We had our first street evangelization outing from 1pm to 6pm at the monthly event called “Kokua Kailua” (Village Stroll) in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Here, over 100 vendors gather to sell food, shirts, arts & crafts, Kona coffee, etc. We were on the waiting list, but three days before the event, one vendor cancelled so we were given a spot. The Holy Spirit truly made this happen fast.
My husband Rick and I gathered all our strength and courage, and with faith in the Holy Spirit and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we set up our canopy and table with Rosaries, Miraculous Medals, and brochures, and got ready for our first outing. We had an ambivalent feeling, not knowing how the community would react to Catholic street evangelization. However, after a couple of positive conversations with people, our fear and anxiety slowly melted away, and it was replaced with eagerness and enthusiasm. It wasn’t difficult to simply smile and say, “Would you like a free Rosary?” and wait for a response. No pressure tactics.
Although 70% of the people we encountered were visitors to the island, nonetheless they had stories to share about themselves and their faith journey. What surprised us the most were the Catholics who came to our booth to give us a thumbs-up. One gentleman, after looking at what we were doing from a distance, couldn’t hold back and came to us to offer kind words of support and encouragement. We had at least 10 people who simply approached us and said “Thank you!” or “God bless you!”
Below are some other comments we received:
“What you are doing is not easy…it takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing. Please continue on.”
– A gentleman visiting from Arizona
“I have never seen Catholics doing street evangelization. This is wonderful, I hope more will do it.”
– A lady visiting from Sacramento, CA
“Are you a member of the Legion of Mary? This is great! (referring to Rosaries and Miraculous Medals that we were handing out to people). I hope and pray that more Catholics would go out there and evangelize. We, in our parish, are doing door-to-door evangelization and will soon send out a mission to Cuba.”
– A couple visiting from Virginia
“I’m not Catholic, I’m Buddhist, but I have a friend back in Japan who is seriously thinking of becoming a Catholic and right now she is deeply troubled.” (We gave her a pamphlet on “Why Be Catholic”, a Miraculous Medal, a Rosary, and a brochure on how to pray the Rosary. She left, but after a few minutes, came back and with her broken English asked if she could take our photos as well. She was so excited!)
– A young lady visiting from Japan
“I’ve tried different religions before, and right now, I am not active in any of them. I was once Catholic.” (She said this with a sad look in her eyes. I asked if she would like to take the brochure on “Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church” and her eyes glowed as she accepted it. She also took the Rosaries and the guide. I asked if she would be open to come and visit St. Michael the Archangel Church and attend one of the Masses on Sunday. She smiled and nodded her head as she walked away.)
– A lady from the Big Island of Hawaii
“I’m very interested in the Rosary. I like the way you meditate on Christ while praying it.”
– A non-Catholic, but Christian, gentleman who gladly accepted the Rosary and the Rosary Guide
People from Arizona, California, Seattle, Virginia and the Big Island of Hawaii (our local area), and people from other countries like Canada, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, and Japan to name a few, showed interest in the Rosaries, Miraculous Medals, and brochures about Catholicism. Each had his or her own little story of their life and their faith. Some were excited, others sad and teary eyed, but all had common reasons for talking to us … they were all moved by God, whether they knew it or not.
We gave out over 100 blessed Rosaries, close to 30 Miraculous Medals and many brochures on “Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church”, “Why Be Catholic”, “What About Mary?”, and of course “How to Pray the Rosary”, both in English and Spanish.
Many seeds were planted that day and we are looking forward to our next Street Evangelization outing, but this time with much more zeal!