Christ in the City Missionary Makes an Impact on CYAS
Catholic Young Adult Sports has partnered with Christ in the City missionaries for a few years now. Christ in the City has led the night walks on the last Friday of each month, and members of CYAS have participated in those walks. Andrew Wilson has been a key missionary in this partnership. He started working for Christ in the City as a missionary and was then hired to handle accounting and grants, eventually taking on the role of Homeless Outreach Coordinator. Before his involvement with Christ in the City, he was living in Lexington, Kentucky, seeking a way to make his life more meaningful. He entertained ideas of joining the Peace Corps, or possibly a mission trip. In the midst of his search, he was matched with Christ in the City and was drawn to its discipline. Missionaries for Christ in the City are out on the streets of downtown Denver at 9 a.m. and normally do not finish their work until 9 p.m. After Andrew decided to work for Christ in the City, a friend introduced him to CYAS. Andrew liked the way CYAS incorporated the Catholic faith into sports. CYAS uses sports to evangelize, leading by example and making a practice of praying before and after every game. Andrew participated in several sports, including basketball, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and softball and kickball tournaments.
Andrew wishes everyone could be involved with a CYAS-type organization. He especially enjoyed leading the night walks with CYAS. It was inspiring to see young adults give their time to mission work of their own free will, and he loved watching them interact with the homeless. The partnership between Christ in the City and CYAS extended even further. Andrew encouraged more Christ in the City missionaries to participate in CYAS, and they began to invite the homeless to come and watch their games. Andrew emphasized that missionaries are not meant to be case workers for the homeless; instead, they are meant to be their friends. As such, it would make sense for the missionaries to invite the homeless to their games. The homeless truly enjoy going to these games, and Andrew believes it is because they feel part of something. Going to a CYAS game can bring them back to an age of innocence. Most homeless people that Andrew met had difficulty trusting others, but watching a game allowed them to remember their childhood when they were happy and had a sense of belonging.
After several years with Christ in the City, Andrew has moved on to a new chapter in his life. He moved to Lima, Peru in January to work for a non-profit organization called Bridges, run by The Christian Life Movement that also sponsors Christ in the City. Andrew has contracted with Bridges to work for six months, once again helping with grants and accounting. He had never been abroad and was excited about this new experience. He said he would miss many aspects of Christ in the City and CYAS. He commented that with Christ in the City he "did work to be proud of, striving for holiness together" with the community. Everyone shared in each other's success and failure. Andrew found strength in dealing with the emergencies he faced on the streets of Denver and added, "God keeps using you even when you are completely drained." He has complete faith that the friendships he made through Christ in the City and CYAS will continue even though he was called to Lima. Andrew will be missed here in Denver, but it will be exciting to see the impact he will have while living for Christ in Peru.