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In two Sundays (12/6) at the Annual Meeting we are going to have a potluck! Even the mention of the word brings back memories of jello ‘salads’ and tuna casserole – the kind with the potato chips on top. These were the potlucks of my childhood….  🙂

Please email me – lindsey.avink – and let me know if you are going to bring a side, salad, or dessert. It can be homemade or take-out from Taylor Street, and it doesn’t have to be huge, just as long as everyone brings something. Thanks!

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My name is Woo, but I call myself Judy. My current vocation is being unemployed.

Lots of bait, no bites

Back in February, the principal at my former workplace informed me that I would not be asked to return to teach. The decision was finalized and formally communicated at the end of March. The reason was simple: they only re-hire teachers who by the end of the first year score superior not average.

  • April – 12 applications to schools with a ‘vacant’ art or design teacher position
  • May – 15 additional applications to schools with a ‘vacant’ art teacher position
  • July – 30 additional applications to schools with a ‘vacant’ art teacher position
  • August – 11 additional applications to schools with a ‘vacant’ art teacher position
  • September – applications for 6 graphic assistant positions, 8 tutoring positions
  • October – faxed 250 resumes to schools in between Addison and Garfield. I used the Carters’ fax machine. Alexandra forwarded my resume to half a dozen temp agencies. Cheryl helped me rewrite my resume and cover letter. These latter interventions from the body were extremely encouraging.

This sucks

The backup plan was to be a substitute teacher. In years past, substitute teachers were in high demand, receiving multiple calls a day to cover for sick teachers, able to work full-time. By mid-November, I was called in to sub a total of ten days. I found out that there was a surplus of substitutes, who were certified teachers. Lots of out-of-work teachers, lots of schools closing.

Security blanket

It begs the question, What Would Jesus Do? He would say, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24).

Teaching was my security blanket. A place to grow, people to talk to, challenges to overcome, financial security to rely on. Without my security blanket, I was left with the Father, Son, and Spirit. As it turns out, in the presence of the Father, Son, and Spirit is the safest place to grow, nicest persons to talk to (three to be exact), infinite challenges to overcome and infinite financial security to rely on.

Reboot

Back when Israel was a nation, God instituted the Sabbath Year and the Year of Jubilee. Every seven years, the Israelites were required to not farm, so the land could reboot. God promised to increase the harvest the sixth year, which would last all through the seventh year rest, into the eighth year farming, until the ninth year when the Israelites would harvest what was planted the eight year. Every seventh Sabbath Year was the Year of Jubilee. All debts were forgiven; land was redistributed according to inheritance; slaves and servants were set free; foreclosed houses and property were released to the original owners. It was a year of rest, so nobody farmed. It was a chance to reboot (Lev. 25).

This is my year of rest. Enjoying what God has given me: time to rest in Him. I took sewing classes, created a skirt, hemmed three pairs of pants, mended the hole in Crystal’s lab coat pocket. I read through Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (fyi: it’s the 1300 page theology text book used by many Bible Colleges). I listened to an online seminary course and took 40 pages of notes. I’m taking voice lessons. I’m using Tracy’s keyboard to practice piano and singing. I’m applying for a bazillion jobs. Meanwhile, I’m living off of last year’s income.

Faith

There are two ways to do things: with faith and without faith. What makes a Sabbath holy is trusting God (a.k.a. resting in God). Aside from licentiousness, the activity can be virtually anything, like rescuing a sheep that fell in a hole, eating corn, or healing a withered hand. I decided to sing, sew, and study seminary subject matter for my Sabbath. Productivity certainly mimics God in His omnipotence, but what separates me from a nonbeliever is that I trust Him because He is trustworthy. God is sufficient for whenever I need to grow, talk, overcome a challenge, or pay a bill, for any ordinary and extraordinary circumstance.

My faith grows by praying and studying scripture. Scripture will give you blanket statements and examples of God bearing the burden and responsibility. Prayer puts your faith into practice. By addressing Him alone, you’re acting in accordance to your faith that He exists, hears, understands, and answers (Heb 11:6). He says He provides, He says He helps, He says He comforts, He says He draws near. Call Him out on it. Call out to Him. Ask Him to be what He says He is. Those are my prayers.

Speaking of, for the next two months, I’m temporarily working full-time as a secretary, covering for someone’s vacation. Just in time. I had depleted the contents of my checking account, but hadn’t dipped into my savings.

