Chicago Dream Center Mission Trip 2019 | Update #1

August 1, 2019 | Kathy Smarrella

Our team of 20 left the Vineyard Church this morning, ready and excited to go to Humboldt Park in downtown Chicago. Friends and family were there to “pray us out”—personally, I love this so much, as it starts the trip off the best way possible. 

For this trip, we took our Vineyard van and trailer, along with two cars (one of which was mine). As we started out—within the first 30 minutes of leaving—my tire light came on and, after stopping, we learned that there was a nail in one of my tires. Uh-oh. Well, we filled it up with air, and prayed that it would be fine. And it was! Then, when we got here to Humboldt Park, we learned that the trailer and the van did not have the right hook up—and in fact, it was kind of miraculous that we made it without the trailer coming off the back of the van (in downtown Chicago traffic!). THEN, it was discovered that part of Jacob’s wheelchair got caught in something and needed to be fixed and we needed pliers to get that done. 

It’s now evening and we have heard throughout the day how God has taken such good care of us with all these things. My tire was easily patched in 20 minutes at a tire place literally two blocks from where we are staying; a new trailer hitch was found and purchased in less than 30 minutes; and Todd and Jeremy found the perfect pair of pliers in the middle of a busy, 5-lane street on the way to the New Life Church (what???) I am just so glad that what the devil wanted to use to slow us down or trip us up, he couldn’t! God is bigger than the enemy and we KNOW it, right off the bat.  That’s a good start, I’d say. 

Back to our day. . . We arrived to Humboldt Park late morning. We met Liz and Crystal, who are serving as “hosts” for our team while we are here. Both have stories of God bringing them hope through Jesus and through the Chicago Dream Center. They shared their God stories during lunch after a tour of some of the ministries here. 

We had some unexpected time in the afternoon—that was when a couple of us went and got my tire fixed, the trailer hitch was found, and the middle of the road pliers got picked up. The rest of the team spent some great time in the beautiful prayer chapel, praying for the neighborhood, for those we will work alongside, and those we will serve. I think that was just what God had in mind for our afternoon. 

After a great authentic Puerto Rican dinner (thank you sweet Carmen!), we heard Lou’s amazing testimony of how he met Jesus after drugs, homelessness, prison, and gangs. Someone gave him a Bible in prison, and God changed his life. He and his wife, Liz (our sweet host) have dedicated their lives to serving Jesus in Humboldt Park and are doing great work for GOd. 

Finally, tonight, we were able to work with the folks from New Life Church to hand out ice cream and invitations to the neighbors surrounding the church. It was great to get to pray with people, make connections, and be a part of one giant team for Jesus. 

Thanks for your consistent prayers on our behalf. Tomorrow will be a busy day, getting ready for HopeFest, which happens Saturday. 


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