Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cultural Day and Reflections

Today began the same as every other day: wake up, breakfast, and in the vans by 8:00. We drove to the church and took some time to do our devos (and sleep). After our devos were done Pastor Ed talked to us about the importance of prayer. The spirit lead him to have us do something a little different than our usual prayer walk. We walked around the New Community Church (NCC) and prayed for it. It was an amazing experience. I could really feel the spirit moving through us. We did that for an hour and a half. This will be something I remember for the rest of my life. When we had finished we got into our vans and headed down town. Chicago is such a beautiful city. The beaches and the lake were so amazing. After driving in circles to find a parking spot we ate Lou Malnati's. The youth from NCC came with us. The pizza was delicious. It was real Chicago style deep dish. After saying goodbye to our new friends from the NCC youth group we got in our vans and went to the Shedd Aquarium. It was a lot of fun. We got to see a show with beluga whales, dolphins, a sea lion, and a rescue dog. The show was great. The aquarium closed and we headed to the Navy Pier for eating, shopping, and fun. We all had a great time. Most of us ended it off with amazing Hagan Dazs ice cream. At 9 we headed back to the hotel. We ended off the week by playing cards and talking.

Our youth group has become so united over the past week. God has shaped us and formed us. He has aligned our will with his. This trip, as every trip has changed all of us. God has again turned the table by changing us when we expected to help others. We have been so blessed to be on this trip. I thank God for what he has done through us and in us. I also thank him for giving us our adult leaders. They are indispensable and true gifts from God. Thank you parents for supporting us, loving us, and praying for us. We all love you.

Our hope is in Christ alone!

In HIS name,
                           Alex King

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hey everyone back home! Praise God for the amazing ways He worked in and through the team today!

This morning we changed our schedule a little to focus on breaking down the strongholds and lies of the devil with the truth. It was a time of individual reflection and searching in the Word, followed by small group sharing, prayer, and encouragement. I think I can speak for everyone that we all went to lunch changed and newly refreshed for another day of work.

After lunch, we jumped right into our service projects. My group has been painting a fence around a basketball court. Even when the task grew tedious, it was a blessing to see everyone persevering--working for the Lord without complaining. It is also nice to know that the work we began will be continued next week by another group of pelicans.

The groups working at the abandoned houses also finished a lot of yard work today, tranforming jungles into lawns, hopefully so that the houses can soon be reinhabited.

None of this work went unnoticed by the community. The neighbors were very appreciative, opening the door for conversations, praise God for the lives he's bringing to Himself! Many teams also struck up conversations on prayer walks. One boy who got to know a group on a prayer walk even spent the last several days serving with the team!

At the afternoon sports camp today, we got a game going again of  boys vs (mostly) girls soccer, which is a blast. It's awesome to see community kids of ages ranging from aound 5 to 18 playing together with our team and having so much fun. Then the whole sports camp got to hear Caroline's testimony, and I was privileged to get to share the Bible strory of the prodigal son. Praise God that the words came eloquently when we were up there!

The other half of our team doing VBS for younger kids were blessed by how the kids yell out the memory verses and worship songs with the enthusiasm that you really only see in God's innocent little children.

Praise God for more basketball in the evening, more relational ministry and fellowship. Although God was teaching me how to minister to peers this week, I am thankful that he sent me one baby girl to play on the playground with and brighten my day! We ended our day with an awesome time of worship, communion,  and an impromptu parking lot dance party :)

love from Dolton,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I have some pics and hopefully some videos to share! These are a mix from the past three days, during which several of the students helped the parks and rec dept in their garages, led vbs and sports camps, and participated in the bball tourney that Pastor Caesar set up within the community. Pardon any blurred shots...they move pretty quick! :)

Hey everyone! Today was another awesome day and we had a great time doing God's work in Dolton!

This morning we went on prayer walks through steets surronding the church and met some pretty intereseting people.  One person I had the good fortune to meet was a man named Chris who turned out to be a Jehovah's Witness.  We talked with him for a good deal of time and ended up talking about everything from the great flood to the trinity and even creation.  Unfortunately we did have to return to the church so we said goodbye and hopped back in our vans.

Once all the teams had returned from their prayer walks, they turned back around and headed out to their respective service projects.  The group I was with actually finished their house ahead of schedule so we joined forces with another team that had a little more work to do.  Soon after we pulled in to the second worksite, a woman from the town's Public Work's Department drove by to check on our progress.  She had driven by the site earlier in the week and when she saw the amount of work we had put in, she was overcome with emotion!  Multiple times she almost succumbed to tears which showed us how much are work means to this city which is always a blessing.

