Urban Immersion 2005
I made it to my first missions trip during spring break. It was an incredible time that I thought I would recap (if nothing else for myself, because I’ll forget). Be sure also to check out the pictures.
We started the trek down to South Chicago (Roseland) on Sunday. We made it there that night and got oriented and had the opportunity to meet other Crusaders from a plethora of schools around the country at the Agape Center. That was where we spent our first night.
The next day was focused around an ethnic community outreach. There were several options, but I chose (along with my brother) to go to Uptown. There we got to see a whole different community and dare I say world up close! I started the adventure by open-air preaching on the El (Chicago subway). Did it twice, and both times it was interesting to put myself out like that to a group of people I’ve never seen.
We walked around rather needlessly until we came upon this hidden Cornerstone Community Center. We just straight walked in, walked up to the receptionist, and told her we wanted to help. She was shocked! She said we should be in Florida or somewhere warm for our break! They had my group (5 of us) washing floors, cleaning closets, sweeping, and mopping. We found out near the end that there was an impending health inspection the next day to see if they would stay open! This was by far the most rewarding day, but I had much more to go!
That night we moved to The Harvey House (a part of Restoration Ministries). The men stayed at The Harvey House and the women stayed at The Tabitha House (the female branch of Restoration Ministries). We got a chance to meet incredible people with incredible testimonies. These two houses are geared at helping substance abuse addicts and those recently out of jail get back on their feet. That next day we spent the day serving The Harvey House. The group painted outside, inside, cleaned, and any other job they needed help with. We also spent the afternoon with their youth ministry called “Kid’s Cafe.” I got the chance to help with math assignments with the younger group and then go and do exercises with the older half.
After a night of fellowship we picked up the next day by going back to the Agape Center and our group got split into two halves. I went to the Roseland homeless shelter, and the rest set up a carnival for kids. I went to the shelter and got to meet some homeless gentlemen, and I helped the staff by cleaning utility fans, heaters, and hanging out with the kids for a while. They have such an awesome ministry!
Then I took a sub-section back to the Agape Center to help with the kid’s carnival. I pretty much watched and hung out with the kids, but the rest of our group was assigned to specific stations from soccer to basketball to bowling and other activities. They then rounded up the kids and put on a skit and shared the Gospel with them. We then took some kids and shared Resurrection Eggs with them.
We had a talk about racial unity that night that didn’t go so well. The speaker (the leaders of the Agape Center) presented a very “agenda-felt” speech. It felt very contrived, and many wild claims were made (“Only white people can be racist”). We had an interesting discussion after wards.
The last day I our group worked for the Harvey House in two groups. One group stayed to do continued grounds maintenance, and the other half (including myself) went to their local thrift store they’ve been rebuilding. We helped shelf items and clean up. I found 6 books there I bought! I must admit I got a book: “Redemption Applied and Accomplished” by John Murray that had more of my attention that afternoon. (Note to self: put down the theology to serve.) We then spent more time with the kid’s cafe.
The last day I preached a little bit on a passage that has been tearing at my heart recently.
Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Reminds me that I, like the Judaizers, like to boast in what I’ve gotten others to do. What hypocrites they were and at times I am. May I boast only in the Cross.
That last day we also walked around Chicago, but we really didn’t see that much. Just got to hang out, and then we came straight back. It felt weird not serving or ministering.
What a great week! Makes me look all-the-more-forward to my summer trip! I had great conversations with Perry, Matt, and Andy Cornell. Met some encouraging believers from The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and Madison. Good times were had by all!
My brother wrote an encouraging post on his experience.