Thursday, April 01, 2010

Chicago!

Seven days. Eight people. A windy city.
It would take forever to tell you about everything we did in Chicago... we hit the ground running and were in and out of our rockin' 15 passenger van about a gazillion times... and we saw everything from the poorest neighborhoods to one of the wealthiest churches in the nation.
Chicago is a city riddled with issues - corrupt government, poverty, crime and hopelessness abound. Cook County decides how many prison cells to build based on 4th grade test scores. So instead of putting money into prevention (ie education), they literally just build more jail cells. I was appalled at the policies - infuriated by the lack of concern for the poor - overwhelmed by the broad scope of the problems this city faces.
And yet, it is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in the world. I got to spend a morning at the Art Institute... such a strange contrast between the wealth and beauty there on Michigan Avenue and the garbage strewn streets and boarded up buildings on the south side of the city. It hurt my heart.
We stayed for three nights at Moody Bible Institute - we got to attend a couple of classes and were honored to have a Moody grad prof spend a big chunk of time with our group... challenging our way of thinking and pushing us to answer the tough questions.

On Sunday he took us on a grand tour of Chicagoland churches. We started with a 7:00 am Mass at Holy Name Cathedral and proceeded through Episcopal, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Evangelical, Hispanic, African American, Pentecostal, Hindu and Muslim places of worship. The night before, we went to Willow Creek, one of the largest and most emulated evangelical churches in the nation. I think the trip would have been worth it for this eye opening experience alone... to see how people's hearts and eyes are opened to God through these different places of worship... and to experience and understand the appeal of two of the world's largest religions other than Christianity... I'm thrilled to have been able to experience it all. It was an exhausting day - but so good.

I think out of the whole trip, my favorite thing (other than my big "a-ha moment" which I'll blog about later) was for sure the opportunity to love on and build on my relationships with the other interns. What an amazing group of people. We spent 7 solid days together - eating all our meals together, walking and talking and seeing and growing - there was laughter and tears and amazing conversation. As a self-professed introvert, it's remarkable to me that I could be with people SO much and for SO long and not feel crazy. I love this group so much and my life is so much richer because of them. I've gone through a little bit of withdrawal this week... after spending so much time together, it's been hard to go back to my quiet little life. I can't wait until Monday morning when we can debrief a little and touch base after our re-entry into real life.

So - Chicago... it changed my life, for sure. Changed my heart for ministry... changed me a bit as a person... changed my perspective on mission in North America... changed my relationships...

It was a good trip. A really good trip.

4 comments:

  1. "Cook County decides how many prison cells to build based on 4th grade test scores."

    !! This would be funny if it wasn't so terribly tragic.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful experience. Look forward to hearing more.

    How is your eye?

    M~

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  2. Wow~! what an amazing God-filled experience for you....cant wait to hear "the rest of the story"~!

    xo

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  3. Come on - Come on - we want more !!

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  4. You are awesome- and God is awesome to give you such a tender heart to serve and love on people. Glad to read some of your adventures here.

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