Chicago Vision Trip: Day 6 & 7

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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.

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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.

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See YOU At the Pole 2015!


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YOUTH: Grab your friends and come pray at your local school flagpole this Wednesday morning, September 23rd at 7:00am for the annual global student prayer event called See You At the Pole.  This is a student led prayer movement across the world.  It is a great opportunity to stand up for your faith in a God who hears our prayers and wants to UNITE us as one body of believers to reach our schools with the good news of the Gospel!

We hope to have youth leaders at as many of the local schools as possible to join you in prayer and support you in your stand.

 

 


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Lessons From Chicago (Nathan Kaus)

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I had thought the cost was too much for us to be able to pay and that trying was going to be the worst part, but then Pastor Tony shared many ways in which we could pay down its cost.  So we took him up on his suggestions.  Later, in one of our final meetings, he passed out updates.  When I read my little slip of paper, I was shocked with what came in!  That is when I thought about what I have learned about God: He can provide!

Now, I was apprehensive on going because I had no idea what the host families would be like. Would they be nice? Would their kids be disrespectful to us? But, I learned that they were VERY generous and their kids were VERY unique and interesting… in a good way… especially the “tablet kid.” 😉 They listened to their parents and respected them. They loved sharing their ice cream and food with us! They were good examples for me because I myself struggle at that point: in not listening when I have been told to do something right away by my parents and teachers.

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When I was in Chicago, one thing that I really had trouble with, and not just while there, is patience. Some example include: when we driving to Chicago in a cramped truck, when we had arguments in the truck, in traffic, etc. But the biggest trial, that really frustrated me, was during game time with my first rotation of kids; for they would get so crazy. They would run all over the place and not follow the instructions. They wouldn’t even play the game, but just go and do their own thing or ruin the course for the other groups who would be doing it after them. It was really hard to calm them them down or get them to listen.

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I also learned that prayer is real.  I prayed to God during game time and when I went to bed to give me patience for when the kids were acting crazy. Sometimes, in the crazy days, I would always ask God to help me with the kids in how to deal with them and to also give me ideas for filler games because I was the one in charge of leading them all week.  As the week went by and as I was doing this, I became more aware that I wasn’t getting as frustrated with them and had begun to have more fun with them.  I also see that since I have been home, I have had more patience.

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When I got home from the trip, after all the excitement and fun, I realized that none of this would have been possible without everyone’s prayers and financial support for me and my mom. Thank you so much!IMG_2233

Nathan Kaus

Lessons From Chicago (Julie Kaus)

Long Days?  Late Nights?  Early Mornings?........No Problem :)
Long Days? Late Nights? Early Mornings?……..No Problem 🙂

“I’ve never been on a missions trip.” “It’s too much money; I cannot afford it.” “Who would want to give money for me to go?” “I don’t want to disappoint them!” So many doubts raged against my desire once I heard and felt God’s call/nudge for me to join the group going to Chicago. But then came the reassurances from friends, my family, and God’s still, small voice, saying “If God has called you to go, He will provide…” and He did… in abundance! He taught me that truth: if it is His will, He will bring it to pass in my (your) life. (Proverbs 3:5)

Going on the trip… I felt a strong urgency, not only to pray, but that God would preserve and give me a servant’s heart to step out wherever the need or opportunity. I also wanted to have and practice having intentional spiritual conversations and have the courage to reach out to strangers to share with or show God’s love to them. God does answer our prayers and made that continually evident.  “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15) Saturday morning, when we received our “marching orders”on all that had to be done in preparing, creating, setting up, etc. caused panic and the sense of being overwhelmed and pulled in many directions inside of me. All of a sudden, I felt drawn to ask Emma and Beth, two precious COSC women who happened to be there, to pray with me for this endeavor and I confessed my feelings to them. Not only did God’s peace come over me, but a bond was established between the three of us. Those prayers were later answered that afternoon as Bella and I laboriously discussed groupie assignments with the pre-registrations, check-in procedures, and record-keeping. It felt like a huge mountain that she and I were climbing together, but through the struggle, I learned better how to communicate, share in this task, but even more so: to trust in [Bella’s] ability to take the lead and follow her suggestions. I learned how to empower her in successfully handling these tasks. As a result, I was blessed to get to know this special and dear young lady more than just as one who came regularly to youth group.

Preparing the Registration Table with Bella

God gave me opportunities to talk: with a former homeless man, two women on the subway train to/from downtown Chicago, a mother and a grandmother from the neighborhood while VBS was taking place.  He broke my heart as I saw beyond the exterior of individuals into the inside where their lost, hurting souls were crying out for love and acceptance. A couple conversations were on a deeper level, a few were simply friendly conversations, but all were with individuals I was drawn to; for whom to specifically pray, and I can still see their faces… Through Pastor Lito (Pastor Paul Guimary), their youth pastor (Josh) and Pastor Tony, I learned how easy it is to slide into a spiritual conversation, whether or not it ends with the person acknowledging their need for a Savior and coming under Jesus Christ’s authority as their Lord. I am eager to continue looking for these opportunities. 🙂

Visiting with a mother from the community.
Visiting with a mother from the community.

It’s one thing to talk about God’s power with His strength being given to us and made perfect in our weakness; however, when it happened personally, it took on a much deeper meaning. We were getting pretty tired by Thursday and on Friday afternoon, but we were not done with VBS.  I was close to tears from exhaustion with all that I had been doing and was bunchy (with no one around, thankfully!). It was for both of these times that God spoke to me the night and morning prior, as well as when it hit me: “‘Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6) And,“I can do all things through Christ, Which gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13b). As I cried out to Him softly for help, He turned my focus off myself and onto the team goal of helping others and getting the task done. I love helping others and I have learned earlier this summer that our tests and trials come from within our strengths.  I had been telling the youth to keep pushing through their tiredness and here I was in the same boat! I realized that I could not (cannot) rely on my efforts, strength, and abilities, but on the Holy Spirit.

As a follower of Jesus, having a prayerful and submissive heart to God are vital. I experienced that when I was and am in this position. This posture also brings an awareness to what God is doing (opportunities); responding to His invitation results in realizing that THAT is when life is becomes exciting, rewarding, and has meaning. 🙂

Thank you to everyone who supported us through prayers and your financial gifts. Thank you to the parents who supported allowing their children to be a part of the team for each person was a valuable member of the team, whom I enjoyed getting to know beyond youth group on Wednesdays,  I am eagerly looking forward to the next opportunity, Lord willing. 🙂  May God abundantly bless each of you!

Sincerely in Christ,

Julie Kaus

Youth Leader and Mother