Friday, March 7, 2014

Sunday in Chicago

We went to Lawndale Community Church. They were celebrating their 35th anniversary. The church is rebuilding the surrounding community. There were numerous facts about LC3 (as they are affectionately calling themselves) that Sarah shared during our prayer tour. I don't remember them. I do remember the service. It was dynamic. As individuals came up to the "pulpit" (I use that term loosely because their church was in a gymnasium and was in the round) they gave their name and how many years they have been attending. There were several individuals who have been attending since coming to the Hope House (one of their mission sites). A few have been there since 1978, including "Coach" their pastor. The choir sang a testimonial song and we were clapping and moving to the beat. (I couldn't sound more white as I write it, could I?)

After church, we headed over to Auto Zone to get a new battery and new windshield wipers. Thank goodness we had extra time.

We went back to the housing site where we split into two groups. 4S's and ETTC. Since I haven't told you who all went on the trip, I shall share that now; Sami, Stephanie, Shawn, Sean, Emily, Tricia, Tim and Clarence. You can figure out the two groups.

We had our immersion. This is where we are each given two dollars to buy our meal. We may share it if we wish. We have a backstory and are given directions to a neighborhood where we are to explore it and find out core information. Our group was sent to Little Vietnam. We were living as a family from Vietnam who had just moved to the city. We were out of money, except for the $8. (There were other questions, but again, I have forgotten.)

We set out by shopping in the local markets.
 Tricia and Tim are trying to decide what groceries we could purchase
(we are told to try not to use fast food).
 I took a picture of water chestnuts because I've only ever seen them in their prepared form.
 I think this is the bag of Prawn chips that we bought to share. I never did try one!
 This is the market we tried to find food. We ended up at a convenience store where we bought bread, bologna, processed cheese slices, juice and pretzels for $5 and change.

Our group desperately wanted to share our food with someone who needed a meal. But it was so cold out that we could not find anyone. We walked a few blocks, the wind biting, and we finally decided to head to our other neighborhood. From Little Vietnam, we went to Lincoln Park. If you know Chicago, you may know theLincoln Park area has come around in the last few years. It is not the place to find the homeless or hungry individuals. We could not find a place to sit and eat our lunch either. We finally found a church. It was locked, so we sat on the front steps, somewhat out of the cold, and ate. From there we headed back to a coffee shop we had passed near the El. It was 2:45 and the coffee shop closed at 3pm. We bought a hot chocolate and used the restroom. We hung out as long as they let us, until 3:15pm. Our directions told us that the train ride back would take forty minutes. We decided if we got back five minutes early, we did okay.
The other thing I'm thankful for is that there are heat lamps at the stops. Here we are, waiting for the train, as close to the heat lamp as we can get.

Sami sent me a text shortly after we got on the train. Their group was already back. Because it was so cold, there were not many people riding the train so the ride was only twenty minutes. From the station we had a short walk, which we ran because we were pretty cold. 

Our two groups shared their experiences and warmed up. Sami's group had gone to Boystown. It's a very colorful neighborhood. They chose not to go in any shops. Not because of the cliental but because of the products. Gay porn isn't quite the college spring break experience. Plus, the focus was buying lunch, not those things. They too had hoped to share food with someone. While they were unable to do that, they did find someone to talk to. We share our experience. All in all, not the best immersion we have ever gone on.

From there, we went to dinner right down the street at a Mediterranean restaurant. The hummus was delicious. Sami, Tricia and I shared our dinner. I had chicken, Sami had falafel and Tricia had the beef. The chicken pita came with a garlic sauce. We had to ask for more, it was so good.

It was only 7:30pm by the time we got back to the housing site, but we were pretty tired. I think the girls were in bed by 9pm. 

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