"Set On Fire"
Flint, Michigan, USA
When Jesus sent the disciples out to preach and heal, he sent them “two by two” (Lk 10:1). Today we have that same calling to go out and spread the Good News by virtue of our baptism, and we find people responding, intentionally and with enthusiasm, to that calling. This includes all of our lay evangelists setting up stations on the street, and also more recently, those who have accepted the call to be religious brothers with the St. Paul Society of Evangelists.
The following report comes from John Nguyen, a brother with the newly formed St. Paul Society of Evangelists:
“The brothers from the St. Paul Society of Evangelists attended “The Mission: Flint Summer Work Camp” during the week of July 22-27 at St. Mary Queen of Angels in Swartz Creek. There were over 100 youth and young adults from different parishes in the diocese of Lansing who were assigned to various community service projects, one group of which was assigned to do street evangelization. The brothers gave a training conference on Monday which was based on the Basic Evangelization Training days given by SPSE, but with the fun factor kicked up a notch for the teens. Topics included the importance of prayer, how to approach and engage others in conversation, how to hand out Miraculous Medals and Rosaries, how to pray with people for their intentions – especially for physical and spiritual healing, and how to give the Gospel message and encourage them to take the next step in their journey to God.
Eager to set the world on fire, the group of 15 high school students, several young adult leaders, and the three brothers set out after Mass on Tuesday morning to the Flint courthouse. Two were stationed at an SPSE table while the rest were locked and loaded with pockets full of medals and Rosaries. After a prayer they broke up into teams of 2’s and 3’s and were sent to evangelize on the main street and surrounding area. What happened next surprised us all.
Teams began to come back to the SPSE table to refill their hands and pockets with more Miraculous Medals, Rosaries, Crucifixes, cards, pamphlets, and whatever else they were inspired to give away. Reports of fruitful conversations, inspired prayers, and confidence among the students began to increase, especially those who were street evangelizing for the very first time. As the day passed, reports of people having personal encounters with Jesus increased. People were receiving spiritual healing while others were being healed completely of their physical pains. The Gospel seed was increasingly being sewn into hearts.
Returning back to base camp, marvelous testimonies were shared and the enthusiasm of the teens was growing in their hearts and on their shining faces. After being fed with dinner, edifying and funny skits, powerful music in praise of God, and encouraging talks, we were fed with the presence of God in powerful Eucharistic adoration and thanked Him for all the graces being given on the streets that day.”
Praise be Jesus Christ! Have you ever felt a deeper calling to do something “more?” Do you want to “go beyond Sunday” to be on fire as a “24/7 Catholic?” Are you attracted to the religious life? Maybe God is calling you to consider the St. Paul Society of Evangelists!
In whatever our capacity, we are called to share the Good News with others. But there are exciting new opportunities on this “new frontier” of being a Catholic Christian in today’s world. Check us out, pray, and consider supporting our ministry with your time, talent, and treasure. You never know where the Lord may lead you when you “come and see!”
“These signs will accompany those who believe…”
Praised be Jesus Christ! A team of evangelists visited the local Farmer’s Market to share the Gospel on a recent Saturday. There were a handful of remarkable encounters on this outing, but one of them, in particular, stands out. One of the team’s evangelists met a young couple. They were Protestants striving to live their lives for Christ, but not strongly committed to one denomination. The evangelist gave them “One good reason” why he chooses to be a Catholic: That Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church, and promised to remain with it until the end of time. As he explained this to them from the Scriptures, the couple were very responsive, and truly interested in discovering the truth of this for themselves. They accepted the tract, “Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth,” and the books “Rome Sweet Home” and “Made for More,” and promised to read them. They also exchanged contact information with the evangelist, planning to meet him on another day for lunch.
As they were walking away, the evangelist had a thought, “I should pray with them!”, and he ran to catch up with them, asking if they would like to receive prayer. They accepted, and he prayed that the Holy Spirit draw near and fill them all. The couple was visibly moved by the prayer. Now, this evangelist had discerned in the past that he had been given a gift for prayers of healing, so he asked the couple if they needed prayer for any physical ailments. The young woman said that yes, indeed, she suffered from lymphedema, an incurable condition effecting the lymphatic system. She said that her pain-level was currently “20 out of 10,” and that her ankles were swollen.
