Sorry no pictures today, but thought I (Amy) would post another quick update!
On Caroline: AGAIN, yesterday I could hardly leave the room without Caroline following me or worrying/crying about my whereabouts! (though it's gotten a bit better each day) And the entire day my sister & I were wondering as to how Caroline would do if we left the kids for an hour after dinner to run out to a store together. Well, wouldn't you know that the minute Caroline was left with Uncle Adam, she had a BLAST?! ha! When we called to check in on how she was holding up, Adam said she was a 9 out of 10!!! (with "10" being perfect) Again, we couldn't believe it. And sure enough- when we got home, she ran up to me smiling with arms open-- "MOMMY!" and then turned around & ran off to play with Adam and the boys again! Daddy, this gal obviously has a thing for men. :) She can't WAIT to see you again. And neither can I!!
Mission Trip Update: Would you believe our group STILL has not showered?!? (since Sunday morning!!) but rest assured-- this is by their own choice. (I know I couldn't do it...) Yesterday morning the host missionary family had a plumbing emergency at their home, where our group is eating breakfast & supposed to shower. I guess some type of pipe burst, and wouldn't you know it was perfect timing for my do-it-yourself husband to be in town! So "Virginia Plumbing" came to the rescue & Marc was able to repair their plumbing problem while the rest of the group did some more training in the morning & then helped out/served at a ministry.
The most interesting part of yesterday was when the group was given an assignment to ride the train from the southernmost part of Chicago to the northernmost point, observing the changes in the neighborhoods & people. It was quite an interesting contrast as they started in the poorest neighborhoods that were 98% black (one man there even told them they shouldn't be there! I don't think they were used to seeing a group of whites there!) to the white, suburban neighborhoods. Along the 2 1/2 ride, our students struck up conversations with various people on the train, asking them questions about the city, listening to their stories, and sharing what they were doing here in the city. I think it was a great chance for some of them to break out of their "comfort zones" and get the courage to speak to people that they might otherwise ignore.
I get the impression from Marc (who tells me every day that they are EXHAUSTED) that this trip has been amazing and life-changing for everyone involved. It seems that the ministry they are working with doesn't expect them to come to Chicago & "take the city by storm," but they are passionate about teaching and training these students about urban ministry and how we as Christians can care and reach out to the poor. They seem to really be connecting the dots between our faith and our practice, you know? (Jesus had alot to say about the poor, and I think our attitude towards the poor says A TON about our own view of salvation & grace... but that's another post for another day...)
Even though our group is helping out & pouring themselves into the existing ministries here in Chicago, I think what's most exciting to me about this is that it isn't the type of trip that just stops once it's over, but these are life-changing things that they can carry back to their OWN cities, their OWN neighborhoods, and their OWN churches here in America for the rest of their lives! That just excites my soul!
On travel: Today Chicago (& this entire region) is under a snowstorm & expected to receive up to 10 inches by tomorrow. Pray that all this snow would make it safe for us to travel home as expected on Saturday! I'm laughing at how people here in Chicago barely even seem PHASED by it! (whereas in Texas & Virginia everything would shut down at this point) :)
Thanks for thinking of us, sweet friends & family!