A small group of us journeyed from Prince of Peace down to to 21st Street and Hoyne in Chicago to celebrate the installation and commissioning of one of our alumni, Elly Sifuentes, to serve as Deaconess at the historical and absolutely beautiful St. Matthew's Church.
It was such an honor to have been a part of that day for her. She beamed with joy and happiness from start to end. She now joins her husband, Cesar Sifuentes, who serves as Pastor to this church and its community. Cesar and Elly loved being a part of the Prince of Peace family and offered their help in any way that we might need. That tradition has been brought to life by these two passionate followers of Jesus Christ. It was also very evident that the congregation loves them.
During the service, the congregation shared Christ’s peace, but in this house, everyone says hello and extends a hand of peace. The end does not occur based on a time limit, but rather when they all have greeted and extended their hands from the front to the back of the church. They come out of the pews and into the aisles and it is a social gathering met with sincerity and happiness. To them a handshake and a warm welcome had no language barriers. Even the music was to be sung in the language of your preference (Spanish on one side of the page and English on the other) and the church was filled with joyful noise to the Lord.
They served a homemade meal following the service which was just wonderful, and they wanted you to enjoy it all so they would not take no for an answer. I actually did try to say no, but they just loaded more food on my plate and they all just loved doing it. The community area is humbling to be in. On that and every Sunday, they open their doors to the community and their homeless to serve over 150 people a free breakfast before church. Every Tuesday and Thursday Elly serves a free lunch to over 100 people each day. Elly says “they stay open until the food is gone, but they have never run out of food.”
Elly teaches Sunday school and they are so pleased that this year, 35 young people will make their confirmation.
These are wonderful people doing God’s work and making disciples. They would always welcome support and help for their soup kitchens, but above all else, they ask for our continued prayers. To that end we give thanks to God for Elly and Cesar Sifuentes, for being our friends and for the servant hearts they both have. They both have joined Jesus on His mission and that community is richer for their presence.
Submitted by POP Member Jim M.