Amigos Center

Posts Categorised: Special Events

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

BACKPACK GIVEAWAY

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

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!

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.

Bonita Springs Amigos Center office damage

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.

Pastor Selle and his family waiting out the storm in Immokalee

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.

Damage to one of our church member’s house in Bonita Springs

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.

LCMS Disaster Relief dropped off at Zion Lutheran Church Fort Myers

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.




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 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

 

By Pastor Bob Selle

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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 Rev. Robert Selle

Immokalee, FL – Experience Thanksgiving like never before with our staff and the whole Immokalee community this Thanksgiving holiday.  On Tuesday, November 22 at 4:00 PM we will begin serving a hot turkey meal in the parking lot of the Immokalee Amigos Center.   Come early and help.  Contact Pastor Bob at (239) 281-1664 for more information.

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