Amigos Center

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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!

D’Latinos and Gulfshore Business magazines launched the Face Awards in 2011 to recognize businesses and outstanding individuals who reflect and celebrate positive values and the ethnic and racial diversity within the community. The awards honor outstanding nominees in each of the following categories: Large Company, Small Business, Nonprofit/Philanthropy, Medical, Education, and Arts and Culture.

For the year of 2012, Pastor Selle was selected amongst many candidates to receive the FACE Award, Non-Profit/Philanthropy. He, and Amigos Center, will get an article in the magazine as well as recognition at their Gala in January of 2012.

 

October was a very eventful month. Justina came on board and is doing great. We have improved upon the English program and are seeing students gain confidence. It is a joy to also see them helping one another. Some of the people we have seen include Juana, who has attained skills and confidence she had never had before. We have seen the joys of families united and families rejoice over furthering their education. Yet we have also seen clients like CeCe who struggles to send money home to her mom in Haiti and ten orphan kids who are abandoned. We have seen one student break down because she couldn’t afford the $36 for medications needed after a visit to the emergency room. Yet we have watched how God has blessed the center, providing what we need and helping to provide for what others need.

Karl, Immokalee Service Director, says, “It is so easy to lose focus on what is important in life in this fast paced world. Being in Immokalee has allowed me to see what is truly important in life. Christ and family.”

Thank you to all of our partners who make this changing of lives possible.

 

Today Amigos Center had the distinct joy of handing a client her green card after 22 years in the United States.  The client had been referred to our office ten months ago from Florida Equal Justice Center to file her adjustment of status case based on a U Visa, victim of a serious crime.  She had been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her now ex-spouse and back in 2007 she had been granted the U Visa.  Upon waiting the required three years, she was now ready to file for her legal permanent residence, namely the green card.

Amigos Center started meeting with the client in December of last year to prepare the required documents and in January we submitted all the necessary applications/documents/fees.  In August we received a request for additional evidence from immigration and immediately called the client and responded to immigration’s request.  Today, October 3, Amigos Center received the green card on the client’s case.  We immediately called the client with the good news and within a few hours she was in our office to pick up the mail.  She started crying and shaking and said that she finally got her freedom back.  She left our office to call her mother and tell her the wonderful news.  Now our client will be able to travel to her native country and visit her family after 22 years in the United States.

 

Board Member Pat O’Donnell was featured in Lifestyle Magazine’s October 2011 issue’s article written by Laura Cummings.

Read excerpts below or read the full article here.

Amigos Center Board Members Give Back

During the thirty-five years Al and Pat O’Donnell have lived in Estero, they have built an award-winning landscape firm as wellas a reputation for community service.

The Dubin Center is one of United Way’s seventy-two local partneragencies, as is The Amigos Center, for which Pat serves on the board.The Amigos Center helps immigrants in Lee and Collier counties filepaperwork to obtain, retain or recover their legal status. “They do alot of humanitarian work,” Pat explained. The agency helps immigrantsfrom ninety countries navigate through the complex Immigration andNaturalization Service (INS) system. “It’s a proud moment when theyfinally get through everything and get their citizenship.”Pat discovered The Amigos Center as a volunteer on the United Way’sAllocations Committee, which evaluates partner agencies and reviewsannual requests for grants. “It is an eye-opening opportunity to see whatthe needs are in Lee County,” Pat said.

While the O’Donnells keep a tightly packed schedule, they wouldn’thave it any other way.“You make time for the things you really want to do,” Pat said. “Youorganize everything else around it.”

Every year the Amigos Center helps hundreds of families reunite and stay united through the low-cost, legal immigration services provided. Pictured here is Gaspar Mejia. Through the help of the Amigos Center he was able to bring his wife and four children here to the United States. Out of gratitude for the work of Lala through the Amigos Center, they came and brought her a very elaborate handmade blouse from their native Huehuetenango, Guatemala.  It is a typical indigenous outfit only from that region. Many families do not have the money to pay for expensive immigration services yet they are very grateful for the services the Amigos Center provides. This was their heartfelt way to show their appreciation for Lala and the Amigos Center Immigration ministry.

Pictured here is: Luis Fernando (eldest son), Juana, Lala (Immigration Specialist) & Gaspar Mejia.

Immigration Services - Family from Guatemala

 

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