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 | By Mary Gates

‘We open ourselves up and ask God what he wants us to do’

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Joshua McKinley is a recent high school graduate, the oldest of seven children, and a parishioner at Holy Spirit in Brighton. FAITH Magazine caught up with Joshua to hear how the Lord has been at work in his life, using him to share the faith with those he encounters.

WITNESS: I’ve learned that if you try to live the Gospel, even if you fail sometimes, people take notice that you are trying. People have a universal desire for God, so when they see that you’re trying to live the faith, they will experience in you what they want for themselves. Working in a secular environment can be hard, but I’ve had the opportunity to talk to co-workers. Mostly, I think my witness is in being personally committed to living the Gospel.

INVITATION: I’ve experienced Mission Flint twice – it is a retreat where you spend six days in Flint – the first day in training and then on job sites for service work and out around the city for street evangelization. I’ve also done two training sessions with St. Paul Street Evangelization – one in Detroit and one at my parish. Invitation can be hard because you meet all sorts of people and it’s not easy to ask them to come to Mass or to pray, but if you build relationship first, then people are open.

PRAYER: Prayer is key. With street evangelization we always pray before we go out – we open ourselves up and ask God what he wants us to do. We even ask him to give us a description of the people he wants us to encounter. One day we had someone vividly describe a person and their clothing, and just a bit later I was walking down a random side street off the beaten path and this woman who met the description perfectly invited us to sit with her on her porch. It was perfect.

ACCOMPANIMENT: Street evangelization doesn’t always allow for follow-up, but we do sometimes get contact information. Mission Flint is an annual thing, so sometimes a year or two later we run into someone who is wearing a miraculous medal we gave them the year before. Accompaniment requires us to be open to God asking us to be present to someone. God has used my experiences to teach me that anyone can be the person the Lord wants you to talk to you and spend time with – you just have to be willing.