In August, George Kane moved to Evansville to join the Missionary Company. This article, which he wrote, originally appeared in the Oct. 25, 2013, edition of The Message, the weekly newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville, IN. It is reprinted here with permission.
I grew up in an Irish Catholic family of 10, in the Washington, D.C., area. When I was five, my family joined an ecumenical Christian community called the People of the Praise, which included many members of our home parish. As I grew up, many of my closest friends were a part of this community, and the combination of their positive influence and the Christ-centered life of the community has anchored my faith.
I moved to Evansville in August to begin a two-year stint as a missionary sponsored by the People of Praise. I’ve been inspired by Pope Francis’ exhortation that, “The Church must be taken into the streets,” and I want to spend the next two years of my life doing exactly that! The story of Alana is an example of the mission work we’re doing here.
It was just after two on a sunny Tuesday, and I was walking through the projects with Kaitlyn, a fellow missionary. I noticed that behind a nearby screen, a door was open. “How about this one?” I asked Kaitlyn, “Anything come to mind?”
As missionaries, we often share “words” with the people we meet. These words are the fruit of the daily hour of prayer we spend in preparation for our mission work. Sometimes we’ll be moved to tell one of the Jesus’ parables, or to share a piece of scripture that stood out to us. Other times, we’ll deliver a simple message of encouragement, teaching, or even correction.
Kaitlyn had a word, so we headed toward the door. Before I could even knock, the screen door flew open and a small, middle-aged woman in a khaki head sash beckoned, “Come on in!” Kaitlyn and I grinned and laughed a little as we sat down. We don’t always get such a warm welcome! "God sent us out to talk to our neighbors today," I said, "and we felt moved to share a word with you…would you like to hear it?" Alana bounded to her bookshelf and pulled out a big crimson bible. "Of course!" she said, "What is it?"
Kaitlyn explained, "In Luke 9, Jesus feeds 5,000 people miraculously. When Jesus told the Apostles, 'You yourselves give them something to eat,' he was telling them to have courage, to trust in their ability as his disciples to overcome even the biggest logistical challenges. In Christ, you can have this same courage!"
When Kaitlyn finished, there was silence. Alana blinked back tears, and sighed deeply. A sad smile tugged at the edge of her mouth. Then, she began to tell us her story. In her 20’s, she had been imprisoned for attempted murder and drug abuse. Once released, she had reconciled with the woman whom she had shot, but remained estranged from her family.
Now, Alana was badly behind on her bills. A known drug dealer had been visiting, offering her “free” money, but she knew better. Alana had been struggling, calling out to God for direction, right when we arrived. Alana was amazed. God knew, He was really looking out for her! By the time we left, Alana’s smile was stretching from one end of the small apartment to the other.
Alana wasn’t the only one who experienced God working that day. I heard God speak His Word through Kaitlyn. I saw that word strike deeply into Alana. It made her weep, smile, and regain hope amidst crushing odds.
It might be tempting to think that Evansville is already Christian, has already heard the gospel, and doesn’t need missionaries. The 9mm gunshots that sound down the street, however, tell a different story. So does the rising rate of suicide in Indiana – which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, rose 50 percent since 1999. Clearly, violence and despair still reign in the lives of many.
We hope our conversation with Alana will be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. Please join me in praying for Alana, and for the rest of Evansville. In Christ, we cannot fail!
Linda Coney says:
November 12th, 2013 at 6:04 PM
Very inspiring story, George and Kaitlyn! It's encouraging for all of us to hear how The Lord is working through you and we add our prayers to yours.
chris urbanski says:
November 12th, 2013 at 8:16 PM
Thank you Kaitlyn and George for what you are doing.
I will add Alana to my prayers and continue to pray that the lord go before you as you visit your neighbors.
ann Thomas says:
November 12th, 2013 at 8:38 PM
Thank you for following Gods' word, to serve others, how blessed and built up I am. God is so good, we will continue praying for each of you
Linda Finke says:
November 12th, 2013 at 8:50 PM
God bless all of you in your mission work in Evansville. It is so good when you can see that God is working in the people that you meet. And I am so glad to see that the Catholic newspaper printed it. That does not happen often!
George--how is your leg?
Rich Gleason says:
November 12th, 2013 at 9:15 PM
Reading your sharing makes me wonder how often have I noticed an "open door" but walked "walked on by" not noticing the urging of the Lord.
We are starting our new prayer meetings on the west side of Buffalo, NY (Black Rock section) Thursday evening & I will be sure we pray for Alana & all of Evansville. This meeting is our response to an "open door" for us to share the God's love for everyone of us, no matter where we are at.
John j Loughran says:
November 12th, 2013 at 9:24 PM
Well done George. Your work and the article are a testament to your love of our Lord
Margaret Sak says:
November 12th, 2013 at 9:39 PM
Great story, George! Keep it up! We are praying for you.
Sheila Johnson says:
November 13th, 2013 at 7:48 AM
Kaitlyn, How wnderful & encouraging to hear the story of you & the other missionaries seeing others with the eyes of Jesus.
Love & prayers my friend,
Pam Seale says:
November 13th, 2013 at 8:38 AM
Thanks to the Lord that you and Kaitlyn are there! Christ in you in all his glory to provide for this woman. Yay!
Terry Bomkamp says:
November 13th, 2013 at 8:57 AM
May the Father continue his work through our missionaries. God bless and protect them all!
Ray J Gonzalez says:
November 13th, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Your story is inspiring and a real testimony to the fact that there is still so much work to do. God bless you all.
In Christ - Ray G.
Celina Vicknair says:
November 13th, 2013 at 10:39 AM
What a beautiful Testimony to God's love and caring. What a wonderful God we serve! Thank you, George and Kaitlyn for your sacrifice and devotion to God's work and to his people. Know that you are all in my prayers everyday.
For His Glory
theresa shriver says:
November 13th, 2013 at 3:14 PM
George, It is so great to hear your story! We just had our woman`s retreat with Chris and Ellen. When they gave us the photo of the latest missionaries, I was so happy to see your smiling face again. Give our love to all the Kanes from the Shriver`s and Buffalo camp!
Nancy Grams says:
November 13th, 2013 at 8:12 PM
Dear George and Kaitlyn,
Thank you for your "Yes" to the Lord and allowing him to shine more brightly in the world!
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