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Albert Lea United Methodist Church

Serving In Chicago, IL
June 17, 2017
Community: Portage Park
Partner: Faith United Church of Christ
Staff: Allison Zdenek

We have arrived!

by Sarah Wright | June 17, 2017 10:43 PM

We arrived here at Faith United Church of Christ right as the storm clouds rolled in. Looking forward to a week full of deepening friendships and neighborhood ministry together!

We have arrived!

Evening Exploration

by Sarah Wright | June 17, 2017 10:53 PM

Took an evening stroll through the neighborhood and historic Portage Park where Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Spitz set new world records in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Some of us also got to visit a 7-11 for the first time! Slurpees for everyone!

Evening Exploration

Introductions and Prayer

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:11 PM

Pastor Julie and her wonderful congregants treated us like royalty today with warm hearts, a marvelous array of foods and sincere prayers at this morning's service.

Introductions and Prayer

Dressed for the occasion...

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:19 PM

Evan sported this T-shirt today not knowing that Pastor Julie would be referencing this exact scripture in her sermon!

Coincidence? We think not!

Dressed for the occasion...

Sharing about caring

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:29 PM

Evan and Shelby shared a little bit about their hometown, Albert Lea United Methodist Church and the church vision in front of the congregation this morning.

Sharing about caring

Group Picture!!!

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:33 PM

Before we celebrated fathers with a feast of homemade goodies Pastor Julie insisted we get a group photo so "we can remember you and continue to lift you up in prayer after you leave".

So grateful for our wonderful ministry partners!

Group Picture!!!

Getting the dish on Chicago style deep dish pizza!

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:42 PM

Depending on who you ask Chicago deep dish rated anywhere from a 2 out of 10 up to a whopping 9 out of 10.

The ranch dressing, however, was another story altogether and scored a solid 10 out of 10 across the board!

Getting the dish on Chicago style deep dish pizza!

Lou Malnati's Fan In Training!

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:47 PM

Wyatt thoroughly enjoyed his first Chicago deep dish experience. I think we have a fan in the making!

Lou Malnati's Fan In Training!

Pro Tip: Pre-Order

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:54 PM

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. 

Well, we're not sure about the Romans but Chicagoans in the know pre-order because one of these iconic pies can take 40 minutes to an hour to prepare!

Pro Tip: Pre-Order

Will detour for breathtaking city skylines

by Sarah Wright | June 18, 2017 11:59 PM

Ministry shopping took us on a slight detour where we were blessed with some breathtaking views of the city skyline at sunset!
Will detour for breathtaking city skylines

Love in the little things

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 12:07 AM

This Father's Day our Father God seemed to shower us with affection. From a warm welcome at our host church, to an amazing afternoon full of conversational training and testimony sharing, even down to favorable parking situations and traffic light timing. 
Love in the little things

Proverbs 18:4

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 12:15 AM

The words of a man's mouth are deep waters.

The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

Proverbs 18:4


Learning to be good listeners and how to share our life story with others was a big part of this afternoon's activities.

Lord, let our words and our lives be like deep thirst quenching waters to those we encounter this week. 

Proverbs 18:4

Honey-Do's

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 10:46 PM

Today we spent the day helping our host church complete an array of honey-do's that have needed attention for quite some time. 

Below: Emery, Evan, Josh and Colby helped clear out some old records from storage.

Honey-Do's

A Little TLC

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 10:55 PM

"If you have a scrub brush I can deck scrub them." - Emery Graham

Parents, this is an actual quote!!!

Emery and Colby took it upon themselves to give the fellowship hall a thorough scrubbing today before we set up to sort vintage hymnals for donation.

 

A Little TLC

Happy to Help

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 10:58 PM

Josh was ready and willing to help with any task you set before him.

Happy to Help

Celebrating Someone Special

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:03 PM

Mrs. Lynn celebrated her birthday away from friends and family for the 4th year in a row so that she could chaperone on church mission trips. Her tender heart for these wonderful youth has been amazing to watch this week. Happy Birthday Lynn!
Celebrating Someone Special

We won't let a little rain stop us!

