All youth (incoming 7th graders – 2016 graduates) are invited to join us at the Soul Garage for Breakfast and Bible Wednesday, August 24th 9:00AM-11:00AM. Bring your Bible. Bring your belly. Bring your best friends.
A nerf bow & arrow war may also take place.
We will be discussing chapter 2 of the book of Titus.
Help spread the word to your friends.
All youth (incoming 7th graders – 2016 graduates) are invited to join us at the Soul Garage for Breakfast and Bible Wednesday, August 17th 9:00AM-11:00AM. Bring your Bible. Bring your belly. Bring your best friends.
We are starting a new study of the book of Titus and will meet August 17th, 24th, and 31st.
The menu includes egg bake, cinnamon roles, fruit and drinks.
Help spread the word to your friends.
We made it back home! Praise God for a wonderful time together with some wonderful people during the 2016 Chicago Vision Trip! Allow me to update those who have been following our trip on what took place during the final days of the trip. On Friday we served again at Pacific Garden Mission sorting laundry, making 100’s of beds in the dorms and serving lunch to the homeless. We were all very tired and I am proud of our team for their willingness to serve the less fortunate in this way when most of us would have probably rather spent our time doing other things, such as napping. Friday evening was the final VBS program night and we finished strong. I was moved during the final time of worship hearing the children, youth, and adults all pour their hearts out to God in worship. Then, the cleaning and un-decorating commenced. It was a very late night by the time we finished and we were all exhausted.
Saturday, we debriefed after breakfast and then our half of the group (the Wisconsinites and our token Texan) went to the Museum of Science and Industry. Wow! What a cool place! We split up and visited various different exhibits. My personal favorite was the German U-505 Submarine we got to tour and learn about it’s capture during WWII. The mirror maze was pretty cool as well. Saturday evening we spent several hours sharing constructive criticism and affirmations with each other in the group. This has often been one of my favorite moments on the trip and again I was blessed to see the youth growing in their ability and to share loving criticism with each other and to build each other up.
Sunday, we attended church one last time with our friends at Christ Our Saviour Church and then packed up and traveled home. I thank God for 5-hour energy drinks and a good audio book. We all safely arrived back in the church parking lot by 11:15pm.
Thank you to all who supported us and prayed for us throughout the trip. God worked in mighty ways. To God be the glory!
Praise God for two more great days in Chicago loving on children and their families at VBS. We spent an extended time Wednesday morning doing devotions and wrestling through a passage of Scripture together and praying together. I’m sure that for some of the students, this was a stretching experience since it was over 2 hours long altogether.
During the afternoon we worked on a service project together filling backpacks with school supplies which we plan to deliver on Thursday to a local elementary school that is located a couple blocks away in the Portage Park neighborhood. We split into teams and one team wrote cards to go into the backpacks, another team prayed over the backpacks and the children and families that would be receiving them, and the third team assembled the backpacks with their school supplies. Please pray that the relationship between Christ Our Saviour Church and William P. Gray Elementary School that just began will continue to grow and that God will provide open doors for the Gospel and additional opportunities for the church to be a blessing to the local public school in the name of Christ.
Our third night of VBS went well. We have debriefed each morning and it is neat to see the team working together to improve each night. The water games were a big hit since it was very hot and humid. Kids love the Funky Beats Room where they get to play on bucket drums and learn different beats each night. The skit team has been doing an amazing job acting out the story and engaging the children showing the contrast between the Glory-Giver and the Glory-Getter. The worship song leaders are also doing a wonderful job leading us all from stage. As always, the kids really enjoy making the crafts. We had over 30 children attend Wednesday night and a number of adults stayed to watch the videos we have offered for them while the children go through the various stations. The first two nights we played a couple Louie Giglio videos and starting Wednesday night we began a video series by Francis Chan on the basics of Christianity. Pray that the parents would grow through these videos as well.
Thursday was “Sleep-In Thursday”. This provided some much needed rest for the team. We had brunch at the church provided by the COSC youth group with a few Filipino components. Then we went to the park to do our devotions and did some swimming and played ultimate frisbee before heading back to the church in the afternoon to prep for the Thursday evening VBS. It went well again. We just finished visiting with our host family and watching some of the Olympics together.
It is the end of the night on Tuesday, August 9th and we have now reached the half point in our trip. We praise God for what he has been doing in and through us. Here is a recap of what we have done over the past two days.
Monday morning we traveled from our various host homes to Christ Our Savior Church in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago. We ate breakfast and then spent some time doing individual devotions using our “On Mission” devotional book. Following that we traveled to the south side of Chicago to Pacific Garden Mission where we served from 10am-2pm.