The evangelist asked the Holy Spirit to come and heal her from the condition, and commanded the pain to leave and the condition to be healed in the Name of Jesus Christ. The woman stood up, and was amazed, saying that the pain was 100% gone! She started crying as she wiggled her ankles which were no longer swollen!
Praised be Jesus Christ! Please give thanks to God for His kindness to this young woman and her boyfriend, and pray for them and for the evangelist, as he follows up with them.
A Couple at the Soup Kitchen
This story comes from Anne:
This couple, married 57 years, stopped by our SPSE table at All Saints Soup kitchen today. The layout of this Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan run soup kitchen has our evangelists near the entrance. As patrons check in, they can see our table. Our evangelists greet them as they wait in line. Following check in, patrons can enter the dining area by passing directly in front of our table or by another route. This gives our evangelists the opportunity to evangelize or perhaps simply to make eye contact with as many that enter as possible.
An elderly Hispanic couple walked up to our table and immediately expressed faith! The husband shared that soon after waking up, asks God what He wants him to do that day! How beautiful! After a brief conversation, this man said he would accept our offer to pray for him and his wife. After the couple enjoyed a hearty meal, we sat down for prayer. They shared many issues with which they were dealing , including the recent loss of all the husband’s teeth making eating very painful. The wife also major dental issues. They were grateful that they found a good local dentist. They also asked for prayer for one of their grandsons who was recently released from prison. And for a recently divorced adult daughter and for another daughter with stomach issues; she is under the care of doctor who is trying to diagnose the problem. Two sons were brought up, one who drinks to excess. The wife’s right arthritic hand and the husband’s overall health (along with the dental issues, he had two heart attacks and a recent stroke) were discussed at length. The wife’s hand was an issue as she wanted and needed to serve her family and grandchildren by preparing meals. We asked God for help for all of these issues, mentioning them individually, including the wife’s hand. We prayed for her hand at the end of our prayer; the evangelist asked if she could place her hands over the wife’s hand and asked the husband to join her. When we concluded, our evangelist asked the wife to try out her hand by opening and closing it. She said it was moving a little more smoothly. It was suggested that both of them continue to pray for the full healing of her hand and thank God for this healing throughout the day and fr the next few days. We parted ways and began to greet other patrons. About five minutes later, the wife came out of the restroom with her hand held high and a big smile on her face. As she walked up to our table, she exclaimed,
I washed it and it feels good.” She was opening and closing her hand repeatedly. Praise Be to God!
He was denied help
Sometimes God sends people your way when you expect it, but most of the time he sends people unexpectedly and we just need to remember to Listen, Befriend, Proclaim, and Invite. When we are open to listening and asking questions, we can touch hearts through our love of God and our neighbor.
Last week we talked to a young man, Jose, who was living in his truck. He had a job, but with no GED, he didn’t earn enough for affordable housing. He had really been struggling to find a sense of dignity through his circumstances. In fact, he had just gotten enough courage to meet with a government group for assistance and when he didn’t understand how to fill out the forms, he was denied help. He felt pretty worthless at the moment. We were able to connect him with a local St. Vincent de Paul group for financial assistance,
We then asked him about his relationship with God and if he went to church. He said that he had grown up Catholic but had drifted away from the church. He couldn’t even remember why, he just stopped going. He told us that sometimes, he just walked into the local Catholic Church when no one was there because it gave him a sense of peace.
We shared with him that being in relationship with God and following his plan for our lives can bring us that sense of peace always and that God wants to be part of our lives. God created the church so that we would be part of his body and we would live in community with each other. We prayed for his needs and gave him a Miraculous Medal. We talked to him about how much God loved him and his face lit up. We were able to connect him to our contact person at the church to begin the process of accompaniment back to full relationship.
When one member of the body of Christ falls away, it is a loss for us all. How many people are out there that need this same kind of love and conversation to help restore their relationship with the Lord and His Church? You can be the hands and feet of Christ. Come and partner with one of our teams or start one in your own community.