A little over two years ago, I was commuting from JoCo to KCMO everyday for work. Through my job, I had the privilege of getting to know many wonderful Latino families on both sides of the state line. I remember a conversation I had with one Latina mom that would end up becoming a turning point for me. I asked her how long her family had lived in Kansas City. She answered and asked me if I lived in KCK or KCMO...I hesitated before admitting that I lived in JoCo. I could feel a wall begin to form between us. Despite my Mexican heritage and years of studying Spanish, I could not relate to her. We lived in different worlds.
Around the same time, I began volunteering at LIT (Leaders in Training, Mission Adelante's after-school program). It didn't take long for my heart to grow fond of the children and community. On February 15th, 2010, I wrote:
I am a passionate person. If I commit to doing something, I will do it whole-heartedly. I will give every ounce of energy I have to do the best that I can do with the given situation.
I have recently committed to spending 2.5 hours a week with a great group of kids. Just 2.5 hours. During these 2.5 hours, I try to make myself completely available. But when the time is up, I struggle to walk out the door and leave the neighborhood behind.
These kids have my heart and they don't even know it.Within days of writing this, I had coffee with Megan, the director of children's ministry at Mission Adelante, and I shared my heart and some tears with her. She told me about a great place to live and promised she would try to find me a roommate. A few months later, I had moved to KCK with Molly, my new roommate and friend!
Today--just two years later--I live, work, go to church, and volunteer all within a one mile radius. This community is no longer a volunteer opportunity or work assignment. It is my home. These are my people. I may still lead a very different life from that Latina mom, but now I'm just down the street. :)