MISSIONS

At First Pres, we live our faith through service. We love and serve in response to Christ’s call and the needs around us - read more about the current needs of our partners below.

We share God’s love with the world by partnering with local, national, and global organizations, diverse in their missions and locations. They share a common goal of Christ love in action. We send our members into these partnerships in fun, creative ways. Engage partners have structured ongoing and unique opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, family fun nights, work projects, social interaction, or mission trips.

Our Engage Partners

What are ENGAGE partners?

First Pres has close, active relationships with three Engage Partners—YMEN of North Lawndale in Chicago, Outreach Community Ministries in DuPage County, and Kids Alive in the Dominican Republic. These organizations are diverse in their missions and locations, but they share at their heart a common goal of fostering Christ’s love in action – and they offer structured, varied ongoing opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, work projects, social interactions or trips. Our history of service together runs deep.

First Pres has also built missional relationships with a broad range of Christian missions locally, nationally and globally that can offer you life-altering service opportunities. We financially and prayerfully support the individuals and families who have made a commitment to serve and share God’s word in some of the most challenging places.

Offering your God-given time and talent to these worthy partners will change you forever.

Outreach Community Ministries

Outreach Community Ministries is based in DuPage County and partners with churches to offer faith-based community service to area residents free of charge. First Pres partners with Outreach through after-school tutoring and through involvement with Jubilee Village, Outreach’s transitional housing program for young mothers. Jubilee Village staff work with young single mothers for up to two years to assist the women in transitioning to stable, independent living. First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Babysitting for Bible Study: As we emerge from lockdown, there are opportunities to assist the young mothers with childcare one evening a week so they can attend Bible Study with their peers.
  • Outreach Community Tutoring: Tutors assist an individual student with homework and academic goals while providing a positive adult role model in their lives. 
  • Donate to Jubilee Furniture: Donate good quality furniture to Outreach’s quality used furniture shop or volunteer in the store. 
  • Offer a Trade Service: First Pres members with a trade skill often help maintain and improve the apartments at Jubilee Village. Painters, plumbers, electricians, and handymen/women can offer valuable services!
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YMEN of North Lawndale

Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN) prepares young men and women who live in North Lawndale in Chicago for leadership by helping them grow in their faith and character, develop a love for learning, and use their talents to serve the broader community. Beginning in 1999, the partnership between YMEN and First Pres has grown significantly, including joint mission trips to Montana and Uganda, and now with a focus on activities that bring First Pres members together into one-on-one relationships with the youth of YMEN. These young people seek to learn and grow; they need your friendship and encouragement along the way. First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Fun in Faith nights at First Pres – We hope to soon resume our fun, joint gatherings for individuals and families of First Pres and YMEN.
  • Arts Alive – A weekly event at the YMEN Center in North Lawndale that brings First Pres members to work with creative students.
  • Community Garden planting – Each June, First Pres families travel to North Lawndale to prepare garden beds in the community vegetable garden. Join us in the garden at 2205 S. Avers, Chicago on June 13, 2021, 12:30-3pm.
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Kids Alive International in the Dominican Republic

Kids Alive has rescued orphans and other vulnerable children in 14 countries around the world. The Kids Alive Constanza campus in the Dominican Republic has literally “come alive” over the last ten years as God and his people have transformed it from a cornfield to a life-transforming campus for at-risk children. The Ark residential care facility has grown to offer permanent shelter, food and education for 40 abandoned or orphaned children, while the school has grown to give private, Christian education to more than 200 children. Each child has a genuine opportunity to break from the material and spiritual poverty that have been haunting his or her family for generations. First Pres Liaison: Keith Mote

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trips: Throughout the year, First Pres organizes mission trips to Constanza to engage with children at the Ark and school, do local building projects, perform campus maintenance, complete special projects, and experience how God is working in the lives of people there.
  • Sponsor a child: Make a lasting impact in a child’s life. Several First Pres members have met their sponsor children on their mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
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Our Local Partners

Bridge of Hope Ministry

A First Pres mission for almost 30 years, Bridge of Hope is a transitional housing program for homeless families of DuPage County that is supported by our congregation in conjunction with program partner Bridge Communities, Inc. The typical beneficiaries of the program consist of a female head of household with dependent children, who embark on a journey with us for approximately 2-1/2 years, moving from hopelessness and homelessness to stability and opportunity. First Pres Liaison: Chris Symons

How can I get involved?

