Hey everyone, slight change of plans! The GSM Chicago '13 team will be posting daily recaps and trip photos online at the Granger Student Ministries Facebook page. Plus you'll be able to see "real-time" updates throughout the day as Facebook has the mobile access to keep everyone back home posted.
And you can of course leave comments of encouragement and support on the Facebook page and we'll pass those on to the team!
Here's a link to the GSM page! GSM on Facebook
Saturday, July 14, 2012
We began the day with breakfast and some devotions with the group and then headed out to the work sites and got to work. We split up in morning. A few groups went to Bright Hope to finish up the work we started Wednesday, while the rest of the group went back to the Willow Creek garden that we were at Thursday. The Bright Hope group spent some time organiing and putting thing in their rightful places, then met up with everyone else for lunch and we finished out the day together at the garden. One group spent the day weeding and harvesting cabbage. Another group finished planting the rest of the garden then laid hay over the plants to keep the ground cool and the plants moist. A third group spent the day cutting down overhanging branches and clearing brush in order to expand the garden in the future. The team worked hard today and Steve had nothing but compliments to give at the end of the day. We cleaned up for dinner, had Chick-fil-a (shout out to the Wonderly's). We headed out for a team fun night playing WHIRLY BALL!!!!!! For those of you who don't know what that is, it's an awesome combination of bumper cars, lacrosse, and basketball. We had an amazing time and thoroughly exhausted, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. The Chicago '12 team is headed into the city today...more updates to come!!
Friday, July 13, 2012
You know what's AWESOME when EVERYONE is doing it?! SWEATING!! Yes, you read that right! The Chicago 2012 team got down and dirty and sweaty yesterday at our work project. We got up bright and early, ate breakfast, and headed off to Willow Creek Church's garden on their campus. Our team got to meet Steve, who heads up the garden at Willow, and see his heart and overflowing passion for this ministry. He told us the story of how the garden came to be, how God was working through both him and Willow to plant this ministry. Steve gave us some direction for the day, and we dug right in...literally! Our team spent the entire morning and the majority of the afternoon with shovels and rakes tilling up about 15,000 square feet of their garden. The garden continues to grow, almost doubling in size every year! I cannot even begin to express to you family and friends the amount of hard work, NON-STOP encouragement, and excellence that the team showed the entire day. The Christ-like attitudes of every student and leader on this team are such an inspiration! We worked hard all day, laughing together, singing together, loving together, and serving together...it doesn't get much better than that. When we first got to Willow's garden, Steve said something that really stuck out to us. He told us how when he gets to heaven, he wants to have nothing left. He wants God to say to him that He's so proud of him for giving all of himself. I'm not sure if you are aware, but the Chicago 2012 team verse for the week is Luke 10:27, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself." We are striving daily to live this out by giving God EVERY part of us. Im confident that this team gave everything we had yesterday as we served with Willow in their garden. God is so good and is working in and through each one of us, that is evident! To end our day, we had dinner at the mall food court with a little free time to walk around, we debriefed at the park with some more AWESOME worship, and headed back to the hotel. Family and friends, thank you so much for all of your prayers and support back home, we can really feel it! We LOVE reading your comments, too! We're off to our work project for today...more stories to come soon. Have a blessed day!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
We kicked off the day with devotions and then headed over to Bright Hope Ministries. Bright Hope is a non-profit organization that works with contacts in nine countries to provide whatever needs are brought to their attention. Their main focus is to bring hope to families that live off of less than one dollar a day. When we arrived, we got a tour of their facility and an explanation of who they are and why what we were going to do was important. We split up into four groups and headed off to our specific projects. Our group spent the day organizing and sorting a variety of donations into their specific categories. This enabled Bright Hope to send care packages to the countries. Some of us took inventory of the items in the warehouse in order to donate the necessary items to other organizations. We also worked outside to make their landscape even more beautiful by pulling weeds and adding mulch to the flowerbeds. Our team worked so efficiently that by the end of the day, our students and leaders began cleaning the facility. Bright Hope is an inspiring organization and we can't wait to go back on Friday! We came back to the hotel, cleaned up, hung out for a bit, and headed to the mall for dinner. We kicked off team debrief at Madison Meadow Park with some awesome acoustic worship. Then we had chance to share some stories from the day with the team. Back at the hotel we had some free time, including an awesome jam session with Brandon and Riley. Be sure to listen for the one-hit-wonder, "World's Finest Chocolate, How Ya Doin' Today?" We headed to bed soon after because tomorrow's too good to waste tonight!!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Well Chicago 2012 is in full swing!! We kicked off our trip right at home by helping Chris Whitmire and her team unload over 6 TONS of furniture for the Early Learning Center at GCC. Chris said our team was a huge blessing and along with her team we were able to crank out all those boxes of furniture in just 45 minutes! Soon after that, we packed up the bus and were Chicago bound! Two hours later we had parked in downtown Chicago and started making HUNDREDS of PB&J sandwiches to pass out to the homeless around the city. We divided into our groups and spread out to our designated streets. We spent the majority of the afternoon out there with the people who are homeless, listening to their stories, hearing about their lives, and praying with those who wanted it. The people of Chicago had such an impact on us and it was neat to hear the different stories from the group later that evening. One leader pointed out a simple but bold statement that "we are all homeless until we know the love of Christ." It was powerful to see that we all have a connection to those we served throughout the city. Our team challenge this week was inspired by a man named Chino (who we met yesterday in Chicago) who, every single morning before he even gets out of bed, drops to his knees and prays for his day. We were so moved by his faith that we decided to make it our daily challenge on this trip to spend a minute with God every morning before we start our day. After our day in the city, we headed back to the hotel, cleaned up for dinner, spent some time debriefing, and had some free time with our team. We're off to a GREAT start, and are ready to see what God has in store for us this week! Be sure to follow all of our pictures posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, we LOVE your comments and will be reading them to the team durning debrief :)
Hey everyone just wanted to get a quick post up! The trip is going great and the team is serving like crazy! We had some Internet issues at the hotel last night so well get a full day 1 recap up soon!! You can also follow along on Facebook (Granger Student Ministries) or Twitter (@gsmlive) or on Instagram (gsmlive) for little snippets into our days! Thanks for the comments so far- the team loves the encouragement from home!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Hey all! Jeff Myers here. I'm going to try something a little different this year and share a link to the public photo album on the GSM Facebook page. Hope this allows everyone to see the pic's with no problems. If not, just let us know and we'll try a different solution. Be sure to become a fan on Facebook to get the latest GSM updates. Enjoy! Day 1 Photo Album on Facebook