Carroll, IA. Today’s story is more of a reflection on “what is street evangelization?”, and why would someone bother to start in a small, quiet town that generally seeks to dodge serious questions about God.
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The following report comes to us from team leader Allison with our team in Carroll, IA:
I think that when most of us think about street evangelization, we picture a busy street corner in a big city. We think of a successful evangelization team as one that gets a steady stream of passers-by, giving away dozens of rosaries on an outing and regularly witnessing the beginnings of repentance and conversion. By those standards, it doesn’t make sense to start a team in a place like Carroll, Iowa.
My team and I live in a tiny rural town of just 10,000 people. Most of us can trace our roots in this area back several generations, and most of us were raised at least nominally Catholic. We are in the middle of the “polite Midwest,” where we avoid uncomfortable conversations (like, “How’s your relationship with Jesus?”) at all costs. As my team and I sat at the park on our second-ever outing last month, I started to doubt what we were doing. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, but we had yet to speak to anyone. Were we wasting our time? Would we ever get a chance to do any “real” evangelization?
And then, I realized something important: we were working in our community in the same way that God often works in our lives. Quietly. In the background, without fanfare. Sitting there in the shade, behind our display of brochures and Miraculous Medals, we were changing lives as surely as those teams who meet dozens of people during an outing. Who knows how we affected the people who drove by and saw us? Who waved and smiled, but didn’t stop? Who said “no, thank you,” or were too engrossed in their phones to notice us? Who knows what impact our prayers that afternoon had on the community around us? Who knows what impact it had on us, for that matter? Who am I to doubt the power of the Holy Spirit to do His work through us, however meager it might seem?
Praised be Jesus Christ!