It was day 1 and i'd already started to realize things that i hadn't known before. 1) it's VERY hot in Chicago, it was like 90 some degrees that day. 2) I'm not comfortable talking about my relationship with Christ, probably because i feel like people expect me to say certain things that aren't really true and i don't want people to judge me based on what i say. And 3) is that life is comfortable inside the boat, but the only way to really serve God and make a difference is to step out of your comfort zone, out of the boat, and walk on the water. To do that you have to really trust God, don't let distractions make you doubt, or like peter you will fall in quickly. That was my goal last week, and for the rest of my life. I don't want to stay in comfort and let everyone else do the work, i wanna be out in the water getting my hands dirty, helping to save the ppl who are drowning and don't know it. I challenge everyone to make that a goal in their own life, it's definitely life changing, in a completely awesome way!
Day two. I realized again how much these kids need love and attention. I knew that they'd probably had rough lives and not enough love and attention to fill them up, like a child needs. So we did our best to show them God's love and we loved them and paid attention to them. That day was a tough one b/c we got hit over and over. But it was amazing to see how God provided EVERYTIME! i can not doubt that God was watching out for us during that trip. And i don't think i'll ever again be able to doubt that God is present and God is our provider. It was like a war going on around us, God and the Devil. and God won! Every time Satan struck us with something it was like God was saying "Not so fast buddy!" It was an awesome feeling, to know with such assurance that God is watching over us and will protect us from anything. But it was also really hard, at least for me, to be happy when i knew that so many other ppl were frustrated and upset. That's just the way I am. I like to be able to help ppl, and not beaing able to really gets to me. I think i've always had a problem with surrendering other ppl's problems over to God. i want so badly to be able to fix them and it's hard for me to trust someone else, even if it is God, to fix them. But i managed to keep a good additude with the help of God and the encouragement from the rest of the team. And we made it through the day happy, and confident in our God.
Day three. I had an inner struggle day three. I've been dealing with quite a bit of hurt lately. I've been feeling ignored and unimportant to people i look up to and admire, and a friend from school. You know that last year was not one of my best yrs, and it was made worse because God has been silent through it. Lately i've gotten to feeling like God is ignoring me too, or i'm not important enough for him to pay attention to. And i struggled with that quite a bit on Thursday. I know that that's not true, I know God loves me and there's nothing i can do to push him away, but sometimes it feels like i've taken a step too far and he's finally given up on me. I've also learned though that when i'm feeling down, it helps a TON to help someone else out. So Thursday was a good day to feel down, because we pulled up sod all day. so i focused my energy on doing that to the best of my ability, and encouraging everyone else to keep going until we got done. And it definitely succeeded, b/c by the end of the day i was feeling very good and important and proud of our team for accomplishing the task.
Day four. Friday was AMAZING! ''I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'' We served God most directly that day. We went downtown and we walked the streets feeding the homeless and praying for them. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I've always felt a calling to do something for the homeless, whether it be the kids in Africa or the ppl living on the streets in big cities, i don't know, but i got HUGE satisfaction in feeding those people. And even just sitting there listening to them was very touching. It's insane how many people live in Chicago and just walk by those people every single day without a second thought about it. One lady we stopped to talk to (we forgot to ask her name) just sat and talked to us for like 30 minutes, she didn't give us any room to put a word in because she never has anyone to talk to. She told us that she talks to the animals that come by because no one else will listen. With all those people in the city there ought to be someone who'll talk to these people. It's a depressing thing to think about, but it also makes me want to help 100% more! I really want to make a difference and i know that with God's help i can. Friday just made it that much more clear to me, that God is calling me to do something along those lines with my life.
Day five. Saturday was the day of the Angel's ( Good Seed's team that we spent the week with) baseball game on the field we cleared for them. We were the cheerleaders! It was fun to see how much they enjoyed hearing their names being shouted in the context that it was, and to see that they each had a sign with their name on it that they got to take home later. Later we went to Willow Creek for church and learned about Naaman and his leprocy in 2 Kings. Bill Hybels' four applications on the message were this.
- Do your absolute best at whatever you put your hand to do -how would ppl size you up in a single paragraph? Eccl. 9:10, 1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:23-24
- Do good where ever you are, no matter what has been done to you -Matt.5:43-44, Rom. 12:21, Gal. 6:9
- Go for help when you need it - "Sitting on your rear end is rarely transformative" ~Bill Hybels
- Do a simple thing if God asks you to -sometimes the only thing sitting between you and healing is a simple thing, you just have to humble yourself to do it
Day six. Sunday morning we went to Good Seed church service. We spent the afternoon hanging with the kids, and watching Pastor Bone at one of his b-ball games. That was the last oppurtunity we had with the kids so we were using it to best of our abilities. It was sad to part with them. They are great kids and we bonded with them. I'm definitely missing them a TON. I'd had a conversation with Sarah the night before, so while we were waiting for the service to start i started writing a song called Everpresent, it's not done yet but it's gonna be a good one. I'm writing it about how no matter how we feel or what it seems like God is always here and as much as it may seem differently it's that truth that will set us free.
Day seven. Monday was stretching, and i have a much better relationship with God because of it. We went on a prayer walk downtown, praying for the buildings, and the people who pass through them. And in between buildings we prayed for the ppl we passed on the streets. I was more aware of all the hurt and pain in ppl than i've been in my life. But it didn't depress me like it normally would b/c i knew God is in control and he's gonna do what he does best and rule the world. It was another amazing experience that i will never forget. And it made me realize yet again that i can't solve everyone's problems, but that's okay b/c God is working for the good of those who love him and he won't let anything happen that doesn't have a reason. I also knew in my heart not just my head that God hears every cry, every prayer i send up to him, no matter how distant he may feel or how silent he is at the time.
Chicago was amazing! i feel like a completely different person, in a good way. and i pray that God will be more eminent in my life and that ppl will see God in my life.