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:18 PM

When clouds rolled in this afternoon Anita and Gianna didn't let it keep them from being productive! They helped prepare the church to welcome guests during our community campfire this Thursday night.
We won't let a little rain stop us!

Toiletry bags for the homeless

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:22 PM

The boys helped prepare toiletry bags for tomorrow's mercy ministry to the homeless. Each bag included a handwritten note of encouragement and necessities like chapstick, toothpaste and body soap.
Toiletry bags for the homeless

Organizers Extraordinaire

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:31 PM

Let's face it, we all have that catch all space in our homes that we'll get around to organizing one day.

Shelby and Evan tackled the adventure of organizing the kitchen's miscellaneous cabinets like pros. 

Organizers Extraordinaire

Sister Act

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:42 PM

These sisters have been leading the pack this week with their Grade A pun humor.

Look for their new album of literal animal sounds on kickstarter soon!

Also, to celebrate Lynn's birthday we took a trip to THE Iconic Chicago Ice Cream Parlor, Margie's Candies, for a whopping 15 scoop ice cream sundae!

Don't worry, she shared some with us!




Sister Act

Can you pass the...gravy boat?!?!

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:49 PM

We eagerly awaited our monstrous sundae complete with mounds of fresh whipped cream, homemade caramel sauce and the crowd favorite...gravy boats FULL of bittersweet hot fudge.




Can you pass the...gravy boat?!?!

From the back storage room to the streets

by Sarah Wright | June 19, 2017 11:55 PM

We started sorting vintage hymnals and sheet music to sell online with all proceeds going to street ministry for the homeless.

Some of these gems we found are almost 100 years old!




From the back storage room to the streets

Lakefront Ministry

by Sarah Wright | June 21, 2017 12:05 AM

We went down to the Chicago Lakefront today with Pastor Julie to pass out care packages full of toiletries, food and water bottles to the homeless. 


Lakefront Ministry

ALL the World

by Sarah Wright | June 21, 2017 12:20 AM

Today we learned quite a bit about the world and ourselves as we ministered to those less fortunate, families and park visitors.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard but worth it, especially when it is for Jesus!

ALL the World

Uptown's Tent City

by Sarah Wright | June 21, 2017 12:25 AM

We partnered with Cornerstone Community Outreach Staff to help provide for the needs of Uptown's Tent City residents. They have spent years building relationships and advocating for the rights of those who can't for themselves. 


Uptown's Tent City

Homeless but not without a place to call home

by Sarah Wright | June 21, 2017 12:34 AM

We learned that this tent city has elected its own mayor and put cleanliness policies in place to help keep their area neat and tidy. We were greeted by David who was a wealth of information on how they care for each other and the space they call home. It was very impressive...and cleaner than most of our rooms at home! Shhhhh, don't tell mom!


Homeless but not without a place to call home

Skate Park Ministry

by Sarah Wright | June 21, 2017 12:37 AM

Mrs. lynn and Shelby handed out water bottles and freezee pops to skaters at the Wilson Yard Skate Park this afternoon.

Skate Park Ministry

Rolling out

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 1:59 AM

After our tent city ministry we paused for some lunch and reflection before  rolling onto the next service project.

Rolling out

Spreading the love

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:09 AM

We brought quite the spread as we prepared to spend the afternoon playing games and talking with the seniors at Friendly Towers, an affordable living community in the Uptown neighborhood.

And of course we had to bring snacks!

Spreading the love

The Domino Wizard

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:19 AM

Meet Paul, the Friendly Towers Domino Wizard. 

We had a blast learning how to play but even more fun listening to him talk about his life. He may have won the game but we definitely came out the winners this afternoon.



The Domino Wizard

Checkmate!

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:28 AM

Dan and Josh spent most of the afternoon at the chess and checkers table ministering to Kenny and Barbara.


Checkmate!

A strange sequence of events!

