This week we went out to the Orlando Outlets and we met two women on two different occasions during our time out there. We were walking towards the cafeteria when my teammate noticed these beautiful crosses being sold on one of the shopping stands in the walkways. We went to check out the crosses that were marketed from the Holy Land and I struck up a conversation with the lady who was in charge of selling them. She told us all about the products and I asked her if she was from the Holy Land. She told me that she was actually from New England and had moved here about 2 years ago. I started talking to her about which item was her favorite and she pointed to a specific cross with pretty crystals inside. I mentioned that the shrine next door had a lot of beautiful items sold as well, to which she told me that she attended mass on sundays. She then started talking about how much she likes crystals and we got into the discussion of the ‘healing crystals.’ I was explaining to her that while crystals are very pretty, God sent his Son to be our mediator and healer. All of creation simply pointed to a divine creator, while it is God himself who desires to heal us. From getting to know her, I understood that she was not familiar with where the nature of healing comes from (since we as catholics do not believe in superstitions like that) so I began explaining to her how Jesus miraculously healed many people throughout his ministry as written in the gospels. I asked her if she had ever seen a miracle and shared a story with her about a miraculous healing that comes from the Lord. She began telling me a story of a horrible accident that she went through with her husband a few years back and how she began to search for spiritual healing and going back to her catholic roots. She had a good recovery (it was a miracle her and her husband lived) after many stitches, surgeries, and braces. She shared how her husband was still recovering, so I gave her two miraculous medals with the cards and we prayed with her (since she needed to back to work.) We asked for her complete healing, spiritual protection from the Enemy, and a continued desire to learn more about her faith with her husband. She thanked us and happily wore her medal around her neck.
We walked through the cafeteria to the outside tables and ran into a young woman around my age with a huge disney bag all on her own. I asked her what disney parks she was able to see, and she said her and her friend went to all the parks except for Animal Kingdom. She was a college student in her last year from Chicago and she was on a spring break trip. We were asking her about how she felt being so close to graduation. She told us she was nervous about entering into the workforce. As she shared her college experience, I began sharing about my own and how lucky I felt to be a part of a community of faith where I grew close to people who followed the Lord. I asked if she had any faith background and she said she grew up in a Lutheran home. The college she attended was also Lutheran and she said the college gave a lot of freedom for students to explore other faiths besides Lutheran. So I asked her if she ever considered becoming Catholic, to which she said no. I took the opportunity to share with her my testimony and explained that it was so important to have a personal encounter with the Lord. I then shared with her the gospel message and handed her a gospel card as well as the catholic talks card so that she could have resources to look into it. I told her that while it may seem tough and rigid on the outside, the Church had life-giving sacraments to help us abide with the Lord and so I asked her if she ever encountered the Lord in that way. She said no, so we asked if we could do a short prayer with her to which she accepted. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to reveal himself and in a powerful way and that the Lord may give her a gift of faith as she transitions into a phase of her life. She thanked us and kept the cards as we ended the conversation.