Emmaus Ministries 2006 Newsletter

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Emmaus Ministries reaches out to men in survival prostitution on the streets of Chicago. Through nightly outreach teams and a daytime drop-in center, Emmaus staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with the men, working together to assist them in getting off the streets, rebuilding their lives, and cultivating a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Transcript of Emmaus Ministries 2006 Newsletter

  • He was loading tools into his truck afterdoing some landscaping around thebuilding. With a friendly smile and a firmhandshake he introduced himself andtold me he used to be a part of theministry.

    Though Paulstill comes bythe ministry, itsno longer as oneof the guys.Actually, only afew of us whowork here nowknew Paul whenhe first came toEmmaus.

    ...I know him as a cheerful man whohelps John take care of the building andalways makes sure we have flowersblooming around the building comesummertime.

    ...I know the Paul who is learning to readand trying to get his criminal recordexpunged.

    ...I know him as a devoted churchmember who is working on 10 years sober.

    ...I know the Paul who has been totallyreworked by Christ.

    If I had been here when Paul first came to Emmaus, though, I would have knowna totally different man...

    Paul grew up in a storm of instability.His mom passed away when he was atoddler, and he was pushed from hometo home as relatives struggled to take careof him. He often switched schools andhad no one to help him get adjusted toa new classroom.

    He never learned what most of us learnin schooland instead learned to surviveon his own by selling drugs and mixingwith the wrong crowd. That eventuallyled to a life on the streetsdrugging,

    prostituting,and doing his best to stay alive.

    By the timeEmmaus firstmet Paul, he wasa rough manwith a lot ofbaggage. But he warmedsurprisinglyquickly to a

    Christiancommunity that cared about him. Hewas tired of being influenced by negativepeople and was open to a positive forcein his life.

    In 1997, he went into treatment, and afterthat, he moved in with John and Carolynfor a year and a half. And Paul has stayedclean since.

    Paul realizes that a lot of people atEmmaus took a risk and invested a lot in him because they saw a worth andpotential in him that he had never seenfor himself. Paul attributes his successand sobriety first to Gods mercy andstrength and second to his ownwillingness to surrender everything. Heknows if he would have held back anyarea of his life from Gods transformingpower, it would have eventually led himback to the streets. That is what Paulwants to see the other guys at Emmausdo: surrender everything to God. Paulknows thats the only way to freedom.

    continued on top of page 3

    Seeing His Potential:Pauls life 10 years laterby Katie YeeThree years ago when I was moving into Emmaus building to start myinternship, I met Paul in the parking lot.

  • Supporting Each Other:The Joy of Urban Ministry

    Dear Friend,When I speak about Emmaus mission and say that it is a hard work, I get somesympathetic looks and nods. But when I also say it is a work filled with joy, the looks become curious and the nods stop. But there is an immense joy in knowingsomebody like Paul (see the cover story). There is the joy of seeing the faces of ourguys light up when the Church Ladies show up (see page 4). There is a joy inhearing from people whose hearts have been impacted by going on an ImmersionNight (see page 2). It is also a joy to know that I dont do this work alone. God hascalled some tremendous people to the work of Emmausour staff, volunteers, andsupporters. Fr. Henri Nouwen once wrote:

    I have found ... how hard it is to be truly faithful to Jesus when I am alone. I needmy brothers and sisters to pray with me, to speak with me about the spiritual taskat hand, and to challenge me to stay pure in mind, heart, and body. But far moreimportantly, it is Jesus who heals, not I; Jesus who is Lord, not I. This is very clearlymade visible when we proclaim the redeeming power of God together. Indeed,whenever we minister together, it is easier for people to recognize that we do notcome in our own name, but in the name of the Lord Jesus who sent us.

    Thank you for ministering with us in the name of Jesus. I doubt this work will ever get easy. But knowing we do not do this work alonethat fills it with joy.

    In His Grip,

    John Green

    Emmaus ministries

    John Green, founder and ExecutiveDirector of Emmaus, is an ordained

    permanent deacon in the RomanCatholic Archdiocese of Chicago. He andhis wife attend St. Thomas of Canterbury

    parish in the Uptown neighborhood.

    ...to change from street identity to Gods identity. True and lasting life change doesnt happen overnight.Your commitment to Robert and other guys who come into Emmaus is changing livesone step away from thestreet at a time.

    Photos are Michael Hudson.

    Emmaus is A Place......for community.

    To get off the streets, guys need to have somewhereto go. Emmaus is a refuge for them, and they comehere knowing that theyll be accepted.

  • To get more info on how you can participate in an Immersion Night,please email KT at [email protected]

    distant country

    ...for transformation. Behind Bobbys head is a painting of the Prodigal Son. And as you can tell fromthe title of our newsletter, the Prodigal Son story conveys much of the essenceof Emmaus ministry. Were all on a journey back to the Fathers house.Realizing that and working through it in communitythat helps our guys get off the streets for good.

    Thank you for walking beside guys like Bobby, who here is listening intentlyduring a small group at the Ministry Center.

