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August 6th - 12th, 2007

Monday, August 6th

     Despite the early hour and torrential downpours, our spirits were not dampened as we loaded the cars and began our twelve+ hour trek to chicago.  We made good time and managed to stay together the entire trip even through the city!  The time in the car seemed to pass surprisingly quickly as we kept ourselves entertained: pods, DVD players (oh the wonders of technology!)...oh we even talked to one another and played games.  Despite reports you may hear, I am not high maintenance!!  : )  Gina's, Eden's and my new "grills" (Oh what pretty smiles we have!) provided us with many laughs!  We were glad to finally arrive and get settled into our bunks.  A good night's sleep was welcomed!  We were all praising and thanking God for his protection and keeping us safe!

Janet Schnabel

     So we left the church at 6:00 am and surprisingly we were rather energetic for the first hour, at which point we stopped for breakfast and bathroom.  Once we were back on the road, we didn't stop until were into Ohio.  for lunch, we ate at a highly overpriced McDonalds.  We made one stop between lunch and dinner.  At dinner we had a choice of Italian or Hardee's.  About 30 minutes after dinner, we had officially reached Chicago.  I must say that it was rather amusing watching us trying to keep 4 vans together in Chicago rush hour.  We then unloaded into a very um, cozy place.  Well, more coming later.  Bedtime!!

Ashley Wilson

Tuesday, August 7th

     Ok, listen to this.  JPUSA is great!  The kids are great.  I sat down with this kid named Hailey at lunch.   I said hi to her and then in like 10 minutes I started making like clothes pin dolls.  It was funny and like every time I went by her she would always say hi.  Then I did this march thing against violence.  I got on TV for 5 minutes with this guy named Jake.  But yeah, that's what went on the second day.

Chris Kohn

     Today's activity began with an introduction to the ministry and history of JPUSA.  What an amazing community of believers this is!!  We were alternately amazed, humbled, and inspired by the people we met and their total commitment to follow Christ and to serve the poor and disadvantaged of Chicago.

     After lunch, we walked to one of the shelters run by JPUSA where we helped unload their weekly delivery of food.  The teamwork and unity demonstrated was simply unbelievable ... together we unloaded the delivery truck then moved all the food to the storerooms and put it away in under one hour!!  Back at JPUSA, we cleaned construction debris from an apartment that is being renovated before participating in a march against violence as part of National Night Out during which Mathew and I made our way onto the evening news.

     We have been at this for only one day but already God is working in and through this team.  I am excited to see what He does the rest of this week.

Brian Wilson

Wednesday, August 8th

     What a day!!  This morning we helped give out food at the homeless shelter.  Ashley and I gave out canned tomato sauce.  We figured out that we had given 71 people at least one can!  Then in the afternoon we sorted and helped organize clothes, toys, books, and shoes at the JPUSA warehouse.  Those piles were really big but we made a pretty good dent in them!!  We had great pizza in the evening and celebrated Tessa's birthday.  Today was really fun but also tiring.  But I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

Anna Maria Charuhas

     Today we gave out food to the homeless people.  I can honestly say for me it is a picture I will never forget.  It was so hard to serve these people their food (knowing that we would have to say "no" to them if they asked for more than the one can allotted of each item)  So many people were so appreciative of anything they were given while others were angry that they could not have more.  Many said thank you-others walked away without even making eye contact.  The people in line were of all ages.  You all would have been so proud of your children if you could've seen the love in their eyes for these people as they came through each section of food.  After all the handing out of food, many of the kids swept and cleaned the room.  I guess Stephy summed it up best when she said "I've never been so happy to sweep!"  God is working our kids lives here.  It is a blessing to be with them.

     From the shelter, we moved onto the next project-sorting, matching, hanging, piling, dividing.  WOW!  This was at the upper floor of a warehouse that JPUSA uses to store clothes, shoes, toys, and miscellaneous items to use for their shelters and their clients.  I am SO not exaggerating when I tell you it was about 800 degrees in this place (ok, maybe a little exaggeration) but it was HOT!!!  The clothing piles to be sorted was about 7 1/2 feet high (that is NO exaggeration).  The shoes looked like there were enough to supply several shoe stores (and did I mention that the shoe mates were on opposite ends of the warehouse room??)  It was quite the adventure!!  The tasks were not completed by any means but we did put a serious dent into it.  Then there were books and toys.  We had Brian Wilson, Tessa, Meaghan, and Ashley on book sorting and getting rid of any trashy novels.  They were amazing!  The book section almost got completed.  Sorting toys was pretty fun for everyone.  Moms & Dads, you'll be happy to hear your kids aren't growing up that fast-they still love to play with toys.  Some of the adults liked it too - myself included.

     I could tell you a hundred more stories but I'll spare you at least until we get home.

