Update on Chicago Summer Mission: Part 1

I just realized I never sent any thank you notes to the people that helped support me going on the summer mission I am a part of right now. So that is kind of bad. I’ve never been good at thank you notes. The just take too much time and the mail is so confusing. I don’t understand stamps. Anyway, I figured I better do something, so u decided to write an update on my first 2 weeks or so. Hopefully that is appropriate. If not, oh well.

So I have been in Chicago for like 18 days and it has been amazing so far. I had no idea what to expect. Travis, the Cru staff member at Denison just kinda told me it would be awesome and that I should go, so I was like okay. He was right. It has been awesome. I love all of the people I have gotten to know so far. I love the guys I am rooming with and that are in my bible study. I did not know a single student before coming and I feel as though I am becoming very close with many in a very short time. (And we still have over seven weeks to continue to get to know each other so that’s exciting.) This is for sure the most authentic Christian community I have ever been a part of. It is amazing how 70ish students from different campuses can come together and in a short time bond around the gospel when many of us have nothing else in common. So that has been really cool.

I don’t know how to write a coherent summary of what we have done, so I will just go over a few things. We are in downtown Chicago so that’s fun. I am slowly growing familiar with the El and the busses. The busses are hard to figure out. Being in the heart if the city is amazing. I have never lived in an urban environment. I like it.

So we are here to start gospel movements on college campuses. We have groups at University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. I am working at the University of Chicago. It’s a little intimidating. The people there are very smart. It might as well be an Ivy League school. It’s really pretty though. The past two weeks while on campus we have been doing surveys and having conversations with students about the spiritual climate at U of C. It was a little awkward at first to talk to random students about their spiritual life and my faith but I have gotten more conferrable. Some students have been kind of jerks but others have been really open and receptive to talking. I had a conversations with a student studying religion who is a professing Christian. We talked about his frustrations with American evangelicalism and it’s individualistic nature. I mostly agreed. I didn’t expect to have a conversation about liberation theology, so that was fun. My friend Tanner and I had a really nice conversation about our worldview with a guy and a girl, that may or may not have been a couple. We talked for like 45 minutes. It was really cool. I got to pull out a little Augustine and Francis Schaeffer. If you don’t know who Schaeffer is, look him up. He is awesome. One of my heroes.

We also got a chance to share at Grant Park (I think that is the name) on a Sunday afternoon. I got to talk to a 40 year old kind of drunk man. It was actually a really good conversation. Turns out he was a Native American and believed in traditional Native American spirituality. Didn’t expect that. Anyway that day my friends Michael, David (who is a standup comedian) and I think Caleb all were able to go through the gospel with people and lead them to accept Christ. So that’s awesome! They are going to come to some of our events. My friend Jordan also brought a college student named Gustavo to some of our stuff. I like Gustavo. He is funny. He is from Brazil. Apparently Brazilian food is really unspicy. He thinks Chipotle is spicy. We had a great talk with him and his friend Samar (both from Brazil and both studying at ITT) at McDonalds. It was cool to here about their life in Brazil. Samar is from Rio. Apparently Rio is really dangerous. You can’t carry around your phone in your hand or it will get stolen. The cops are crooked and there is a lot of violence and drugs. He said the beaches are nice though.

We have been going through the book of Philippians in out bible study. That has been pretty good. I like my leaders Kyle and David and the guys in the study.

We have had time to have a little fun too. The first day we were here we did a scavenger hunt in the rain. I was also able to see a Reds game at Wrigley. That was amazing. Wrigley is so cool. There was a two and a half hour rain delay that conveniently lined up with game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which the Chicago Blackhawks are in. They put it on the huge screen. I don’t like hockey, but it was cool to be there and see everyone excited. I also was at a restaurant/bar for game 6 of the series when the Blackhawks clinched it. (I didn’t drink anything I promise in case any staff members are reading this. We are t allowed to drink any alcohol while we are here.). Anyway it was crazy when the Blackhawks won. I got to experience what it is like when a city wins a championship. I was giving high fives to drunk people I didn’t know for a team I don’t care about that plays a sport I don’t like. So that was fun.

I think that’s all right now. I will try to get another update in a few weeks. Thank you so much to the people that helped support me. I really appreciate it a lot.    Maybe I will sometime get the energy to sit down and write hand written letters and figure out how stamps work, but for now thank you so much!

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