Saturday, June 27, 2009

Uniting the community

We have had some very busy days and have had a chance to experience many new things. We finished our work projects and were pleased to see the mural now up in the empty neighborhood lot. We got some time for free time a little yesterday and some today. We went to see Millenium Park and then Chinatown and a few other sites today. We also were asked if we wanted to help raise awareness for one of the nearby neighborhoods where they have a sort of 'take back the neighborhood' approach. It is called Friday Night Lights with a campaign for Peace in Chicago. The students participated and got a chance to see how people come together with such great passion for their community.

There was also an Anti violence rally with Mayor Daley attending on Saturday morning. Several of the local organizations and many of the neighbors attended the rally and then a short march through the neighborhood. Sunshine Executive Director Joel Hamernick was asked to open that event with prayer. It was encouraging to see Sunshine is a respected organization that is helping the community.

Your student will have many stories to share. They all did a great job and I believe they now understand much more about poverty and the causes of violence. They also understand how the Lord asks us to love mercy and act justly.

Tomorrow, we head home after service at Christ Bible Church. We appreciate everyone's support of us and this trip. We thank the Lord for a wonderful missions trip experience, for his protection and for his care. See you all soon!

Sharon on behalf of the Sr High Urban missions team.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Service Projects with Sunshine

It was a really full day on Thursday and one of our hottest yet; everyone seems to be doing just fine. Each team had service projects today as well as our homeless visit with people downtown. One delightful event was a neighborhood ice cream party at the end of the day. Neighbors in the area of Sunshine decided to serve ice cream cones just to get people out and visiting. God has been answering prayers and is definitely with us in our work here. Here are some pictures from the day.

A Heart for the Poor

We have been learning so much about God's love for the poor and how we are called to be involved. We've been learning that it takes humility to serve and to preserve dignity of those we serve. This Wooddale Sr High team has been doing an amazing job. We talked about how important flexibility is and that has come into play this week. We have been on service projects everyday and not teaching VBS as we had expected due to plans and camp dates changing for Sunshine. But this team has accepted their assignments and I think learned so much more. We've been given a chance to practice what we have been taught.

The team has also practiced what we talked about as being patient and kind. In the 90+ degree heat and humidity, there has not been a single complaint. They are demonstrating how to live in close community.

We are doing fine in spite of the heat and just keep recalling what mid January could look like! I have not gotten the phone hotline updated as it won't let me in to change from my cell phone. so hopefully everyone is getting the info they need from the blog. Thank you so much for all your prayers for us and your comments.

Hello everyone, this is Preston writing our our blog, but he is in Chicago!
Yesterday we did something called "the L experience." This was very interesting because it gave all of the people in our group the opportunity to talk to people from all parts of Chicago. We began by getting on the green line at its last stop, and took that green line train all the way to its end, which is on the west side of the city. In my experiance, one lady that I talked to was actually from New York. In our conversation, I learned that she was not too happy because in Chicago, nobody talks. She told me that people in New York are quite frequently talking, if they are in line or on the subway. Whereas, people in Chicago don't talk, they sit to themselves looking out the window. She says that is because so many people from Chicago aren't actually origionally from Chicago, you could say that many of the Chicago people are transplants. So, the people have their friend bases, but they are from their home town, not Chicago. And since these people have such great friends back where they are from, they don't want to meet more people.

Love you Mom and Dad, miss you, and I can't wait to see you when we get home!
-Preston Howell

The trip has been going really well so far. We have gotten to to know each other much better and have all really enjoyed the projects we have worked on. I also really enjoyed our "L" experience and i also got to some cleaning at Joel's house (head of Sunshine). Today we will probably do some more work projects and then later tonight we will pack two bag lunches and give one to someone who is homeless. This week has been fun and we are looking forward to what the rest of the week will hold.


good day to you all!!
my L experience was i sat next to a grandma named Gramma Dirt and her grandaughter as they came home from the american girl store. they had TONS of stuff and we spent most of the ride dressing and undressing her new doll that she got because of her birthday. this little girl let me have some of her candy yogo's and its now the joke that "ashley eats candy from strangers". false. she was 5.haha so....most of what i was going to say has already been said. i'm developing a new addiction to fruit snacks and i sneak then whenever sharon isn't looking. it is very hot here. indeed.
have a fantabulous day!
missing home and all,

My L experience was very interesting. I meet this girl that had just graduated from high school and she was very open and willing to talk to me. She was the one that was asking me the questions and she was telling me all of this stuff that I should do while in Chicago. I also talked to a man and he was also very nice. I am pretty sure that he enjoyed talking to me because he asked for my phone number but I did't give him it so don't worry. There was a little girl that was sitting behind me and she was about 2 years old and she keep playing with my hair. It was really funny. It's very hot here and please keep praying for us.

