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Country: United States
State or province: California

Team Leader
David Brandt

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Reaching Out in El Cerrito

September 16, 2019

Today three member team from the Berkeley chapter of St. Paul Street evangelization (Dave, Chuck and John) worked at the El Cerrito Plaza in El Cerrito California right next-door to Berkley. They stationed their selves at the center of a cross between three buildings in a parking lot and had quite a busy day. Here are some hi lights.

Gave out Bout 30 Rosaries and How to Pray the Rosary pamphlets.
Met quite a few people who expressed gratitude that we were out there.

-Interesting approach by two Chinese women one of whom spoke english whose mother had been Catholic, father Buddhist. Took a rosary and several pamphlets and inquired about a Chinese language Mass. I had left my Diocesan Directory at home so could not help.She did say that while she wanted to believe in many gods her mother instructed her “only ONE GOD”!
-One woman described herself as Episcopal but took a rosary and pamphlet on how to pray the rosary. On her way back she said “thanks for being here and Godbless you”.
– One man, described himself as Catholic took several pamphlets and a Rosary because he had family members who had fallen away to evangelist church. He was very animated and enthusiastic spiritually.

Overall I felt the El Cerrito soil was more fertile than other places we had been.

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Chuck and our first sezzzt of visitors

Dave met a young woman who said that she is Catholic but ever since she came out to UC Berkeley to go to school and just stopped going to Church. She had no answer to why. “Can I take one of each of these?” she asked about the pamphlets. ” Of course, help yourself.” I told her. “Reading the Bible is just too hard.”, she told me. Of course agreed and helped her pull out pamphlets. Looks like somebody is a little hungry.

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Hungry young woman stocking up

John met a woman who after a first pass and some window shopping, returned to talk. She was a non-Catholic and had a tremendous worry for her relatives in Nepal and the earth quake they had just experienced which she thought was of a magnitude 8.4. He realized her distress and offered to pray with her. She was reluctant at first. He ask God in that moment of need that for those who are in different parts of the world experiencing calamity, war, misfortune are never too far away from your loving hand to be helped, especially those who were in the tragic earthquake in Nepal. He prayed that they may be filled with faith and especially hope in this time of need. She was appreciative and left in a hurry.
“I almost felt like I was a fast food version of a prayer service. But, this showed me that others are willing to pray that have no understanding how to. Thank you Jesus for showing us the way!”

More from John-
“I often make a prayer for the misjudged and misunderstood. Today, I can see that even the most hardened appearing person also needs Jesus. There were two men in their early twenties who would wear saggy pants and appeared rough enough to be in a gang. I reached out to them and they were willing to take a rosary. They did not know how to pray it, so I gave them a brochure. I wanted them to also have a miraculous medal and told them even if they don’t wear it keep it in their wallet. ‘The Blessed Virgin will bestow you with graces if you have the faith.’ They didn’t know of Catholic Radio, so I gave them Immaculate Heart Radio cards and gave them a brochure on why to become Catholic. They were ever so thankful, and I think even more so because of the extension of generosity we have because of the love of Jesus. I want to thank Jesus for allowing me reach out to even the most intimidating individuals.”

I met what I thought was a homeless man who was a Catholic but was waiting for his wife. As we spoke, I realized he had “The Spark” while giving him the rosary and miraculous medal. He explained he goes to church at St. John the Baptists and his name was Damien. He complimented me on my name (John), that it was in-line for the work that I was doing. As we continued our dialogue I could tell he had been struck before by Jesus and had a conversion experience at some point in his life. I came to realize that he was not only struck by Jesus but by a car that nearly terminated his earthly existence. He explained that he had died in the hospital for a period of time that wasn’t clear to me. He said that, while he was ‘asleep’, he had seen his loved ones, grandmother and relatives before him in a place with pure radiant light. He said there is no pain suffering or hunger there, just pure joy in this place.” I exclaimed you are a walking living testimony and you can make an impact in other people’s lives for Jesus. He was happy to exchange phone numbers with me since he found interest in our ministry. By this time, his wife had joined us. She wanted extra miraculous medals after taking a rosary. I gave them all they wished for because Jesus was going to use them as instruments of his divine will. I finally gave them approximately 10 Immaculate Radio cards so they could help propagate the Lord’s message to the world. Thank you Jesus for validating my sense of hope today!

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Dave & John