  • Become a Mentor: From budgeting to life skills, vital to the program are volunteer mentors from our congregation, who develop caring and supportive relationships with guests, helping them and coaching them in making good choices for their families as they strive to move from homelessness to a new life. Opportunities and time commitments vary.
  • First Pres is looking for volunteers to serve as Mentors in our Bridge of Hope program.  This is a great opportunity to directly help under-privileged mothers of young children in our community.  As part of our Missions agenda, our church provides transitional housing for two families, as well as guidance, emotional support, and coaching on life skills through the Mentors that develop relationships with these families.  BridgeCommunities will be offering new Mentor training (virtually) on Saturday, October 1, but you must register by September 27.  Please reach out to Chris Symons at csymons2@yahoo.com for more information or to register.  You can also read more about mentoring at Volunteer Mentor — Bridge Communities: Connecting homeless families to a better future. Thank you for your support and prayers!
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Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center (CDPCC)

First Pres founded CDPCC, a faith-based Christian agency that provides affordable, professional pastoral counseling to the public in an ecumenical setting. Pastoral counseling relies on theology and behavioral science working together to provide comprehensive insights into life. First Pres Liaison: Erik Peterson

How can I get involved?

  • Give support: Financial gifts designated “CDPCC” are vital to continuing the work of the counseling center as it provides in-person and hybrid Zoom appointments during COVID.
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DuPage PADS

DuPage Pads offers men, women and children a safe overnight environment. As a response to COVID, DuPage Pads shifted to house homeless guests in area hotels. They have since purchased the Red Roof Inn in Downers Grove that will be the site for future housing of guests. First Pres Liaison: Lou Simon and Dan Minkus

How can I get involved?

  • Support Housing Guests: After PADs takes ownership of the hotel, forecasted for March 2022, our church members can engage in the following ways:
    • Front desk volunteers
    • Volunteer tutors
    • Laundry volunteers
    • Client Resource Room help
    • Manage a “host night” at PADs site, bringing food, volunteering on-site, etc. In the meantime, this link will take you to open volunteer opportunities https://volunteer.dupagepads.org/need/

PADs also in need of items for our clients, particularly baby items, and new sweatpants and sweatshirts. Please check out our list for details on Amazon.com!

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Emmaus Ministries

Emmaus Ministries reaches out to men engaged in survival prostitution on the streets of Chicago, men who through a variety of negative life experiences have come to believe this lifestyle is all that is available to them. Through engagement, Emmaus seeks to give them hope that God has a better plan, a specific redeeming plan for them. Through nightly outreach and a daytime drop-in center, Emmaus staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with these men, working together to help them get off the streets. First Pres Liaison: Jonathan Hancock

How can I get involved?

  • Provide funds that will enable us to find vulnerable men and intercede on their behalf, whether on the streets or where they are targeted on the Dark Web. Learn more here.
  • Emmaus is looking for volunteers to help. Seasoned volunteers or first-timers are welcome to explore serving in the drop-in center, on the outreach team, or in an area specific area of experience. Emmaus depends on volunteers to support and empower these men. Learn more here.
  • Prayers are also needed.
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ESSE Adult Day Services

ESSE stands for Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly. Their purpose is to provide adult day care that promotes the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of older adults and their families. First Pres Liaisons: Cherie and Read Boeckel

How can I get involved?

  • Be present: Read, play games, lead music or play an instrument, sit and talk, listen, tell stories, help serve, or show pictures of your vacation. Simply give your time and attention. Children are encouraged to come and sing, play an instrument or visit.
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Exodus World Service

Exodus World Service mobilizes the Christian community to welcome and befriend refugees. They do this by educating churches and individuals about the plight of refugees, connecting volunteers with refugees through practical service projects, and empowering people to be champions for refugees. Volunteer Service Opportunities coordinated through the FPGE Refugee Mission Ministry (RMM). First Pres Liaison: David Profitt

How can I get involved?

