i've disappeared for a few weeks, with good reason. i have traveled from indiana, to detroit, atlanta, chicago, kansas city, and back home. each direction held a great adventure with discoveries, challenges, new friendships, broken hearts, hard conversations, laughter, life lessons and more.
i could attempt to recap it all for you, but i wouldn't do it justice, i would miss all of the good parts. so i'm going to share one story with you, a few pics, and if you want to know more, just ask.
last week my youth group and i spent some time in chicago, il. we spent the week serving in soup kitchens, helping out at learning centers, exploring different ethnic cultures, talking to the homeless, learning people's stories, and so so so much more.
my favorite night of the trip, was our final service night in chicago. the adventure we were embarking on was called "immersion" and we would be sent into the wealthy part of the city, in groups of 5, with only $2 per person to eat on. Our goal: figure out public transit, find food to eat, interview people and learn their thoughts on the city, and make it home in a timely manner.
our group was assigned to wicker park, a place i've always wanted to visit. full of thrift stores, an indie scene, bars, restaurants, and unique shops like icream (just check it out). once we arrived in wicker park, we began asking questions to people about their neighborhood. most people looked at us funny. probably because we weren't wearing skinny jeans with vintage tshirts. one man who would talk to us, a street ice cream vendor, who was one of the only hispanic people i spotted in the neighborhood all night.
we asked him questions about wicker park, and despite a language barrier, we learned a little. his friend then came outside and told us about the taqueria that she worked at, not in wicker park but a few blocks off. we said thanks for the interview and continued on our exploration.
dinner time was drawing near, and we were beginning to get super hungry. we checked at a jimmy johns to see if we could snag some 50 cent day old bread, but they were fresh out. the only thing we were going to be able to afford in this trendy regentrifried neighborhood was a bowl of rice or maybe a sample of ice cream. that's when we got the idea, lets walk back and try to find the taqueria.
a mile later, we found place, a hole in the wall, and we went in. studying the menu, we discovered, we only had enough money for 4 tacos, remember, there were 5 of us. we ordered the 4 cheapest tacos on the menu and sat down to wait for them to be prepared, figuring out how were were going to divvy them out.
out came two baskets stacked on top of one another. the top one had three tacos. i pulled off the top basket expecting there to be our fourth, and found our fourth and our fifth. we all gasped with excitement. we would all eat this evening.
after blessing the food and digging in, we found that we had $1 left. Just enough to buy a lemonade. the man who gave us the extra tacos filled us a huge glass, and we finished some of the most delicious tacos and lemonade i have had in my entire life. the man who had blessed us that evening, continued to smile, and peak at us out of the corner of his eye to see if we were still enjoying our food. we gave a huge thank you, and went on our way.
i've never been homeless, i've never feared not having food to eat, but that night, i was nervous, and God totally provided. it was such an amazing feeling being on the other side of someone's gracious generosity.
Deteronomy 15 says this:
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
That man at the taqueria was openhanded to us that evening, and as a result it makes me want to obey what God has commanded and be openhanded to others around me, to pass it on.
Here are a few of my favorite pics from the week. Hopefully I can keep you all updated a bit more with my life over the next few months.
it was anthony's first mission trip, and such a joy to serve with him.
a birthday cake a little girl made me
i love the joy on my dad's face.
reconciliation wall is a very impacting story. incredible to see Jesus bringing hope and restoration where there is so much hurt.