March 3, 2016

Update from the field...

From Chelsea for the team...

Being in Indonesia still seems surreal! We arrived at our final destination Sunday early afternoon and somehow, have already been here five days. It has been a huge privilege to come alongside the work missionaries are doing here. As a team, we’ve been blessed by their servant hearts towards us and the love they have for their people. Their humility and obedience to Jesus has been so encouraging to us! What a challenge as we think about returning home- how can we better engage the lost around us in Chicago and be faithful disciple-makers? So many things we’re pondering- the Lord is clearly working here and stirring up our own hearts in the process. We’ve seen Him provide strength, peace, and joy in our exhaustion and jet-lag. He has also amazed us with the beauty of His creation and in the beauty of the people we’ve encountered in the villages. We feel so thankful to be here!

So far, we’ve spent time in two different villages of unreached people groups. Plans had changed and we ended up not going on the 5 hour boat ride. Instead, it was a 5 hour drive through the mountains! Some of us were very happy about that! :) There, we were able to spend time in the homes of Muslim families, listening to their stories, sharing meals, and praying with them. As a team, we especially loved our time in the Bajo village, in which we traveled through the mountains and by boat…since they live on the water! This was a neat experience as we saw how their entire community and life is based around their houses, shops, school, and mosque, all built on stilts in the ocean! We were blessed by the Bajo people’s hospitality and friendliness- the kids flocked to us, as most of them had never seen a Caucasian person before, other than on tv! We heard many funny comments from the villagers and had quite a few photos taken of us. It was an experience we’ll never forget! Simultaneously, we felt great joy and sadness during our time there. These people are so loved by God and yet are living in such darkness and deception.

We’re now gearing up for the conference part of our trip- soon, families will begin to arrive and we’ll be spending time with the missionary kids. Continue to pray for us! So far, we’ve all been healthy, safe, and doing well, which we praise God for. We’ve also had great bonding time as a team and are still enjoying being around each other. :) Again, thanks for your support and sharing this time with us. We are loving our time here and are looking forward to seeing how the Lord works through the conference. We are confident that He will continue to show us His faithfulness and goodness.

Until next time,
selamat tinggal!

February 27, 2016

Greetings from Indo!

Apa kabar!....hello from Indonesia! Just wanted to post a quick update for those who are following our trip via this blog. We've made it through our first 2 long flights  (Chicago-Tokyo, and Tokyo- Jakarta), and are just now waiting to board our last flight in a few hours...the shortest flight of our trip (2.5 hrs)! Praise God that the first 2 flights went smoothly and no luggage has been lost so far! We are gearing up for the hot temps here...right now, it's 86 degrees in Jakarta! We're all a bit groggy and a bit confused on what time and day it is, but we're doing well. :) Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement so far!

Until next time,
selamat tinggal! (goodbye)

February 21, 2016

Your Official Guide in Prayer :)

The week is here...we leave in just under five days! We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our God and the support given, so THANK YOU for partnering with us. We are grateful for you! :) Through financial support, prayers, and supplies, we have seen the Lord come through in incredible ways. We are so looking forward to Friday finally being here! :) As we prepare our hearts these next few days and any last minute details (though most of it is already done!), please continue to keep our team in your prayers. Below you will find specific prayer requests for the days we are traveling and in Indonesia- use this guide as the Lord leads. We can't wait to see how He chooses to work on this trip!  We also acknowledge that this opportunity is going to be stretching and challenging- we need the Lord's help in every way on this trip. We need Him...and we also need YOU, the body of Christ, to join us in prayer!

