The Joy of Evangelisation
(by Costandi Bastoli)
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you’,” (Luke 10:8-9)
During my last mission to PNG (before lockdowns), on the last day of the Catholic Charismatic Conference at Pogla, Mount Hagen, Elizabeth came to me full of joy and said that she was on her way with others to the river that morning. She saw a road leading to a house where she met Peter, a man well-known in the village. He offered her breakfast. He asked her where she was from and what brought her to this area. She told him she was from a neighbouring village and was there because she was attending a conference. She shared with him that on the previous night, the Lord renewed many in the Holy Spirit, they received His gifts, and Jesus healed many. He was surprised that no one mentioned it to him although everyone knew that he was not well. Elizabeth invited him to the church.
After she prayed with him, Peter was able to walk with her about one and a half kilometres to the church.
Elizabeth asked me if I would pray with Peter for his back, breathing, and hearing. I invited Paul Miamel to join us. When I saw Peter, he was bent over and leaning heavily on a stick.
After Paul, Elizabeth and I prayed with him, I asked him to stand up straight, which he instantly did. Then I asked him to breathe deeply, and he did so effortlessly. I asked him to repeat it, and he did so. He seemed relieved and happy.
I said to him, “Now you don’t need your stick”. He took his stick, laid it on the floor, and ran down the steps in front of the hall. He ran down the dirt pathway, to the street and back again. When he started to run, we stood there with our mouths wide open. I was afraid he was going to slip and fall as it had been raining and it was very muddy.
After the Mass, I invited Elizabeth and Peter to share their story. Elizabeth shared first. She was delighted. Oh, the joy of evangelisation!
In his sharing, Peter said that he had had back and leg problems since 1982. He also had hearing problems and asthma and had not left his home for many years. Peter stood tall. He said he felt that there was nothing wrong with him anymore. Then he ran backward and forward, the full length of the hall while the onlookers cheered.
During the Conference, we spoke about evangelisation, and here we saw the fruits of evangelisation in action. Elizabeth reached out to Peter, shared with him, prayed with him, and invited him to the Mass. We prayed with him, and the Lord did the rest. He healed Peter.
People talked about the miracle, comparing this story with the man who, after being healed by John and Peter at the Beautiful Gate in the time of Jesus, went “walking and leaping and praising God,” (Acts 3:8). Others exclaimed, “God truly is with us!”
It was back in the 1960s and all the way back in Jerusalem where I was brought up that I was inspired by this gospel message.
“You are the light of the World … You are the salt of the earth, … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14a,13a,16)
I was a member of the Young Christian Student society. This passage inspired in me the desire to share the Good News with others and be a good witness. It gave me a sense of mission. As students then we reached out to other students both Christians and Muslims. Not preaching to them but genuinely befriending them, showing them acts of kindness and waiting for the opportunity to share with them our faith. This we can do anywhere and anytime.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses,” (Acts 1:8a)
When I migrated to Australia with my parents and seven siblings, I came across the Catholic charismatic renewal which was in its beginnings in Sydney.
It was there that I learned more about our Catholic heritage which includes the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. I felt empowered as I saw the graces, I received in the Sacraments of Initiation coming alive in my life. I began to see people’s life changing, people getting healed, people being set free as we prayed with them. This opened doors before me for missions not only in Australia but in the Philippines and PNG.
People encouraged me to document my experience in a book which I called Jesus Heals Today. This is another way to be on mission!
Jesus Heals Today
by Costandi G Bastoli
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