August 6, 2012 at 04:47 PM
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!
Fantastic First Ministry Day!
August 7, 2012 at 01:05 AM
This morning, we woke up full of energy! We spent some time with God from 7:30-8:00, had breakfast, and then met Pastor Ed. Pastor passionately spoke about his vision for this community to come to Christ through prayer--and what he wants this week is for us to pray over every street in the area. He also wants us to distribute some literature to the houses in the area via door-hangers, so people know they can come to New Community Church to experience God in a real way. So, this morning, we took a few hours to put the literature/pamphlets into the plastic door-hanger bags for distribution. This was a huge help to Pastor Ed! After we did this, Pastor gave us specific street routes and areas to cover while we prayer-walked and invited children to the Vacation Bible School we would have in the evening. We went out for an hour and a half, and it was great. We got to pray over areas of the city, specific houses, and even some of the people we connected with on the streets! Many of our youth stepped out of their comfort zones, approaching people, telling them about VBS, and praying for them. It was great to see.
After lunch, we went to a different area of town for an hour to recruit for the VBS that would take place in the park, then came back to the church for some training sessions with Pastor Derrick. Following the trainings, we prepared for VBS, ate a taco dinner, and drove the our group's VBS location in the park. We had a good turn-out of kids! Many parents brought their kids, and by the end we had around 30 children. Our youth did a great job leading the kids and helping them do music, bible study, a craft (cup telephones!), and games. Our VBS theme for the week is the Lord's Prayer. The kids really seemed to enjoy themselves, and were asking if they could come back tomorrow. It was so wonderful to be able to love them and show them how Christ loves them today.
After VBS, we showered, and had the nightly meeting, during which we shared our life stories with each other. We've really had a busy and productive day, and we've seen God move through us!
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!
August 7, 2012 at 08:23 PM
We've had another full day of ministry today! After spending some individual time with God in the morning, we listened to Pastor Ed's message about prayer. We then went right out into different areas of the community, and prayed for healing and restoration for the community. Again, God gave us opportunities to pray for people that we met on the street. It was amazing.
After prayer-walking, we got changed and went to our work project for the day: painting a tennis court fence in Dolton City Park. Pastor Caesar has been able to forge a partnership among Praying Pelican groups, New Community Church, and the city of Dolton--specifically the park division. So our job was to paint the tennis court fence silver. The pain transforms the fence from a rusty color to a brilliant platinum, and makes a huge different in the appearance of the park as a whole. We finished almost an entire side of the fence!
After our painting project, we came back to New Community to work on posters and advertising for campaign slogans for two initiatives that Pastor Caesar wants to implement throughout the community. The two campaigns target teen drinking and premarital sex. We worked for an entire two hours on posters, which we'll be able to put up during a community rally on Friday. We got some great designs, and can't wait to construct the final products tomorrow!
For dinner, as a culturally diverse meal, we ate Jamaican jerk chicken, plantains, salad, and rice and beans. It was so good, and gave us literally a taste of another culture that is imbedded in this community. Then, at 6 pm, we headed over to the park to put on our VBS. It was a success! We sang songs, taught more of the Lord's Prayer in sign language, and talked more in-depth about what the Lord's prayer means. Then we made cereal necklaces, and finished up with games. The kids loved it! And we had fun too. Great times!
Please continue to pray for our group and New Community Church--that God would work through both groups to accomplish great things for the Kingdom. Blessings!
August 8, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Today has been wonderful for PPM Chicago! We started off the day by spending individual time with God, then learning more about how to pray with purpose during our prayer walks. Pastor Ed again gave us street routes to follow as we prayed around the community. God really works during these prayer walks—we were able to pray with several folks we met along the way, and it was clear that God sent them to us for the purpose of prayer. Awesome.
Next, we set out to help clean up at another local church in the area. We helped mop and move around various furniture objects, and basically did whatever Pastor Melvin needed help with. We then listened as Pastor Melvin told us his story, his vision and hope for his church, and how we fit in that process. He said we are an answer to his prayers!