Team Indonesia: Prayer Guide

Fri. Feb. 26- Sun. Feb 28
God's protection & safety in traveling: 3 flights to reach destination

Mon. Feb. 29
Team day of training for time in Muslim villages
Teachable hearts 
Gracious attitudes & unity among team members

Tues. March 1
Safety traveling to the villages: 5 hr boat ride
Courage amidst fears & unknowns being in another culture
Muslim families: see Christ's love in our interactions w/ them

Wed. March 2
Team: sharing truths of the Gospel in conversation
Protection from the evil one's schemes & discouragement
Muslim families: receptive hearts to hearing & believing the Gospel

Thurs. March 3
Team day of rest & preparation for kids' program
Health: protection against any sickness & injuries

Fri. March 4
Dave: the Lord to prepare his heart & mind to teach
Missionaries: the Lord to prepare hearts & minds to receive His Word
Team: begin to build loving relationships w/ missionary kids

Sat. March 5
Dave (conference speaker): the Spirit to empower & guide him
Missionaries: encouragement through the Word & fellowship
Team: energy to love the kids well during lesson & activities

Sun. March 6
Dave: strength to fight any spiritual warfare in teaching the Word
Missionaries: know the love of Christ in deeper ways
Team: intentional conversations w/ the kids, especially older

Mon. March 7
Dave: the Lord to provide energy & renewed strength 
Missionaries: energized & better equipped in their ministry
Team: joy in serving & times of fellowship w/ the families 

Tues. March 8
Team: continued strength to serve & to be an encouragement
Relationships between team & missionaries to last after we leave

Wed. March 9- Thurs., March 10
God's protection & safety over us as we travel home 

Misssionary families, Muslim families, & our team:
the Lord to continue the good work He has started!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and  ever. Amen." (Eph. 3:20-21)

February 2, 2016

Ways YOU can help!

For a missionary to be on the mission field, there needs to be a BIG team of people behind them. Sometimes there are supply buyers - the ones who help missionaries have what they need so they can focus on doing the work (and not on grocery shopping or driving around from store to store). There are office workers who help handle Visas and passport details and travel stuff and all things administrative. There are supporters who give monthly so that missionaries can GO and STAY on the field and have their needs met. There are groups like our team who go for a short time and meet those missionaries right where they are at - sometimes tired and weary - and we love and encourage them and put on a conference for them so they can rest and be rejuvenated in God's Word.

And then there is YOU - who helps make that possible! See how it all works together to make one gigantic team of people making a difference for the Lord in the world? :) Well, as we prepare for this trip we have lots of ways YOU can help! Check them out below and join our team!


Add us to your prayer journal, your calendar, write our names on your hands... anything to remember to pray for our team as we prepare and go to Indonesia. A prayer list will be posted shortly!

Provide Supplies for the Conference
We have a list of supplies that we'll need for our kids program. If you'd like to purchase something for us to take to Indonesia to use for the conference, click on this link to find an Amazon Wish list! These items will be left there for the missionaries to use in the future (so its a double-blessing for them!).

Also, if you have any of these items at home that you'd like to donate, let me know! They don't need to be brand new!

Amazon Wish List:
Note: Please keep in mind shipping times! All items must arrive at Park Community Church no later than Wednesday, February 24th in order to make it into our suitcases! The shipping address listed on the Amazon wish list should be just fine to send to ( which is Joanna Kitchener, 1001 N Crosby St., Chicago IL 60610).

Send Gifts to the Missionaries

We also want to say a "thank you" to the missionaries for serving and bring them some of their favorite American treats from home. :) We compiled a list of some of their favorite things from home, or even things that they cannot find in Indonesia (like peanut butter, chocolate chips, baking vanilla, different candies, etc.) If you would like to contribute to our gift bags for each missionary, then visit the Google Sheet below and see what items we are wanting to bring. There are instructions on the sheet to help let us know when items have been purchased!

Google Sheet - Gifts for Missionaries:

Send the Team

Our team is 75% funded for this trip! If you would like to help us get fully supported, click on the link below to support us through our church website (you will need to log-in and possibly make an account to do it this way). If you would prefer to send a check, mail a check made out to "Park Community Church" to the address below. Please don't put any team members names or write "Indonesia" anywhere on the check. All donations are tax-deductible!

