CSM is a ministry where it is rare to see the fruit of your labor. Groups that do mission trips are only with us for a week, sometimes only a weekend. We begin to see God open their eyes to the suffering and struggles of the poor, and we begin to see the Spirit opening their hearts to care for these issues which are so close to the heart of God. But once the groups leave, we rarely hear what happens when they get back home. We may have an impact on them, but we really have no idea.
Perhaps the greatest way we see the work of God in our ministry is through our seasonal staff, because we are able to continue our relationships with them beyond their time with CSM. This past summer, Wesley Chan, a student at Washington University in St. Louis, served with CSM-Chicago as one of fourteen City Hosts. Wesley spent nearly every week of the Summer taking groups to serve at By the Hand, a holistic ministry for at-risk children. Wesley got to build relationships with the staff and children at By the Hand. As he invested in the ministry, he grew to truly care for it.
While it was sad for Wesley to say goodbye to his friends at By the Hand at the end of the summer, his relationship with this ministry did not end. Wesley had a few weeks at home before heading back to school, and he made the most of it. He organized a drive to collect school supplies for the kids of By the Hand. He wrote letters to the groups who had served with him at By the Hand over the summer, asking them to join his efforts.
He even got some financial gifts for them. What a blessing Wesley was – not just in his time serving at By the Hand, but beyond! It was a joy to work alongside Wesley this summer, watching him learn, grow and serve. And our joy continues as we see God continue to use him in ways like this and in many other ways on his college campus.
-Kelly Reed, CSM Chicago Co-City Director