Susan from Phoenix, AZ recently sent a report about the evangelization efforts of the Northwest Phoenix Team at the First Friday Art Walk. One of their evangelizers that day was Fiona, a teenager. Fiona spent nearly an hour talking with Ben, a former Catholic of about 60, who no longer believes in the authority of the Pope or that priests are able to offer forgiveness through the sacrament of Confession. Fiona did her best to present the Catholic position on those and other hot-button issues, and held her own. While Ben was cordial and chatty, he and Fiona reached no real agreement, but he did take some SPSE pamphlets on “Reasons to Return” and on “Praying to the Saints.”
Fiona and Susan also spoke with a young Jewish woman who wanted to know the Church’s position on a variety of issues. She was pleased to hear that the Catholic perspective on homosexuality is not as harsh (her words) as she had expected.
Many of the people they met that day asked for prayer, including Raven, a Catholic whom the team met months earlier at Rosary Sunday. He is having personal issues and would greatly appreciate prayers.
Also with us that day were Doug and Paul, brothers-in-law, who are part of our SPSE team. It was Paul’s first time out evangelizing with the team, and he was surprised by how lost and aimless many of the people they met seemed to be. Many of them have likely never had the opportunity to know Christ, and so the team considers evangelizing with SPSE to be a great opportunity to share the light of Christ with others.
Last but certainly not least, was Juan, holding a sign with a positive Bible verse on it and standing silently as a young man stood in front of him, cursing him. Please pray for this soul.
Praised be Jesus Christ! When evangelizing in a public place, we will meet all sorts of people. Some will be ambivalent and simply walk by. Others will stop to talk, willing to engage in a conversation about faith but unlikely to be swayed. And then there are those rare persons who are openly antagonistic, and hostile. This hostility will have nothing to do with you personally. There is a darkness in that soul that desperately needs the light of Christ. He will not be open to any discussion. All you can do is to pray for him. Whenever you encounter such open hostility (though it is rare), remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:11-12. “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”