Discovering Spiritual Warfare

Today was really the first day since I started my downhill spiral that I really won a battle in this war. It definitely didn’t start out like a winner, in fact it began just the opposite.

I woke up around 10 am and laid in bed not wanting to be disturbed by anyone. I had work at 4 pm and so my plan was to stay in bed until 3, go to work, come home and go back to sleep. And I would have if I hadn’t made lunch plans with a guy down the hall named Eli. I wanted so badly to cancel on him and just lay there all day. Also in the morning, two people on mission send messages to the GroupMe message for us all to read. One of them, from my friend Sara, shared with us on mission how the night prior her brother accepted Christ into his life and wanted to learn what having a relationship with him was like. The other message from my friend Hannah was a message asking people to post or to text her with specific prayer requests so she could more completely pray for others on mission. These two texts stood out to me because of how I felt immediately after reading them. I was furious, and felt filled with anger and disgust towards both of the messages. And this was something that I picked up on and knew was not how a Christ loving person would react.

During lunch, Eli asked me how I was doing and I just opened up completely to him. I told him how I didn’t feel like I had been myself the past several weeks and how I didn’t feel like I was contributing at all to the community here. I also told him how I was having a very hard time praying to God and felt very disconnected to Him, as well as how the text messages from the morning affected me. After I told him these things he said he was getting the feeling that I was going through spiritual warfare and that I was being attacked by Satan. The fact that I didn’t feel like myself, and that I couldn’t connect with God or with other people, he said, is exactly what the devil takes enjoyment in. I of course had no idea what this all meant and just asked what he thought I could do. He gave me some really good advice, the main theme being to pray to God even though I don’t think I can. And then he prayed over me and really asked God to come into my battle and to rid any evil that had come over and taken hold of me. I remember having the same hatred towards the text messages fill me as soon as he started praying and it made me shake while I was sitting trying to keep still. I felt like I was going to explode and really wanted to get up and run away. As he was praying I started to feel the weight and the hatred slowly leave me and my shaking eventually turned to tears. I don’t know how to better explain it other than I feel as though I had been attacked and evil had taken root inside me and I couldn’t get rid of it the previous couple weeks. It really wasn’t until Eli prayed that God cast out anything not of Him and His love that I started to feel light again and not be consumed by hatred. Continue reading

Men’s Event was a Success!

This past Saturday night was Men’s Event, and it was my team’s responsibility to plan, and execute a night of fun and learning for the guys on this trip. It was an amazing night! We started off by playing Tank Ball in the Graffiti room which is kind of like Dodgeball but with a twist. We split into teams of two and blindfolded one of them. This person is the only person able to touch and throw the balls. the other person is the team’s eyes. He has to control the other by words and cannot touch him or the balls. It was a blast! Then the guys played some four square while we set up the snacks and drinks in the Skylounge. I got to jump in for a few games too! Once we all got some snacks and settled down, Caleb, Chris and I all gave a brief talk on the verse for the night, 2 Timothy 1:7. I gave my talk on the Spirit of Self-Control and how I was struggling with being intentional with others on mission. For the past two weeks I hadn’t really spent time getting to know anyone nor did I have the desire to spend time in community with them. Finally sitting there and telling them all was so relieving. I felt so much better and the past two days I have really started to feel like part of the community again.

Picture from Tank Ball:
Tank Ball

Video from Tank Ball:

“Act 2 Begins Now”

And with those words, all the staff walked off stage, out the door, and left the Church. Last night was the staff farewell night as their 5 weeks in Chicago has come to a close. The next 5 weeks are completely and entirely run by the students, everything from community events, to finances, to food catering, and campus time. I knew this time was coming but I still was shocked when the staff left and realized, this is it, this is our time. I am so excited to see all of us step into our roles and take on the leadership the staff has had these past few weeks as we make this mission trip our own. We have learned so much from the staff and now it is our turn to put teachings into action and watch what God can do when we all work together.

Final day with Staff
Photo Credit to my friend John!

Last Day on Campus with my Discipler Kyle before Staff Leaves:

Giants Among Us

The past few days have been a struggle for me and I’ve been feeling disconnected from the group a bit. My energy levels are running low and I cannot seem to be active in group settings and hang outs. I really just wish there was something I can do that’s just a one on one conversation where I don’t wear myself out. That’s what I was thinking as the day went on. I skipped going to campus because I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone and instead stayed home trying to regain some of my energy. To my amazement, God had something planned that would help me get back on my feet that night. After a friendly game of Family Feud, one of the guys on mission asked me to be his Giant for the day. I knew a little bit about what he meant when he asked me to be his Giant but I had no idea what it all entailed. We went up to the graffiti room and grabbed a chair and sat down to talk. We had an amazing conversation just the two of us. He has questions he asks a different person every day to get to know them and then has us design a perfect world in our head where we are a Giant. Not in the sense of being huge, or being a monster, but in the sense that we can help a lot of people and our world view is exactly as we want it. He asked me to describe it to him. He had some follow up questions before giving me a change to draw or write something on the wall. At the end of the night he took a picture of me and my quote and posted it along with a description of my answer to his question: “What does true peace mean to you?” My post can be found on his wall of Giants here (see his other Giants here). It was the best way to end the night. I went to bed feeling loved and ready to take on the rest of the week.

Outreach in the City Weekend

Saturday morning Sunrise:
Sunrise Selfie

With the pretty free weekend coming up I want to try and start running again. Friday morning I woke up to go running at 9 with my friend John. We ran to the fountain and then along the coast to the aquarium and planetarium. We had some pretty great views on the run and we thought it would be cool sometime to wake up early and run to see the sunrise over the lake. We got back around 11 and I got some lunch before spending some quiet time with the Lord. I looked and saw that the sunrise is at 5:14am tomorrow…dang, I don’t think I’ll be able to wake up that early to see the sunrise. Not long after that I got a message from someone on mission asking people to walk her to the union station tomorrow to catch her bus at 4:45am. Well, I guess I am going to be able to see the sunrise after all! I got to work a little bit on my summer online class before a bunch of us met to go to the beach. We got to the beach around 6ish and went into the lake, played some spike ball, Frisbee, and watched the sunset into the city. From out in the water the sunset looked amazing! Then we all headed back after dark and got some subway. I went to the sky lounge to see what everyone was up to before heading to bed early. Continue reading