Faithful

I pray that God is faithful to provide, short-term and long-term. I plan on registering at more temp agencies, applying for menial-wage jobs, and re-visiting ChicagoPublic School’s HR website for openings. God will place me where He will, when He wills it. Sometimes, it’s scary and weird without my security blanket. Progressively, it’s freeing to rely on God.

Fun Facts

Look up 2 Chronicles 26:20-21 for the correlation between the length of the exile as a result of disobedience to Leviticus 25.

Hey all,

I’m Steve and this is my Vocation Vignette. I grew up in the Chicago burbs and went to school at U of I in Urbana-Champaign studying Electrical Engineering. I met my wife, Minh, 5 years ago in Chicago and we currently live in the South Loop. Over the last ten years since I graduated I’ve worked on several things in Real Estate part-time and in Lucent Technologies (Alcatel-Lucent) as an Engineer full-time. I’d actually love to talk about my experiences as a Realtor part-time and various things I’ve learned and realized through that, but since it’s not my primary vocation that will have to be another vignette if I get the chance to share again.

I’ve worked at Lucent for the last 10+ years which is an eternity in our generation these days. Many of my friends have already worked in 3-6 different companies and/or careers by now. I’ve also struggled in the last few years with wanting to leave and do something new as well, but it always ends up being at a time when a recession hits and new opportunities are scarce. Part of that struggle stems from a desire to improve myself on paper (résumé) and define myself based on the career or company I work at. I can sometimes look enviously at others who stepped through the right companies to build up that perfect résumé. I chose Electrical Engineering in Undergrad because I heard it was challenging and seemed to earn a lot of respect back then. It was the 90’s (…late 90’s, need to clarify that I’m not that old) and dot com was the buzz and engineers ruled the world. I wanted to join that geekfest and snagged a position in a coveted company that was the darling of Wall Street at the time like Apple or Google is now. Lucent has never really recovered since the bursting bubble and the work environment changed drastically for the worse over the years leaving me somewhat jaded about my career direction and the paper credentials I aspired to build up. Not only that, I realize lately that what I do now at Lucent is not something I’m necessarily passionate about doing for the rest of my life nor does it feel like it fits what my gifts and strengths are.

I should probably pause to say what I actually do at this company in the first place. My job has ranged in the ten years since I’ve been there but in the last few years I’ve worked as a Network Integration Engineer. Our company motto once was “We make the things that make communications work,” so anything related to network equipment that powers ATT, Sprint, VZW, T-Mobile, etc… networks, we make it. I work with these companies to integrate our product into their existing network environment. This involves at times a lot of traveling to client sites, meeting with them and working in rooms full of rows and rows of servers to ensure things work when everything is turned up. The worst parts of this job are the times I have to travel which is about 50% of the year. Leaving home and working long hours in different cities takes its toll. At the same time, traveling has also been the most interesting blessing of this job as it’s given me opportunities to see the world. I think I’ve worked in every major city in the US, but that’s the boring part. The fun part is the rare chance to work on an international project overseas. I’ve been to about a dozen countries directly because of work and over 30 countries indirectly because of the vacations I need to take because of work… Some of my most amazing and vivid memories involve adventures overseas and times shared with colleagues and clients during business travel. So for that I’m thankful for being given a chance to be globally aware and witness the spiritual state of people and cultures outside the US. I used to never care much for current events, but now I read the news with much more empathy knowing that every global tragedy is a plane ride away. Working in a foreign country is always better than vacationing in one as you get to see real people and unfiltered culture that tourism would normally filter out. I treasure those memories and the insights learned from those trips; one of those vivid memories actually, was listening to Nathan’s sermons over the internet on Sundays in my hotel room in Western France. It was a little surreal to have a bit of IBC in the coast of Normandy. But those days are probably gone now as I’m not the single man I once was and would rather turn down exotic business trips in favor of spending an afternoon in Chicago with the wife and dog (I know she’s reading this…).