Hi, it's Mary again. Yesterday after lunch it rained for about a half hour. For a while the temperature and humidity dropped a little bit, but in a few hours they were right back up again! In the afternoon, I helped clean Joel's house and then in the evening we had our El experience. On the first leg, I met a woman who worked for the Red Cross. She wasn't exactly hostile, she just wasn't very open and friendly, so that didn't really go anywhere. On the return trip, I met this really nice Christian woman who lived in Chicago but was born in Savannah, Georgia (if it hasn't been mentioned before, the other church group working with us is from Georgia.) We ended up talking the rest of the way. She got off in the same area as us, which surprised me a lot because she got on in the downtown business area and seemed like a professional, middle class woman. However, she did mention 4 kids but no husband, so maybe that's why. We're still continuing to deal with the heat, so keep praying for cooler weather! Sending lots of love to you all!

Hey its whitney!! so ive been riding in the Georgia kids van just brecause i like making new friends and all have all the time in the world to talk with the rest of our group.. since ive been doing that i have noticed that i am catching onto their southern accents. Its extremly hot and humid here and honestly its quiet irritating and hard to keep up a positive attitude when you are hot and sticky. I got sick yesterday from all the heat and i still feel sick. I miss everyone at home.... Pepper, Raja, tigger, blu, mama, papa, Jake and patrick (only a little). Its been quiet the experiance here. The poverty is so high its unexplainable. o yes...and i really miss the lake! I am so grateful for what i have at home and i realized that i take a lot for granted. I am extremly homesick and although its only thurday i am excited to come home... but i still am excited to see the rest of chicago and experiance the cultures and diversity here. We do a lot of waiting around here, which im not quiet used to but its getting better. We rode on the "L" yesterday and it was quiet the adventure. We were supposed to start a conversation with a person. I tried to several time but people just dont want to talk. The people seem in a hurry and or too good for you to take some time and talk. Its nothing like Waconia where everyone talks up a storm with everyone. The friendliness just isnt here and its rather sad. We are each sharing a lunch with a homeless person today and im excited for it. I Love you all!! Bye bye :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Tuesday

This is Preston, and I was hoping to talk a little bit about the talk that we had this morning. Every morning we have had Joel, the leader of sunshine, talk to us about a topic of his choice, thus far they have been about the city and the poor. This morning, we talked about Psalm 113. In this passage, in verse 6, we see that God looks toward the poor, but he doesn't stop there, instead, he then responds, and helps them, and brings them to the point of sitting with kings, basically high luxury. I see this as a great way for all of us to respond when we see the poor, it is totally different than what we normally do, which is to look away, but God did it, and does it, so we should definately follow his lead. Also today, we did a work project at an abandoned lot. During this project, a few little kids came over, and started to help us in the work of cleaning all the trash and debris out of the lot. This amazazed me because it seems like noone in the community is doing anything to make their lives better, but just these kids were trying to, they wanted to clean up the site, and make their community a better place.
-Preston Howell

Tuesday so far

We had a really full but exciting day. Thanks for all the birthday wishes and thanks Don. Parents,you can leave comments on the site by just clicking on the Comments word below our entry. We love hearing from you. We are doing fine, a bit hot from the weather but it has been character building today as we cleaned up an old lot.

