Monthly Archives: July 2008

Mission Trip day 4


Rick’s team spent today at an urban garden called Open Lands.  The garden was recognized by President Clinton in 1993.  They spent the day weeding—according to Rick, “we weeded and weeded and weeded and weeded.”  Mr. and Mrs. Earls are the developers of the garden, and are really involved in their community. 


Scott’s team spent today at St. Vincent’s unloading two and a half truckloads of clothes and toys and then sorted them onto carts.  According to Kayleigh, they tossed big bags of stuff around all day.  Fun!


Cecily’s team spent today at the Cornerstone Community Center, a family shelter in the Uptown neighborhood.  The Center is preparing their kitchen for an inspection soon and needed the kitchen deep cleaned, so the team spent the day scrubbing walls, the stove hood, the stove, the cabinets, etc.  They degreased the whole place—the yellow walls were white when they were done!





Tonight we are headed for Promontory Point for a picnic, and on the way the youth will each be given $1 and asked to figure out how to eat dinner for that $1.  What a great way to experience what a lot of the world does!  I’ll try to finish another update, including photos, tomorrow while I’m at the airport.  In the meantime, check the flickr page (link in yesterday’s post) for today’s and last night’s pictures!

Bible in 90 Days: Day 45 (II) – 47


BiND:  Day 45 (II) – 47


Well, we’ve reached Proverbs!  We’re halfway through, friends!  I hope you’re enjoying this Scripture adventure—I know I am.


Proverbs is one of three wisdom books in the Bible (the others being Job and Ecclesiastes).  Some of the psalms also are considered wisdom literature, but these three books are the big ones.  Wisdom literature is designed to teach and to reflect on how we experience and interpret life and how we are to act in light of what we learn from God and from the world.


Proverbs is an interesting book in that a large chunk of it is said to be written by Solomon, to whom God gave the gift of great wisdom.  There are over 3,000 pithy proverbs attributed to Solomon.  Have you ever tried to write a proverb?  It’s hard!


One of the most common phrases in Proverbs (and one we’ve heard before, in Job) is “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  We don’t like to talk about “fear” of the Lord—we’re not into fear that much and many of us have enough baggage from being afraid of God in our faith journey.  We know that all through scripture we have God and God’s messengers saying “Do not be afraid”—which implies that “afraid of God” and “fear of the Lord are not the same thing.  So what is the “fear of the Lord”????


Well, I suspect it something more like awe and humility, and less like being afraid.  Knowing that God is great and good, and knowing that often we fall short of that, being in awe…in contrast to pride and arrogance in ourselves.  When we think about this kind of “fear” then I think we begin to get at what Proverbs is talking about.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (perhaps because they think they don’t need it?).  It’s interesting to think about what we mean by “wisdom” and “knowledge”—what does it mean to be wise?  There’s worldly wisdom and there’s wisdom in God’s ways—can they be the same?  Proverbs suggests that the more attached we are to worldly things, the harder it will be to attain God’s wisdom.  Proverbs also says throughout that practicing the ways of wisdom is one of the only ways to attain it.  We don’t just “get” it, we have to live it and eventually we live into it.  And that is wisdom.

mission trip day 3


Our speaker last night, Bill Curry from Breakthrough, was really interesting.  The program has a number of components, from mentoring youth to working with women in crisis (whether those involved in drugs, prostitution, abusive relationships, or other crises) to working with men who are currently homeless.  Bill and his family decided to live in the neighborhood where they work—right here in East Garfield Park.  They’ve been building community with a really diverse group of people for several years now, and they love it.  It was interesting and inspiring to hear him talk about his life and work here.


Today two of our groups went places where other teams had been before:  Club Learn and the Gads Hill preschool.  At Club Learn we played jumprope and tag and super heroes, we helped kids learn their alphabet and practice reading, made an octopus craft out of coffee filters and tissue paper, and watched the Little Rascals.  It was quite a day—and it was hot, too!  I haven’t heard yet from the group at Gads Hill preschool, but I suspect they spent time playing with kids!






Our third group (Scott’s team) spent the morning exploring Chinatown and trying new foods—bubble tea smoothies and squid!  In the afternoon, they went to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, where they beat the record for the amount of Cheerios repackaged (they come in huge boxes and the volunteers scoop them into 1-pound boxes/bags to be given away to hungry people).  They worked hard and fast!


Tonight we have some free time so we are headed to Millennium Park, where we will hear the Grant Park Orchestra perform Beethoven’s 7th symphony while we eat a picnic from Cosi, and then we’ll watch the fireworks from Navy Pier before coming back to the church for another night of sleeping on the floor!  Tomorrow we have groups scheduled at St. Vincent’s (the big warehouse for the thrift stores), Cornerstone (a family shelter), and Open Lands (an urban garden).  Should be a great day!