He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Monday, December 27, 2010

Have you toured the Pacific Garden Mission?

Our family visited Willow Creek Chicago church on Sunday, the day after Christmas. We had an amazing worship service, and a quick message by the campus pastor, Jon Klinepeter. Since this is an urban church, they are focusing on ministering to the people around them. We found we showed up at a great service to minister as a family! In the foyer they had blankets for sale, and after buying 5, we followed the handout to one of the missions they had listed.

We were familiar with Pacific Garden Mission, so we headed there. After putting the blankets in a bin at the front door, we asked if someone could help explain to the kids what this facility did. Little did we know, we were in for such a blessing! "Pastor Lewis" led us on a tour of the beautiful facility. We knew that the city had wanted to property on State St. they had for years, so they offered them another area close by. Through these events, only God could have provided everything they needed to house and feed over 700 people a night if needed! They turn nobody away. You have to check in before 8:00pm if you want to stay overnight. You also get to attend a church service that evening. There was a cafeteria that was sponsored by Starbucks for breakfast, area stores like Jewel and Dominics for lunch and dinner, and donations from others for most of the rest. They also had a salon, a "store" for clothes that were donated by others or brand new from stores, a complete medical clinic where they were treated for free, and the list goes on. Only by donations and people volunteering is this accomplished. 

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  
Matthew 25:35-40

As we saw how God has provided and blessed this ministry, Pastor Lewis shared his testimony. I was moved to tears more than once as I listened to what he has been through, and how he has been changed. "Only God," he kept saying, "God is awesome!" He had kicked a nasty crack habit by just quitting. Saying enough! God gave him that will power to be done. Here he is serving others, and being made new.
Pacific Garden Mission rehabilitates along with meeting the immediate needs of their "guests" by giving them medical attention, a church service, warm shower, and a place to rest their heads.

Pastor Lewis not only shared how he and others are being transformed, but he also blessed our family, and talked directly to our children. "Stay with God," he directed to them, "Stay on the right path."

 Old Pacific Garden Mission on State St.
that would have to feed 100 and send others out,
clean and feed another 100, then repeat..
 New Pacific Garden Mission on Canal St.
can feed, and house over 700 people at once!
 See how God provides?

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