Monday, June 13, 2016

Man, I really blended into the bustling life of Chicago when I arrived with my list of things to get done and places to go last weekend.  It's been a whirlwind of a schedule since Friday but I appreciated every minute of it!  I'm officially hired by Chick-Fil-A and just went through orientation yesterday! Thank you all for the prayers so far!  I can see God working throughout our midst as we minister to others and build each other up as a team.  Just tonight, one of our team members banded our group together to collectively give to another member in need.  We ended up raising way over the needed amount which goes to show how caring and compassionate our team really is!

As I finished up my first week here sharing on campus, handing out supplies to the homeless, and preparing for the week ahead, I've been reminded countless times of God's providence.  One of the staff mentioned this name after talking to Theresa which was "Jehovah Jireh" (the Lord will provide).  Jehovah Jireh reminded me of the story in the Bible about Abraham sacrificing his own son.  Before ascending the mountain Isaac asks Abraham, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7) and he replies, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."  If you  aren't familiar with the story, it starts off with God asking Abraham to offer his son for a burnt offering. Upon reaching the place God had chosen, Abraham demonstrates his faith and obedience by building an altar, binding Isaac, and placing him on the wood. Before Abraham can finish the offering, the Angel of the Lord calls to him from heaven, and Isaac’s life is spared. Then, “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son” (Genesis 22:13). Abraham named the place “Jehovah-Jireh” because of God’s gracious provision of a substitute for Isaac.

Notice that Jehovah Jireh is not “The LORD Did Provide,” but “The LORD Will Provide.” In other words, the name does not simply memorialize a past event; it anticipates a future action.  Jehovah-Jireh provided a sacrifice to save Isaac, and that action was a foreshadowing of the provision of His Son for the salvation of the world.  And I'm so blessed to be able to spread news of His providence this whole summer.  There are thousands of people in this city who are in need of this good news, whether they're homeless or are consumed by greed and worldly things.  They all need Jesus' love and grace, including myself.

Below, my prayer requests look a little different than before.  They're for specific people that I got to enter into a spiritual conversation with consisting of students, staff, and the homeless.  I went to campus twice this past week to talk to students and I spent my Saturday (with my lovely mother) putting together bags of Target supplies to hand out to the homeless on Michigan Ave.  This week has stretched me like no other spiritually, mentally, and physically (walking a TON).  However, this week has also grown me spiritually, mentally, and physically (it's a big city...).  What little training I've had so far has made me all the more confident in sharing God's love to the scary awesome humans of Chicago!

Prayer Requests: 
(Some of the names are not disclosed for protection and privacy)

  • Wally from Dubai who is a Muslim student I talked to on Wednesday.  He had a hard time communicating with English but wanted to meet up again this coming week when his brother would be able to help out.
  • Jessica, a student from Syria who I also talked to on Wednesday.  She was pretty standoffish and guarded.
  • Natasha who is a med student in the process of taking the board exams.  She struggles with doubt in her faith and has no time for church or growing in her relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Sarah who worked at the university library.  She was of Muslim background.
  • Ryan who was a homeless man we gave supplies to.  He had lung cancer and had three months to live.  He's very weak and actually keeled over while we were praying for him.  He had a relationship with Jesus Christ and it really showed in his words and actions.
  • Joanna who was an older homeless lady we talked to.  She was a widow and was trying to raise money to get back home.  She broke into tears sharing her story with us and has had it pretty tough.  She was a very strong Christian and I gave her one of our booklets to share with any more people in need she came across.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I created this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my pictures, thoughts, prayers, and stories.  So, I hope you can join me in my adventure by reading along for the summer and keeping me, the rest of my team, and the people of Chicago in your thoughts and prayers!  Your support is so greatly appreciated and it has not gone in vain I can tell you that for sure.  Already, God has been opening up doors and hearts for His word to pour through. As I tell others what I'm doing for the summer, it opens up a door to talk about why I'm doing it as well! (:

In 3 DAYS!!! I will officially be on my summer missions trip! It's so crazy how a date can just sneak up on you out of nowhere.  I remember thinking "Oh, I have loads of time to get everything set and ready to go before I leave."  And now I find myself rushing to get those same things done in a span of 3 days.  As I've been getting my last-minute preparations done (packing plungers and such...there have been stories about the place we're staying at), I've thought a ton about what it looks like to share God's word in a way that is glorifying to Him.  Recently during devo time, I found a verse that shows a pretty humbling and perfect way of doing this.  It's something that I want to keep in mind as I spend my summer in Chicago and bring what I learn back to all areas of my life.  Knowing that God's power is perfect in weakness...

"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 -

Paul was in Corinth feeling weak and fearful and the reason behind that was because what he was saying to them was not in line with what the world wants to hear about itself.  It didn't make him sound important or incredibly awesome.  He honestly felt ineffective with his speech.  But Paul wasn't discouraged.  As it shows in the book of Acts, after he had been in Corinth for a few months the Lord Jesus appeared to him in a vision and strengthened him and said to him, "Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent,... and no man shall attack you to harm you," (Acts 18:9-10). So, Paul faithfully began to talk about Jesus Christ. As Paul in this great sense of weakness told the facts and the story out of the simple earnestness of his heart, God's spirit began to work and people started coming to Christ. First, the rulers of the synagogue turned to Christ, and then hundreds of the common, ordinary, people of Corinth began to become Christians. Soon there was a great spiritual awakening, and before the city of Corinth knew what had happened, a church had been planted in its midst.

I sat down with a friend one night and shared my testimony for the first time ever this year.  And I was literally shaking the whole time.  Since I was shaking, it made my voice sound like I was about to cry which made it even worse. I hardly knew how to orally communicate my thoughts but I can rest in the fact that the love and compassion in my heart came through in a simple way that let God shine in all His glory. That is what Paul was talking about: the simplicity of the approach. Honestly, I have nothing of worth to say to you all.  But God does.  My wisdom and sage pieces of advice reach their limit at "don't eat yellow snow".  But God's wisdom and sage pieces of advice reach way beyond that to eternity (literally).  

I'll be resting in God's power and wisdom a ton during this summer and prayers are always so welcome.  After each post, I'm going to have a list of prayer requests that you can take a look at and add to your thoughts and prayers for the day or week or month (if ya wanna).  Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and I hope you have a splendidly fantastic morning/afternoon/evening/whole day!

Prayer Requests:

  • I landed a job interview with Chick-Fil-A! Yay! "Eat more chick'n". I will be having it the day I arrive at 4 PM. Hopefully, it goes well so that I can meet that requirement being on the missions trip.
  • I got my roommate assignments a couple days ago!  I'll be living with four other fantastic ladies named Lizzie, Amy, Madi, and Camille.  They're going through the same process as I am so prayers that they can raise all their support and find jobs in the city!
  • Safe travels for sure!
  • Lastly, for open minds and open hearts in Chicago!