by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 10:44 AM
We arrived Saturday evening about 5:30 and had some time to unpack and get settled into our new home for the week: a boxing club and art gallery which are part of Restoration Ministries outreach to the kids of Harvey. We'll be spending the week serving with Restoration Ministries this week. We had a team meeting to get to know each other better and to talk about the week. After the meeting we dispersed and spent the rest of the evening hanging out by playing cards and singing songs with the guitar. It's going to be a great week!
Serving the Homeless
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 4:40 PM
This morning about half of us went to an early church service at New Community Church in Dolton which has partnered extensively with Praying Pelican Missions. It was so good to worship alongside our brothers and sisters from the area, and to hear a faith-building message on believing that God is powerful and faithful enough to see to completion the dreams he's given us. Those who stayed behind to get a little more sleep enjoyed a time of praise and worship.
We enjoyed a quick lunch at the Boxing Club before heading over to Restoration Ministries' main headquarters. We were preparing sack lunches to take downtown for "Sunday Snacks," a weekly ministry to the homeless on Michigan Ave. and the Basement (Lower Wacker Ave.). We were led by several residents and graduates of the men's and women's ministries at Restoration. For each homeless man and woman we met on our route through downtown we offered them water, a sack lunch, and prayer. It was beautiful to see each team member step out of their comfort zone in faith to befriend and pray for those we met.
After we finished our route through downtown we stopped by the lake shore for some beach time. We had great weather! Tonight we enjoyed some pizza and learned about how to better share our testimonies. After our nightly meeting we opened up our first box with individual envelopes for each team member from their family at Painesville Baptist. It was like Christmas!
Please pray for us as we prepare for an exciting week of loving the kids at the Restoration Ministries' day camp. Pray that we would show each of them Jesus through our words and deeds, and that we would have opportunities to share our testimonies over the next few days.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 4:43 PM
Anna, Noah, Pete, Jen, and Anna working quickly to assemble 80 bagged lunches to take downtown.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 4:45 PM
Hannah and Cam putting together meat and cheese sandwiches.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 4:49 PM
Phil and Wade praying with a new friend.
The Basement of Chicago
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 5:08 PM
Anna talking with a couple who are staying in the expansive underground street system below the downtown area known as the Basement.
Church Care Package
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 9:49 PM
We opened our care packages with great excitement after our group meeting tonight!
Armed for Fun
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 19, 2015 9:52 PM
Anna is armed and dangerous with her new water gun. The kids better watch out!
Loving Harvey's Children
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 21, 2015 6:37 PM
This morning we went over to the main office of Restoration Ministries where we helped out with a day camp for kids in K-8th grades from the Harvey area.
We opened the morning with an assembly where Phil, Brianna, and Anna led two songs for the kids, and Anna taught them Psalm 19:1 which says that "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." It was so fun to dance along with the kids as we praised our King.
Over the course of the morning and afternoon we played basketball with the kids in the gym (pictured), helped with math, reading, and history lessons, and provided each kid with as much individual attention and love we could provide. We are all looking forward to deepening our relationships with each of the kids over the course of the week.
After the day care finished in the mid afternoon we went to a thrift store run by Restoration where we went to the large basement warehouse and sorted through donations. It's fun to hunt through the boxes for unique treasures, and the mountain of boxes was a little smaller after our afternoon's work.
We ate a great dinner of sloppy joes, mac-n-cheese, and sauteed veggies along side the men who are in the residential program at the Harvey House, then returned to the Boxing Club for a nightly meeting where we shared stories from the day.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 21, 2015 8:31 PM
Today the 5th-8th grade children went on a field trip to a World War 2 museum, and so those of us who worked with those classes yesterday tagged along in hopes of continuing to deepen the relationships we began yesterday. The rest of us continued serving with the classes we worked with yesterday. It's fun to start making deeper connections with the kids as they become more comfortable with us.
After the day camp ended we went over to the Restoration Ministries Thrift Store to sort more boxes of donations. Today a truckload of new donations came in, so there was plenty to do. We know that by sorting the donations we are enabling the business which supports the overall operations of Restoration Ministries, as well as the men and women who are living and working in the Harvey and Tabitha homes.
Please pray that the relationships we're building with the kids at the day camp, and with the others that we meet and talk with would make an eternal difference.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 21, 2015 8:33 PM
We've spent our afternoons sorting donations at the Restoration Ministries Thrift Store.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 21, 2015 8:34 PM
Hannah making friends with some of the girls in the day camp by letting them braid her hair.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 23, 2015 11:48 PM
During the day camp's opening time on Wednesday morning we performed a skit about the story of Joseph, which the kids have been learning about this whole week. You should have seen their spellbound faces as the team acted out the story! By this point in the week the kids have caught on well to the songs we taught them on Monday, so the gym is filled with children dancing and singing about the joy that God has filled them with.
Today we also surprised the kids with popcorn, sno-cones, and lemonade during their free times. The kids loved it, and the special treat gave us and the teachers the opportunity to talk more with the kids about their lives, and to show them Jesus' love.
After day camp we again went to the thrift store to sort donations for several hours. They were short handed on Wednesday, so it was especially good that we were there to help. For dinner some of the group went to Burrito Station, which was recommended to us by one of the men who led Sunday Snacks earlier in the week. The giant burritos were delicious! The others went back to Restoration as usual for some awesome barbecue chicken.
In the evening we attended a worship service at Spirit of God Fellowship, which is the church which helped to start Restoration Ministries. We enjoyed seeing so many of the day camp teachers, and the men and women of Harvey and Tabitha Houses at the service. The message was on how to address unbelief by looking at the life of Elijah. The keys to coming out of a period of unbelief are to (1) be honest with God, (2) accept the support of friends (like Elisha), and (3) become reacquainted with who God really is (God was present in the still quiet voice, but not in the whirlwind or fire). So encouraging! We closed the night with ice cream and fellowship time.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 23, 2015 11:49 PM
Anna reading a story to the children.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 23, 2015 11:51 PM
Joseph letting his brothers know who he is.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 24, 2015 12:01 AM
The kids love getting outside to run around and play sports like soccer.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 24, 2015 11:56 AM
This morning we went back one last time to the day camp. We led them in songs, played games, gave hugs, took every last opportunity to tell the kids how valuable the are in God's eyes, and how much He loves them. It was hard to leave, but we said our goodbyes to the children over lunch, then headed into the city for a little bit of free time. For dinner we went to Lou Malnati's for Chicago-style deep dish pizza. So delicious!
After dinner we met the other two teams who are serving in Chicago with PPM for a time of prayer with local pastors from the community of Englewood. The passion the pastors felt for their community, and their belief in the power of prayer impacted each of us as we prayed for the physical and spiritual needs of the community.
by Elisabeth Wynia | July 25, 2015 9:23 AM
We left the boxing club first thing on Friday morning to make the long drive back to Painesville, OH. It's been a life changing week serving in Harvey and we're all looking forward to continuing to live missionally as we return to our workplaces, schools, and homes.