Jump directly to the content
Why I Offer Clean Needles in Jesus' Name

Why I Offer Clean Needles in Jesus' Name

On the front lines of HIV prevention in one of America's holiest cities.

And aren't redemptive endeavors the ones Christians celebrate the most?

This is unconventional and challenging work, to be sure. Daily, however, I can celebrate what God is doing in my city under the radar. There are hands and feet of Jesus driving the mobile clinic to hard-core neighborhoods where the message of HIV prevention is needed the most. There are dedicated Christians spending time in the gay bars hearing heartbreaking stories of youth who were kicked out of their homes and churches when they came out. There are lovely men and women sharing their own stories about living with HIV and how it is not a death sentence any more, but rather an opportunity to live a different kind of life, one more in tune with the reality that life is fragile and needs to be handled with care.

I attended a Christmas party at the needle exchange last year and sat chatting with a woman at a corner table. I introduced myself in an effort to gently uncover whether she was a volunteer or a client. She said she knew who I was; she attends my church and had heard me speak about HIV a few years prior and her heart had been moved to get involved. She had been volunteering for the Red Project ever since. Salt and light. Love without argument. Reflecting the kingdom on earth one conversation and one beautiful act at a time.

Ruth Bell Olsson is a writer, teacher, and AIDS activist in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

Displaying 1–2 of 2 comments

Belle Unruh

January 22, 2013  10:31pm

You are doing a wonderful work. God bless.

Kamilla Ludwig

January 19, 2013  2:52pm

Absolutely SUPER illustration of Christ's response to the woman caught in adultery! I know most of our translations have that awful, judgmental misrepresentation that runs something like, "Go and sin no more". But I can tell Olsson and the wise folk in Carol Stream know that the original reads: "Sweetie, I understand you are in a bad place and only ready to take teensy little baby steps so, here, take this condom. And the next time you feel like getting horizontal, you can ask him to slip this on and at least you can be a little less worried about the consequences."


Make a contribution to help support the This Is Our City project and the nonprofit ministry Christianity Today.Learn more ...


RT @MissionYear: A great collection of articles from @ct_city @CTmagazine http://t.co/OLmjHvUIfr

In honor of Kim Newlen, a friend of @ct_city who died Saturday, we share our story of her battle with cancer: http://t.co/S3FGKhVDuo

RT @CTmagazine: After three years, hundreds of stories, thousands of readers, our tribute to This Is Our City: http://t.co/Gz35NhAdqc @ct_c2026

The top 10 stories of @editor @KatelynBeaty picks her favorites and reflects on lessons learned in 3 years: http://t.co/BQxYdaoyD9

"As a community we have to do a better job of rescuing these young people." The newest (and last) City video: http://t.co/vZL0cRKO7H #RVA