Molly Jackson

Thursday, August 9th

     Well today we went and took everything in a house and everything took it out then we gutted the house after that I got to be apart of the sledge hammer team and we destroyed a whole bathroom.  And then, we went to a White Sox game and they lost but on the way home we saw a fight with 2 guys beating up another guy.  And the only reason they didn't kill him was because of us.  If they killed, they had 22 witnesses of death then the cops caught and arrested them.

     Go Cops!

Danny Jackson

Friday, August 10th

     After breakfast on Friday and getting to sleep in just a few more  minutes from the long and fun night before, we went into the older group's dining room for worship and devotion time at JPUSA.  Scott started us off with worship and we all sang a few favorites then Robert gave the short message that we all enjoyed greatly.  I know I did!!  Then we broke off into 3 groups.  #1 went painting, #2 went to clean out the room for mothers with kids to go and visit with each other, and #3 which was Anna Maria and I- went down to the basement to do some de-flooding of all the rain water that got in from the bid down pour like 2 days before.  Halfway done, were were taken away by Scott to finish the tour with another youth group from Michigan that came just for the weekend.  We got to find out a lot more awesome stuff we didn't know about JPUSA before like all the different ministries they do.  All the different bands they have and how they make t-shirts and print them all there.  They hope to change the building across the street we were into a place they have church in and a whole bunch of awesome stuff.  So it was cool to learn all that new stuff about them and another thing is that they have some really great artists that can paint, do music and draw really well.  Some have done really big stuff for it like got into the newspaper ads and for magazines.  It's like a company almost!  Very cool stuff here in Chicago!  I'm so blessed to be on this trip and be with all these amazing people with the youth group and JPUSA!!  I'm having a blast and so is everyone else!!  That night after dinner we had some free time! We got a big group of us to play an awesome basketball game in the court!  Saxon and I talked about doing it that morning too.  So I'm glad we got to!!  I got so tired by the time we stopped, cause I never sat out or took a break so when we did I took my water and poured it over my head!!  Then I thought to myself, "we're all tired and sweaty, why why not start just a little water fight?"  We're outside, everyone's all hot and sweaty anyway, so I went for it!!  I took what was left in my cup and splashed it on part of Jack's face!  And from there on, it was war!!  We all had a blast!  By the time I was hit 3 times, I decided that I was wet it didn't matter what happened next.  So I soaked myself first and took the blows of ice cold water jugs and water gun that Jack got a hold of!  By the time it was time to go in, most of us were dripping with water, me probably the most.  We got cleaned up a bit and headed off to bed for we would have a full day tomorrow!  The end!!

Stephanie Franks

Saturday, August 11th

     Today is the last day that we are serving!!  My group went to CCO (Cornerstone  Community Outreach) to do vacation Bible school and also in my case serve lunch.  After we got CCO, Peter informed us that we were to go over to Leland House to knock on doors and ask the parents there if their children would like to come over and do VBS WITH US....all I could think about was whenever we were knocking on doors was ...don't say "can we take your children for VBS?" We only had a couple of kids that came back from the Leland House with us but whenever we started setting up the numbers quickly grew!!  The first craft that we did was making birds with finger paint,  I did this craft with a young kid named Dillon.  Even as young as Dillon  was he still understood the memory verse it was the one about how Jesus loves us more than the sparrows ...I think.

     When they were getting ready to do the second craft, Gina asked if I could serve lunch and of course when I looked into those baby blues How could I say no??  After the other volunteers and I put on the latex gloves and the hairnet (that makes you look like the lunch lady from the black lagoon)  I was assigned to pizza with Cynthia.  That was boat loads of fun!  There was a lady in a green shirt or red ...or just pick a color and stick with people!!  She helped us with the pizza which was piping hot and we frequently burned ourselves.  While I was being a lunch lady for the day I learned that there are two people that say thank you and the people who don't.  I would make the world of difference when someone said thank you.  The hardest part for me was when they asked for seconds and we couldn't give it to them.

     After that we went to Willow Creek which was awesome and H-U-G-E!!  And before I end this I just have to tell y'all this - this a rat in the dorm right???  And we started talking about it (someone said it only had three it's like a pirate or something.  Anyhow, I discovered that Ms. Molly is deathly afraid of rats!!

     Anyhow, before MJ threatens me anymore about what would happen if I did a joke on her...(death, pain, torture, revenge, such beautiful people like her are on this trip with your sons & daughters..."serve people, love people, love God _ Jordie...

boat loads of love...

Eden Johnson

     I worked with the painting team at the future JPUSA retreat center.  I set the alarm off at the roofing center bathroom which they own but no problem, we explained our way ot of it.  IJ fell but again his injuries were minor so no problem.

At Willow Creek, the place is amazingly large and impressive.  Good speaker on the topic of putting on the full armour of God and becoming a new creature.  Eat fast food...AGAIN!!  and then back for team time and bed!  Very tired and quick to sleep!!

Jeff Cheruhas