Cheryl Evan

I’m Cheryl Evan, the Special Assistant to Aaron Wadin, the Executive Director here at UCAN City Mission. You may wonder about my title . . “Special Assistant” – what exactly does that mean? A few weeks after I was hired at the mission, Aaron shared a story with me about his favorite basketball team – Duke University Blue Devils and the unprecedented hiring of a Personal Assistant to the Head Coach. Not an Assistant Coach – but just someone who assisted the Head Coach. He liked that idea, and asked me if I’d like to be a Special Assistant. Well, a little tweak to the title, and I became the Special Assistant to the Executive Director (not the coach). My journey to UCAN started years ago. I remember attending a church service that concluded with an invitation, for anyone who felt called by God to be used in some sort of service, to stand so that they could receive prayer and a blessing. Before I knew it, I was on my feet and quickly thought . . . what was I thinking? I’d been on mission trips to Honduras, Haiti, and even served in Biloxi, Mississippi when hurricane Katrina went thru . . . but this seemed like a bold step – making a public statement that I wanted to be used by God in a ministry. Fast forward to February of 2023. I was finally ready to retire from a career that included a variety of jobs in the hospitality industry and corporate business settings. I said at my retirement party that I still wanted to work part time – I just didn’t know if it would be something “meaningless” – or something “meaningful”. I’m thrilled that God decided to choose something “meaningful” for me! If you enjoy working on puzzles like I do, you can relate to the feeling I got when I started here at the mission. You know . . that feeling you get when you slide a puzzle piece into place – and it just fits perfectly! I had come to the Union Gospel Mission with my father when I was younger as he was a local pastor that often preached a Sunday night sermon for the men. Back then the idea of being homeless seemed so scary and unfamiliar to me, and quite honestly, I felt a little uncomfortable during our visits. I never could have imagined that someday it would become exactly the place where I was meant to be. A place where I felt so at home! I love being able to interact with the men. Sitting and listening to their life stories, their dreams, frustrations, and worries – praying with them, offering hope from the Bible, and reminding them they are loved by Jesus … and me.