A TESTIMONY - " A CATHOLIC NUN WALKS THE STREET "
In mid-July lay missionary Jude Antoine called the FMM Community at Villa Hermine
and asked if any of the Sisters would be interested in participating in a street walk in the location of Jalan Chow Kit in
Kuala Lumpur City. As arranged, on the third Saturday of August, Sr. Lily and I joined a lively group of working
youth headed by Jude and his wife, Veronica. We were at their house by 11.00 a.m. for a 45 minute praise and working
session. There were experienced participants like Jeremiah, an NGO worker, and Constance, just as there were a good
number of us who were new to the ministry of street evangelisation. Jude was frank about the exposure to the unknown
and the latent dangers involved in such a ministry. We would be meeting not only hardcore addicts, impervious to
change and therefore rejected by hospitals, NGO organisations and prison welfare but also prostitutes totally enslaved
by pimps, probably syndicates.
And so it was that, fortified with prayer, we took the food and drink donated by
a benefactor and began the walk from Jalan Raja Laut to the hub of the city's drug and prostitution centre. This we
did with prudence, aware of the 'thousand hidden eyes' watching us. We reached out in love, distributing the food and
drink in as fraternal a manner as possible and wherever there was an opportunity we said something about the God Who transcends
hopelessness and Whose choice of every person born will never be revoked. Some of us who had the easy facility of vernacular
languages were even able to swop a request for panadol with a prayer for healing (panadol and coke is a substitute for drugs).
The addict who made this request accepted the prayer.
Along the side-lanes of one-time hawker stalls off Jalan Chow Kit, now heaped with
decomposing rubbish, addicts were lying, heedless, some in the process of injecting themselves. The prospect of food
and drink packets attrracted them to us, some even conniving for more than their fair share. Soon the food was exhausted
and with it their initial delight . As the bleakness of their despair and suffering descended again I
wondered if the message of God's love was also extinguished.
At the end of the lane we found women, thin and listless, squatting beside street
garbage bins in which they had foraged unsuccessfully. And some of us said that the number of hardcore
addicts had increased. The foodwas not enough.
We were not surprised to see very young women soliciting and to find foreigners
there like the 22-year old man fromthe Caribbean. They were responsive to our smiles and loving enquiry but guarded
in what they revealed and we did not press for details. One woman, beginning to age, ran to us for a drink. She
couldn't even buy a drink for herself because her earnings were collected by a pimp and she was no better than a slave.
Walking back I realised that food is evangelisation. When stomachs are hungry
to talk of God's love is meaningless in such a context. Our joy was to see the food and drink well appreciated.
And yet, when we retraced our steps later along the very lanes where we had distributed food, hardly anyone looked at or spoke
to us. Our presence and our messaged seemed so ephemeral and that was understandable -- but we remember Matt.25:14:
If you did it to the least of my brothers, you did it to me. These little ones need our unconditional love and
acceptance. And this we must give without expectations.
Such was the street evangelisation experience I was very privileged to be part
of. More than that I want to express my appreciation for the companionship of the faith-filled brothers and sisters
who took a risk to serve their needy brethren.
Sr. Enid, FMM