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.
All donations are tax deductible, to the highest amount allowable by law.
OTHER WAYS OF GIVING
Make A Qualified Charitable Distribution
A QCD is a direct transfer of funds from your IRA custodian, payable to a qualified charity. QCDs can be counted toward satisfying your required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the year, as long as certain rules are met.
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Please call us for more information.
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. 7401 Winkler Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919
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)
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Starting Friday, April 25 we begin a six-week course on family finances designed to help our families get out of debt and live according to Biblical principles of stewardship. This is the Spanish language version of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. The course is open to all. Pastor Selle serves as facilitator at Hope Lutheran Church, Bonita Springs, 7:00 PM every Friday night from April 25 to May 30. Child care is provided. Call Pastor Selle (239) 437-6727 if you are interested in finding out more about the course.
The ladies from Faith Lutheran Church, Punta Gorda, provided shoes and hand made quilts for the families of Immokalee.
We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 22 in our Immokalee church and we shared the joy of God’s gracious gift of His Son in Immokalee this Christmas.
Seven Hispanic theology students have finished four different pre-seminary courses from the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
We have received approval from the Florida-Georgia District to charter our Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS as a member congregation of the LCMS.
Pastor Andre Mezilus was ordained on August 18, 2013 as a pastor of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
We made plans for two more men to begin formal preparation for the pastoral ministry in 2014 through the distance education programs of Concordia Seminary, ST. Louis. MO.