Chicago Door Trip
Locked bathrooms at McDonalds. Empty dime bags on the ground surrounding our mission sites. Homes boarded up for gentrefication.
...And God's presence living among us.
In only two days, our group has seen a very different world in Garfield Park. Garfield Park is one of 77 Chicago neighborhoods with a 97% African American population.We're definitely the minority.
God calls us to be uncomfortable to grow, love and trust in His word. Here are a few wonderful memories from our trip thus far.
"Yesterday, we went to the conservatory and it was a very interesting experience. I didn't understand how so many different plants could exist in the same place, but they did it. We also walked through a labyrinth; which was surprisingly peaceful. Today while we were weeding, I loved listening to Deanna relate the gardening process to our lives. We had to weed out all the bad, even though we couldn't initially tell what plants were weeds. Also, if we would have taken out all the plants with thorns, we would have gotten rid of beautiful rose bushes. Further, just reading the first chapter of James has helped me get deeper about my faith and why I'm here."
- Sarah Lumley
"I really enjoyed the devo/discussion with Ray, Grant and Kelsey. It helped us get into the bible and understand it better." - Jake Fulton
"Although the culture at By The Hand was different from our regular lives, you learn a lot about how much you can help with just a few extra hands. And during my time in the garden, I learned a lot about how I need to weed out the bad and plant the new good things in my life." - Rachel South
"Our inspirational speaker "Mama Brenda" captured my emotions and filled my heart with love and compassion. I pray that I am equally able to share the same with others. What Joy!" - Ray Bakich
"While at By the Hand - an organization that has an after-school program for kids, I encountered God through a little girl named Latania. From the first time she smiled at me, I felt God in her. She did a cartwheel and then I taught her some things she was so impressed and I was happy to help. I'll never forget Latania." - Halle Goodwin
"Making lunch for all the boys at La Casa Norte gave me such a full feeling. When we brought out the food and saw the look on their faces - it was priceless." - MacKensie Whalen
"Our team has worked amazingly together. Our unity and love for each other is glowing and brings us together as a family." - Kelsey Whalen
"Being with and listening to the life of the boys at La Casa Norte was a strong memory for me." - Grant Wachtel
"I have been So blessed the past few days in Chicago. My heart is overflowing with the love and goodness of God. I am so proud of our team and the spirit in which we have approached each day. I cannot wait to see what the next three days bring." - Derek Thompson
"Christian service feels very much like a dance with my Savior. It's a love song that renews, convicts and encourages everyone close enough to hear the music. We've come to "see God's face in the city." It's hard to believe we could miss His presence living and serving with the DOOR team." - Deanna Ferguson
- Dana Bakich
Friday, July 22, 2011
Ok so this week has truly flown by. I am terribly sorry for not keeping the blog updated. A combination of poor internet connectivity and jam packed schedule are the culprits. We do have some great pictures to share when we return along with even better stories. We have had lots of great conversations with each other, with our small groups at Montreat, and with God. We are all looking forward to coming back home and sharing with our church family the ways in which we have "searched for the signal" while at Montreat. Please pray as we return Sarasota tomorrow. Many of the best conversations take place on the bus on the way home. Thanks!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Ok so I left my camera back at Glenn Rock Inn which is a bummber because that means no pictures for the first post. But don't worrry there will be plenty of pictures to come. Yesterday, Sunday, we arrived at Montreat and had our first Worship event. It was high energy as always and got things started on the right foot. The trip to Montreat could not have gone more smoothly. Everyone has done a great job and we are all really looking forward to this week. In just a few minutes we have our group devotion time and then off to the morning Keynote. You will be hearing from Michelle and Halle a bit later on today. Thanks again for all of you support back home. Your prayers mean a lot.
(Written by Derek)
(Written by Derek)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Tuesday night the Door staff organized a homeless simulation in which they gave each person a dollar, and then in teams, we had to find a way to get money or food without saying we were homeless or that we were part of a church group. We had to feed ourselves with whatever money or food we recieved. We stayed in our work groups Team 1 and Team 2, made signs (which you can see below) and after prayer we headed out to our designated area in the city. The point of the excersize was to give us a firsthand experience of what it would be like to be homeless. Needless to say it was very challenging as it was way out of our comfort zone. Some of the things that suprised are group were: being ridiculed or laughed at by people driving by in cars, the utter vunerability you feel, and the generosity of other people living on the street. In fact, overall it was the people living on the street that were more willing to help either with advice on where to go or giving money. At the end of this 30 minute simulation both our groups were able to feed ourselves with two hotdogs, two slices of pizza, a handful of chicken nuggets, 6 tacos and two cheesy nachos from taco bell, a Hamburger helper meal, a danish, peanut butter crackers, a gallon of water, a granola bar, three ready bake pizzas, a loaf of whole wheat bread, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. After we enjoyed our meal, we actaully had some food left over for some of the DOOR staff to eat as well. Not bad for one nights work. No doubt it was a tough experience but it did open up our eyes to what life is like on the street and in turn made us more empathetic to our neighbors in whom street life is a constant reality.
Enjoying their hard earned dinner...