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Turn to Jesus (Article)

The Flame of the Mission
ICAS senior shares his experience going door-to-door

ICAS door to door missions

Just in time to help prepare us for upcoming Holy Week missions, a senior from Immaculate Conception Apostolic School (Center Harbor, NH), Troy Lawrence, shares with us an article he wrote about his experience doing door-to-door missions with the novices in Cheshire, Connecticut, in December, 2013.

By Troy Lawrence

Shuffling down Birch Street, my hands clenched tightly in my pockets, I shudder against the cold. A gust of wind sets my teeth chattering, and I scrunch my neck further into the collar of my jacket to preserve some heat. I look to my side at my fellow companion Anselm Kim, a third-year precandidate from South Korea, and catch him studying the tendrils of his breath as it winds its way through the cold December air. He sees me watching him, turns to me, and says, “It’s really great being out here again in Connecticut for missions. I just hope we’ll have more doors opened than slammed today.”

Br. Peter Kang, our mission leader, also South Korean, turns around and encourages us, “It’s all in the Holy Spirit’s hands. We have nothing to worry about.”

“Hey, brothers, are we going to try this next house? It seems as if nobody’s home,” I ask, pointing
Troy Lawrence
Troy Lawrence
to a low, one-story house with a small garden surrounding the path leading to it.

Br. Philip Litchfield, a tall, dark-haired, first-year novice from Indiana, looks up from the map which has all the streets highlighted that we are to visit and shrugs his shoulders. “I guess it’s worth a shot. Troy, remember it’s your turn,” he says to me as he places the map back into our bag full of rosaries and prayer cards. I nod, and we all walk up the short path. Few of the flowers are blooming on either side, now with winter approaching. I ring the doorbell and brush off the sleeves of my jacket. We wait there in silence for a few moments, but no one answers. I turn and give Br. Peter a questioning glance, but he gestures for me to try knocking. I knock a few times, but that too fails to bring anyone to the door. My companions and I turn to leave, making our way down the path.

Back on the sidewalk we only stroll a few yards when an old, red Honda Civic pulls up into the driveway of the house we had just visited. We stop to watch the driver, a tall, young man, step out of the car and sit down on its hood to light a cigarette. His friend gets out of the passenger seat, and she strides immediately to the front door, giving the impression that the man’s habit of smoking bothers her.

“Hey!” the man calls out to us as he notices us watching him. “Just wanted to say Hi.” He returns his focus on trying to get his lighter to work.

We break from our befuddlement and begin to walk towards him. Br. Philip responds, “We want to say Hi, too.” We cover the short distance to him, and Br. Philip introduces us. “Good morning, we are Catholic seminarians. My name is Br. Philip, and this is Br. Peter Kang. We’re novices at a seminary down in Cheshire.”

“Oh, okay,” the man nods his head. He is clean-shaven, but has a chestnut-colored mohawk running down his head. I place him roughly around twenty-six years old. As he gets up to shake our hands, I notice the glint of an earring in his left ear.

Br. Philip continues, “This here is Anselm. Both he and Br. Peter are from South Korea.”  Indicating me, he adds, “This is Troy. He’s
ICAS missionaries
from California. He and Anselm study in a minor seminary up in New Hampshire.”

“Nice meetin’ you. My name’s Kyle.” He gives my hand a firm shake and sits back down, transferring his cigarette back to his right hand. “Well, uh, what can I do for you? I myself am not Catholic, but go to this new group down the road. A few of us get together and discuss things among ourselves there.”

“Oh, so is it a kind of New Age group?” Br. Peter asks.

“No, not exactly.”

“Is it sort of nihilistic?” Br. Philip tries.

“Definitely not. I do believe that there is some all-powerful Being out there.” He pauses to take a puff of smoke, his bright blue eyes gazing at it as it rises up and disperses.

“So then I take it you do believe in an absolute truth,” Br. Philip prompts.

Kyle begins to chuckle to himself and looks down, shaking his head. “I don’t like to go there because that’s where I get in trouble.  I think that doing good is very important, but – I don’t know – I just don’t see that doing good ultimately to be rewarded by a Deity is right. Then it becomes selfish and so not actually good. So, yeah, there’s a distinction to be made, and I try to keep my motives pure and do good for its own sake.”

“Well,” I begin, “We have a Mass today at 5:00 PM at Mary, Our Queen Parish, just down Regent Road. We would like you to come. It does us all much good.”

“Actually me and my friend,” he jerks his thumb back to the front door where his friend had entered, “we’re going to a Christmas party, and I don’t think we’ll make it for your Mass.”

“Then why don’t you just stop by and visit? The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed all day, and Our Lord will help you find the answers you seek,” Br. Peter requests. “Oh, and do you have any intentions we could pray for? As seminarians we spend a good portion of our day praying.”

Kyle looks up thoughtfully for a while, rubbing his chin. “How about for world peace,” he finally adds.

“Yes, that’s important. Well then, it was nice meeting you,” says Anselm, “and God bless!”

“Yeah, you too. Take care of yourselves.” He stands up and stamps out his cigarette.

We turn around and walk down his driveway as he heads inside.
Brothers on Mission
I spin around at the last minute and call out after him, “Merry Christmas!” He stops before his front door and looks back at us, a big smile on his face. Giving a final wave, he steps inside.

The wind continues to bluster, scattering leaves around us, but no longer do I feel cold. I tread down Birch Street with a joyful purpose in my step and a sense of contentment and warmth welling up within me. I see the wind no longer as a disturbance but as the Holy Spirit, kindling in me the fire of his love. Each gust stokes the flame, and I make a prayer of thanksgiving, recalling the words of John Paul II: “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze!” Yes, Lord, that is what you are asking of me, to be an instrument bringing your light to the world. You are the truth leading me. Fill me with the passion to evangelize, the flame of the mission.

We turn the corner of the street and tramp up another driveway. Another soul waits behind the façade of the front door, another child of God perhaps estranged from the Father. We knock and wait; the Father calls and waits. A door opens, and a man steps out. A heart opens, and God’s love and grace rushes in.



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