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.