Even though what I do as my current vocation isn’t what I pictured doing for the rest of my work life, I do still enjoy the challenge and work that I do. If anything, every recession reminds me how faithful God has been in keeping me safe from being laid off and providing when I don’t expect it. I’ll always be thankful for that when I think back. I do see work as a virtue and I’m glad that I’ve been able to do hands on work in the last ten years to improve the communications advancement of this society. It’s tangible and I can actually see the fruit of my labor. I’ve directly worked on technologies that enable the iPhone to communicate, the Kindle to d/l books, the laptop to surf the web anywhere in the country, and other exciting applications to come in the future. Though I still struggle to find that vocation I’m passionate about and one that fits my characteristics. I’m reminded through this vignette that I have a lot to be thankful for and that doing my work faithfully to contribute to society can be glorifying to God. I do hope to one day find that vocation I feel would be a ‘perfect’ fit, but in the meantime I continue to try to be completely content in what God has given to me as my responsibility for the time being because looking back it truly has been a gift and blessing these last ten years. So at the very least I continue to strive to do what he has entrusted to me to the best of my ability. And with whatever doors that open or close and whatever vocation I have for the next phase I pray that I’ll always be content in the Lord and not my own credentials.

Several people in the church have indicated feeling under heavy spiritual attack lately. There’s going to be an impromptu time for prayer this Sunday before the service. Come at 10:00 AM if you want to get prayed over or pray together with others for yourself and/or our church…

My name is Megan and I have been attending Immanuel Baptist Church for a very long time.  I was born in Korea and came to the States when I was six months old and have lived in the Chicagoland area since then.

I attended UIC where I received my B.A. in Elementary Education and most recently received my Masters in Education through American College of Education.

I am a school teacher in the ChicagoPublic School system on the northwest side of Chicago. I have taught there since 1996 and have taught first grade all of those years.

As you can imagine, teaching in and of itself is very challenging yet very rewarding at the same time. This year is different for me as I am team teaching in a double sized classroom with 40 students. How team teaching works is that there are two teachers with two classrooms placed in a double sized classroom. As one teacher is teaching the entire class, the other teacher circulates and ensures that the students are on task. It can be challenging as teachers are used to being autonomous in their own classroom. By all reason and logic it should not be working, however, it has been a very good experience. The teacher that I co-teach with and I are both very type A personalities, however we both have shown a great deal of flexibility and compromise with one another, which seems abnormal J. I attribute this to God and his grace.

A typical day for me starts off with coming to the classroom roughly one hour before the students come in. I normally straighten out the classroom, prepare lessons for the coming day, and just enjoy some quiet before the mad rush of the students. We begin with taking attendance and collecting lunch money. We then go to calendar, morning story, phonics exercises, story time, a math lesson, a social studies or science lesson and reading groups. We do have recess this year which has been really fun for the students and for the teachers. One thing I have learned as a teacher is to expect the unexpected. From children having bathroom accidents, projectile vomiting, hitting, biting, crying, etc… I can never say that my job is boring.

In the whirlwind of my job, it can be very difficult to find time to focus on God throughout the day. How do I see God in my day-to-day life? It’s easy to get caught up in all of the little things I need to do as a school teacher. To try and meet the needs of all of my six and seven year olds can be overwhelming at times. I increasingly see weaknesses in myself in my interactions with my students and coworkers. It reminds me of how I need the grace of God to daily sustain me. Where I see lack of love or impatience in myself, I ask God to supernaturally give me the ability set a godly example to them and that they would somehow see Jesus in all of my actions. In the daily and simple actions that I perform with my students, I ask that God would use these small things and use them somehow to impact my students in their heart through me.

There will be a Mission Class after the service this Sunday for all those who have gone through Joining the Mission and are interested in finding out more. This is the next step for those who want to be a part of Immanuel…

Lunch will be provided. If you plan to attend, RSVP to info

This Saturday (11/7) at Prayer Meeting we will be video conferencing with some of our International Missionaries halfway around the world. It will be a chance to hear updates from them and to pray with and for them. Should be a neat experience!

Saturday Morning Prayer Meetings happen every Saturday morning from 10:00-12:00 at Nathan & Andrea’s house. Everyone is always welcome! Email prayer with questions…

Anne-Marie’s roommate is on a planning committee for a missions conference called Grace 2009: When Amazing Happens. The conference is the Youth, College, and Young Adult portion of a conference called the Gospel for China Conference sponsored by Christian Life Press, Inc. It started many years ago when a missionary couple who heads up Christian Life Press saw the need for more Chinese house church leaders who are theologically trained to be sent to China. They saw that many of the house churches there were without trained pastors (because of persecution of the pastors and/or lack of trained pastors to lead the fast growing house church movement), which caused a lot of the house churches to stray from the truth of the Gospel (the same problems that occurred in the early churches). Every three years, thousands of Chinese house church leaders attend this missions conference, risking their lives to attend in order to be fed and theologically trained so they can take back what was learned to their house churches.

