Posts tagged ‘neighborhood’

July 21, 2011

Prayer Walk (Erin)

Here is an encouragement to you that there is more than you think going on in your own neighborhood. Ask God how you might bless your neighbors this week and step into what He is already doing among them. Thanks, Erin, for writing this for us and for intentionally loving your neighborhood.

Lawndale Prayer Walk Testimony

Just had to share the neat things that God did on our prayer walk in Lawndale.  Two days before the walk, Dave, me and the girls went for a walk around the prayer-walk routes to hand out flyers that Gene made for us (thank you Gene!).  Its not very common to just walk around and strike up conversations in this neighborhood so we really felt stretched; but, God’s presence so clearly went before us–it wasn’t long before we had our first divine appointment…Ms. Geraldine!

Geraldine was on her porch with a bunch of little ones outside…she runs a daycare out of her home.  I invited her with our flyer and she got the biggest smile on her face and said, “well that’s JUST what we need…nothing else can bring change.”  She quickly grabbed her Bible that was just off to the side and held it up.. “I’ve got the Word right here!!” she said.

Dave and I said that if the whole prayer walk event was simply to meet Geraldine…it was the biggest “success” ever!

But we didn’t just meet Geraldine.  People all along the way received us with surprise and wonder as they heard what we were doing.  On the day of our walk, several people from our Connect group and the rest of the CITC community came out to support this neighborhood…long neglected…and regularly avoided (understandably so because of its rough reputation).  Geraldine came in with joy and power and our neighbor Mack was delightfully surprised by our excitement for God’s heart for Lawndale.  Another key community leader came and Gerry, who prayed with her on the walk, quickly discovered she was a bit of a celebrity in the neighborhood. Along the walk, many groups found other prayer warriors with faith for the community!   Many people had touching interactions with the neighbors and powerful visions for the community.

Gerry shared one such vision that I will leave you with.  God shared a picture of a jackhammer breaking up the cement in the neighborhood — breaking through strongholds, addictions and shackles that have long bound this community.  As they cracked water was rising up…carrying away loosened pieces and filling every crack.  Living water, the power of the Holy Spirit flooding Lawndale with healing and transformation!

Thank you CITC family..your presence was such an encouragement to the neighbors…you crossed boundaries many of our neighbors thought people wouldn’t cross and I believe God has blessed and will continue to bless unity like this!  I know many of you who couldn’t join us prayed along with us…what power there is in prayer.  Thank you CITC family – stay tuned for the next one!

Erin

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February 4, 2011

God Puts the Lonely in Families (Mel)

The following testimony sent by Mel V. is great stimulus for my New Years resolution: Be more conversational with strangers. I’m well over 12 years old now and it’s time to start talking to people I don’t know and see what God will do! Who’s with me?

stolen from the "girl at the coffee shop". Thanks Brittany!

I think this story may be more common for other Chicago residents than a lot of us realize. I grew up in the church: umpteenth generation Christian, my dad read devotions to us each night before dinner, church twice each Sunday, Christian school education, Bible studies and youth group retreats. And then college was done and it was time for real life. Well, graduate school at least, in a public university that was out of state. And I knew no one in the big city I was moving to. For a while, I tried to continue walking in faith. Having felt called to this degree, this program, and this city; I tried to press on. But the stresses of school, the homesickness, and lack of Christian community took its toll.

So my quiet times ground to a halt. I stopped trying to look for a new church. And then I stopped really paying attention to my relationship with Christ at all. I found new friends, in bars and clubs around the city. I went from never drinking due to personal beliefs and lack of interest to purposefully going out, on my own mind you, to drink as much as a I could to take away the pain of my loneliness and emptiness. Finally, months later, broke, sick from my poor diet and partying habits, and generally heartbroken, I fell on my face next to my couch, pleading with the God I vaguely remembered to place someone or something in my life to prove that He had called me here and still cared about me.

The next night I went out, looking for anyone to talk to who would listen to me, and I found myself talking to a coffee sample seller in the window of a coffee shop. A girl walked up, who I tried to encourage to take a sample of the coffee, just to have someone else to continue talking to, but she declined and moved on. I stayed for another half hour, irritating the coffee sample hawker I’m sure, until the girl actually came back. She asked me if I was going to go in and have a cup of coffee, which I blindly claimed “of course.” I walked in and she invited me to sit with her. Slightly confused, I accepted, and she started talking to me about her work, her family out of state, and her friends. She asked me questions about my life as well, about my school work, internships, and family. Abruptly, she asked me if I was a Christian. I must have looked surprised; she said she was wondering because of my necklace. Of course:the cross necklace my mom had given me for making profession of faith when I was 16. I never took it off. “Yes,” I responded, “I guess I am.” “Oh cool, I go to this church that has a lot of 20-somethings in school or recently graduated. I’m pretty new there, but I like it. You should come check it out.” She gave me the address where her church met, and told me to be there around ten if I was interested.

I decided to give it a shot (what else was I going to do on a Sunday morning? The rest of my “friends”were either studying or sleeping off the activities of the previous night). The service was pretty good,but I remember more being greeted by more than one person, genuinely interested in who I was and why I was there. After the service, a group of the girl’s friends were going out for a picnic and to play Frisbee. They invited me to come along and join in the fun. I did, and immediately felt more like I had a family than I had in two years. God provides what we need in His timing, and in, sometimes, the most surprising ways.

Thanks for the encouragement, Mel, and for being a part of the family! We love you! What a great God who loves us and sets us up to be loved by others. Stay tuned for the fascinating Prequel to this story involving 2 other people you may know and the same little coffee shop.

August 4, 2010

Are you the gospel girl? (Heidi/Brittney)

pretty flowers

I am racking up the testimonies here and already have 7 lined up and ready for posting! I’m going to have to hold myself back from sharing them all with you at once.  But please, don’t hold back from sending more! Too many testimonies would be a great problem to have, and the ones you have are important. We are going to announce this blog at church on Sunday, so I thought I would add a testimony now to whet your appetite for more when you come to check it out.

Here’s an awesome story of how God has been adding boldness and giving opportunities in our neighborhoods lately…

7.04.10

The other night it was on Brittney W.’s heart to have a worship night. We had it at our (B, Karen & Heidi’s) house and windows were open. Our neighbors heard and stopped B later and asked if she was “the gospel girl- the one singing so loud to the Lord?” They brought up questions about God and suffering and Britt was able to talk with them and pray for each one. Two of the men were in a gang. The oldest was 30 and said he was afraid God would strike him dead if she prayed for him because of things he had done. She told him God loved him and he began to cry as she prayed. She also got to encourage one of the younger men to go back to school and pursue his dream of being an architect. All this was because they heard us worshiping! It made us think of Kathy S.’s word- of the ears of the city turning to listen as we worship. Praise God!

-Heidi S.