Stephen and I were able to take two of our Sunday School students to Chicago on Saturday. It was quite chilly, but I was glad that we went. Nothing can put you in the holiday spirit faster than a trip to Chicago. Walking down Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile, you see fancy stores fully decked out for the Christmas season. Macy’s had huge trumpets sticking out from their building, and Sears Tower had colored lights on its radio towers. I remember going to Chicago with my youth group as a teenager, and it really seemed magical. It still does. We didn’t take the girls along, for they couldn’t keep up and it was awfully cold to keep them outside so long.
The highlight of the trip was not the beautiful decorations downtown, though. It was our visit to the new facilities of Pacific Garden Mission. I have been to the mission on State Street several times, and it has always been a blessing to see what God is doing there. The building was terribly small and I often wondered how they kept up with everyone in such a small facility. BUT NOW!!! The Lord has provided a brand new building for PGM. It is only a few blocks away from the old location, and houses Men, Women and Children. (Women and Children are in a different area, of course.) The building was built specifically for PGM and includes several more security centers, a new free clinic, a greenhouse (they will soon be growing their own fruits and vegetables!), prayer rooms, etc. The radio show “Unshackled” is produced every Saturday afternoon at the Old Lighthouse, and now their production studio is at least twice as large as it was.
If you live within 5 hours of Pacific Garden Mission, it is worth the drive to see. God has used this ministry to reach the down-and-out for over 100 years, and continues to not only through the mission itself but the radio program and various outreaches as well. Every guide at the mission was once a “visitor” and to hear their testimonies really show that the Lord is still at work at PGM. One man who shared his testimony with us was a very wealthy man who lost everything to a drug addiction. He lived on the West Coast, but somehow came to PGM and got saved. You could tell the Lord made a difference in his life.
Amidst the business of this time of year, visiting PGM really helped remind me of what Christmas is all about: God’s Son coming to earth to redeem the lost, and sharing the wonderful Gospel with those around me – no matter who they are!