I've made it to a summer mission in Milwaukee! It's been a pretty long day and I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed by all the stuff introduced to us today; it's really forcing me to trust in God to sustain and satisfy me, which is great!
After saying goodbye to my house and finishing packing this morning, I drove to south Minneapolis, from which I carpooled to Milwaukee with another summer projcector. Highlights of this included the GPS system we used to navigate, which spoke with a British accent and freaked out whenever we pulled off I-94 to get food or gas. It would say "Recalculating..." in its robotic British tones whenever we deviated from its dictated course. The car's air conditioning didn't work so well, which was fine in the morning when it was cloudy and wet, but got pretty nasty later.
In any event, we made it to Milwaukee around 2:30 PM. Traffic was surprisingly good, until we were nearly there in Milwaukees inner city area. We found the correct entrance of the building--a huge ministry center complex that I still couldn't begin to navigate--and were greeted by the friendly staff and students, as well as the staffers' kids, who were playing on a Wii set up in the chapel. It was very inviting, and having the kids around is delightful!
After checking in and getting unloaded, I was led up to my room, a pretty standard dorm room with one major exception--no ethernet jack. There were some in the floor lounge, but I was told they were nonfunctional. Horror of horrors--no internet!
Without much to do in my room after unpacking, I went back downstairs and hung out with the staff, kids, and new arrivals. My attempts to try Wii canoeing were derailed by a scratched disc. I quickly got to know my roommate, Aaron, and two of my other floormates Jacob and Jack. We were all from different states and different backgrounds, but the passion for God that had brought us to Milwaukee was pretty solid common ground, and I look forward to getting to know these brothers in Christ better! I'm also connected with one of the staff, who besides this shares with me a first name and a generally nerdy disposition, which is exciting.
At 5:15, we headed through the labyrinthine passageways of the ministry center to the cafeteria, where after waiting for all the kids to be seated and fed we got an excellent barbecue dinner from a local restaurant. Then followed some "get to know you" time and games.
Then we went througn more hallways to what was apparently a Christian boy scout meeting room for our first meeting. We had plenty of worship, singing from printed lyrics accompanied by one of the interns on guitar. Afterwards came a talk on the theme of the project--"No greater love", as in John 15:13, and some ground rules.
But I was distressed by how distracted I was during worship by worries and selfish objections--will I be able to get online to connect with friends and family, will my living conditions work out, and simple unrest with the worship style--it was less "exciting" and more repetitive than I'm used to at Hope. Hope (not the church) came when I viewed these as problems to lay before God, my own inability to be fully satisfied in Him. Is constant internet access really necessary for me to serve God wholeheartedly? Similarly, if I cease to enjoy worship because of the style, what does this say about my motivation for worshipping, which should be finding joy in glorifying God?
So, today I learned again that God really needs to be all I need; I shouldn't need anything else to serve and enjoy Him wholeheartedly. Obviously the internet situation worked out somewhat if you're reading this, but pray that God would teach this lesson to my soul, as well as that we would all love the Milwaukee inner city with the same love that led Jesus to die for us.
If you want to send me mail, my address for summer project is:
2224 W. Kilbourn Ave.
Milwaukee, WI, 53233
Composed ~9 PM, Friday, June 11th