Barehanded Evangelization

Sunday, January 8, 2012

While I was interviewing with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), for a job as a first-world missionary, I learned about a particular method of evangelization FOCUS uses on university campuses. Per their website, "Barehanded evangelization is a way to share the Gospel through a personal and relational conversation with another person or group of people. It is called barehanded because the sharing of the Gospel is done without anything in hand." It usually entails approaching strangers and attempting to engage them in a conversation. During my interview, the FOCUS director asked me if I had ever engaged in any similar evangelization with strangers. My answer was a definite no. I've never really had the chance to do so with a complete stranger. Even then, that kind of evangelization is totally not my style and really intimidating to even think about!

Yesterday the Holy Spirit had other plans for me :)

I was at the Honda dealership getting something fixed on my car and as I was signing the paperwork, the office manager grabbed my hand and started ooh-ing and aah-ing over my crucifix ring. I've worn this ring for two years now and never take it off, so I tend to forget I am even wearing it or that people might notice it. Unsure of if she recognized the corpus (Jesus' body), I explained my ring and asked if she was Catholic. The woman tugged at her shirt and fished out a crucifix necklace. "I used to be Catholic!" she told me. (Btw, once a Catholic...always a Catholic). I was unsure of how to respond. Obviously, she still felt some sort of connection to the Church if she was wearing a crucifix. On the other hand, I tend to assume if someone tells me they "used" to be Catholic, that means they aren't looking for an invitation back to the Church. Yesterday I read a blog post discussing how people often leave the Church because someone invited them to leave and no one invited them to stay. I signed my name slowly, trying to figure out what to say. I knew the Holy Spirit was prompting me to reach out to this woman and invite her back to the Church and the sacraments, but I was afraid of rejection or feeling awkward. Earth to Liz - we are called to be fools for Christ, not wimps! 1 Corinthians 4:10.

I still was not sure what to do, so I bid her a good day and left. As I left the dealership I knew I wasn't off the hook yet with the Holy Spirit. I called two friends asking for advice. The consensus was that I had to go back and do something. Providentially, my parish is hosting a Catholic homecoming program to reach out to fallen away Catholics and has free copies of the book Redisover Catholicism (you can get a free copy here). I stopped by St. Joan and grabbed a book and slipped a brochure inside with information on the Catholic homecoming sessions and Mass/confession times. I had to go home for lunch and then to a massage - the perks of being a former employee at a spa ;)

As I left the spa I prayed that 1) I wouldn't chicken out and 2) the lady would still be at work. Thankfully both prayers were answered. I was able to give her the book, explaining that I thought she would enjoy it and that it might answer the questions she might have. She was genuinely surprised and thankful that I had thought of her and made a trip back to the dealership to give her the book, promising she would read it :)

Barehanded evangelization and Holy Spirit for the win. I just had to let go of my insecurities and fears of rejection and let God work! Ad majorem Dei gloriam. Speaking of the glory of friend just returned from a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. Check out this gorgeous sunrise or sunset over the Umbrian countryside in Assisi that she captured. Take me back to l'italia bella!

 "The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise." - St. Clement of Alexandria 


G said...

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST! made me want to cry. God is good. <3 +

Estefanía said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!! :D Way to let the Holy Spirit use you!!! AMDG! <3

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