Posts Categorised: Immigration
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.
Because of your financial support, during the next 12 months we expect to:
- Enroll one of our Hispanic church leaders from Immokalee with the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO. This will lead to his ordination into the pastoral ministry in four years.
- Charter our Hispanic Lutheran Church in Immokalee as a member congregation of the Florida-Georgia District of the LCMS
- Open an eye clinic in our Immokalee Amigos Center in partnership with another non-profit;
- Expand our new Hispanic ministry in Lehigh Acres in partnership with one of our supporting LCMS congregations;
- Continue to provide ESOL, emergency food and clothing to hundreds of poor in Immokalee;
- Continue providing affordable legal immigration help for families and for victims of domestic violence.
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.”
FORT MYERS, FL – Amigos Center is one of three local non-profits chosen to be a recipient of a unique fundraising event being organized by a group of Hispanic community leaders.
Members of the Hispanic Heritage Festival & 5K events committee are pleased to invite the Fort Myers community and surrounding areas to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring generations of Hispanic Americans living in Southwest Florida, for their tremendous contributions to our culture and economy. The Hispanic Heritage Festival & 5K, presented by Fuccillo Kia of Cape Coral, takes place at Centennial Park on Saturday, September 24 starting at 7:30 a.m. for the 5K and will be an all-day event.
Event organizers and supporters plan to transform Centennial Park in Downtown Fort Myers into a diverse Latin entertainment arena, showcasing food, live music, arts, and culture. What’s more, several local nonprofits, including Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc. (ACT), CCMI, the Multicultural Centre and Amigos Center will benefit from the proceeds made from the 5K and soccer tournament.
“Lee County boasts a Hispanic population of nearly 20% of our 700,000+ residents,” shared Pastor Benjamin Flecha, Chairman of the Hispanic Heritage Festival, “We are excited to bring back the Hispanic Heritage Festival as an opportunity to not only share pride for the culture, but also to dedicate proceeds to organizations that have made a major impact on our community as a whole.”
Sponsorships from local businesses are now being accepted. In addition, all are invited to create teams for the 5K. Registration fees for the 5K start at $25. To find out more about how to become involved, please visit http://hispanicfestivalfortmyers.com/.
BONITA SPRINGS, FL – For the twelfth year in a row, Amigos Center will receive financial support from the United Way of Lee County. In addition to providing financial support for our immigration services, United Way annually conducts a careful examination of our finances, management, sustainability and results produced. This includes a visit by the allocation team to our office. After this year’s site visit the team reported their impressions of Amigos Center:
“The Team was pleased with the Agency’s presentation and they had a clear understanding of the value of the programs and the impact of United Way funding. The Team appreciated that the Agency walks the clients through the whole citizenship process, from start to finish. The Team was impressed with the Agency’s focused mission and the obvious positive impact that the program is having on the lives of immigrants.”
The team recommended an allocation of $42,000 for calendar year 2017: family immigration services $32,000 and $10,000 for our U-Visa Victims of Domestic Violence program. We are thankful for the support of the United Way and all the people of Lee County who provide financial and volunteer support to the United Way.
By Pastor Bob Selle
Our Immokalee congregation was pleased to receive a new member on Mother’s Day, May 8. Reina, a farmworker and mother of six children, made her public confession of faith and so joined our growing congregation. Reina has been attending our worship services and studying with Pastor Selle for over two years. She says that she felt she really needed to do this. Her hope is to grow closer to God and to learn more about the Bible and the things of God. Reina expects to baptize her newborn infant daughter later this year.
You can make a difference in the life of the children of Immokalee farmworkers. We have opportunities for you to help during the summer recess from school.
Vacation Bible School: June 20 – 23
We are using the Barnyard Roundup curriculum from Concordia Publishing House. We need help with snacks, crafts, songs and Bible story time.
Monday through Thursday mornings we have many children in our Immokalee Amigos Center that would love to have you read to them. Our Storytime Nanas meet with the kids while their parents are occupied in our Amigos Center. They meet in a kid friendly area of the Amigos Center where they can choose a book they can read and take home, play, enjoy a snack, crafts, etc. The kids love it and so will you.
For more information contact Karl Glander (239) 293-1489 about the VBS or Donna Selle (239) 281-1665 about the Storytime Nana program.
(Pictured from left to right)
Christiina Leddin (Immigration Specialist), Lindsay Ray (Immigration Attorney), Rev. Robert Selle (Pastor/CEO), Anastacia Hernandez (Immokalee Housekeeping), Nancy Ramirez (Immokalee Receptionist), Vicar Karl Glander (Immokalee Service Director), Rev. Andre Mezilus (Pastor Bethlehem Haitian Church), Rev. Saint Luc Charelus (Pastor Bethlehem Haitian Church) and Donna Selle (Bookkeeper). Not pictured are Eileen Ortegon and Maria Isabel Diaz.
Tamar Villalobos gave an eloquent testimony at our Friends of Amigos Fundraiser. A recent arrival from Venezuela, she spoke about her decision to come to the United States as life in Venezuela grows increasingly difficult. Tamar is thankful for the friendship our Amigos en Cristo church has offered along with our Amigos Center immigration services we provided her.
Date held: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Total number of donors: 95
First time donors: 23
Total pledged to date: $72,570
Event goal: $80,000
Some post event donations are still arriving. If you haven’t made your contribution yet, you can still help us reach our goal. You can give on line, just click the DONATE NOW button or mail your check to “Amigos Center”, 25999 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
Our Lord Jesus knows no bounds. Our faith in Him emboldens us to imagine the unimaginable. Our theme for the 2016 fundraiser event is “What If”. Christian Author, public speaker and eternal optimist Dr. Rich Bimler will serve as our Master of Ceremonies. Save the date: March 16, 2016 at noon, Spanish Wells Country Club, Bonita Springs. Our goal this year is to raise $80,000. Call Donna at (239) 437-6727 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance.
By Rev. Robert Selle
Immokalee, FL – On December 6, 2015 over a hundred people gathered at the Immokalee Amigos Center to participate in the ordination and installation of Saint Luc Charelus.
Accompanied by his wife, Masinam, his mother, his brother, one of his seven children, members of Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS and local clergy, Rev. Charelus 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 Saint Luc with a red stole, symbol of the pastoral office. Rev. Richard Browning, Circuit Visitor and Saint Luc’s mentor for the past 5 years performed the rite of installation. Rev. Charelus now joins Pastor Andre Mezilus as part of the pastoral team of Bethlehem Haitian Church.
Both pastors are bi-vocational, working in a secular job to support their families while still serving as pastor. Both Rev. Charelus and Rev. Mezilus are graduates of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, MO. The model of bi-vocational pastors is a viable model for our ethnic ministries, especially because of the economically depressed population that our ethnic ministries often serve.