Thank you to State Farm and the Hispanic Chamber of Southwest Florida for your generous school supplies donation to help families in need. The Immokalee families who received the supplies are extremely grateful as are we. Thank you for your support of the community!
Thank you to Pastor Jerry Lawson of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in North Fort Myers for leading our youth in confirmation classes again this year. Last year, most of the youth group participated in weekly Confirmation Classes led by Pastor Lawson and we are thankful that he has again made this great commitment to teach this year.
Although it’s great to think of our pass successes, it is also important to cast the vision for the future. There are endless opportunities for expansion of the ministry, and to reach more families and impact the community in a greater way, there will be a team working together to design an achievable action plan. It will be a lot of work and will require a lot of prayer and planning as well as the time, talents and treasures of everyone involved with the ministry.
Today, Sarah Owen led a group of leaders in the Amigos en Cristo ministry to begin the conversation and to think through the strategic plan for growth. Although growth is challenging, it is extremely exciting. If you want to know more about the vision for growth and expansion of the ministry, contact Pastor Robert Selle or Leah McCann for more information.
At our Kingston Center in Bonita Springs, Amigos en Cristo church member, Rosi Perez, teaches a sewing class weekly to women and youth. The class is intended to teach them a trade that can help them make clothes and supplies for their family as well as possibly provide added income, which is extremely important for many of these families who are struggling just to meet their basic needs.
It wouldn’t be possible to serve the hundreds of families served each week in Immokalee without our faithful staff and volunteers. Here’s a picture of the staff who makes it happen!
Justina Ruiz (Case Worker), Karl Glander (Service Director), Robert Selle (Pastor), Andre Mezilus (Vicar)
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.
Also in the past month, Amigos Center partnered with the Mexican Consulate to help people with Passports and educating them on their rights and the services the consulate provides. The Amigos Center also partnered with The Health Department of Collier to do a Health Education class.
Amigos Center in Immokalee is proudly serving over 25 students in our Literacy Program on Monday. Students are arriving early and staying after class to study and practice what they learned so they can move to our Rosetta Stone program. Director of Development, Leah McCann led one of the classes today and had the students singing the months of the year. “It was moving to hear the group sing and really staying focused to remember the months. It was even more moving to see them helping one another and encouraging one another to participate.” As the need continues to grow, we work diligently to accommodate everyone at their current level. We continue to pray for a Haitian Creole volunteer to assist us in our Literacy Program. If you are interested in volunteering in Immokalee, please contact Karl Glander at: (239) 657-3822.
We are pleased to share that Leah McCann, Director of Development for Amigos Center has been selected to serve on the Communication Taskforce for the Florida-Georgia District. The goal of this Taskforce is to improve how and what we communicate about our District and its people, ministries, outreach and message. The inaugural meeting will be held on Friday September 30th in Daytona Beach, FL. Having the contributions of such vibrant communicators involved in various aspects of the field, bringing a rich diversity of skills and talents, will be a blessing indeed to this Taskforce. Please pray for Leah in her travel to Daytona and help her share the ministry/outreach taking place here in Southwest Florida.
Two new pastors are on the way. The last week of August Pastor Selle traveled to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO to participate in the orientation of two new students who are beginning their formal theological studies leading to ordination into the pastoral office of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Herminio Pagan, Messiah Lutheran Church, Naples, and Saint Luc Charelus, Haitian Immokalee Lutheran Church both made their first visit to the seminary campus. They joined dozens of other first year students from all across the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Laos, Sudan and even Mongolia. This is a four year program of study. What an inspirational thing to see people from across the globe with such joy and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our circuit now has three students studying for the pastoral office at Concordia Seminary. Andre Mezilus is now a vicar and is in his third year of studying in the Ethnic Immmigrant Institute of Theology at Concordia Seminary.