Link to support:
Mail Checks to:
Park Community Church
c/o Joanna Kitchener
1001 N Crosby St
Chicago IL 60610

Meet the Team

Hello from the team! We are a group of kids leaders with Loop Kids and Loop ALIVE (both a part of the children's ministry at our church) and we are so excited to be able to use our gifts and passions overseas with those who are on the front lines of ministry! While we are in Indonesia, we will be hanging out with some missionary kids while their parents have a conference. We'll be doing some of the same things that we do with kids in Chicago - loving them, sharing with them about the Father, playing games with them, and probably teaching them some of our favorite worship songs from the Loop. :)

We'll also get an opportunity to visit a remote island village while in Indo. We will get there by boat (a 5 hour boat ride!) and our time there will be sharing our stories with people we meet, hanging out with the children in the village, and hopefully making lots of new friends with people that our, quite literally, worlds away from our lives in Chicago. We are excited about this, yet a little nervous as we don't quite know what to expect. But we are asking our Father to be our help each step of the way!

Well, here is a picture of the team (minus our leader, Dave). Check out a few facts about each of us below and get to know us a bit!

(From left to right: Chelsea, Amber, Joanna and Paul. Not pictured: Dave)

Chelsea Bell
Age: 25
Originally from: Iowa
Favorite Chicago restaurant: Portillo's
Chelsea described (by the words of Joanna): Chelsea loves working with children, so much so that she is a full-time nanny! She has a heart for ministry and hopes to work in a church setting one day with kids. Until then, she is a super faithful leader at Park with Loop Kids on Sundays and with Loop ALIVE on Wednesday nights as the Explorers Director. This is Chelsea's first international flight, and she may have a slight fear of being over large bodies of water. So keep Chelsea in your prayers as there will be a lot of firsts for her on this trip!

Amber Wolfe
Age: 34
Originally from: Madison, WI
Favorite Chicago restaurant: Embeya or RPM
Amber described (by the words of Joanna): Amber has been serving with Loop Kids and Loop ALIVE (and Awana before that!) for a number of years (even longer than anyone else on the team)! Amber loves to travel and see the world, and makes a point to do that as often as possible. This is her second trip with Park, her first being to Turkey a couple of years ago, but her first trip to Indonesia.

Joanna Kitchener
Age: 30
Originally from: Sanford, FL
Favorite Chicago restaurant: Chick-fil-a
Joanna loves working with kids and she also loves missions! She grew up surrounded by missionaries as her parents are on staff with a mission organization. Since she was a child, she knew her life would somehow have something to do with taking the name of the Father to all the nations. But for now, she is working at Park with kids, their awesome families and the coolest group of leaders around. How cool is it that she gets to do two of the things she loves? Missions AND working with kids! This is Joanna's second time to Southeast Asia, the first being when she lived with a missionary family in a remote tribe in the Philippines years ago for 6 months. She is excited to meet some new people, be a blessing to the missionaries, and trying new things!

Paul Kitchener
Age: 30
Originally from: Well, he grew up in Brasil, but calls Kansas "home" now
Favorite Chicago restaurant: Brazilian Bowl
Paul described (by the words of Joanna): Paul, affectionately known as Joanna's husband, has been working more and more with kids at Park since becoming married to Joanna. :) He is a super fun guy and has the ability to make kids want to be around him more and more. Paul grew up as a missionary kid in Brasil and knows what its like to have many homes, and no home at all! Paul loves playing sports, trying to teach Joanna portuguese, playing ping pong, and seeing new places. As a team of mostly women, we are excited to have Paul be with us to help even things out a bit (I'm sure Dave is the most excited about that!).

Dave Childers
Age: We'll say 37
Originally from:
Favorite Chicago restaurant:
Dave described (by the words of Joanna): Dave is our fearless leader. He leads the Global Team at Park and has traveled to so many countries by now that I can't keep count! He has a fierce love for the gospel, for missions, for going to new places and doesn't seem to have any fear in him or anything he can't do (except when it comes to swimming). Dave will be teaching and sharing with the parents of the kids we are working with while in Indonesia, so we'll be working alongside him. As a team, we're excited to get to know Dave more and see him in his sweet spot of ministry first hand!