In the evening the bible and sports camps were put on and were a huge success!  The kids that were part of the bible camps really started to open up and show a genuine interest in what we had to say which is truly God working in the kids.  In the 3 on 3 basketball tournament Browncroft had a good showing and put on a good show!  It is amazing to see how strong relationships can be formed just from simply playing a game that     has been around for generations.  After finishing up the tournament and the community kick-ball game we went back to New Community Church to worship, relax, and just reflect on a day of hard work.

As we get ready for our last day of ministry here in Dolton I ask that you would pray for energy for our team and also a sense of urgency to reach the kids we minister too as it will be our last time seeing most of them.  Thank you for praying for us the entire week and we can't wait to share our stories when we return!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday and Tuesday!

Hey everyone!
Sorry for missing yesterday.  We got back to our rooms later than expected.

Things have been going really great so far!  Yesterday morning we had a fair amount of rain in the morning which impacted our service projects, but we were able to improvise with some other projects and keep going.  The weather cleared just in time for our afternoon Bible Clubs and Sports Camps!  Our Dolton site had a fantastic day with young kids learning their memory verses and singing songs.  The sports camp was very successful too!  Last night, the "Dolton Group" moved to a local Rec center for their 9th-12th grade Sports Camp and played an organized 3 on 3 basketball tournament!  It was great to see our students joinging in with other students from the community to form teams!

The "Park Forrest" team had a smaller turnout for our afternoon camps but we still had a fantastic time with the kids playing basketball, football and volleyball.  In the evening they joined the other team at the Rec center!

The rain stayed away for most of the day!!  We were able to go on a prayer walk around the surrounding neighborhood.  It was great to pray over the community as well as meet a few passers by and pray with them.  This is definitely a community that is losing hope.  In meeting a few of the locals, they seem very focused on the negatives in the community, but they seem very excited to hear what we and the local church are doing!
We went from there to our service projects...Some groups were painting fences, some were cleaning parks. We had 3 seperate groups working on cleaning up abandoned houses in a local neighborhood.  The house my group was working on was in pretty rough shape, but the teens went to work and did so great.  Luckily we had Elliot Morse on our team who seems to be our resident landscaper/tree cutter downer :)!  It was a very hot morning and it seemed like God sent a cool rain at just the perfect time to keep us refreshed.

In the afternoon we went to our sites for Bible Clubs and Sports Camps today.  I heard great things from Alex King about how well the children were listening and participating.  They seem very eager to hear about God!  Dave Stack said he shared the bible story to a group of boys and when he was finished they were begging to hear more Bible stories!! How awesome is our God!
On the Park Forrest camp, we had a small group again, but all of the kids who cam on Monday, came back!    That really helped us start to build some great relationships with these students!  We ran them through some volleyball drills and started playing a game.  When it became apparent that volleyball may not be the best choice, Adam Clouthier and Matt Leistra came to the rescue by making up a game on the spot!  Sort of a Volleyball/Dodgeball hybrid that the kids really had fun with!  Afterward, Linnea Schaefer shared her testimony to the students and did a fantastic job!!!

In the evening, both groups went back to the Rec center.  The word on the 3 on 3 tournament got out and the community really showed up tonight.  The gym was packed!!!  In fact, the team consisting of Dave Stack, Robby Schnall and Tim Rutkowski actually won the tournament!  What a great way to form relationships with these guys and girls in the community!  Another group started playing kickball outside and soon all sorts of teens and young kids were coming up and playing with us!

We serve a great God and He is being glorified this week in Dolton!  Continue to pray for the students taht we are reaching out to.  Pray that through our activity, wall will continue to break down and we will be able to share the Gospel with them!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

additional trip journal...

Please Check Out Our Trip Journal On The Praying Pelican Website For Even More Info.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

We didn't Budget for this...

Hey everyone!  We made it to Chicago safe and sound.  Thank you all so much for the prayers.

Upon arriving in Chicago, we did hit our first snag.  It seems that Budget rentals wasn't really ready with our reservation.  The four drivers waited for 3 hours in the rental building while the rest of the group waited back at baggage claim.  It did alter our plans a little, but we were able to get on the road eventually.

After arriving in Dolton, we went over to check out the church and one of the parks that we will be working and ministering in this week.  Tonight, we will be hanging out with some of the teens of New Community Church and doing an orientation with the Praying Pelican team.

Please continue to pray for this trip, that God may use it for His glory!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

We leave tomorrow for Chicago!

Please keep our team in prayer as we head out tomorrow morning!  For those of you meeting us at the airport, we will see you at 6:00AM!

Keep checking the Blog for daily updates.

We will miss you all!  See you on Saturday!