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Douglasville / West Georgia

Country: United States
State or province: Georgia

Team Leader
Jeremy Noonan

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First Douglasville Team Outreach!

June 4, 2024

We did our first outreach Monday night at the Food Truck event in downtown Douglasville.  Henry Leiva and Lucy Erozo joined me. Food trucks were lined up on Church Street. We found a prime spot on the sidewalk where we could catch people walking by to the trucks (and where it was quiet enough to have a good conversation).

SPSE Team Photo

The evening could not have gone better.  After praying together and watching me a couple of times, Henry and Lucy jumped right in and had a great first experience:

SPSE Team Photo
I was amazed by how many people were receptive receiving the rosary, and the need to evangelize people that are away from God and not really attending or a member of a church. I was surprised how kids were engaged to ask questions about the rosary [when we offered one to their parents] and it can be a great start for a family to attended a Catholic church. I also met some Catholics that are not attending Mass and gave them an invitation to St. Theresa's. We pray we will see them at Mass. I am very exited, blessed and looking forward to the next event for St Paul Evangelism! - HENRY
This was a unique experience. I felt very emotional, honored by the lord our God because allow me to be one of his disciples and bring a litter of his love to those who need it. I also realized the need to carry the good news of Jesus love to others. - LUCY
I'd like to highlight a few of the longer conversations we got to participate in together.
The first extended conversation was with a young woman named Saturn who was collecting signatures to add a Democratic Socialist candidate to the presidential ballot.  She declined a Rosary, but told us that she left a local evangelical church because she was a lesbian and experienced trauma over their attempts at "conversion therapy."  She added that her Italian ancestors were Catholic and her mom had her christened as a baby. Since she had the impression that the Church was more welcoming to LGBT people, she said that if she were to return to Christianity it would be in the Catholic Church.  I left her with some additional reasons why she should do this!  As she walked away I said to my companions:  "People like her are exactly why I wanted to start this."
Later her colleague and friend came over to ask for our signature, not knowing we had talked with Saturn.  This young woman was the daughter of the pastor of this same evangelical church, but had walked away from Christianity and was in the process of converting to Islam, which surprised me.  I could discern that she really did not understand Islam and asked her how this fit with her political passions.  Ironically, she said that church and state should be completely separated, and when I attempt to explain how Islam teaches the opposite and contrast that with Jesus' renunciation of an earthly kingdom when Peter tried to protect him, she got agitated and said she wasn't there to argue religion (but made sure she added that we have no idea what Jesus actually said or did because Paul wrote the Gospels, not the original Apostles!).  While she was talking I thought about how the Catholic Church has some of things that she finds attractive about Islam yet still gives her Jesus, but she didn't stick around long enough for me to share.
After having a very meaningful conversation with a guy from Orange Theory who was trying to sign up people for memberships - a non-practicing Protestant who was open to hearing about the Catholic Church - the last long conversation we had was with a young man - Denzel - who refused the rosary because he instead wears an Ankh, which he showed us.
SPSE Team Photo
SPSE Team PhotoHe explained how this was not the same as a Christian cross, but was a symbol of ancient paganism like found in Egypt, and shared how he was into 'spirituality,' which sounded like a confused, eclectic mix of a lot of different beliefs, including reincarnation.  When I asked him whether or not he believed Jesus actually rose from the dead, he started asking more questions about what we believed, and a deep, powerful conversation ensued.  When I explained how Jesus died to satisfy the debt due to sin, he asked very sincerely:  how did we get this debt?  where did it come from?  By the end he was seriously considering the claims of Christ.  I left him with the exhortation that resurrection is a far superior hope than reincarnation.  And then Lucy had the inspiration to suggest that he watch The Chosen and showed him how. We invited him to Mass and he took a Rosary after all!  We all sensed strongly how the Spirit was at work in Denzel's life.
There are many thousands of people like this who live in our community:  spiritually misinformed, confused, or lost, but willing to talk and consider.  But they likely will not come to us, we who have the fullness of Truth must seek after them, following Jesus who "came to seek and save the lost."