    Photos are Michael Hudson.

    continued from front page

    Sometimes as were walking alongside our guys, it feels more like were going in a circle than a path thats actually leadingsomewhere. It can be so hard for them tobreak free from the chains that hold themto the streets. But if we ever find ourselvesfeeling discouraged, God brings someonelike Paul to our minds as a reminder thatan incredible transformation is possible through His power.

    Katie Yee brings her mild North Dakotanaccent and servants heart to her job as theMinistry Center Coordinator. Katie joinedour Kaio Community in 2003 for a year offull-time voluntary service before coming

    on staff in 2004. She and her husband,Ben, attend Lakeview Church of Christ in

    the Uptown neighborhood, and theyreexpecting their first child this spring.

    { Yet its within the mess and dark places that we find glimpses of the mosttangible grace. And we see, Jesus...and we know that He is deeper than thedeepest suffering and brokenness.Emmaus is committed to raising up a generation of believers known for theircompassion and authenticity. One way we do this is through Immersion Nights.The purpose is to immerse a group of Christians into a neighborhood where all sorts of people in the night community congregate. They are charged withfour goals: take on the attitude of learner, build a relationship, meet a physicalneed, and make five observations.

    Afterwards, the group returns to Emmaus for a time of reflection. ImmersionNights put a face and a story behind often faceless, nameless individuals,including addicts, the homeless, and prostitutes.

    I often see lives changed from this one evening. I hear comments like:As long as I live, Ill remember that face.I felt many of my prejudices broken down and destroyed.

    Those comments continually solidify my commitment. And thanks to yourcommitment to Emmaus, we can continue to educate the Body, praying thatGod will use them as instruments of His grace and redemption in their ownspheres of influence.

    Educating the Body of Christ:Immersion Nightsby KT McClureToo many Christians shy away from wrestling with life's messiest issues.

    KT is Emmaus' dread-locked wonder and is obsessed with all things Latin America. While KT is an active member of Uptown Baptist Church,

    she "owns" her Assemblies of God roots.

    {

  • Mom-ing Hustlers:The Church Ladies

    Jeri Oleksy and JeanAnn Wieczorek arethe typical churchladies whosegenerous hearts andtireless work are thebackbone of churchesacross the nation. OnSunday, they can befound making coffeefor Fellowship Hour.During the week, theycan be found leadingvarious womensministries. Every day, Jerican be found at the church office where shes the secretary.

    And oh yes, once a month they can be found at Emmaus cooking dinner for male prostitutes.

    Our guys call Jean Ann and Jeri the ChurchLadies, and they ask about them a lot. Whenare those Church Ladies coming back?

    Since starting at Emmaus, Jeri and Jean Annhave learned to cook (and perfect) a variety ofcultural dishes such as collard greens that ourguys enjoy. (Especially as our men donthesitate to offer numerous and often elaboratecooking tips!)

    Recently, one of our staff members sat downwith Jeri and Jean Ann. Through their words,its easy to hear their passion for Emmausthe kind of passion we value in all ourvolunteers and supporters.

    The story of how they became theChurch Ladies to our guys...

    Jean Ann: I was at this womens retreat. Thisspeaker really affected me. She talked aboutpeople who really need help outside of theChurch. A friend of KTs [staff member KTMcClure] who was at the retreat suggested I

    check out Emmaus, andshe suggested cookingas a way to help. Ithought, I can do that! I can also talk!

    So Jean Ann grabbedher friend Jeri andcame to an Emmausvolunteer training.

    Jeri: We were veryintimidated by thethought of interactingwith these men. Wethought, What could

    we offer? What surprised us is how fast ourfears were dispelled. Volunteering at Emmausis one of the most important things I do allmonth. I say, Im going to see my boys!Where else can you cook dinner and they clapfor you?! I serve them dinner and ask themabout their day. They trust us more and more.

    You forget theyre prostitutes. I care aboutthem. Its painful to think of them sleeping onthe streets. It has made me aware of peoplethat are often faceless to those in the Church. Ialso love that the ministry is ecumenical...thebody of Christ working together.

    Jean Ann: I have two sons, and there but forthe grace of God they have gone. [Jean Annchokes up a little] My sons could have beenthese men if circumstances had been different.Things could have gone differently for them.

    Jeri: Ive learned that people are people.I encourage these men. Its a mom kind ofthing. And boy, do they respond to it!

    Jean Ann: Everyone needs mom-ing.

    Jean Ann and Jeri are proof that Emmausvolunteers dont fit a mold. God will use

    your special talentswhether itscooking, cleaning, listening, encouraging,

    whateverto help you fit in here. And then as the Body of Christ, we

    will serve and love.

    Urban ministry is notjust for dread-lockedtwenty-somethingsbut for grandmothersand churchsecretaries, too!

    921 West Wilson AvenueChicago, IL 60640-9819

    773.334.6063

    [email protected]

    Jean Ann (left) and Jeri dont look like your typical urban ministry workers.