Thursday, December 17, 2015

Interrupted: Jen

This past year, CSM Chicago posted a blog series called "Interrupted: The Unexpected Movements of God Working Through CSM's Ministry". We have been so fortunate to have numerous stories that shine light on what Christ has done through our students, leaders and partners of CSM Chicago. 

To conclude our year long series, we are featuring a 10th grade student that came on a trip this past summer with her high school youth group. We’re very grateful that Jen was willing to tell us about how God has used CSM to “interrupt” her thoughts and life: 

"One of the things I liked most about serving in Chicago was the interaction with the people. We talked to and served so many different kinds of people from all over the city. We went to the Boys and Girls club and hung out with kids who loved having us there and were sad to see us go. I also loved serving the people directly like during our Meet a Need activity, at Safe Haven food pantry, and 2 Lil Fishes soup kitchen. Once again I was surprised to see how open and friendly the people were. 

Elizabeth, who was the woman my group met during the Meet a Need activity, started a conversation with us and we ended up talking about some personal things for the next 30 minutes or so. Then at the soup kitchen there was a guy named Mario who talked about everything that was happening in his life and about his family. He was full of joy. 

With all that said, one of the lessons God taught me during the week was that people, no matter who they are, what they look like or even what situation they are in, are still people just like me. Sometimes we get these ideas and generalizations in our heads and we treat people like they are these generalizations. I’ve learned that we shouldn’t do that because we never know what a person has been through or what they need. We need to be open and willing to give what they need…even if it is just a listening ear. 

Ever since I've come home I have really looked at all people differently. While I still have generalizations that I'm working on, I see a clearer picture of who a person really is. This helps me not be intimidated by people I don't know and helps me by more patient as well. I'm no longer so quick to judge as I once was and take into consideration what might be going on in someone's life that is affecting them. Since I have been home I've really wanted to keep serving and building relationships with all sorts of people especially those who are different from me. Surprisingly I've also been starting conversations and opening up to people I come across, hoping they open up to me as well. Lastly I've seen how blessed I am and no longer take for granted what I do have, especially if it's not money or possessions but the more important things like two great parents who love and protect me. 

There are so many ways to serve in Philadelphia (my home city), it's really not that different from Chicago. I hope to keep serving with the organizations we have here, to help all people because we are all important and all made in God's image."

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