  • FPGE Refugee Mission Ministry in partnership with Exodus World Service is in need of donations. Click here TO DONATE.
  • Afghan Hospitality Trays Opportunities:  One of the items left behind as Afghan refugees fled their nation (and which Exodus discovered they missed the most) was their hospitality trays. The hospitality of the Afghan people includes offering guests something to eat and drink during visits. These items are served on engraved silver trays.  The FPGE RMM team has secured the trays along with some tea and food items.
    • We are asking for volunteers to
      • Help assemble the trays
      • Deliver the assembled trays to resettled Afghan families and individuals throughout DuPage County. These are Done-in-a-Day opportunities for a family, group of friends, or individuals. To volunteer please go here.
  • Welcome to America Program: When refugees arrive in the U.S., they only have what they can carry. While refugees receive three months of help through a resettlement agency, starting over from scratch is daunting, both financially and emotionally. Volunteers can make a huge difference by providing essential supplies, food, and most especially, a warm welcome.
    • Service opportunities to volunteer include
      • Donating NEW essential items to set up a home for refugee individuals and families and
      • Help set up the residence with the donated new items and then welcoming the resettled refugee(s) upon arrival to their new home. Done-in-a-Day service opportunity. Great for families and FPGE Small Groups.
        To volunteer to donate please go here.
        To volunteer to set-up a residence and welcome a refugee individual/family please go here.
  • Grocery Care Packs: In partnership with the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry, Exodus has responded to food insecurity caused by COVID by offering volunteers the opportunity help to pack & deliver Grocery Care Packs directly to refugee families’ doorsteps, thus providing dignity and support to over 3,000 refugee neighbors. This is a once-a-month service opportunity that is currently scheduled on the second Tuesday of every month. To volunteer, please go here. 
  • New Neighbor Program: Volunteers will work with refugee families/individuals by helping them assimilate to their new country and community.  These volunteers will meet with an assigned family (via Exodus) once a week for three months and work with them building bridges of understanding, cross-cultural learning and friendship. Being present with these families for 1-2 hours each week will include answering basic questions about life in the U.S. and in their community, helping them to understand the basics about good citizenship (country & community), and practicing conversational English with them. A three-hour Cross-Cultural Training Course along with a simple background check is required by Exodus World Service to participate. This is a great weekly service opportunity for an FPGE Small Group, FPGE committee members, or a group of friends, keeping group to 3-4 people, maximum. To volunteer please to go here. 
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Glen Ellyn Food Pantry

Incorporated in 1985, and operated out of Grace Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn (soon moving to a new facility next to Faith Lutheran Church), the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry is supported by 14 area churches, including First Pres. The philosophy behind the GEFP is very simple: “Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, told us to feed the hungry” (Matthew 25:31).  In 2020, the pantry distributed 761,164 pounds of food through 14,000 visits by nearly 5,500 individuals including more than 2,000 children. First Pres members are regular, long-standing volunteers, helping to keep operations running. First Pres Liaison: Michelle Mote

How can I get involved?

Volunteer opportunities are changing due to the pandemic. Check the food pantry website for updates. Typical duties include:

The Glen Ellyn Food Pantry is looking for enthusiastic, flexible volunteers to help “Make Hunger History” in our community. The most urgent days/times are Monday-Thursday in shifts between 11:30am and 3:30pm. To learn more, call 630-469-6988 or email. Volunteer@GlenEllynFoodPantry.org.

  • Food recovery: Pick up and/or sort food donated by local grocery and retail partners or from First Pres food drives.
  • Client relations: Work with other First Pres members in the pantry helping clients make food choices that fit their needs, interest and lifestyle.
  • Donate food: Participate in First Pres-sponsored food drives or drop off food during pantry hours.
  • Visit the food pantry website to learn about their capital campaign and to stay informed about what’s needed most.
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Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry (GEWIM)

Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry is housed at First United Methodist Church and was organized by Glen Ellyn churches in 1994 to provide short-term resources. The assistance provided varies depending on the need. It may include vouchers for gasoline, food, transportation, prescription medication, or utility assistance. First Pres Liaison: Barb Rundell

How can I get involved?

  • The ministry is staffed by volunteers who assist persons referred by the churches of Glen Ellyn. Volunteer hours are 10am-noon, Monday-Friday. In addition to Barb Rundell, other First Pres members who currently volunteer are Glennda Lockard, Charlie Varvaro and Jim Drasal; they welcome your questions.
  • Gifts designated “Walk-In Ministry” are used to fund the program.
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New Name Ministry

New Name is a faith-based ministry of love, hope and presence to women in the adult industry. Through safe relationships and empowerment, NN is passionate about reaching women with the love of Jesus. Each month, NN teams from 16 churches reach out to women in over 60 venues in the Chicago area. A group of First Pres members have embarked on this work, visiting 5-6 spas each month. NN has no paid staff and relies solely on the funds generated by their bridal boutique and donations from churches and ministry partners. Funds are used to assist the women they serve and thus far have been spent on counseling services, transportation, medical bills, junior college tuition, groceries and hotels for women who need safe living situations. First Pres Liaison: Cathy Colten

How can I get involved?

