As we head into another insightful night of teaching, I wanted to share with you more stories from our students!
One thing that I took away from today is that Jared was talking about different ways people enter poverty and I always assumed that poor people on the streets were poor because of buying drugs or stuff like that. I realized that there are tons of ways people could end up on the streets and all kinds of people can wind up on the streets -Jacob B
Something that really stood out to me this week was our trip along the “El” talking to strangers. I began speaking to a man who just sat down near me, and next thing I knew, we were talking about local sports and how he didn’t like Chicago teams. He seemed like a great guy and I really enjoyed talking to him. Then he asked where I, along with a couple other Wooddale kids, were from, so we told him. His eyes lit up, and he just seemed super excited about what we were doing. He told us that he was a Christian himself and felt completely redeemed. He told us his testimony after that. He said that he grew up on the South side, when during that time, fighting was what gave you a name. It wasn’t about the violence, but instead, it was just about honor. Therefore, it was no surprise that he got in a fight with a man in a restaurant and tragically, the man died as a result. He was sentenced to 8 years in jail. He had to leave his daughter and wife to go to jail, one of the hardest things he did. Two years in jail, though, a pastor came and preached the Gospel to him. From that point on, he was much happier and studied the word of God religiously. After he told us his story, we were in awe and he gave us many nuggets of wisdom that will change my view on life forever. -Dillon Z
This week I have been given the chance to serve on the Sunshine service team. We have been gardening in front of the Greenline coffee shop that Sunshine runs. We are also working on cleaning out an empty lot to plant grass in order to make a park for the children to come play in. It has been a great experience to serve the people of the Woodlawn neighborhood in this way. It is always fun to talk to the locals that stop by and to see their faces light up when we tell them what we’re doing. Thank you to everyone for all of your prayers throughout this week! -Claire L
The meal share was a really cool experience for me. Even though my group got turned downed seven times, it was still cool to approach the people. We asked a lot of people if they wanted to share a meal with us but they all said that they were too busy trying to make money. However, they did want the meal so we gave it to them and some of the people only wanted the water. So although we got turned down to have conversations, we were still able to pray with them and for them before we went on our way and that was a special experience. -Maddy B
Chicago has been an absolute blast so far! I have been working on the children’s team, and working primarily with a 1st grade class. My partner, Katie S and I have been blessed with an amazing teacher. My kids have shared with me some stories of their home life, including how they have lost loved ones to violence. Even with this, they still are so joyful and genuinely happy almost all of the time. I have had many opportunities to tell these kids about the church that we are staying at and also the love of Jesus. The kids are such a blessing to be around and I can’t wait to see them again tomorrow -Joe M
This week I have been working with kids at the local school. I was put into a 3rd grade class and I had the privilege to work with these kids and share their daily experience with them. The problems that the school and its students face hits me hard every time I walk into it. I have more of an understanding on how Jesus loves us, because of these beautiful kids. It breaks my heart to see these kids with such dreams about going to college and getting an education and knowing they are already at a disadvantage. God has shown me to love them and love the people in this community just as he loves us the broken and helpless. These kids and this experience has grown me in my Christian faith and its something I couldn’t get anywhere else – Abbey M
Last night I heard Joel talk about Chicago’s history and the reasons for the racial and economic differences in the neighborhoods. I learned a lot more about Woodlawn and how it came to be this way. It made me aware that there are still very big struggles that we choose to ignore or just don’t know much about because it’s not our experience. Since it’s not our experience and we have no ties to these people we don’t commonly involve ourselves in their struggles. But that’s what we should be doing…recognizing when others are in need of help and love and coming to their sides. We are in need of loving God’s people more and I hope that’s something some of us can try and change. -Alyssa L