The Cost of Thanksgiving
By Rev. Robert Selle
Here is what it costs to serve over 200 Immokalee farmworkers a hot turkey meal with trimmings during Thanksgiving week:
- 20 turkeys = $310;
- 24 big hearted volunteers: priceless.
- Buddy Taylor and his staff at Gator Hammock Catering slow cooked 20 turkeys over charcoal for 7 hours;
- Eleven volunteers from Immokalee;
- Fourteen volunteers from Lutheran Churches in Weston, Naples, and Fort Myers, FL
Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or another other day of the year, Amigos Center welcomes the foreigner and stranger among us with the love of God in Christ Jesus. It is the people who volunteer their time and talent that make it possible for us to carry out our mission of love by providing food, clothing, English classes, special outreach events, etc.
It is not always easy or cheap to serve others, but it is the price of Thanksgiving to God.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with us,
- visit our website: http://amigoscenter.org/get-involved/volunteer-to-be-a-friend/:
- Call Karl Glander to set up a tour of our Immokalee Amigos Center: (239) 293-1489;
- Visit us from Monday to Thursday, between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, 106 South 2nd Street, Immokalee, FL
By God’s grace, and a lot of hard work we have expanded the scope of our immigration services to include undocumented victims of domestic violence while continuing to provide the family-based and country specific immigration services that Amigos Center is accustomed to offer. To that end we have hired a third immigration specialist, Marie Josee Maurice, to work out of our Bonita Springs office and we have renovated our center to include additional office space.
With the help of our partners from the United of Lee County, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Bridge Fund of Bonita Springs and Estero, we have launched a cooperative arrangement with the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Shelter of Fort Myers to help provide U-visas to eligible victims of domestic violence. The U visa applies to immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, who are the victims of certain serious crimes and who have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator. An immigrant granted a U Visa will subsequently be given legal status to reside and work in the United States.
According to founder and CEO of Amigos Center, Pastor Bob Selle; “The love of Jesus Christ compels us to extend a helping hand to the most vulnerable. Our service to the immigrant community is a tangible expression of God’s love and concern for people of all nations. It is an expression of what we believe and the one in whom we have believed.”
To learn more about our immigration services, visit our website: www.amigoscenter.org, or better yet, come to our open house on Thursday, December 11, at 11:00 am at 25999 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135, on the campus of Hope Lutheran Church.
Thursday, December 11 11:00 am 25999 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
We are blessed to have received Isabella Restrepo as a member of the Kingdom of God through the waters of Baptism on Sunday, July 20 at Amigos en Cristo ministry at Hope Lutheran Church, Bonita Springs, FL. Pray for this young soul as she begins her lifelong journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Andrew Vazquez of St. Peter Lutheran Church, Miami participated as our invited preacher.
Amigos en Cristo is the “Mission of the Month” at Faith Lutheran Church, Naples. Amigos representative, Eileen Ortegon, visited Faith Lutheran on July 6 to say thank you to all of our supporters. Pastor Selle is the guest preacher for the last Sunday of July. Come and meet him.
By Pastor Bob Selle
Our Hispanic ministry at Hope Lutheran Church, Bonita Springs has begun a music ministry designed to enhance the worship experience during our Sunday afternoon worship service. Church member and lead guitarist Reynaldo Bernal directs Roberto Velazquez (key board), Carlos Garciá (Drummer), Cesar García (Base guitar), Ebert Enriquez (Percussionist), and Orleisy Lima (lead singer). Orleisy and Ebert played professionally in Cuba before immigrating to the United States. In order to share the blessing, Orleisy will sing at Faith Lutheran Church on July 27. Everyone is welcome to participate in our 1:00 PM Spanish language each Sunday at Hope Lutheran, Bonita Springs.
By Karl Glander (Vicar)
Our volunteer staff continues to amaze as they take on more responsibility so I can continue my studies with the SMP (Specific Ministry Program). The program is very challenging but the rewards are priceless as it is for the service to our Lord for the expansion of his Kingdom. This is a four-year distance education program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO that prepares for ordination as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. As Paul prays for the Philippians I ask yours also.