We mostly helped sort bedding and prepare beds for the several hundred homeless men that stay there overnight. We ate lunch in their cafeteria and following lunch, half of our group helped serve lunch to the homeless people that came there for a meal while the rest of us finished making beds in Dorm A, B, and C. At the end of our time there we were given a tour of the facility by Darius (who works in Hospitality and found himself homeless only about 6 months earlier). Afterwards, we returned to the church to finish prepping for our first evening of VBS. Preparations were all going quite well….until the power went out in the building around 5:30pm. We checked the breakers thinking that we were simply using too much power with all the components and lights we had drawing power. We were wrong. The breakers were not tripped. I called the local power company and learned that 4,089 customers in the area were experiencing a power outage due to an unknown issue. The estimated restoration time was 7:45pm. Our VBS was supposed to start at 6:00pm. In the busyness of us depending largely on our own plans and abilities to make the VBS happen, God taught us to to come to Him in full dependance. We spent some time in prayer seeking God and leaning on Him. We prayed that the gospel would still be made known regardless of what happened with the power that night. Fortunately, we already had planned to serve the meal outside and everything was set up for that when the power went out. So the meal went on without any problems. We made a plan B to at least start the VBS outside. We finished our remaining preparations and then praised God when the power came back on around 6:25, which was about 15 minutes before we planned to have the program start. The rest of the evening went quite well and everyone had a great time. Just under 30 children participated including some families from the neighborhood.
Tuesday, we had scheduled a longer time in the morning for breakfast, individual devotions, group discussion on what God was teaching us so far through the devotional book, prayer, and debriefing from Day 1 of the VBS. It was neat to see the youth sharing some from their hearts about what God was teaching them all. After lunch we went to the park called Portage Park where there is an olympic sized swimming pool and some nice grassy areas. Some swam while others played ultimate frisbee and others relaxed in the shade. Day 2 of the VBS went quite smoothly and the team did a great job.
Thanks to all who are praying for us. Please pray that the children understand the gospel. Pray that more neighbors from the local community would join us in the remaining days so even more may hear the gospel truth.
Day 3 has ended and the team is tired – at least the leaders are tired. We worshipped together with Christ Our Saviour Church and then broke bread together sharing a meal in the lower level of their church building after the service.
One of the priorities of this Vision Trip has been to intentionally engage with God and His Word. We have provided the youth and leaders with a tool to help us all through this process. The tool is a devotional book written specifically for people on a mission trop. Michelle found this book a couple months ago in her researching online and we ordered a case of the books. Each morning we have 30 minutes carved out for the team to engage with God through His Word and through the guidance of this devotional book. Some mornings we plan to have a group discussion as well, but so far we have focused on having some personal devotional time each morning.
One of our team members was sick today and others on the team worked together to help care for her. We appreciate prayers that she will be back to 100% tomorrow and have the energy to love on the children. You can also pray for our little one, baby Jada, who came down with a fever tonight. Michelle oversees the vast majority of the logistics for this trip, so pray for her as she cares for Jada.
Pray that we would boldly love on the children who join us Monday evening for the kickoff of our VBS program.
And so it begins, once again! It is a very neat thing to be back in Chicago for the 3rd summer in a row partnering with Christ Our Savior Church to run an outreach-focused Vacation Bible School program. The partnership between the two youth groups continues to grow.
Thank you to all the people who have committed to support us and pray for God to be glorified through this trip. The focus of the Go Fish Guys VBS we are using this summer is all about becoming “glory-givers” not “glory-getters”. This means learning to seek God’s glory in everything rather than seeking to gain glory for ourselves.
We have chosen to call this summer’s trip a “vision” trip instead of a mission trip for the simple reason that we want to remind ourselves that as Christ-followers we are called to be “on mission” for God at all times in our lives, not just for a week in the summer when we go on a mission trip. The goal of this trip is for us to better catch God’s vision for loving and rescuing the lost.
As a way of update on the trip so far, here are some things we are praising God for:
- Overcoming Vehicle Issue
- In preparation for this trip, I (Pastor Tony) installed a trailer tow hitch on our minivan so we could haul a trailer of our luggage and supplies down to Chicago. Shortly into the installation process last Tuesday morning, a rusted bolt broke off and then a few minutes later a second one broke. A small project turned into a very big project working for several days and utilizing special extraction tools as well as a torch to resolve the issue and finally finish the project Thursday night before our Friday morning departure. I praise God for the perseverance and for helping me figure out how to resolve the issue so we could safely tow a trailer.
- Safe Travels
- We (and our trailer full of luggage) safely arrived in Chicago at 6:15pm Friday night. We ate together with some of the youth from Christ Our Savior Church (COSC) began an orientation and spent some time doing a special devotional book we are using during this trip.
- Good Progress in Preparation and Promotion
- Today (Saturday) was a full day of preparation and promotion. We promoted the VBS in the local community by handing out fliers to several hundred homes having numerous conversations with people we encountered. The team also accomplished ALOT of preparation in decorating the building and getting the different areas ready (registration, crafts, games, funky beats room, bible teaching, etc.) After a long, hard, hot day, we treated the team to a local favorite: Mia’s Gelato. If you are ever in Portage Park in Chicago, we recommend you check it out😉
- Praise God for a neat open door last week when my mother-in-law was meeting with a local elementary school assistant principle about a service project providing school backpacks with school supplies for needy children. In the conversation, my mother-in-law shared about our VBS and the assistant principle asked to make copies of the flier to hand out to families that were coming to the school that very evening. How cool is it that a local Chicago public school is helping us promote this gospel-centered VBS!
Tomorrow we will be worshipping together with COSC and finalizing our preparation process.