Brighton, MIchigan. We all have different gifts in the work of drawing people to Christ and His Church. St. Paul wrote, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 2:4-7). Sometimes those gifts, when used in the service of the Lord, can be kind of…incredible!
This report comes from evangelist Rory of the St. Patrick SPSE team in Brighton, Michigan:
“Feast of the Assumption Celebration at a city park, with praise and worship music, public prayer and priests available for confession. Plenty of people praying the Rosary, praising God and online for confession.
It was a sunny beautiful day when we set up shop at the city sidewalk edge to the park, just after praying the Glorious mysteries. The “Catholic Truth” sign prominently displayed, table set up, spread out our SPSE literature, Rosaries, and Miraculous Medals and waited. And waited, and waited. Nothing. No pedestrians. Zilch. I told my evangelist partner Brian (from Encounter Ministries) that we’ve been covering this event six years now at the Brighton Assumption Celebration and I always have great interactions with passerbys. I told him that on multiple occasions I’ve met “fallen away” Catholics who have not been to confession for 10, 20 and even 30 years and after talking to them, and pointing out priests hearing confessions 50 feet behind me, have witnessed them go to confession! I recalled walking one woman in her 40’s over to the Reconciliation line a couple years ago who hadn’t been to confession since her Confirmation.
But today, we were getting zero foot traffic. I admit, I was getting a little discouraged. Brian says “Let’s pray. Let’s pray exactly for what you said, for God to send us someone who has been away from the Church for 20 or 30 years.” So we did. We prayed WITH SPECIFICITY for about 2 minutes. While praying out loud, eyes closed, I was given an image of a woman, 50-something, 5’4”—5’7″, 130-150lb, brown hair, white shirt. Clear image that would not go away. As we finished praying, Brian said “I’m getting the name Nancy.” I told him the image I got. We looked for “Nancy” toward a parking lot with people for about 30 seconds. I then turned my head the other direction and saw a woman go into a storefront business. A strong inspiration came to me wordlessly saying “that’s her.” She looked like the image I had been given, except she had blonde hair. I asked Brian if he saw her. He said she had a white shirt. The sense I got was compelling! But I resisted it, out of fear for 5 to 10 seconds. But, the inspiration was irresistible. I headed toward the storefront. I entered and discovered it was a beauty salon and there was the woman sitting, and now I could see that her “blonde” hair had clearly visible brown roots.
I said with trepidation in my voice, “Umm, is your name Nancy?” My jaw must have dropped when she said “yes,” because her facial expression was filled with wonder about my question. I was overcome with joy in a flash. I could feel my eyes welling up. I sat down next to her and told her “This is going to sound a little strange. I don’t know if you are Catholic or know Jesus, but..” Before I could finish the sentence, she said “I used to be Catholic.” I almost shouted “Praise God” but it was semi crowded cramped salon I wanted to maintain discretion. I could see clearly from her facial reaction and body language that she knew “something” unusual was happening. I knew it was God of course–the Holy Spirit quaking in her, stirring her, but I didn’t want to freak her out any more than I already was.
So I looked her in the eye, and with genuine sincerity (fighting back my own tears of joy), told her exactly what happened, the specificity of the prayer for God to show us someone away from the Church a long time, and particularly Confession, and the image of HER I was given and her NAME that Brian was given. I pointed out through the window the Celebration going on and that priests were available for confession. I pointed out Brian to confirm she didn’t know him.
Her hairdresser by the way was not happy about any of this. Although I was talking to her this whole time in just over a whisper, he was behind me making impatient gasps and toe-tapping. I told her that based on what just transpired, I am certain that God sent me to deliver this message, that I know you’ve got an appointment (gesturing toward Fabio), but we’ll be right outside when you’re done.
I am sorry to say I did not see Nancy later that day with her fresh “blonde” hair. But, I am still overwhelmed with joy for God speaking to me and Brian, for encouraging us with His prophetic Word and image, and confirming our calling to evangelize. I have been praying for Nancy all day and now night. I know that God will not let her forget the “encounter” she had today. He will continue to work on her. One shows, another waters, another harvests.
PLEASE PRAY for Nancy! God wants her so badly! And, do not be discouraged, do not be afraid. Respond to God’s callings and inspirations obediently and immediately! Remember, it is not you doing this; it is God in you for His glory! It is all Him. Just cooperate humbly in obedience. Praise God in all things. AND, pray for Nancy!”
Praised be Jesus Christ! What great gifts of vision and response by these two evangelists. Let us all pray for spiritual gifts to be used in service to our Lord and His people!