In Memory of Those We’ve Lost

It’s been 10 years since I first met Albert.

A couple of us missionaries were in the park with a picnic blanket and a tray of pasta, looking to invite some hungry folks to share a meal with us.

Albert happened to be strolling through with the most approachable grin. I couldn’t help but invite him to join us. We spent the afternoon having lunch and likely talking about Louisiana, blueberry pancakes, shoes, and drag racing: his favorites things.

One of the most beautiful gifts of being part of the Christ in the City family for so long is witnessing the power of friendship and community to pierce hearts.

Over the past decade, Albert became a dear friend to many of us. As his health declined, he was moved into assisted living where our missionaries and staff visited him regularly. Let’s just say he had an ample amount of visitors!

What a joy it was to update him on my life, introduce him to my husband, and in most recent years, take our son to spend time with him.

He would always remind my little boy to be good and listen to your mom, reciting a phrase that his mom would tell him every day since he was little, “Albert, you be good today.” To which he would reply, “Okay Ma, just for you.”

He was a gem in every way.

In May, our dear friend Albert passed away. Although he is greatly missed, his simple and profoundly beautiful life continues to teach me so much.

How simple it can be to make myself present to others, to receive another person with no agenda, just intentionally opening my eyes to the people God places on my path.

The pure love we seek to give, free of conditions or judgment, is the same love that Jesus wants us to accept for ourselves. It can’t be earned. It’s always a gift, whether we believe we deserve it or not. 

Albert showed us all this type of love.

Today, on All Souls Day, we celebrate that love is stronger than death.

I invite you to join us in praying for the friends of Christ in the City who have passed away over the last year, many of whom had no one else to call family. They were each such a gift to our community.

Mark
Traci
Jeff
Apache
Randy
Albert
Sherri
Gary

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

Abby served in Christ in the City’s first missionary class in 2011-2012. She now works on staff as the Director of Communications where she gets to continue sharing the mission across the country! 


To the Person Who Feels Unworthy

To the person who feels unworthy, 

When I came to Christ in the City, I was broken. Wounded. I didn’t believe that I was lovable, good, or worth it. In some ways, I was very similar to those that I would meet on the streets.

Over the last two years, I’ve been opened to receive joy, love, and mercy again. I’ve been shown again and again that I am worth it, that I am good, and that I am lovable. Over and over again, Jesus has leaned in close, called my attention to his gaze – that intense look fixed on my own eyes – and repeated again and again, “André, I love you.”

Thank you, Jesus.Read More


The Greatest Love There Is

I met Ryan at Lunch in the Park. Ryan can only see out of his right eye; I’m not sure what happened to his left eye, but it seems to be permanently pointed inward with a light blue glaze over it. He had messy hair, missing teeth, dirty hands, no shoes, one good eye, and yet, when he looked at me, he looked at me with love and compassion. Read More


Community: A School of Love (and Hard Knocks)

Community: A School of Love (And Hard Knocks)

By Blake BrouilletteBlake
What was I thinking? Seriously though, I graduated college in May and the first big life decision I make is to move to Denver to make no money and share a room with two other dudes.

At a time in life when most of my friends decide to live by themselves or downsize the amount of roommates they have, I move into a 10’ x 15’ room and sleep in a bunk bed.

Yes, you read that right. I am sleeping in a bunk bed after graduation. We have no closets in our room, and I have 5 drawers for all of my clothes with barely any space to hang clothes.

So what makes me continue to live this lifestyle? What about this claustrophobic daily living makes me completely forget the external circumstances? What allows me to get through the day with a smile on my face and joy in my heart? The answer is simple, community life.

At Christ in the City, homeless ministry is the end goal of our apostolate. The means of getting there is through community life. This “community life” is simple. It involves a group of college aged missionaries struggling to “die to ourselves” at every moment of every day.

Through this total self-sacrifice in our small daily moments, we are able to give the small gifts and love we have to the homeless we serve. As one of our patrons Mother Teresa says, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

All the strength, love, confidence, compassion, caring, mercy, and joy towards our homeless friends begins in the way we interact with our community.

Each act towards your community and the homeless may seem small and miniscule. Small things such as letting someone else have the last serving of food, handing out a small snack or water to someone in need of food, taking an extra five minutes to fold someone else’s clothes, and giving a pair of socks to someone in need on the streets all add up.

The small acts become something large. The only way to change the world is one small act and one small gesture at a time. It’s easy to forget that not all these acts happen at the same time. Whether it’s in our families or communities, each small act is important and adds up.

Community life is what we leave in the morning, and come back to at night. It is there when you have a good day or bad day. It involves challenging other community members, celebrating the highs and lows of life and confronting people when they need help with love as the motive of your words. It includes sharing stories form the streets, laughter and tears from life’s turns and twists, problems and struggles in life, and the joy of simply living as a child of God.

Community life is the source of our strength, the means to an end, and the place where we grow in faith and love right alongside each other. Sometimes this love is difficult.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Iron hitting against iron is abrupt, loud and jarring. So is community life.

In the end, it isn’t about who had the most space in their room, free time at night, or the most material things. It’s about whether or not you’re a saint and who you brought with you.

Blake Brouillette is a first-year missionary from Hastings, Nebraska