After leaving the church, we came back to our home base, planned VBS for later tonight, then went right into making our sketched posters from yesterday into full-fledged posters that we'll take to the rally on Friday. We had a lot of fun, and came up with some promising stuff!
Next, we quickly ate dinner, then launched into Vacation Bible School at the park. We made crafts, played games, acted out a skit, and sang songs. After Pastor Mark gave a message, our youth even got to pray with some of the children to receive Christ! It was a success, and it was amazing to see our teens showing God’s love to the kids who came.
Thank you, Gethsemane Lutheran Brethren community, for your continued prayer support. We can see the effects your prayers on our team and the community we’re serving. Numerous community members (including non-Christians) have expressed their delight and thanks for what we’ve been doing this week. The city park board has especially noticed. In fact, the president of the Dolton City Parks and Recreation board decided that the city would sponsor a chicken dinner for us Friday at noon! This is incredible, given our countries strict church/state separation. Additionally, after seeing our group serve, the president was inquiring to see whether he could send his day camp teenagers on a Praying Pelican Mission trip! All this in a secular setting. God truly is moving.
August 9, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Today was a fun and rejuvenating day! It was our recreation day--a time to see the heart of the city of Chicago--but even on this "relax" day, we took some time to do ministry first! After devotions and breakfast, Pastor Ed had us go out into the community and distribute door-hangers we'd prepared. These pamphlets advertising community outreach efforts and tracts are aimed at getting people to ask questions, and hopefully seek answers about Christ by visiting New Community Church. We were out for about two hours--there is much ground to cover! The cool thing was, that we got to pray with a few people on our way down some of the streets. It was awesome! After literature distribution, we headed into the city. When we arrived, we all ate some of Chicago's finest deep-dish pizza at Gino's Pizza. Afterwards, the various vans went to check out Chicago's attractions, such as Millennium Park and Navy Pier.
We've continued to have a great time, and have loved seeing how God is continuing to use us to meet the needs of this community! Multiple city personnel have continually commented on how amazing they think it is that this group of people is volunteering their time and energy to help this community--in fact, they've never seen a group of kids do something like this in their community. They're extremely impressed with us and what we're doing, and know that we're doing this in the name of Christ. What a phenomenal witness. Please continue to pray for our ministry here, as well as for the pastors at New Community in their ministry. We have had a wonderful time this week, and there's still more to come tomorrow!
August 10, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Our last day of ministry has commenced! After devotions and breakfast, the teams prayer-walked for the last time in the community. They also gave out more door hangers and flyers to people, and many of our teens prayed with people we ran into on the street! God truly shows up during our prayer walks.
After prayer walking, we went to work in a community park called River Front Park. Among other things, we pruned overgrown shrubbery, swept glass and debris off the tennis court, picked off the vines that were growing on the tennis court fence, severed tree limbs, picked up trash, and weed-wacked some stubborn weeds. The park looks incredible! Mr. Knuckles, the Dolton City Park Maintenance Manager, expressed his pleasure at how the park now looks, and how much it means for us to be here. Because of such an extremely scrawny budget (so scrawny, in fact, that he’s recently had to lay off much of the park’s staff), he simply cannot afford to hire anyone to do the work we’re doing. He and the rest of the park employees are truly thankful that we’re here!
At three o'clock, we finished up our posters and other campaign projects we've been working on throughout the week in order to get ready for the rally at six o'clock. The rally was awesome! We came together with various people from the community, and at Dolton Park we got to listen to some live music, build relationships, and continue the abstinence campaign that we've been preparing for. We also got to put up the posters showing messages about sexual abstinence and against underage drinking. It was a great experience!
During the meeting tonight, we reflected on the numerous ways we've seen God moving, and how we've been a part of it. It truly has been such a privilege to have such an amazing team and church working together, and it was fun to hear each person's perspective on how they saw God work inside them and through them to reach others. What an amazing week!
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parts of the US