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:38 AM

Julia and Emery met while playing the game of Sequence and learned that their families are actually friends back in his hometown. WOWZA!!! What a coincidence!




A strange sequence of events!

Reflections

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:44 AM

As these young men paused to take in the beautiful lakefront I can't help but say a prayer for the wonderful men of God they already are and will become in the future. Thank you Lord for the witness their lives have been during this time together.  



Reflections

15,000 Steps Later

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:53 AM

After a very long day of  ministry we went down to the waterfront to soak up the skyline, gorgeous sunset and reflect on the days activities.
15,000 Steps Later

We stand in awe

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 2:59 AM

As we listened to Lake Michigan lap against the shoreline and watched the sun slip behind the skyline we couldn't help but stand in awe of Him. 

Thank you Lord for the blessing of new friendships, strengthened bonds and the opportunity to do so while serving you!

We stand in awe

Beach time

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 3:02 AM

Just seconds before a wave washed away Shelby's masterpiece.
Beach time

Lifeguards On Duty!

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 3:04 AM

Ready and willing to heed the call to go out into all the world!
Lifeguards On Duty!

Thankful for new friendships

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 3:12 AM

Allison, Gianna and Shelby really bonded this week. It was such a blessing to watch the girls really push themselves out of their comfort zones and blossom as young women in Christ!

Thankful for new friendships

Home away from home

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 3:22 AM

Wednesday we spent the morning at the Irving Park Community Food Pantry. When the van pulled up our group was delighted to be able to serve a ministry put on by another United Methodist Church right here in the neighborhood!

Home away from home

Can we keep her?

by Sarah Wright | June 23, 2017 3:27 AM

Gianna spent the morning helping food pantry visitors sign in. Needless to say, the pantry workers were sad to see her smiling face go when it came time for the group to leave!

Can we keep her?

Sure, Wyatt not?

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 10:54 PM

Need assistance? No task is too big or too small for Wyatt!

Special skills include popsicle taste testing, bagging groceries and coercing Bigfoot into eating his homework.

Sure, Wyatt not?

More carrots over here!

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:05 PM

Josh was a wiz with fresh produce. 

More carrots over here!

Bean Sorter Extraordinare

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:16 PM

Colby was set to task with sorting and portioning dry goods like coffee.

Bean Sorter Extraordinare

Fast Friends

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:17 PM

Thick as thieves in no time at all! 

Fast Friends

Master Chef

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:27 PM

Evan and emery got up early twice during the week to make the team pancakes, eggs and bacon! Thank you so much boys, it was delicious!
Master Chef

Redbull gives you...bacon?

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:30 PM

Armed with little sleep and wings in a can Emery manned the bacon while Evan whipped up a batch of pancakes for the team. 
Redbull gives you...bacon?

Taco Thursday

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:33 PM

Though we were hesitant at first the street style tacos form Carmela's quickly won everyone over. Beware the verde though! It's SPICY!
Taco Thursday

Extraoridinary Evan

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:42 PM

A laugh and a song at every turn, it was a a great week together Evan! 
Extraoridinary Evan

Wrigley Field

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:47 PM

We just had to stop by the stadium for Colby who is an avid fan! 
Wrigley Field

Neighborhood Ministry

by Sarah Wright | June 24, 2017 11:59 PM

The church has been hosting a camp fire night on Thursdays to get to know new residents in the neighborhood. We came ready to make new friends with popsicles and dog treats too!
Neighborhood Ministry

Clean Up Time!

by Sarah Wright | June 25, 2017 12:01 AM

You'd never know from looking that 5 boys slept in this room! They did an amazing job cleaning up after everything was packed up. They even left magazines and a game of checkers out for the next group to enjoy. 
Clean Up Time!

Shhhhh, don't tell Pastor Julie

by Sarah Wright | June 25, 2017 12:09 AM

Pastor left her glasses behind after an evening of Sardines with us. I'd say they looking pretty smashing on Evan, don't you think?
Shhhhh, don't tell Pastor Julie

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