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Philadelphia - Lower Bucks County

Country: United States
State or province: Pennsylvania

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Nancy Hoyt

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Downtown West Chester – 11/16/2017

September 19, 2019

(RobM)  Thank you all for your prayers! The first time evangelizing in downtown West Chester was a success, as far as Austin and I were concerned. Sometimes its the ministry of ‘just showing up’ and letting the Holy Spirit do the work.

I’ll admit–it is kind of a strange sight. Catholics just “don’t do these kinds of things,” talking about the faith and praying…at least not in public. Just keep it private and to yourselves. “I’ve never seen a Catholic evangelist in my entitre life,” my wife said, “but there you guys are.” It’s unique times we are living in, and unique times call for unique responses!

One guy named Michael that we spoke with was grateful we were out there. “I was just walking around, waiting for my girlfriend to get out of her yoga class. Something told me to walk this way, and then I saw you guys.

“I just moved here from Cleveland. I don’t know too many people in this area.” He was a Baptist brother in Christ, and asked for prayers for his new relationship because “it’s kind of tough.” We were happy to pray with Michael, and I also gave him my phone number and took his, and said I would call him and we would get coffee next week, as he seemed open to learning about the Faith even though he came from another tradition. He told us he was really glad he came upon us tonight, “I really needed it.”

We also spoke with a recently homeless man named Casey who accepted a Miraculous Medal and rosary, as he was a convert to the Faith in 1997 from being Methodist, as well as a 39 year old tattooed man from England named Will, who had seemed attuned to the spiritual dimension of life, but wasn’t especially keen on organized religion, but was open minded and accepted some tracts on Scripture and the Church.

A homeless man trying to get off the streets. A man new to the area struggling in his relationship. A conspiracy theorist who seemed lonely in his knowledge. But they were all willing to talk to us and mentioned they were glad to have someone to talk to about “these things.” They were open. The people in suits and the students were tougher to reach, they didn’t see a need. But God is close to the brokenhearted (Ps 34:18).

One thing I found is that it’s easy for me to write about Jesus and post things on social media, but actually getting out there and being public in “real life,” exposed like that, is very uncomfortable! It’s rejection after rejection after indifferent rejection. This is what the Lord must feel every time we pass on the Pearl of Great Price. But maybe there was someone, like Michael, who needed what we had to offer, and was glad for it.

After a few hours we couldn’t feel our fingers and toes, so we headed back to the car, praising God for both failure and the opportunity to witness, for looking like fools for Christ in public, and also for being available to those who may have needed an encounter.

Thanks be to God! And please keep Casey, Michael, and Will in your prayers.

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