  • Join the First Pres chapter prayer team and/or Spa Outreach team.
  • Consider working one-on-one, via Zoom, teaching financial/budgeting skills or leading a Bible study to some of the women with whom we walk alongside.
  • Donate small gift bag items (soaps, pens, notebooks, lotions, candy, etc.) which are delivered to young women each month when we visit spas; or donate a set of six cards which can be used for a month of outreach. The cards should be blank on the inside so we can add a personal note appropriate for each spa we visit.
  • Volunteer at the Bridal Boutique by New Name in Wheaton. The boutique is run by volunteers so 100% of the money raised by selling donated wedding gowns provides an income stream for NN.
  • Provide transportation for wedding gowns being donated from other parts of the country. Gowns are often donated by out-of-state shops and we can save resources when volunteers pick up the gowns and deliver them to the boutique in Wheaton.
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Our National Partners

Covenant Pathways/James and Joyce Skeet

James and Joyce Skeet have spent more than 20 years working to improve the lives of Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona, and to share the gospel with them. Many are profoundly impoverished, both economically and spiritually. Helping people to provide for their physical needs allows James and Joyce an opportunity to address their spiritual needs as well, through authentic relationships and prayer meetings.  Working alongside people on the farm and talking with visitors, the Skeets often identify Native American experiences and find parallels in the Bible, and ultimately, they help people move from dependence to independence. 

First Pres provided funding to help the Skeets build an eco-friendly demonstration cabin that serves as a model of eco-friendly living; as housing and a meeting place for Navajo residents and farmers, church mission teams, homesteaders and other visitors who want to learn about the eco-friendly technologies used at the farm; and as a place to hold weekly community prayer services as the Skeets continue to build relationships of trust and find natural opportunities to share the Gospel. First Pres Liaison: Marj Dobleer

How can I get involved?

  • Experience life and work on the farm! The Skeets encourage First Pres members to visit and get actively involved with the farm, whether tending crops alongside local people, cooking for a group, praying with local people, or assisting in the myriad of jobs it takes to operate a working farm.
  • Fund supplies like seeds and COVID sanitation supplies.
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Ft. Peck Reservation in Montana

The Montana Mission is a family-friendly, intergenerational trip to the Ft. Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. The Native American culture faces many challenges including socio-economic issues, educational support, employment, and the future of church leadership. Over the years, a mission trip partnership has developed with the Bethel Community Church in Culbertson, Montana, the town outside the reservation. First Pres Liaison: Mary Clauss

How can I get involved?

  • Consider joining First Pres on its annual mission trip, July 16-23 2022. We host Vacation Bible School, complete construction projects on the churches, and fellowship with friends on the reservation. This is a great family-friendly (all ages are welcome) mission trip, learning more about life on the reservation as we serve others.
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Our Global Partners

Living Hope for Children

Living Hope for Children (formerly known as Juna Amagara Ministries) was born at First Pres in 2004 to raise up and equip vulnerable children in Uganda with the tools they need to become leaders within their community. We empower their growth by providing a loving home environment, quality education, balanced nutrition, medical care, and spiritual direction. Today, with more than 700 children in the program in five communities, Living Hope for Children operates first-rate quality schools, medical facilities and evangelism outreach programs throughout Uganda. Many of the first kids in the program are graduating university as passionate, godly adults.

Vision: “To see orphans and other vulnerable children in Uganda achieve their full potential and impact there communities for Christ.” 

Mission: “We provide education, discipleship, and health services to encourage and equip orphans, vulnerable children, and their communities.” First Pres Liaison: Jeff Seifert

How can I get involved?

  • Child sponsorship: Many First Pres families faithfully sponsor children in the program, and have helped them grow into happy and fruitful adults.
  • Mission trip: Travel to Uganda to visit your sponsored child, help build, teach classes, share skills and live in community with other people living by faith.
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Partners in Mission (PIM) in Uganda

Partners in Mission (PIM) is an indigenous fellowship of brethren based in Uganda with a mission to partner with others to advance the Gospel for Christ. Through PIM-USA, First Pres has a longstanding and fruitful relationship with PIM that has been instrumental in building the Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School (KSVS) and Good Shepherd Primary School in Kamwenge, Uganda.  At KSVS, students receive Christian discipleship, mentorship, and a strong education, and are graduating to become young adults who are building families and businesses, and are advancing and revitalizing the entire Kamwenge community. 

