All Things to All People
By Mary Sullivan
When I signed up to be a Christ in the City missionary, I didn’t quite understand the scope of what I was signing up for. I knew I would be encountering the poor and building friendships with them, but I didn’t know just how deeply I would be diving into the lives of our friends on the street.
Recently I have been reflecting a lot on the words of St. Paul, “I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor 9:22-23)
In the past month, I have had to be many things. In my community I have been a chef, cooking meals for 20+ people. I have been a student, studying and learning about my faith so that I can better live it out. I have been a host for a friend visiting from home, sharing my life and mission here with her. I have been a sister to the women in my community, walking with them through the challenges and joys of our hectic life.
With my friends on the street, I have been a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold for a dear friend who always has lots of hugs to spare during a memorial service for her husband. He struggled with alcoholism and passed away while sleeping outside on Christmas night.
I have been a taxi driver for a friend with schizophrenia, driving him all over the city of Denver to help him get some things taken care of so that he could get to his surgery on time. All the while he was freaking out in the back seat because he was stressed out and he didn’t trust that we were actually going to be able to help him.
I have been a mother/sister/friend to a woman that I hardly know, accompanying her through the labor and delivery of her sweet baby girl. She didn’t really have any other family to be there, so a few of us missionaries decided to be there to support her and love her through it.
Availability is one of the core virtues of a CIC missionary. In the past few weeks, I have learned exactly what it means to live it out both in community and on the streets. Much like St. Paul, I had to be ready and willing to be all these things to all of these people for the sake of the Gospel.
It is my hope that the Lord will use these things for the salvation of others.
Mary Sullivan is a recent graduate of Wright State University with a degree in chemistry. She loves deep conversations, good movies, and Cincinnati chili.