This year, the GFC conference will be held in Chicago, hosting it in the US for the first time, and also hosting for the first time a ‘youth and young adult’ section of the conference in hopes of raising up a generation of Chinese Christians and future missionaries/pastors! It is held at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosemont (Near O’Hare Airport) on Dec 26-30, 2009.

They are in need of small group/discussion group leaders, prayer warriors, game MC’s, hospitality members, and there are a whole lot of other areas to serve! If you are interested and available, please contact Sue at sueweetie for more details.

There is a Pre-Conference Revival rally this Saturday (11/7), at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Wheeling from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. This would be a great time for anyone interested to hear more details about the conference and to catch the vision for what they, by God’s grace, are trying to accomplish.

Brandon is a college student at Immanuel and will be spending most of his Christmas break here in Chicago working. He was wondering if anyone in the church had an extra room where he could stay in or knew of one. His break will be from December 11th to January 10th. Thanks for your help…

Contact info if you have any leads…

Hi IBC family! I’m Lindsey. I grew up in Iowa and went to school at NorthwesternCollege in St. Paul, Minnesota. I moved to Chicago just over five years ago to be involved in urban education here. Until this year I’ve been involved with high school students in one way or another – English and History teacher, school secretary, etc. I love teenagers and hope to continue to invest in them somehow.

However, right now I spend almost all of my time investing in that cute baby boy. Since Caleb was born in August my primary vocation is as his momma. (I’m also Mike’s wife and the Deacon of Koinonia.) When Nathan emailed me saying it was my turn, I definitely laughed to myself because, for the most part, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING! Seriously, I’m totally in the learning curve of my job, but thus far I love it.

Mike and I were really excited when we found out we were pregnant, and we knew that for us, it was the best thing for me to stay home. At this stage in Caleb’s life, my job is ninety percent about caring for his needs. Feeding him, keeping him clean, and helping him sleep occupy most of our days. The other ten percent is split between giving him opportunities to learn (tummy time, handing him a rattle, playing peek-a-boo) and starting to train him – this is mostly in the area of sleep. Basically I keep him safe and make him feel loved and secure. I also work at home – keeping things clean, cooking meals, trying to do laundry (Mike laughs – he totally does the laundry!). But I’ll be honest – right now a lot of that is taking a backseat to my mommy responsibilities. Hopefully I’ll get the hang of doing them all at once soon!

I could probably write a few pages about the ways that God is teaching and growing me. I’m learning a lot about patience, love, time management, etc. Two of the big lessons are in dependence and delight. Since Caleb was first born I realized that one of the lessons that moms learn over and over again is dependence on Jesus. We dealt with jaundice for a few weeks after he was born, and even though it’s a common problem, it’s scary to see your newborn in a hospital bed! Every day I find new ways that I could seriously screw up my kid – the bottom line is that as a parent, I am completely dependent on the Lord. I’ve also learned a lot about God’s heart for his children. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in love with Caleb. I don’t want to sound weird, but I just enjoy him a lot more than I ever thought I could. Before having kids I labeled myself ‘not really a baby person’, and now I find more delight in being his mom than almost anything else. This speaks to me a lot about God’s relationship with us and His delight in being our Father.

I believe that parenting is one of the first ways that God speaks to us about Himself. The way that I love Caleb, discipline him, show him grace and give him myself will, hopefully, reinforce his ideas of God as Caleb grows up and propel him to live for Christ. Probably one of the greatest ways I can do this is to support and encourage Mike as a father. I also believe that society is in desperate need of parents. The absence of two-parent families in our city is heartbreaking, and married people who are faithful to each other and to their children is an incredible witness to the steadfast love of Jesus.

Honestly, this is probably the hardest job I’ve ever had. Among lots of other issues, I’ve really struggled with negativity and complaining for the past few months, mostly from exhaustion, but I think it’s also because of a deeper struggle to be satisfied working alone in my home with a baby who doesn’t give me any praise or promotion. I’m used to sinfully finding a lot of my identity in the quality/quantity of my work and my reputation, neither which matter much when I’m feeding/changing/bathing/changing/rocking/feeding/changing a three month old.

I’m thankful that you are in Caleb’s life. He told me the other day that he thinks everyone at church is pretty cool. He’d like to hang out with you some day!

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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