So presently we are sitting in the gym waiting for the staff so they can lead us in devotionals. Those sophmore boys crack me up!! Today we went to pacific garden mission and that place is HUGE! for those of you that don't know, its the largest homeless shelter in the COUNTRY! We also went to a church to clean up their lot for the friday night lights program. This is where this church goes to the high crime and gang areas on friday nights and bring huge lights and candles and flashlights and they pray on the hour from 7-1am. There has yet to be any crime taking place in these areas during these community time of prayer. The locals come and when they aren't praying they are dancing and enjoying community with those in the area! We will be going to some of this on friday and i'm quite exited :) fyi-the only white people we have seen so far are our own group. This is a BIG change!
I love you family and friends and i am a tid bit homesick. Give adam the best farwell for me before he leaves for China! take LOTS of pictures at training camp :)
love, ashley

hey, it's mary and i did exactly the same thing ashley did(no group work projects today.) Today was amazing! I loved cleaning up the lot and having everyone drive by and look out their cars to see what we were doing, even though it was (and still is) really hot. The day also included some fun surprises such as a visit from an ice cream truck, henna tatoos courtesy of Whitney, and a grill-out at Joel's house where I spent the evening hunting for "lightning bugs" in the yard with Joel's two little sons. Thanks for the comment, Mom, and I'll see all of you in a few days. Keep the prayers coming, and give my love to Jessica. I love you all!

Hey it's Paige! I got a henna tatoo for the first time today and it was really exciting. Cleaning the lot was a lot of fun even though it was super hot out. A couple of little of kids that lived across the street from the lot helped us out and they were really cute. Keep praying for us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

hey its whitney!! we are all having a great time and the best thing is that we are all getting along fantasticly!! team swagga is sassy. Chicago is such an diverse place and it is so interesting and so much different than minneapolis. i love and miss everyone at home.

hi!!! its ashley johnson!
we have learned lots about the city of chicago with lessons and debreifing and devos...ect. This is a really well planned organization and we are doing a special program called bridgebuilders where they take groups and teach them about the city with service projects and lessons. That is me sealing a mural that will go outside. The seal lets grafitti come off easier. The sophmore boys make me laugh SO MUCH! I miss home and i'm dying to open my suprise letter!! miss you all <3,>

Hello Everyone!!!!!!!!!!
Its Drew Bohleen. Its extremely hot today in Chicago. I was apart of a team that passed out flyers for the Sunshine gospel ministry. It was advertising there free technology center that is focused for the public. Its been really fun and i'm looking forward to the upcoming week. Our church we are sleeping at is really cool its attached to these really old houses and the lights werent on so we went exploring and its awesome!!!
I wanna say hi to Mom, and Wilson!!!(Dog)
Also if Kels or Dad u are reading this from Africa.
Love you,

Hey, It's Jeff Decker!
It's been great so far! We all survived the car ride. The church is a nice place, and as Drew said, we had to secure it and make sure we're all safe =]. Today, the Swagg Team, (Me, Conner, and Drew) went out on the streets and did some canvassing, turning people toward the Sonshine Gospel Ministry. Very melty down here! I sort of miss the little bit of coolness in Minnesota.
Having a rad time,
Jeff Decker

i've been having a great time so far! chicago rocks! the car ride was a little long but i slept a lot and it was all good. sleeping was nice on the mat but it was a little warm. today i walked around with the swagg team ( me, drew, and jeff) handing out flyers for free computer use at sunshine and had some nice conversations with the locals. i'm having a great time!
Connor Stone<

hey it's Mary, and so far the trip has been great! The lesson this morning was really deep and well-taught and I got to see the city this afternoon when I conducted a survey about Sunshine's new technology center. The people were excited about it! I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Hi Everyone, it's Sharon. We have had a hot day and a pretty full one so far - preparing murals to get posted, passing out Free technology class flyers - which was a welcome thing for nearly everyone we talked to, some cleaned an empty lot -hot and hard work but needed to be done. We are visiting the Pacific Garden Mission over the dinner hour - we are excited as that is the largest homeless shelter in the U.S.

Everyone is doing fine. The Sonshine staff is so amazing. And the group is having a great time together too. Take care.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hi. We made it to Chicago just fine about 8:00 with a few stops to stretch along the way. The drive was good, had some fun. Once we got to Sunshine Ministries, we had orientation and some devotional time. We will be working alongside the Sunshine team and another student team from Georgia. Everyone is doing great. We are tired but looking forward to our first day of ministry on Monday.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We had a great send off Friday night. Thanks to everyone for coming. We feel blessed and so ready to go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hey this is the last week before we head to ChiTown. Here we are getting ready - Chicago is so close we can almost touch it!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunshine 2009!!!

Hey we are getting ready for the Chicago urban mission trip working with Sunshine Ministries. We will have our send off service on Friday night June 19th at 7 p.m. Join us for prayer and sendoff. We depart for our trip on Sunday June 21st. We can't wait to see what God has in store for us.