Posts Categorised: Immigration
What a good and gracious God we have, even in the midst of the recent storms! This is the God of whom the Psalmist sang, “made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed” Ps. 107:25. Hurricane Irma is history, but her effects will be long felt.
Here is just a little insight as to the effects Irma has had on the Amigos Center and Southwest Florida.
Sad to say, we did not fair too well at the Amigos Center in Bonita Springs. It is now wet, moldy and in need of rehab before it can open again. We put two tarps over it to mitigate any further rain damage and packed most things up in preparation for a move to another facility. We still need to remove the wet carpets and ceiling tiles. Thankfully, all of the electronics at this facility are still in good working order. The building now has electricity, but no telephone/internet.
I don’t know yet where we will be able to reopen, however, Lyndsay and Evelyn have returned to work this past Monday. They expect to begin seeing clients sometime next week. This is important as the DACA renewals must be done by October 5, so it is urgent that we reopen in some temporary place ASAP.
Our Amigos Center in Fort Myers was infested with mold, due to the recent weather. Property Restoration was working to address these problems and now we are functioning normally at this facility.
Our Amigos Center in Immokalee weathered the storm well. Pastor Selle and his family stayed there during the hurricane. Electricity has finally been restored and there are some new leaks in the roof. No other damage to building itself.
However, one tree fell and broke one of our outdoor light poles and smashed the fence. Karl and volunteers opened this past Wednesday morning to allow Harry Chapin to distribute water, ice and MREs for those in and around Immokalee who were in need. They have opened several times in order to assist further.
We have lots of people calling and wanting to donate items and are offering to help. We are asking them to call Karl. Starting next week we will put Tulisha, one of our key volunteers, at 20 hours a week to handle food distributions. That will allow Karl to focus on lining up work projects for Immokalee families who suffered damage to their homes.
We will hold our regular worship services this Sunday.
Our personnel weathered the storm, but like many here in Southwest Florida, have damage in one form or another. One of our legal assistance, Evelyn, lost a portion of her trailer home in Rosemary Park. Also, our attorneys Lyndsay and Christina, experienced some water damage at their respective homes. Karl is still dealing with clearing his house from storm damage and Seth is dealing with downed trees and recently had power restored. Pastor Andre and Pastor Saint Luc suffered some damage to their homes as well, but are continuing to serve their roles at the Amigos Center.
By the grace of God, we are receiving some significant help from LCMS Disaster Relief. We are working on a $25K grant for relief work, as they already gave us $3,500 in VISA gift cards, which we have already begun distributing to those in need. More financial help is available upon request. This past Thursday, the LCMS Disaster Relief dropped off a semi-truck load of supplies at Zion Lutheran (diapers, tools, generators, tarps, etc.) We used some of it for the Bonita Springs Amigos Center. They are stationing two point people at Zion Lutheran in Fort Myers to help coordinate needed relief supplies.
Volunteer work crews are already here with more to arrive next week.
Thanks be to God for his mercy endures forever.
Now is a great time to gather and rejoice in how our gracious God held us safely through the storm. Even if you, like so many others, had some damages from the wind and water, all of the material things can be replaced, but God alone preserves life! You may have been without electricity, but you have had power all along with Jesus by your side!
If you feel you want to give of your time, talents, or treasures for recovery efforts, please contact Karl Glander at (239) 293-1489 or follow the prompt below to donate.
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.
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
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
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
Thank you for taking the time to let us know that you plan on attending our 20th anniversary Fundraising Luncheon at noon, on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
We look forward to seeing you there.
To send your RSVP please
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By Pastor Bob Selle
Next year “Amigos en Cristo” will celebrate 20 years of ministry. For two decades we have provided immigrants to Southwest Florida with the tools to be successful and contributing members of our community and the Kingdom of God.
To help us kick off our 20th anniversary, Judy Small, widow of longtime volunteer and board member Bob Small, has offered a $20,000 challenge grant to help us grow.
Any donation to Amigos Center that you give by December 31, 2016 that exceeds what you gave last year will be matched up to $20,000. This Challenge Grant represents a potential financial increase of $40,000! This challenge grant together with your above-and-beyond gift will put Amigos en Cristo in a strong financial position heading into the New Year.
So far we have received $600 in qualified gifts. Thank you all for your support and “Amistad” with Amigos Center.
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 amigoscenter.org and make your contribution by credit card or by Pay Pal. Write the word “Challenge” in the message box.
We serve remembering what Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all nations” and “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
By Pastor Bob Selle
Amigos en Cristo pastor, Pastor Andre Mezilus, was stranded in Haiti during the recent strike of Hurricane Matthew, due to the temporary suspension of airline flights out of Haiti. He was in Haiti at the time supervising his mission congregations in Cap ‘Haitian. He regrettably reported the death of one of his church members due to the hurricane, leaving behind a family of five (see picture).
A blog posted by the LCMS Disaster Response reports:
“In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, LCMS Disaster Response looks to broaden aid to victims, after having seen the tragic effects of the hurricane firsthand in both Haiti and the Carolinas during Oct. 10-13 visits to the hardest-hit areas.
LCMS Disaster Response Director Rev. Ross Johnson visited Haiti, as an outbreak of cholera was complicating recovery efforts there. His visit revealed specific needs of the victims not already being addressed by various government and nongovernment agencies responding to the catastrophe.
‘We’re currently working to provide an initial 10 wells — with a goal of providing up to 50 wells — for clean water and also to provide tin roofs for some 50 area pastors and possibly 50 churches without roofs in Haiti,’ said Johnson. ’This is a focused response to the destruction and sanitation issues brought about by the storm, while other agencies are providing for medicine, food and other necessities.’”
Donations for relief work can be made directly to , LCMS Disaster Response fund or to Amigos en Cristo, Inc. to help Pastor Andre’s mission congregations.
By Rev. Robert Selle
Immokalee, FL – Over a hundred people gathered at the Immokalee Amigos Center to participate in the ordination and installation of Karl Glander on October 16, 2016. Accompanied by his wife, Ginny, their sons Jeff and Matt, and local LCMS clergy, Rev. Glander made his solemn vow that with the help of God he will perform the duties of the pastoral office in conformity with Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. Rev. Jon Zehnder, Second Vice-President of the LCMS Florida-Georgia District, vested Karl with a red stole, symbol of the pastoral office. Rev. Richard Browning, Circuit Visitor performed the rite of installation.
Rev. Glander now joins our team of pastors working in Immokalee: Pastors Andre Mezilus and Saint Luc Charelus serve Bethlehem Haitian Church, while Pastor Bob Selle serves as missionary pastor for our Hispanic congregation. Pastor Glander is called to serve with special emphasis on the English speaking family members of the predominantly immigrant community of Immokalee.