Student Ministries Chicago Mission Report
On the morning of Father’s Day, 11 teenagers and 4 adult leaders piled into two vans for the beginning of a long drive to Chicago via Cleveland. The ride even included a broken-down van and being stuck in Indiana for 6 hours. God was so good and even used that to unite our group and allow us to share His love with a young waitress at a roadside diner. (Ask our students about Jenny Rae’s Diner in Rolling Prairie, Indiana.)
However, this trip really began months ago as a youth trip to Guatemala. Money was collected, forms were filled out, passports were obtained and medical shots given. Then all plans changed as the Zika virus was found to be in Guatemala and even reported cases in the orphanage we planned to visit. After a lot of fervent prayer and seeking the Lord we felt His leading us to change plans for the trip. A few weeks later He led us to a youth missions and equipping trip in the heart of Chicago called Lead The Cause, or LTC for short. LTC is a gathering of students from all over the country who want to be trained and equipped to share the love and truth of Jesus with their peers and others. It looked like the Lord wanted us to be able to share our faith and His love with people around us everyday as well as people in other countries. This was somewhat of a new concept for many of our students and it was great to watch them catch the vision of being used by God in their everyday life to share His love and truth with one of the largest unsaved people groups- their peers.
At LTC there was worship, training, and equipping in sharing your faith followed by opportunities to go out into the streets of Chicago and put that training into practice. Many of our Wellspring students got to share their faith with people, pray for people and demonstrate God’s love with the people of Chicago. They were able to get beyond their fears of starting conversations and talking to strangers and God used that in a powerful way in their lives.
In preparation for the trip, each student had to be praying for five people in their lives that didn’t know Jesus. Throughout the week each student would pray that their five peers’ hearts would be open to receiving the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. They wrote letters, emails or texts messages reaching out to their unbelieving friends, neighbors and family members, explaining the gospel and letting them know how much God loved them. Several students even called their friends while in Chicago and explained the gospel to them over the phone. One student had the amazing opportunity to lead three of her friends to Jesus over the phone in one night!
The whole week the Lord was at work in our group healing wounds, fears and lies our students had believed. The Lord was calling them out of those places of fear and lies to discover who He created them to be and the calling He has on their lives. It was amazing to see their real identity in Christ begin to emerge. The students were focused on loving, encouraging and praying for one another in who God created them to be. It was powerful to see how the walls built around them began to fall when they focused on following Jesus, sharing their faith, and serving others. I pray that they will never be the same after this trip. I pray that all of Wellspring would begin to see God move in our hearts as we learn to follow Jesus, share His love and serve our world for Jesus. Thanks for your prayers for this trip, but please continue to pray for our youth ministry students and the battles they face each day. Pray that they would continue to connect with Jesus and each other as they seek to bring His love to others. Pray that our Youth Ministry would continue to become a place where people find Jesus, grow in their faith, are equipped to share Jesus’ love and become servant-leaders in our world.