Today was my first day being a part of the St. Paul’s Street Evangelization (www.streetevangelization.com) . Be clear: I’m not sharing my story for myself; I’m sharing it to encourage all of us to do this, or something similar. If I can do it, anyone can do it; it might be to share the Good News vocally, or pray for those who are. Find the talents God has given you, and let Him glorify those talents for His Good! I have lots of words…thank you Lord for helping me to use them in such an amazing way.
We went to a local ‘soup kitchen’ for the homeless adjacent to a local Cathedral. I was soooooooooooo nervous! Last night, I was sitting and talking with my husband, and had tears coming down my face. What if I mess up? What if I make a mistake? I hadn’t felt nervous like this about something since my children were born. Sure I’ve been nervous, when starting a new job, or something like that, but it wasn’t an ‘important’, or ‘life changing’ nervous. I prayed, prayed, prayed, and had great support from my husband.
I woke up, not completely rested, but raring to go. We arrived early, got our table set up outside the dining room area of the ‘soup kitchen’ (but it’s more regular meals, than soup). We prayed the Rosary together before the doors opened. I was a little skeptical of how many would actually want a Rosary. Most were there because they were hungry for food; little did I know how many were hungry spiritually, for a one on one connection. A few came in to us pretty quickly, even before the announcement that we were there (we were in an adjacent hallway). Our team leader/head of the local chapter was immediately approached by a young man with a lot of strong ideas and opinions, and kept him busy for quite a while. That left us ‘newbies’ (2 of us). My husband was there, but he was just along for the ride, so to speak, as he isn’t comfortable sharing with others. He was our silent prayer warrior, reading the Bible and praying the Rosary as we did our ‘work’. However, he was even pulled in to join me in prayer when there was a long line of people wanting to get a Rosary from me, and the other 2 were busy.
I’ve only ever offered prayer in public once, last year, out of the blue, at the bookstore. I had no idea what I was doing!!! But somehow, I did it…or more honestly, the Holy Spirit did it. I think we did touch some lives. Whether we changed them, we may never know. I offered people the prayer list we had set out, as well as immediate prayer (while thinking on the inside, don’t ask me to pray out loud!!). You guessed it…many wanted immediate prayer together. I’d ask for the intention, as well as the person’s name. The first time, I offered a short prayer, followed by the Hail Mary. Thereafter, I felt called to pray the Our Father after offering the intention. I felt it important to let them know that they already knew this prayer that is part of the Catholic Faith. We ran out of Rosary pamphlets, but still gave away plenty of Rosaries. I met amazing people. They touched my life, and I pray that I touched theirs.
It was a humbling experience as well. I was reminded that there are many people different from ourselves out there, each with his own story. I was so touched by the way people offered up their mistakes in their lives to ask for prayer, from recently released from prison or jail, to the jobless, the homeless. I’m not very good at asking others, strangers or otherwise, to pray for me and my own mistakes. Many people didn’t ask for prayers for themselves, even though they had their own problems; they asked for prayer or rosaries for family members and friends.
Sure, a few times we were shut down. One man declined the Rosary and walked away abruptly, telling us he ‘dialed direct’, while pointing to above. Another man, we had a language barrier with. He kept pointing to our picture of Mary holding Jesus, and sounded agitated. I picked up a little of his Spanish, and it seemed he was saying he wouldn’t pray to Mary, but only to God. I don’t speak Spanish, but I think I was able to share with him that Mary was like ‘Mama’, and used gestures to show him that we worshiped only God, but Mary was like our Mother, and we honor her. I think maybe he understood; he seemed slightly more at peace when he left. Next time, I want to make sure to bring some information in Spanish just for him. We were also asked about Saints, so I’m going to try to find an inexpensive book on Saints to keep handy.
We plan on returning at the end of March, and I’m very excited!!
Please remember in your prayers Rex, Todd, Willie, Phillip, Bobby, Bill, Heather, and all those we met today, and even those who were unable to visit with us for whatever reason. I pray that their reasons for attending the meal are resolved, but that we may meet them again.
Thank you God for all the blessings we have received. Thank you for letting me use your Glory to reach out to others. Let us use them to Glorify, Praise and Bless You. Holy Spirit, I sing Your Praises for all the good words that were said today, and for those words that were mine and not yours, I ask that those are forgotten. Thank you for the team leader and teammates and continue to bless them.