by Amanda Mataczynski
August 7, 2012 at 12:53 AM
What an amazing week we're looking forward to! We drove for a large part of the day, but arrived safe and sound at New Community Church around 4 pm! Shortly after our arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Pastor Caesar, Pastor Derrick, and the youth of the church. We got comfortable with the other teams and New Community youth quickly because, well, that's what happens when you race around a church balancing a shoe between you and a stranger. You get close fast. After the first crazy game, Pastor Derrick had us write a psalm to God, then we broke into smaller groups in which we talked about motivation, what the bible has to say about it, and what our motivations are for serving this week. Next, we played another game, then went down to eat fried chicken. It was delicious! After dinner, we had a group meeting, during which PPM staff members were introduced. We've had an excellent start to the week, and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Day One of Ministry
by Amanda Mataczynski
August 7, 2012 at 01:56 AM
What a busy day! We woke up with much excitement and anticipation for the day. To start off, we spent some time with God from 7:30-8:00, had an energizing breakfast, and then met Pastor Ed. Pastor shared his heart for his community and the local church’s vision for the future. He taught us about the importance of prayer walking and the impact we can have on a community by simply turning to Christ through prayer. His short-term vision for the week is for us to pray over every street in the area. To begin accomplishing this, literature/pamphlets were packed into plastic door-hanging bags to be distributed throughout the neighborhoods in the area.
After packing literature into baggies, we hopped in our vans and headed towards New Community Church – Park Forest Campus. Here we helped the church members clean the inside of the church by washing walls, polishing wood, vacuuming, and many other housekeeping deeds. We were excited to help this community’s old church leap towards being transformed into a bright, vibrant, and alluring church. Plus, the elderly at the church were happy to have us youth participating in the act of renovating their church, making their job much easier.
Once we finished eating a tasty taco lunch, we had Vacation Bible School outside of the New Community Church. We played an intense game of kickball, made crafts, and learned about the first story in the Bible while singing fun, interactive songs. We even had children join us who had received our literature door-hangings! It was enjoyable to see how God honored our efforts of reaching out to the local children and families. Tomorrow, we will continue to love on them through more VBS activities and trust that God will use us to show them how much he loves and cares for them.
To top off the day, we enjoyed a much needed shower after all of our hard work for the day, then headed back to the church to begin our nightly meeting. We watched a puppet show, enjoyed worship, and shared our life stories and testimonies with each other. This really helped us see how God has worked in each person’s life and is continuing to use each and every one of us for his glory.
Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray for us, the ministry we’re doing this week, and the community we’re serving. Your prayers make a huge difference in how this week will go!
Day Two of Ministry
by Amanda Mataczynski
August 8, 2012 at 04:39 PM
The second day was off to a great start after some much needed breakfast and packing our lunches for the day. We began with a prayer walk through the local community where we encountered God in many ways. After our prayer walk, we ventured back to New Community Church – Forest Park. We continued to see how valued our presence and efforts were to those who were part of the church. What began as a dimly lit area, the gym turned into a clean and sparkling location where the children of the church could engage in activities and sports. A group of us joined our skills together in organizing cupboards and areas of the church that needed a little touching up. We also picked up trash outdoors and sanitized toys that would soon be utilized by the tots of the church. After our work was complete, we were praised by those who were instructing us from the church. It was rewarding to hear how thankful they were that we took time to come serve them.
Upon returning to our host church, we brainstormed and learned about the church’s vision of spreading the word of underage drinking and sex before marriage. We prepped rally signs, music, interactive activities, and buttons for this week that encouraged abstinence and saying “No” to underage drinking. We even worked on creating a Facebook page that shared the ideas of abstinence and underage drinking. It was exciting to be placed in groups that encouraged our strengths in music, art, and design.
The evening brought much excitement because we were expecting a delicious meal of Jamaican food for dinner we had Jamaican jerk, rice and beans, plantains, salad, and Jamaican bread. The sauce for our jerk was spicy but, oh, so good! The rice and beans had a sweet vegetable sauce that poured over it and brought a mouth full of flavor. We enjoyed being exposed to the Jamaican culture through their food.
VBS was our time to shine as we interacted with the kids in the community through football, soccer, and kickball. Our treat to the kids was pulling out a huge and colorful parachute where we taught the kids how to play “Shark and Lifeguard” and portrayed for them what it is like to get rid of the enemy’s lies in our lives. The children were given ice-popsicles at the end and were sent home with smiles on their faces after a fun evening of learning about Adam and Eve and making crafts.
To end our night, we had our team meeting and shared all the cool stories of God’s presence through our ministry. We also heard more testimonies and wrapped up the evening with popcorn and chips and salsa. We’re excited for day three and what God has in store for us!
Please continue to be praying and asking for more of God’s work in our group and the community we are serving in.
Day Three of Ministry
by Amanda Mataczynski
August 9, 2012 at 10:48 PM
After a good night of rest, our team woke up, ate breakfast, and set out for another prayer walk. We had a very successful walk and were able to pray for numerous people. One woman was very excited to have us present to pray for her, and in return she prayed for our team. A man in the neighborhood also welcomed our prayer as he watered his garden in the front yard.
Once we returned to New Community Church, we packed up our things to begin painting a nearby park’s tennis court. The fence was once a dark rusty color, but after we finished, shiny silver layered the metal fence.
Upon returning back to the church after painting the fence, we continued working on the awareness posters, buttons, songs, and Facebook page for the upcoming abstinence and underage drinking rally in Dalton Park. Many helped color the posters so they were bright and visible from afar, the band practiced in the sanctuary, and plans were put in place for the event.
For dinner, the church volunteers so loved as to make dinner for our team and the other teams that joined us on the mission trip. It was tasty ham, potatoes, veggies, and cornbread. It was awesome to see how the church members came together to serve us while we are here serving their community.
After dinner we began VBS where we used the parachute again and taught about Noah. The kids were so excited to be able to play Sharks and Lifeguard again! They jumped up and down with their hands in the air yelling, “Me! Me!” when we asked who wanted to be the shark. The lifeguards ran around the circle pulling our team members from under the parachute, saving them from the hungry “sharks” underneath it. After games and learning more about the Bible, we held a raffle for the kids to choose toys we brought with us: basketballs, soccer balls, kick balls, hula-hoops, frisbees, etc. Everyone loved seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces as they walked home with new toys from the church.
During our nightly meetings, we shared our highlights from the day and one word that described our day. We then closed the meeting with sharing prayer requests from each team member and praying in unity for them, lifting their prayers to the Lord. It felt really nice to have members supporting each other and praying for their needs.
Please be praying for our ministry projects! We are hoping to finish as much as we can at the local parks so children will have a safe and clean environment to play in.
by Amanda Mataczynski
August 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Today was the day we were all looking forward to! We woke up, ate breakfast, ventured out on more prayer walks, and distributed more door-hangers. When we returned to the church, we packed our stuff up and headed to the city - Chicago!
While we were in Chicago we had the freedom to be together as a team and bond at fun locations such as Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and various other attractions around us. We ran through the rain and spent the whole day seeing the city. We also were able to taste how real Chicago pizza tastes. We had every kind of deep dish pizza you could imagine, and we made sure to fill up on it! It was so good!
After our long day, we headed back to the church and prepared for tomorrow's events. We are very excited to see how all our efforts in the awareness campaign/rally end up turning out. We trust that God is good and he will reach many hearts through our diligence in serving the Lord.
Please pray for the rally and campaign! Also, pray that we have a successful last day of ministry. Thank you all very much for supporting us throughout this week!
Find out more about our trips to
parts of the US
Find out more about
our trips to
parts of the US