Gaithersburg, MD. Here is a report from Tom.
On Holy Saturday, the team had the opportunity to evangelize at the Giant supermarket at Flower Hill in Gaithersburg. The outing lasted from 10am to 4pm and was initially attended by Joanne and myself. Shortly afterward we were joined by Consuelo, who stayed with us for about an hour and a half, her Spanish-speaking ability proving useful on at least one occasion. (She is very appreciated at Lake Forest!) Having evangelized with us numerous times by now, she fell right into it– offering her gifts of cheerfulness and sincerity.
As Consuelo was leaving, Alyson arrived, who drove in from Virginia. Alyson joined us although she was suffering from a cold and had a tight schedule that day. She has been coming to evangelize with us to learn the ropes so that can start a new chapter of St. Paul Street Evangelization in Alexandria, VA.
Throughout the day we met numerous people who shared some of their stories with us. Early on we had spoken to a man who had entered the Church two years ago, whose wife is still Protestant. Joanne spoke to him at some length and he seemed very appreciative of our work.
Being the Saturday before Easter, we were handing out flyers for the Easter Mass times for St. John Neumann and St. Francis of Assisi Parishes. Fr. John Dillon of St. Francis walked out of the store at one point, and stopped briefly to chat. Before leaving, he gave us a blessing and encouraged us in our work. What a boost that gave us! (See photo.)
One interesting thing we noticed was how many people assumed we were outside the store to obtain donations. After politely explaining that we do not accept money for our materials, they would often seem confused and not want anything. One woman told me she didn’t feel right just taking stuff, and I explained to her that that was why we were there. (With my encouragement, she did take something.) We have recalled with humor on several occasions, the look people have when they can’t give you money. One man did offer us sodas however, which we accepted!
After about two hours with us, Alyson had to leave, and was soon replaced by Nancy. Nancy has a natural ability to engage people, and jumped right into it. Her experience as a sidewalk counselor is apparent. At one point a man leaving the store signaled he was not interested. Nancy said to him softly, “Oh, if you knew Jesus, you would fall in love with him.” The gentleman was taken aback by these words. He said “Really?” He pored over the leaflet she handed him and he came to talk to us at our table where we spoke with him at greater length and provided with him some things to take home. It was a very beautiful moment.
When we had begun Joanne had a rather huge stack of flyers for the Easter Masses. I told her there was virtually no chance of giving them all out. However, by the end of the outing, she had gotten remarkably close. You go Joanne!
The full effects of any outing are known only to God. It is for us to merely show up, and do our part. Thanks for doing your part too. We count on your prayers and would love to have you join us! God be with you!
Praised be Jesus Christ! … Oh, if only people knew Jesus, they would fall in love with Him! … Thank you Tom, Joanne, Consuelo, Alyson, and Nancy! If you are interested in getting involved in our apostolate, and joining us on the streets, please visit our website!