Today we left the farm in the wee hours of the night, drove across the border to Vermont and I officially began my journey. I flew from Burlington, VT to JFK, chilled there for a few hours and then landed in Chicago at about noon local time. We were behind schedule because of a few delays but it was uneventful overall.
My goal in Chicago today was to figure the best route to Rockford IL, run some errands, get a bit of work done and grab coffee with a friend. I'm two for four and not even sad about it. (Errands can wait and I'll do the work tonight while waiting for my bus.)
After figuring out how to get to my next destination, I went on a hunt for food. As I was walking down the street, I noticed a restaurant. This girl next to me catches me staring and says "It's banging." and really that's all I need to eat your food. Granted she worked there, but they don't necessarily pay her to claim the food is boss. I am glad I went.
The staff at Don Fresco's were so friendly and upon hearing of my Canadian-ness one of them asked me to say 'sorry'. Apparently I have an accent? lol She also confessed her undying love for Bieber to which we had to respond with a sing along version of Sorry. The food was solid. Eating corn tortillas always reminds me of my time in Mexico. It was no Mexican street food, but it was fresh, tasty, filling and served with so much joy that it didn't matter. Hearing so many people speak Spanish made me one to get back on that tip. Maybe next year, who knows?
I then walked to meet a friend at a Overflow Coffee Bar on States S. Our time together was such a blessing and encouragement. I met Dorothy years ago at a conference through a Christian club we were both part of. And though I don't have tons of memories of her back then, it has been sweet to see God reconnect us since she's been living here in the US. I stayed with her last fall on my last trip to Chicago, and this time around I was happy to be able to see her again. It is so interesting how our stories intersect; in our faith journey, as Haitian Canadian children of immigrants, in our passion for justice and as women.
We met at around 4:30 and talked till after the coffee shop should have closed. It was so encouraging to share more of our stories, catch up on that last year and hear all about what God had been doing in her life. She has such a heart of encouragement and a budding prophetic gift which I truly appreciate. I was feeing a bit nervous last night while packing, so it was a nice reminder that God was looking out for me as I embarked on this journey.
As we closed our time together we went inside to say goodbye to our barista and his girlfriend who was hanging around waiting for close. As we began to chat with them it was clear that this was not an accidental meeting. Justin and Rachel are both creatives, Christians and have a passion for the arts, and community building. The coffee shop Justin works for is a local social entreprise that has been in the city for just over 5 years and he just shared his passion for the community they serve and how God has been faithful to help them build bridges and love people.
This place more than lived up to its name. It overflowed with joy and welcome from the second we stepped inside. And our time afterwards with Justin and Rachel was such an encouragement! At one point everyone kind of stopped to take in the moment and suggested we pray. We all laughed, shared needs and requests and just began to pray for each other, Overflow, Chicago as a whole and then we shared words of encouragement with each other. Not a word was out of place. There was laughter and smiles and I know for me even a few tears. These kindred spirits had been exactly what I needed.
I have no clue what the next two months will have in store, but I do know that already God has been confirming things and reminding me of his promises. God is faithful. So much so that even in this city that I have yet to know fully, God brought people along to encourage me, remind me of my worth, of His love and to commission me onto the next part of my journey. I meet the team tomorrow and I am becoming increasingly convinced that there is more than music in our future.