“We Love because He first loved us. “ 1 John 4:19
We did exactly that: we loved because He loved us first. FPCL youth mission team, made up of 10 youth and 4 adult leaders traveled to Chicago to love on the people of the community and let our actions speak. For us it was about telling all those we encountered they mattered. Inner City Chicago has a wealth of culture and incredible stories of those who have lived in the city their whole life; we wanted to learn from their experiences. During our mission trip, we had the blessing to hearing these amazing stories, and joining God in all He is doing in the City.
During the week we worked with the youth mission organization, Youthworks. They have mission trips sites all around the United States designed to work with youth groups from all across the nation. They plan the mission projects, the morning devotionals, evening worship experiences, meals, and fun activities. This all inclusive mission trip is wonderful for youth leaders. It allows us to leave the details to those running the site and spend the time serving with our youth. Each evening we have the wonderful opportunity as leaders to lead the youth during a time of debriefing from the day. The kids opened up about their experiences during the day and where they were experiencing God during the week. This is by far my favorite part of the week, and the time we see the most spiritual growth with the students.
This year we had the pleasure of working with 3 other youth groups during the week. The groups were from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. Our Youth were divided into four teams for four different serving sites, along with serving with other youth and leaders from the 3 other churches.
Our groups of youth spent time serving in different areas of the city. Our first group worked with a summer children’s program for children from low income families. This program gave children a safe, and incredibly fun place to be during the week while parents are working, and our youth loved every second they got to know the kids. Our second group worked with a pastor from the surrounding community of Humboldt Park caring for community gardens and painting fences. Every lunch they had the opportunity to have lunch at a different cultural cafe. Our third group worked in the neighborhood homes serving people in the community by painting in homes of the elderly and disabled. They had the chance to listen beautiful life stories of those they were serving, and were greatly thanked for their hard work. They helped make homes beautiful for those who were unable to care for it on their own. Our fourth group worked in a nursing home for the week. They got to know residence, playing games, listening to stories, and just being present.
The morning we departed back to Colorado we made a stop at Millennial Park to check out the Bean! We had a fun morning quickly sight seeing their park and the incredible artistry. We also experienced the streets of down town Chicago many times, as getting lost seems to be something we are good at. Once we made it to the park it was all about the fun and pictures. Take a look at our photos from the week, you will be able to spot the photo bombers sneaking into our group shot.
Overall it was an amazing week. It pushed our youth to experience Christ in big ways and in small. Many of us were finding beauty in the mundane and miracles even in the simplest of tasks. When you open yourself to God and all He has to show, you will learn things you never knew you needed to.
Thank you to FPCL for sending us; for supporting us financially and through prayers. We can go do because of all you have done to support us. Thank you for giving these youth the opportunity to serve in different communities and be a part of all God is doing in the Kingdom of God across the states.