I just got this latest update from Chris and the Chicago team:
Hello Chicago Team Prayer Supporters!
This is Chris Zwakenberg, I am on staff at BVBC and leading this trip to Chicago. I would just like to take a few minutes and update you on the progress so far. I’m writing this Thursday night from my phone. The trip has gone above and beyond our expectations in so many ways. There is so much to write, so breaking it down into some categories should help.
- Schedule – we left Saturday morning, July 3rd, camped in Ohio Saturday night, then arrived in Chicago Sunday night. We had an orientation at the organization we are working with here, CSM (Center for Student Missions). Since then, we have been doing different kinds of ministry every day and having meetings at night to share our experiences as well as Bible study and worship. We’ll continue tomorrow (Friday), enjoy a day off on Saturday, head home Sunday, then arrive Monday where we will have a mission trip report at the church from 5-6:30 pm that you are personally invited to attend
- Ministry – our group totals 22 people, including 4 leaders. We are also serving with 2 leaders from CSM. We divided the team into 2 groups, and we normally go to different ministry sites. One team is going to the Boys and Girls club in the south side of Chicago, while another group is going to Jackson Park, a city-run youth day camp. These are our “anchor sites” where each group goes every day, so we have had an opportunity to build relationships with the kids over the week. In the afternoons and evenings, we go to different ministries such as churches who feed the homeless, thrift stores, homeless shelters, or just going out on the streets, meeting people’s needs and praying for them. All the students have been very willing to serve and have really impressed me with their hearts for the needy.
- Learning – the team has learned so much about the city of Chicago, which has very high crime rates and gang activity. We are safe, but many live in dangerous neighborhoods. Learning those statistics and hearing those stories are tragic but very eye opening and challenging. We also have great prayer and Bible study times where we learn what God says about the poor and oppressed, and how much He loves all of us. We are also doing a daily study of the book of James in the New Testament.
- Prayer – please pray for continued safety and health among our team (we have been safe and healthy so far, less the usual cough and sniffles here and there). Pray for amazing ministry for the rest of our trip, including the ride home. Pray that God would really speak to our students and that they would come back transformed more in the image of Christ. And pray for continued team unity, as we could get tired at the end of the trip and become more irritable.
Thank you so much for your prayer and/or financial support. We wouldn’t be here without you!!!