“Friends do for friends” is what Mitch told me the seventh or eighth time I expressed our gratitude for him coming to pick up my wife, my 8-month-old son, and me to take us to the store to get diapers and formula. We had traveled to northern Michigan to be with my wife’s family for Thanksgiving, but got stuck in Detroit on our way back because of winter weather in Kansas City. We had anticipated the possibility of being stuck for one extra day, but not for two. We were out of diapers and running low on formula. Without a car or access to public transit, we needed some help. Fortunately, my dear friend and recent Central Ann Arbor graduate, Mitch Yudasz offered to come to our rescue. He picked us up at our hotel, took us to the store so we could get baby supplies, took us to dinner, and then brought us all back safely to where we were staying. Over and over, he just kept saying “friends do for friends.” And you know what? He’s right.
The Scripture verse for the Advent season here at Central is Luke 13:29: “Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God.” Central is a community that fosters the kind of love that compels a person to drop everything after a 10-hour work day and step into a cold, dark Michigan night to aid some stranded travelers. This kind of community and that kind of love is what I kept thinking about as the four of us sat together sharing dinner. Central’s community spans the entire globe. From Myanmar to Korea, the Haiti to Nigeria, from Nashville to Milwaukee, from Dearborn to Kansas City, the community here is alive with people being drawn together to break bread in the kingdom of God. We have many opportunities at Central to make friends with folks who hail from all over the world with dramatically different backgrounds. We are made up of all different types, but I have noticed an uncommon eagerness here to dig deeply into those friendships in order to support and help one another. Our world needs more of that these days. In this Advent season, I encourage you to remember Mitch’s words and to define your friends broadly. After all, Jesus is drawing the whole world together to the table that he has prepared for us.
Nathan Huguley does admissions work in the Office of Student Success. A graduate of Central himself, Nathan’s ministry here is primarily focused on vocational discernment with new and prospective students. He lives in Kansas City, KS with his wife and young son.
Dear Friends of Central, as we observe this joyous season of Advent and then Christmastide, we give thanks that Jesus draws the whole world together. God has called Central to be a place where north and south, east and west, come together as the one Body of Christ to learn how the Gospel takes root in different cultures.
I ask you to give generously as the year-end draws near. Each day I give thanks for your participation in the world-wide mission of Central. — Molly T. Marshall