First Pres has helped KSVS build a kitchen, a dining hall on campus, and a three-story STEM Center. These facilities serve as a model of educational excellence not only in Kamwenge, but throughout all of Uganda.  Today, KSVS graduates are attending university, holding vocational jobs, and starting their own businesses. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • The Fox and the Hound Bike Ride on August 6, 2022: During this beloved annual event, join fellow riders (experts and novice alike!) on a 55-mile bicycle ride beginning at First Pres and ending with a party at 2 Hound Red restaurant in Glen Ellyn. Riders will help raise funds for a new apartment building for the dedicated teachers at Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School in Uganda. If biking is not your thing, volunteer along the route or sponsor a rider. Visit the PIM website for more information.
  • Sponsor a child or teacher: Families who send their child to the school are often losing income or help with responsibilities at home. Sponsorship encourages attendance and reinforces the important, lasting benefits of an education. Your gift of $420 sponsors a student for a year; $2500 pays a teacher’s salary for a year.
  • Mission trips: Groups from First Pres visit Kamwenge to meet and learn more about the students attending the school, pray for progress, and lend expertise to major projects.
    • PIM is planning a vision trip to Uganda to visit Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School from Feb. 23 – March 8. We are excited to visit many new projects at the school including new construction of the Carpentry and Welding Shop. The number of visitors will be limited to about 10. For more information, contact Barb Retelny at 630-913-0268 or bretelny@gmail.com.
  • Create your own fundraiser: A group of 20 First Pres women gathered at a shop in Glen Ellyn to make bracelets and raise funds for one very special student at KSVS named Sylvia.  In one night, the First Pres women raised enough funds to pay for Sylvia’s education for a year, and their support continues today. Be creative in using your talent and network to amplify your support.
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Pioneers International in central Asia/Carolyn and James

This couple met in east Asia while working with an indigenous Muslim people group that populates the area as well as several central Asian countries. They now work among this group in central Asia. James developed a fruit-farming business (business as mission) which helps the local economy while giving him an opportunity to share the Gospel with employees. Carolyn ministers to the local people in an organic way … by being a friend, getting to know neighbors, offering a listening ear. She looks for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with her neighbors and often prays with them. First Pres contributed to a vital well that helps make the orchard sustainable. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trip: The family welcomes visitors to witness their work.
  • Aside from financial support, the couple appreciates ongoing prayers for their mission.
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Reach Global/Tom and Dora Becker

Tom works with ReachGlobal to mobilize mission work among the 12 million marginalized Roma (gypsies) in Europe. Working with national partners, he facilitates the training and resourcing of Roma pastors. His main ministries include: mobilizing prayer, advancing research, creating awareness, facilitating partnerships and coaching nationals. Dora works with ReachGlobal to lessen missionary attrition rate by providing care for missionary kids and their families. Her role includes pre-field training for missionaries, consulting missionary parents, providing resources and encouragement. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • Gifts designated for the Beckers will be used for their ministry’s most pressing needs.
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Frontier Fellowship/Dan McNerney

Dan has been on staff with Frontier Fellowship for 24 years and has pioneered work in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. He is equally comfortable mobilizing North American churches and developing frontier mission initiatives overseas. He’s currently engaged in Middle Eastern mission initiatives, counsel and mobilization for American churches’ missional practices, and bridge-building efforts with leaders and Muslim communities in the U.S. First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Please pray for mission partners in the Middle East who face ongoing persecution and relentless harassment, and for the population in the region who face ongoing medical and social challenges with COVID.
  • Gifts designated McNerney will be used for his ministry’s most urgent needs.
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Other Ways to Support Missions

Mission Trip Scholarships

First Pres is active in mission work, some local, some nearby, and some at greater distances from home. Trips can be costly when considering travel, meals and lodging expenses. We do not want this financial burden to defer congregants’ participation in mission trips that touch their hearts. 

Scholarship funds are available for these trips. For more details or to apply, contact the church office or one of the Missions Elders.

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ENGAGED Families and Children

We encourage families to serve Christ together. It’s never too young to teach kids to give back. They can work with their families on a variety of projects in the church. For ideas, contact, David Profitt, Director of Children’s Ministries.

How can I get involved?

  • VBS, Mission Trips, Volunteering – Encourage your kids to play together and serve together, whether in Vacation Bible School (doing service projects), Spark, TNT or mission trips to Montana or the Dominican Republic. Children entering 6th grade and older can volunteer with their parent or another adult at VBS, and/or on Sunday morning at Kids’ Church.
  • Exodus – Kids of all ages love to serve and welcome refugee families into our community.

ENGAGED Students

Experiences to serve God and to serve the world in his name are essential to watering and nurturing the seeds of faith we plan in students’ lives. Here are some examples, but we welcome you to contact the Student Ministry team to find the opportunity right for your family.

How can I get involved?

  • First Pres students also work on a variety of projects including for the Food Pantry, Outreach Community Ministries, and YMEN, where they help with construction projects on their property in North Lawndale in Chicago.
  • First Pres students have participated in all church mission trips – experiences that shape them forever.