July 30, 2022
Chicago Dream Center Mission Trip 2022 | Update #1
July 28, 2022 | Kathy Smarrella
Hello from Humboldt Park! Our team made it to downtown Chicago by 11 am today, and we were greeted warmly by some of the hard-working team members of the Chicago Dream Center (CDC)—Liz, Crystal, Amanda, Jada, Nancy and Brother Bear.
Today was a day of getting to know one another. Our Vineyard team is diverse—we range in age from 14 to 75 years old (personally, I think that is awesome); we have people who have been around Vineyard for a long time and people who are pretty new; half our team has not been on a mission trip before, and a few have been on several trips! They are getting to know each other, and that quick connection is one of my favorite things about mission trips. Our first meal together at lunch today was loud and interesting and chatty. :)
We got to know our hosts as well—they showed us around the block—the Dream Center is involved in many different ministries around this area, which essentially occupies much of a city block. And then we got to work. Some of our team went out and “canvassed”—meaning, they passed out flyers to folks, inviting them to attend HopeFest—a huge outreach we’ll be helping with on Saturday. That opened the door to praying for people. Aiden, a 15-year-old first-time mission tripper, had an opportunity to pray for someone and tonight he said he can’t wait to do some more of that!
The other half of our team helped to organize supplies and donations in the “Jesus Closet”, which supports the CDC’s Bridge to Life ministry (which goes out on the streets to feed homeless people around the city) and the Manna for Life Program (which gives out food and donations on Saturday mornings). We sorted and organized and tossed and folded and sweated. . . But we got it done and, let me tell you, it looked pretty good at the end!
Finally, our team came together in the late afternoon to put together care packages for the Rose of Sharon Ministry, which we will help with tomorrow night. We’ll go and meet women on the street who are in desperate situations and share the love of Jesus with them through care packages and roses. We had a chance write some notes for those women to include in their care packages—we don’t know their names, but God does. And we did our best to listen to God and write out notes that would tell them God loves them, that he sees them, and that he cares about their lives. Hearing some of the team’s stories about what they felt God said to them was beautiful tonight.
We ended our first night with a walk to the ice cream shop (yeah, baby) and then a debrief. We heard the team’s impressions of the first day and what they saw God doing already. And we heard the testimony of a young woman who is interning here at CDC. She is a beautiful, strong, Holy Spirit-filled young woman who has had a challenging life—harder than most of us have dreamed of—and yet, God found her and saved her on the streets of Chicago. He’s redeemed her and she is full of hope. Hope that she shared with the rest of us. Hope that encouraged us to press on, not just here in Chicago but in our own lives back home as well.
And this is just the first day! Whoa, it’s gonna be good!!
We covet your prayers for our busy and exciting day tomorrow!