hear more stories of “A Friend in Need” during our annual fundraising luncheon:
When: March 21, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.
Where: Southwest Florida Event Center
11515 Bonita Beach Rd SE, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Why: To help provide immigrants to Southwest
Florida with the tools to be successful and contributing
members of our community and the Kingdom of God
RSVP by telephone: (239) 437-6727, or



WHO IS IN NEED?
By Seth DeBartolo

As I take a moment to reflect on our upcoming luncheon, “A Friend in Need,” on March 21,  I am reminded that we are stewards of what God has given us. It is by His grace we have what we have, but what is it that we actually have? You may think at times, “Well, everyone needs something – for the hungry, it’s food, for the sick, it’s medicine, for the homeless,  it’s a place to rest, for the lonely it’s someone to visit them or a sense of belonging.” You may say to yourself, “I am none of these things. I have a home, food, and clothes. I am healthy,” and so on, but you are still part of this equation.
Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be expected.” What is much? If I have more than my neighbor I have an opportunity to share my surplus and help someone in need.
This thought reminds me of a song I heard when I was younger, “What If I Give All?” by Ray Boltz. In this song, there is a boy in church with his mother and the preacher was talking about how a dime could feed a hungry boy or girl in need. So, the boy hearing this reached into his pocket to pull out a dollar. He asked his mother, “How many would this feed.” She just smiled when she told him, “ten.” He reached back in again and asked, “What if I give all I have, what would that gift do?” To this she replied, ”My child, a gift like that could change the world. It could feed a multitude.”
It was not that this boy was rich, rather he saw the need and his heart and mind were made up. He was going to help no matter what. There was a need and he was going to be the one to fill that need.
I wonder if the boy who had the five loaves and two fish thought to himself, “Can Jesus use everything I have to feed 5000 people?” Jesus saw the need of the people and He saw the resources within the community to meet the need of the people.  That is why Jesus said to His disciples, “You give them something to eat.”
You are the resource in the community to help a “Friend in Need”.
Come and join us for a time of fellowship and a time to share in the joy of giving what God has first given us, be it your time, talents, or treasures. 

I hope to see you there!

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.

First Year Seminarian Sergio Campos

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.

With immigration status of many immigrants in the news lately, I wanted you to hear about one of the 1,392 immigration clients our Amigos Center helped in 2016. Ada was brought from Mexico to the United States by her parents without legal documents when she was 11 years old. Our Amigos Center immigration office helped her after having lived here without legal documents for over 15 years. Ada is a beneficiary of the 2012 change in U.S. immigration policy that allowed allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. Ada is making the most of this opportunity to provide a living for herself and her young son by working as a CNA at a local medical facility. Her ambition is to become a Registered Nurse.

Love does funny things. It recently brought a young Venezuelan,a recent graduate of Concordia Seminary, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Fort Myers, FL. Rev. Maita has come to marry Ruth Pollex, a teacher at St. Michael’s Lutheran School. They met while both were serving as missionaries in the Dominican Republic. Their immediate plans are to live in the Fort Myers area where Rev. Maita hopes to find a place to serve God as a Lutheran pastor. It just so happens that Amigos en Cristo is looking to bolster our pastoral staff with a Spanish speaking pastor who can help with our Hispanic mission churches in Bonita Springs, Immokalee and other future sites. Pray that God’s will be done. And stay tuned to find out what happens next.

I’m Diego Grisales, from Colombia. I’m married and have 2 children.  I want to give this testimony to all those people who support Amigos en Cristo.

When I came to the United States 13 years ago, I met Pastor Bob Selle in his service at the Bonita Springs church. He was like an angel for me and my family.  At that time I didn’t speak any English, I didn’t have a good job, and my legal status was confused.  I remember very well that Pastor Bob Selle invited me and my family to visit his Amigos Center office in Bonita Springs. When we went there we started receiving a lot of support; food, clothes, spiritual support, immigration support, etc.  My family and I became citizens of the United States thanks to Amigos Center because they helped us with all the immigration procedures.

I’m very grateful to Amigos Center. This organization really helps, not only people in need, but also they support all the Hispanic and Haitian communities.  I always recommend people to visit them to get information and support in many areas.

By Rev. Robert Selle

We are thrilled to report that we surpassed our 20th Anniversary Challenge Grant goal of $20,000.  Judy Small, widow of longtime volunteer and board member Bob Small, offered to match any qualified gift during November and December dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000.  We received 47 qualified gifts, including 30 new donors totaling $25,192.  Thanks to the generosity of all participants her challenge grant resulted in a total gain of $45,192.  These special gifts helped us end the 2016 year with a surplus of $10,200.  This helps us continue to provide the spiritual, legal and social services that help immigrants to Southwest Florida to a successful life here in the United States and the Kingdom of God.

Amigos en Cristo, Inc. d/b/a Amigos  Center

Newsletter

January 2017

By Rev. Robert Selle

Since 1997 Amigos en Cristo has helped tens of thousands of immigrants to southwest Florida to a successful life here in the United States and the Kingdom of God. We want to celebrate it with you at the Amigos Center Fundraising Luncheon at noon on Wednesday, March 22 at the Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center.  Our goal for the luncheon is to raise $80,000.  Please RSVP at our webpage www.amigoscenter.org or by telephone

(239) 437-6727. Hope you can make it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017,

12:00 to 1:00 PM

Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center

(Corner of Livingston and Bonita Beach Road)

11515 Bonita Beach Road, SE

Bonita Springs, FL 34135

 

Amigos en Cristo

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

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