This weekend was a big weekend for us YHM-ers! Evangelism Plunge!
We all were shipped out to different hostels in Chicago in our teams to bond, experience hostel life and see who we could talk to!
Cheyenne, Jessica and I shipped out on Friday and spent the night in Greektown around our hostel getting to know each other better and getting oriented to the hostel (and eating delicious Greek pastry).
Friday was nice and relaxing... a much needed warm up for our adventurous Saturday.
We met up with our fellow Amsterdamers-- the Shelter City team in Wicker Park for some lunch then spent the later afternoon wandering though Wicker Park's thrift and used book stores. Anyone looking for a super entertaining delicious (but expensive) coffeeshop, check out the Wormhole in Wicker Park!
We then decided we weren't hungry but still wanted to explore so we decided it would be a good idea to go cross town to Chinatown. We had a ton of tun there and Jess got to show off her Chinese skills.. but by the time we were hungry it was getting close to 8.
Here comes the scary part:::
We got off the "L" on a random stop downtown to see what kind of food we could find. All that was open and within our budget was a diner. We walked in and ordered, but then Cheyenne and Kara got an awful feeling that something sketch was up. The host was whispering with this man in a coat who kept coming in and out of the restaurant and was on and off of his phone. Creepiest part, the restaurant wasn't that full-- but we were the only women in the place. And some men were sustaining eye contact with us. It was so great that we were able to communicate how we feel to each other and trust each other. Needless to say, Cheyenne and Kara expressed their need to leave the place so we took our food and hopped the first train we could out of there.
Good thing we did because when we did, we met up with Megan and Rachel, YHM's summer travel partners back at the hostel. These lovely ladies have both done YHM in years past and will be helping us out this summer. Megan and Rachel had met up with Alex in the hostel.
Alex is a bike cab driver from Madison, Wisconsin. He's struggled with addiction and some pretty substantial family issues. I met him eating curry rice out of a pot while watching Avatar the last airbender on netflix sitting in the hostel common room. He was bummed out about having to go to work that night and we could tell he'd much rather be eating curry, talking and watching cartoons. Basically Alex rides around on his bike from 11-5am giving drunk people a ride back to wherever they need to be so that they don't have to ride. He'd come to Chicago for the week because he thought he could quickly rake in money to pay rent for his apartment in Madison. He needed to make a quota and wasn't really optimistic that he would. Right then, Megan chimed in and said that we would go out and be his first customers of the night.
Of course we didn't realize that Alex rides his bike in Wrigleyville-- about 45 min away on the "L".
But Alex really wanted company and really needed some encouragement. So we went. Now Wrigleyville isn't the least sketchy neighborhood in Chicago... and Alex had stored his pedi-cab under the elevated train tracks in an alley and of course was asking us about God while he spent about half an hour setting up his bike for the night.
Once he finally set up the bike, he insisted that he could carry all six of us.
That lasted about half a block before he was out of breath.
We split up into two groups and Alex took us on a tour of the neighborhood. He was riding in the middle of the car lanes when the cabs were taking up his bike lane. He took u-turns in the middle of the four lane intersections. He kicked cabs when they were in the bike lane. We were being heckled by people waiting to get into bars. We were freezing. Megan, Kara and I reacted by singing and waving back like princesses.
Meanwhile Alex asks us "Do you really believe there is no condemnation in Christ?"
The best part of meeting Alex was seeing how he humbled us. Megan and Rachel were cooking dinner with him when HE brought up Jesus. After talking with him for a while, HE was the one asking Megan and Rachel what he could pray for them about. He was the one who asked to go to church with us. And he was the one asking questions about faith. I think that sometimes when people go out on missions like YHM there's this idea that we will bring up the Gospel and we will pray for other people. Meeting Alex and having him pray for us and ask us big questions was so great and humbling to see.
This story doesn't end happily though. Not long after Alex dropped us off at the "L"he took a bad turn and the hinge that connected the passenger bench to his bike broke (could that have anything to do with trying to take six people at one time?). He spent the rest of the night calling mechanics and looking for a new piece. We turned out to be his only customers that night. He asked us to wake him up before church the next day. We did and he followed us to the train platform. Something happened while were waiting and he must have gotten spooked. He suddenly decided that his bike couldn't wait until after church and that he really needed to go to the hardware store even though he was so excited 10 minutes earlier. He didn't finally decide not to come until we were stepping onto the train.
We went to Missio Dei church in Wicker Park. Everyone there was gorgeous and under 33 and the worship was led by two attractive men with their dark wooden acoustic guitars, thick sweaters, corduroy pants and loafers. A totally different experience from what I'm used to but the message was great.
Post church the six of us went out to ipsento coffee in Bucktown to reflect on the weekend. They make a DELICIOUS nutella latte that Rachel's friend recommended. Go there. really. It's not like drinking strait up nutella. It's fantastic. Dang I'm recommending a lot of coffee places aren't I?
Please pray the we keep in trusting communication and stay humble as we go out this summer.
and pray for our new friend Alex as he struggles with addiction, finances and faith.
|Megan, Me and Kara on the pedi-cab|
|Alex navigating busy downtown. Please note the TONS of people around and TONS of taxis and TONS of bars.|