Evangelizing the Illiterate by Karen
|Ministry is so much more fun when we can do it all together.|
This is a photo of our friend, who organized the retreat,
giving a talk on prayer.
|There were about 11 retreat participants,|
which was perfect. There were enough people to make
it fun, but not so many that we couldn't keep it personal.
During these last seven years or so, as I've been working hard to learn the art of evangelization, I've come to the conclusion that someone isn't going to voluntarily follow Jesus in an authentic way unless he/she has fallen in love with Him; and someone isn't going to fall in love with the person of Jesus Christ unless they've had the chance to really get to know Him. So, my job is to help others get to know the Lord, trusting that once they make His acquaintance a burning desire to grow closer will well up in their hearts and propel them to do more and consequently learn more. They'll continue to draw closer and closer until eventually, they fall in love. Although the written word was a significant part of my spiritual journey, it wouldn't necessarily be a significant part of theirs. I had to trust that these ladies could and would come to know the Lord without so many resources.... but how??? I began thinking about the early church and what the evangelists did to spread the faith. The bible wasn't printed in mass quantity until the mid-1450s, which means that for over 1,000 years people had to rely solely on oral tradition. Stained glass was used to teach the illiterate about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Religious artwork and statues remind people of important events, beliefs, and individuals in church history. For example, Michelangelo's sculpture of the Pieta helps us meditate on the moment in which Mary held Jesus' corpse in her arms at the foot of the cross. If the early evangelists could use artwork to teach the faith, so could I.
|Here are some of the simple drawings I made to|
help explain the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In the afternoon, the ladies broke into small discussion groups and shared a bit about their faith. The first woman to share stated boldly that she was done praying. Her alcoholic husband has been beating her and her children for years, even though she's prayed and prayed that he would change. I sat quietly and just listened, but I wasn't exactly sure what to say. Another woman chimed in and shared her story. She explained that she did not grow up in the faith. In fact, she didn't know anything about the Lord until six years ago when her adult son was murdered here in Costa Rica. Everyone in the community knows who did it, but since she and her family aren't legal residents the authorities didn't do much to pursue the assailant. She was drowning in grief and misery when a friend told her about Our Blessed Mother and how Her son was also murdered. The friend encouraged her to seek comfort and counsel in Mary, which she did. She explained how Mary led her to Jesus. She reminded the group that they are really blessed to have missionaries around, as well as the religious sisters, and priests that are willing to drive out to their town to celebrate Holy Mass. She told us that she's unable to read, so there's not much she can do on her own to learn about the faith, which is why she goes to church. She encouraged the other women in our small group to go to church as often as possible so that they can learn about the faith and develop a real relationship with Jesus and Mary. Her testimony and words of encouragement were more powerful than anything I could have come up with. Thank you, Jesus!
My aim was to help the women who attended this retreat recognize the importance of individual prayer. I hope that they're able to use the pictures that they drew to remember the gifts of the Holy Spirit and will think about those as they learn how to tune in to the movement of the Spirit in their hearts. I hope that they understand that prayer doesn't need to be anything complicated, but rather just casual conversation with Jesus, who is the best friend they could ever ask for.
I look forward to other opportunities, in the future, to collaborate on ministry initiatives. I humbly ask that you say a prayer for all those seeking the Lord that have so few resources, especially those that are illiterate because they are completely dependent on others to teach them the faith. Thank you and God bless, Karen
|Ever since Anna was a little girl she has|
loved painting fingernails. During the
retreat, the participants got to go to the back
for some pampering in between other
activities. It was a blessing for everyone!
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Thank you and may God bless you and all those