Alumni Profile: Bob Adame
Posted by: DVULI | June 26, 2023
by Kimberlee Mitchell, Staff
► ALUMNI: Bob Adame (Albuquerque 2002)
► ORGANIZATION: The Navigators Group, Inc.
► CURRENT POSITION: Navigator Representative
How long have you been involved in youth programs?
God called my wife, Claudia, and me to youth ministry in 1995 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was reading our local paper about out-of-control teen gangs responsible for an increase in youth homicides. I immediately wondered why someone didn’t do anything about this problem. God spoke to me, saying, “Why don’t you do something?” I was middle-aged and unfamiliar with the youth culture, let alone gang culture. God said, “If you don’t, I will get someone else.” I surrendered to the Lord and was overcome by compassion for these gang kids. I wept for them, and God began a work in me.
Tell us about The Navigators and how you fulfill its mission. How long have your worked for them?
I’ve been with The Navigators for 38 years. Through the organization, we offer faith-based after-school and summer youth programs. We conduct Kids’ Club in a rented space in an apartment complex in northwest Albuquerque. Most of the families in the complex are Hispanics, Native American Navajos, and African Americans. We didn’t intend to minister to refugees, but Muslim families from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa lived in the apartment complex, so we started to invite their children to Kids’ Club. One summer, we had 15 Muslim kids attend! Initially, we didn’t meet with the Middle Eastern families thinking they wouldn’t be interested due to religious differences, but God prompted us to knock on a door and meet a family from a war-torn country. After we enjoyed their hospitality of tea and cookies, the parents agreed to let their kids come to Eagle Lake Camp. Other families also responded positively. Now, when Claudia and I visit refugee families, we allow extra time to enjoy the hospitality.
Tell us about the area where you serve.
Albuquerque is a challenging environment; high crime dominates our particular apartment complex. Drug dealers give drugs to children free of charge to get them addicted, ensuring a pipeline of future customers. We find children looking for food in the dumpsters because their parents spend all their money on drugs. These underserved communities are increasing yearly in our city and every city in America. I would estimate we have 50 or more of these communities where high crime and poverty are the norm.
Why do you think God has called you to this work? What do you hope to accomplish?
Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Working in this capacity was God’s vision imparted to me. I merely obeyed. It’s our hope to save children and teenagers from physical and spiritual death and raise up future generations of multiplying laborers and leaders for the kingdom of God. We also trust God to reach beyond the kids into their familial networks. We have seen many family members become involved in nearby partnering churches, and several single moms are or have been in Bible study with Claudia.
What challenges have you or the organization had to overcome?
Recruiting help is challenging. We rely on referral sources from multiple organizations for volunteers, including New City Church.
What collaborative opportunities benefit this work?
We collaborate with New City Church to serve underserved children from nearby apartment complexes. This summer we will together serve 120 local youth at our camp. We also partner with Ty Platero (Albuquerque 2015), a fellow DVULI graduate who works at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch near Gallup, New Mexico. This camp serves our large population of Native American kids with a culturally sensitive camp experience.
We partner with New Beginnings, our home church, on community outreach, including a year-round food pantry and Project Angel Tree during Christmas–70 kids were blessed with gifts last year. Grace Church helps by shuttling kids to and from Wednesday night Bible study through its bus ministry.
Formerly launched as Kids’ Club by Claudia and me in 1995, our former intern and DVULI grad, Laura Jenkins, took over the ministry, renaming it The Navigators Juntos. She reaches out to at-risk youth on the southeast side, allowing us to start a Kids’ Club in the northeast.
How do you and your wife, Claudia, work together?
We minister by reaching out to the kids in the apartments and teaching them Bible truths through our Kids’ Club. Regarding personal one-on-one discipleship, Claudia works with the girls, and I with the boys.
What are you most proud of that the program or your work has accomplished?
Our greatest joy is seeing those we’ve invested in discipling others. A young man I discipled in the 70s still calls to keep in touch! Two young men who had been part of our Kids’ Club for years now work with youth in our church. David is a full-time youth leader, and Chris is a volunteer assistant youth leader. Both young men currently mentor youth. Two of Claudia’s mentees now serve alongside her in the Kids’ Club ministry.
Will you ever retire from this work?
I am 80 years old and still working! When I am physically unable to do the ministry, I’ll retire.
What’s the main impact the DVULI training had on your work/career?
I was greatly encouraged by the training that I received from DVULI, especially the breakthrough plan process, which I used to start a Hispanic ministry at The Navigators. I am currently planning a new initiative to minister to the Native American youth in the apartments. I am discipling a young Navajo man in our church who could possibly be a leader for the Navajo youth in our city.
What words of wisdom do you have for urban youth workers today?
Step out in obedience and faith with the dreams and visions God has given you. Do not be afraid.
How can your DVULI family be praying for you as you move forward?
Please pray for young laborers with a deep passion for the Lord and people, especially young people. Pray for continued fruit among the ministry to generations of children, teens, and families in this neighborhood. Praise God for volunteers and pray for more workers to come alongside kids.