By Rose Schaeffer
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I speak often about the need for perseverance (and refer to the Book of James, chapter one, verses 2-4). I believe this virtue is vital to our faith life.
Perseverance is valuable for prayer, marriages, raising children and in any relationship.
This quality came to the forefront when I sought permission to go door to door in our parish boundaries. My goal was to plant seeds and let others know that Holy Spirit Parish cares and wants to pray for them. At the time, I had no long term plans.
We have persevered for three years in our “Door to Door, We Pray Ministry.” Going door to door, two by two, has brought many blessings.
We have knocked on approximately 1,500 doors and collected over 500 prayer requests. Prayers ranged from finding lost keys to securing a match for a 2-year-old who needed a bone marrow transplant to prayers for a young person on suicide watch. Lord knows there is a great need for prayer.
Participants Chester and Peg Misbach said, “The ‘Door to Door Ministry’ seemed like an appropriate response to Pope Francis’ call for evangelization, so we decided to give it a try. What better way to share the good news of the Gospel than to walk the neighborhoods of our parish introducing ourselves and the Church of the Holy Spirit, plus offering to pray for the special intentions of our neighbors?
“We didn’t ask people for anything; we just offered prayerful help. While many doors went unopened, we were welcomed by lots of people, and no one was unkind,” the Misbachs said. “Several were pleasantly surprised and thanked us for our outreach efforts. Quite a
few people asked that we pray for deeply personal concerns, which was touching.
“Some were just happy to talk to someone without an agenda. We’re so glad that we participated. ‘Door to Door’ was a simple act of outreach and compassion, plus there were no meetings and minimal paperwork.”
This new ministry required us to step out of our comfort zone. I am so grateful for the 30-plus volunteers who gave one hour of their time to walk door-to-door.
They included a wide range of ages, from an eighth grader (and his mom) to an 80-year-old. They included people from many walks of life, including accountants, attorneys, students, moms, grandmas, those from the medical field, a chimney sweep, a former principal, a real estate broker, one deacon and, God bless, Joan Hammer. Knowing full well that she could not do the walking, Joan volunteered to do the scheduling.
I found this part the most daunting, so next to God, I give her the credit for our ministry persevering.
I am grateful to our DRE, Betsy Dunman, and pastor, Father Fred Klotter for their support and vision in seeing that this ministry was so needed and for all the parishioners who walked with me. Being a new member of the parish at the time, I knew virtually no one.
One young adult, Maria Vivona, who walked with me many times, talked about the value of moving beyond our comfort zone.
“I loved walking door to door in this ministry,” she told me. “I got to meet so many people from different backgrounds. I had the opportunity to spend a few seconds with them and learn about their struggles and their cares. This ministry beckoned me to step out of the comfort of my own little corner of Saint Matthews and reach out to people.
“We did not sell anything, but we offered people a listening ear and the assurance of our prayers for them in a time of need or a time of thanksgiving,” she said. “Yes, a few people closed their doors on us or ignored us, but I think that Jesus can still work on their hearts from our witness.”
While we have covered most homes in Holy Spirit’s boundaries, these walks were exercises in perseverance, prayer and people producing fruit in a variety of ways. For that, I am grateful.
Please consider giving this ministry a try and seek motivation from the words of Pope Francis in “Evangelii Gaudium:”
“Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.”
Rose Schaeffer is a member of Holy Spirit Church.
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