I am a very private person. By private, I mean that I had even deactivated my Facebook account about 3 years ago in my attempt to be “invisible” in our increasingly “transparent” world where everything and anyone can be found on the Internet. Sharing my faith story with others, was therefore an even more absurd concept to me because it was “my story” about “my life” and so I should not need to share it with others if I did not want to.
But after yesterday’s sharing by Kelvin and Matilda, I learnt two things: (1) it was selfish of me to think that my faith story was mine own alone because it is not. It is about God and His hand in my life and (2) we are all walking testimonies of our own faith stories.
A Redemptorist once shared during Novena that he makes the effort to read more thanksgiving letters and talk less during his homily. This is because these thanksgiving letters are testimonies of real people, like you and me, and gives us hope when they share about their sufferings of everyday life and how God our Father, through the intercessions of Mary our Mother, has brought them through these challenges. It gives us hope that no matter how big the problem in front of us may appear to be, if we hold on to Him, He will always see us through it.
Why Share Our Faith Story?
So what exactly is faith story sharing? How is it different from simply sharing the faith and the Word of God?
Well, Faith story sharing is actually the most effective method of evangelisation. It is the Gospel brought to life.
Most of us associate evangelisation with knocking on every neighbour’s door to share the love of God or standing in the middle of Orchard Road proclaiming that God wants to save you.
But no, sharing your faith through stories to people you know might just be the most non-threatening and subtle way to start the ball rolling. I mean, who doesnt love a good story?
Who do we Share our Faith Story with?
Family, friends, colleagues or anyone who is interested in listening.
When to Share our Faith Story?
There is actually no set place or time to share a story. Most of the time, it is impromptu. It can happen over a lunch, a coffee or even on a GrabHitch ride.
Quite coincidentally or probably not so coincidentally, I put out a hitch request on GrabHitch for my sister and I to get to session yesterday. I honestly did not expect anyone to answer it because our place to OYP was really quite a distance away. Nonetheless, I did it to try my luck and told my sister that if no one answered, we would just get a regular cab down. At 1.20pm, I received a notification that someone had responded to my hitch request to “2 Lor Low Koon”. I thought we just got lucky and did not think much about it when we got into the Honda Stream. The first thing the guy said to us when we entered was, “I am guessing that you girls are Catholics since you are headed to OYP?” He looked at my surprised expression and chuckled before saying “You must be surprised that I know 2 Lor Low Koon is OYP right? Well, I am also a Catholic.” With that, he then asked us if we knew his son who was a seminarian. The drive continued and the conversation then very naturally soon steered towards his faith story as he shared about how his son was a miracle child and how he and his wife had taken a pilgrimage to Medjugorje more than 28 years ago to pray for a child because they had difficulties conceiving. His son was born on the same day that they had entered Medjugorje, a year later.
And that was it, in the most unlikely of circumstances, this Uncle who was simply sharing his own life story, reinforced the faith and hope in a fellow Catholic- me.
The uncle later told us that he was now retired and drives GrabCar and GrabHitch to simply pass time and at the same time evangelise to his passengers, when he has the opportunity to.
For the rest of us who are not yet retired or are not driving GrabCar or GrabHitch, sharing God’s hand in our lives whenever we share our problems with our family and friends also serve to strengthen their faith and hope in Jesus! Do not just share the problems, share the solution too and how God always has the best plans for us, even when it seems otherwise!
How to Share your Faith Story?
Because the whole setting is meant to be informal, be authentic when you share and be relatable to the person you are sharing with. Include your struggles and pains but do not forget to include the joys and how God helped you through your challenges or how your Faith kept you joyful through the challenges and obstacles. Be open to your friend/family members’ questions and always be supportive and encouraging. Do not ever criticise or judge their opinions or views because as Romans 14:13 says “Let us each stop passing judgement, therefore, on one another and decide instead that none of us will place obstacles in any brother’s way, or anything that can bring him down.”
Let us all instead help each other grow deeper in their faith as we share our own love story with God with one another.