April 18, 2024 by

Embarking on a mission trip can transform your typical academic break into an unforgettable journey of service and personal growth. I had the opportunity to return to Chicago this spring break through Global Outreach (GO). It was my third time going on a GO missions trip. I went as a team member last spring and a team leader this past fall break. I’ll be honest, I was not sure if I was going to go on another trip this year; after last spring break, I wanted to go somewhere warm and get some R&R, but God had other plans. 

Answering the Call 

I was asked to lead a GO trip to Chicago during spring break. Despite my initial spring break plans, I felt convicted to pursue this opportunity to further God’s Kingdom. Looking back, I can’t imagine going anywhere else over break. It was a very humbling reminder of how God can use me despite my constant shortcomings. 

Off to Chicago 

The ministry in Chicago that we worked with was Inner City Impact (ICI). They work within their communities to meet the practical needs of kids and their families and show the love of Christ through service and teaching. It was such an honor to go and serve alongside them over spring break, and we had an amazing week! 

Our group of 10 Cedarville students were from all different majors and walks of life. After meeting weekly to get to know each other better and prepare for the trip ahead, we all piled into our GO vans and headed to Chicago! Even the van ride there was a great time of fellowship as a team. We arrived at ICI on Saturday around dinnertime, and we got settled in. Sunday started things off with a bang as we headed to church with the ICI staff, and we helped with the youth group after church. Sunday night and into Monday, we had an all-night lock-in with the high schoolers. This was such a blast and a great way to build connections with the kids!  

GO Chicago Team playing games with high school students.

During the day for the rest of the week, we did various work projects around the facility before the kids came for the afternoon/evening. These projects included painting, sheetrock installation, HVAC work, cleaning and organizing, light work in the gym, assembling tables, computer work, and more. These service projects allowed us to help ICI further their ministry and to work more efficiently after we are gone. Honestly, while these projects were dirty and difficult at times, they were such an amazing time to work all together and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

The GO Chicago Team helped with work projects, such as painting and sheetrock.

The GO Chicago Team helped with work projects, such as painting and sheetrock.

In the evenings, we had club time with the kiddos, working with grades K-12 and interacting with a bunch of different groups throughout the week. The kids were definitely the highlight of the week, to be able to connect with them and just show love to them in the time we had was such a joyful experience.  

Friday night we had a family game night, so the kids that we saw throughout the week brought their families to play board games and have ice cream. This was a great success! We as a team were all able to interact with the different families and spend the evening with them. 

Saturday was probably my personal highlight; we had a Nerf war with the elementary students and, oh my goodness, what a blast! 

We headed back Sunday morning, and we all hit the ground running with classes the next day. I was definitely more tired when I got back than when I left, but the joy I experienced this week was more than worth it! 

Post-Trip Reflections 

One passage of Scripture that we focused on during our trip preparations, as well as throughout the week, was 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24. This passage is such an incredible reminder of how we are to treat others, and we were able to put that into practice all week. 

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 

Verse 24 in particular stuck out to me throughout the week, “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.” This verse reminded me that it is by God’s loving grace and mercy that the team and I were able to be in Chicago and serve with ICI, and no matter how tired or stressed I was, I knew that God has always been faithful. He is faithful now, and He will be faithful for all eternity. I am so thankful for the opportunity that Global Outreach allowed me to take, and I cannot think of a better way to have spent my spring break. 

This trip was an amazing and life-changing experience; there were times when I was physically and mentally exhausted, but I was able to keep going by God’s grace. The team that I had the pleasure of leading was incredible, and they all worked together as ambassadors for Christ, and they all loved well. Thanks be to God for His everlasting mercies! 

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