[M]y time in Chicago was very different from what I had expected. I had planned on volunteering with an organization that was an outreach for gay prostitutes. I was a nervous but much more excited for such a new and different experience from what I am used to. I contacted them once I arrived and came to be informed that I had to go through orientation and training that was no where near the time that I was going to be in Chicago for. I felt very discouraged and didn’t understand why it didn’t work out. I called multiple soup kitchens to try and volunteer but again, they either needed me to go through a training process or where not taking any more volunteers at that time. I found myself angry at the situation and felt like there was no point for me to be there. I didn’t know what to do but I continued to look and look for something to do there and finally came across an opportunity. A church was planning on opening up a new satellite campus and needed volunteers to help renovate the new location. It wasn’t anything near what I had expected to do, but it was something.

I arrived, knowing no one and no one knowing me. At first it was very awkward. After working for a while insulating and putting up walls it got much more comfortable and began having some good conversations with the other volunteers. I got to know a few of them and told them what I was doing. Person after person I talked to while I worked there encouraged me so much and was so supportive of what I was doing. I soon found myself not feeling angry towards what had happened or feeling like it was pointless. I felt recharged and ready for whatever was next to come.

I very much enjoyed working on that church. Staying present and focusing on the work I was doing and being content with never personally seeing the church fully finished or how that church will impact its community was still a great feeling. Meeting those who are in charge of the church and it development makes me very confident that it will indeed have a huge impact and be very successful. I feel so blessed to have gotten the experience to put up walls in classrooms that soon Sunday schools will be held in and young children will hear God’s word for the first time.

I think what happened in Chicago was a huge blessing in disguise. Having a plan that you think is God’s plan for you, though it may be good, may not be what truly you are suppose to do. I didn’t get to have exactly the experience I had hoped and planned for, but looking back at it, I wouldn’t switch the two. The time I spend renovating that church and the conversations I had with the people I worked next to encouraged me and filled me up so much. It was such a mental and spiritual recharge that I didn’t know that I needed until afterwards. The saying that God works in mysterious ways is so true. We may think that a situation is not what it should be, or we shouldn’t be in the places that we are. We always ask “why is this happening to me?” but in reality though, how could we know, only God knows exactly where we need to be, where we need to go, and how to get there. In my opinion God will always have the knowledge and understanding, and we just need to be open and content with where He is leading us. All we really have control of is our actions in the moment. I find myself so much more trusting in God and so much less worried about things not happening how they were planned.