by Dennis Meints
July 30, 2012 at 04:36 PM
We've arrived safely in our new home away from home in Dolton IL, just outside of the shining city of Chicago! Upon our arrival we were greeted by Pastor Derek and the youth of the church. We joined the for their youth night playing games, doing group activities, and break out bible sessions. It didn't take long to feel right at home because the games had us running through the entire church while trying to keep a shoe suspended between two of us. Sounds weird, but it was a great time. We had a blast!
We spent the remainder of the night getting familiar with the church and settling in to our hotel. We are excited to be a part of something so much larger than ourselves and we can't wait to get started tomorrow! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we begin to aid New Community Church and their efforts to reach their community! And please keep checking out our trip journal to see all the cool things that God is doing in and through us this week. Thanks and God bless!
Feeling good on our First day!
by Dennis Meints
July 30, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Our first official day of ministry here in Chicago was awesome! We started our day getting acquainted with the other church group that we are working with during the week. We also got to hear from Pastor Ed and Pastor Caesar about their heart for the community and seeing change occur here in Dolton. They talked extensively about how our partnership with them is exactly what they've been praying for and that they are excited to have more help in ministering to this community!
This morning we split up into groups and walked the neighborhoods around the church praying for Dolton, the homes and families that live here. We also got to pray for people that we came across during our walk. It was awesome to see how willing people were to have us praying for them and their families.
Pastor Caesar has helped us partner with the City of Dolton, their Mayor and the police force to do our service project for the week! We got official city documents and clipboards to walk through the neighborhoods of Dolton and document all the vacant homes and area that could us a "face lift". Pastor explained to us that after we document all the areas of concern, the city will then equip us to go do the necessary yard work, demolition, painting, or trash pickup that will give this community a boost!
We spent the rest of our day at the church preparing for our VBS, having a cookout, and then playing with kids from the church. It was an outstanding first day of ministry and we could not be happier! Hard to believe that it's only the first day and that God has so many more things in store for us here in Chicago!
Thanks for you prayers! We'd love it if you continued to pray for us and for the community of Dolton! Thanks again and God bless.
Day of opportunities!
by Dennis Meints
July 31, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Today was another great day of ministry here in the Chicago area! We started off the day with devotionals as a team, ate breakfast and then met up at the church for our prayer walk. We spread out in groups walking through the neighborhoods around the church. As we walked, we not only prayed, but picked up trash and continued to mark down vacant homes that we saw for the City of Dolton.
Later in the morning we had an awesome opportunity to go and do work on one of the vacant homes that we documented yesterday. The city determined that the brush in front of this abandoned home was a cause for concern because it created a barrier between the street and the abandoned home that patrolmen could not see through to watch for general crime. Since this was the case got to go and take down the trees and other brush that hindered the view from the street. We had a blast doing some manual labor and the neighbors came out to thank us when we were done!
This afternoon we spent at the church filling drop bags with flyers and different cards from the church for the surrounding neighborhoods. We'll get a chance to distribute those bags tomorrow morning on our prayer walk. It was a lot of work, but we were glad to be out of the heat and still be able to do work that will benefit the church and their effort to reach the City of Dolton.
Tomorrow is recreation day and we're looking forward to going into the city and seeing what Downtown Chicago looks like! We're planning on visiting Millenium Park as well as the Navy Pier. Please pray for a great day of fellowship with each other as well as safety as we travel to and from the city. Thanks for keeping up with our trip and thank you for your prayers!
by Dennis Meints
August 2, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Today was our recreation day and we had a blast! In the morning we got to hangout at the church and stuff door hangers filled with flyers and information cards from the church that we will be distributing tomorrow and friday. It took a good chunk of our morning but in the end we stuffed 8,000 bags with all kinds of literature.
We left the church at noon to head into downtown Chicago. Our first stop was at Gino’s East pizza for lunch. Our first taste of authentic Chicago style pizza was not only delicious, but a lot of fun as we sat and ate together and with the youth from New Community Church in Dolton who came along! After pizza we got back in the van and took a short ride through Chicago to find parking, which can be more exciting than you think sometimes!
We spent our afternoon walking through downtown, going to Millennium Park to see “the bean”, and then finally to the historic Navy Pier. After the fireworks were done we all piled back into the van and headed back to our home away from home in Dolton. We had such a good time today and were glad that we could spend so much time together enjoying the city of Chicago! Tomorrow we jump right back into ministry, so please be praying for us as we continue God’s work. Thanks!
The week is flying by!
by Dennis Meints
August 3, 2012 at 08:12 AM
It's amazing how much ministry can happen in one day, and yet the day's seem to just fly by! Today we changed up our schedule slightly to accommodate the ministry needs of the day. We started our day by going to a partner church of our host church just down the street. We met Pastor DeLois, who is a very sweet lady who heard about the work we had been doing in her community and asked if we could help her out. Pastor DeLois had us staining a new fence she just put up to protect the back of her church/day care facility. We had a lot of fun doing it and we only got 20% of the paint on ourselves!
In the afternoon we got the privilege of distributing all of the door hanger bags that we stuffed the other day. We walked the entire surrounding neighborhood area placing door hangers on every door knob. In less than 2 hours we had place more than 1,000 door hangers! It was so much fun to walk back through the street and see all of the neighbors that got information about new opportunities in their community and about the church.
We spent our evening playing games with the youth from the church. We played ultimate frisbee and 9-square! It's a lot of fun to meet so many new people and to see what their lives are like here in Chicago. We are learning a lot and making a lot of new friends! Tomorrow is our last day of ministry so if you'd continue to pray for us to end strong, we'd really appreciate it! Hope all is well back home. We're looking forward to seeing you soon!
Last Day in Dolton
by Dennis Meints
August 3, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Sadly today was our last day here in the amazing city of Dolton IL. We wasted no time getting out to do ministry this morning as we hit the streets for our final prayer walking session. We have met so many awesome and interesting people on our prayer walks throughout the week that we've definitely agreed that this activity is a highlight of our trip!
After our prayer walking we got the opportunity to go back to finish the fence we started yesterday. It was a long process in the heat of the Chicago sun, but we kept working and after a great lunch put on by the city of Dolton, we finished the project! It felt good to be able to start and finish a project for one of the churches here. We ended our time of ministry at the fence site with a time of prayer with Pastor DeLois. She was so appreciative of our work and hopes to see us again next year!
The rest of our evening was spent back at the church playing games with our new friends and just having a good time together. It was sad having to say goodbye to the people that we've gotten so close to this week, but it was good knowing that they will be sad to see us go as well. As we begin to travel back to Charlotte tomorrow morning please keep our travel in your prayers! Looking forward to getting back and sharing all of our fun stories with you all soon!