Excitement was high as we boarded the Southshore train in South Bend to travel three hours to the big city. One student slept while others snacked and talked. There was talk of their expectations of Chicago and what we might do when we arrived as well as sharing about trips taken in the past. While we were talking, one of the girls shared with the others that she had made a decision to follow Christ during God Talk the Friday before winter break! She had not shared that with anyone until that day and her friend, who said she was not really religious, was able to hear about this decision as well! The other two Crossing girls on the trip had accepted Christ earlier and were able to share in her excitement and talk about it a bit more in depth. Sharing this discussion with the students helped us to bond as a family, which in turn made the day together even more enjoyable. We walked to where the Bean was, made faces into it, and took many pictures. After admiring this huge reflective sculpture and admiring the ice skating rink nearby, we headed down to Navy Pier where we saw the Ferris Wheel, boats, the lighthouse, stain glass art, and much more; all along the way having fun, laughing, and taking pictures! We came around the corner to our first view of Lake Michigan and one of the girls stopped dead in her tracks and one exclaimed, “Wow! This is absolutely beautiful!” The lake had frozen over near the edge, including some foam and three of them walked out on the lake to say they walked on water. They found seashells (or “she-shells” as one girl could not properly pronounce the two words together) and wrote their names in the sand. An experience like this brought out the child in these students and allowed for freedom and peacefulness. It was encouraging to see that in these girls. As the day went on, the girls got tired of walking, but were encouraged that there was Chicago-style pizza at the end of that walk. We stopped briefly to admire the Chicago Tribune building as well as the NBC building. Delicious and cheesy deep dish pizza was the reward at the end of the long walking journey. The John Hancock building and Sears (Willis) Tower were both on the agenda, but that can wait for another day.
Building relationships is a cornerstone of transforming lives at the Crossing! God uses that time spent with students to help them see the hope they can have in Christ and to show them that they have a future and there is a God who loves them more than anyone else ever could. It is so encouraging to witness students experiencing new things and sharing with one another; I am thankful to be a part of what God is doing at the Crossing.]]>