Philippians 1:6 “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
English Language Ministry in Immokalee
By Pastor Bob Selle
Second generation immigrants live within two cultures, that of their parents and that of the country they call home. They are the “Hypheners”: Mexican-Americans, Haitian-Americans, Guatemalan-Americans, etc.
While many adults in Immokalee immigrated to the United States from Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti, there are also many who either came as very young children or were born here in the United States to their immigrant parents. Of the 53,000,000 Hispanics in the United States almost 65% were born and raised here in the United States (“A Future for the Latino Church” by Daniel Rodriguez). They often do not feel comfortable in the Spanish/Haitian language church of their parents. They are too “Americanized,” too “adapted” to the American culture. Their cognitive language is English, not the language with which their parents grew up.
At the same time they often do not feel welcome in the existing American churches where they are seen as foreigners. They don’t feel they belong. They may have experienced discrimination (or they feel that they have experienced discrimination).
There is a danger of the Christian church losing this generation when they become old enough to leave home. People don’t want to go to a church where they will be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable or that will make them embarrassed.
While continuing our outreach to first generation Hispanics and Haitians, we are now expanding our ministry to establish a multi-cultural, multi-racial English-dominant Lutheran church focused on the 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants in Immokalee. Our church will promote a global, multicultural vision where our identity is first and foremost as members of the Kingdom of God.
Vicar Karl Glander has already started a Wednesday evening group that meets for Bible study, prayer, worship, food and fellowship in English at our Immokalee Amigos Center. We expect to start an English language Sunday worship service later this summer.
An innovative intergenerational approach to Family ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Myers produced among other mission projects, enough food to serve 80 families in Immokalee. This intergenerational approach provides opportunity for families to come together for worship, fellowship and mission service. During a recent weekend event entire families gathered and assembled food bags for Amigos en Cristo, flood buckets and also sorted nails for Habitat for Humanity. Family Life Ministry DCE Rebecca Duport innovated the concept and organized the weekend event to replace the traditional children’s Vacation Bible School model. According to Zion’s Pastor Peter Weeks, “This intergenerational approach is a unique tool that embodies the partnership between the church and the home to reach out to the community.” Thrivent Financial for Lutherans partnered with Zion Lutheran to match funds through their “Care Abounds in Communities” matching grant program.
On May 4th, 2014 was the induction service for two vicars for our Immokalee ministry. Vicar Saint Luc Charelus will finish his theological studies next year; Vicar Karl Glander is just beginning his 4-year program of study. Both are enrolled in distance education programs of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO and work under the direction of local mentors and supervisors. Upon satisfactory completion they will receive a Theological Diploma which makes them eligible for a divine call to the pastoral ministry of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Upon graduation, we expect Saint Luc to join our pastoral ministry team at Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS. Karl will head up our English language mission in Immokalee.
All donations are tax deductible.
To make a donation over the phone, you can call us at 239-437-6727.
If you are a Thrivent Financial member with Choice Dollars to direct, you can help our church continue its ministry here and reach out to the greater community.
Simply direct Choice Dollars to Amigos en Cristo Lutheran Mission. We plan to use these grant funds to provide immigrants to Southwest Florida with the tools to be successful and contributing members of our community and the Kingdom of God.
You can make your direction online at www.thrivent.com (click on “Thrivent choice” on The “Membership and Benefits” tab) to direct your Thrivent Choice Dollars to Amigos Center.
If you would like to send in a check, please make the check out to Amigos en Cristo, Inc, and send it to the address below Amigos en Cristo, Inc. 25999 Old 41 Road Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Gifts in Kind
If you would like to donate a gift other than cash, please contact our office at 239-437-6727 Amigos en Cristo is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Donations and contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.
“A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.” NO MONEY IS PAID TO PROFESSIONAL SOLICITORS. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE USED BY AMIGOS EN CRISTO, INC. (#SC-11673)