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Finding God at McDonald’s

September 14, 2019

This post is about a month late since Crossroads has ended, but I feel the pull to write this story.

The Tuesday morning after the last week of Crossroads, part of both the Central and Southern teams were hanging outside of a McDonald’s in Downtown D.C., a day before most of our flights were going to take us home.

I found a homeless woman outside of the McDonald’s with a sign “Need Money and Food.” With a little bit of thought, I went to the cashier and bought some sausage burritos and a sandwich and gave it to the woman outside, along with a miraculous medal. She was very grateful, and I went back inside to my group’s table.

Later, as my group was leaving, I found a man outside of the McDonald’s asking for spare money. I asked the man, “What do you need the money for?” He replied, “I’m hungry.”

Without much hesitation, I said, “Come on, I’ll get you something.”

His face lit up.

At the counter, I was making small talk with him as he was ordering his food. And every time we paused our conversation, he was bowing his head with his hands clasped, nodding his head back and forth with glowing eyes. He was praising God, and I was moved. I gave him a farewell, and I want on my way.

Later, I was attending mass, and the only thing I could think of was how good it felt giving food to those people at McDonald’s. I thanked God for everything he gave me and was asking him ways that I could serve people more. I left Mass that day so fulfilled and happy. Something was growing in me, and it just kept increasing. I had a big wide smile on my face, and I couldn’t stop. Weird feeling. Never experienced it before.

About an hour after mass, I was driving a part of the group to the hotel because one of the walkers, Mikayla, was flying out to Iowa that afternoon. With no places to park the van in downtown D.C., I was forced to drive around the city for about an hour. At the time, I was with Victoria, just making small talk. It was until Victoria noticed how happy I was the entire car ride. Note, she was not with me earlier at the McDonald’s. She asked me why I was so happy, so I started explaining to her what happened earlier in the day.

Then a waterfall of tears started rolling down my face.

I was so joyful.

I was so happy.

It was a shower of consolation, and I can’t explain how awesome it felt. I was rejoicing in God amidst driving in downtown D.C. traffic.

The service I gave to both of these people seems so little at first, but it is so much more than the sandwich I gave them. I kept thinking of what Jesus said, “whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)

They could be Jesus.

That’s what I keep reminding myself.

Love and serve life in all stages.

Praise God.

 

Your brother in Christ,

Max Berman Central Walk 2019

 

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God Bless the USA

August 12, 2019

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One last howdy to you all and here’s what I have to say,

Go out into the world and see it with your own eyes. Get away from the narrow scope of media, and escape from the comforting blind fold of home. I promise you will taste reality, and it’s bittersweet, but it gives life purpose. Take very little with you, and live by the kindness of others.

This last week of crossroads has been nothing short of breath taking. We walked the final stretch all together to the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. I walked in those doors with my new found family, and found myself overwhelmed by the Lord’s presence in the tabernacle. With tears running down my cheeks, all I could think was “We did it, we really did it”. Then Friday came and God shook Noah and I’s plans to scooter around DC and we ended up walking one last shift from the capital to the basilica. At first we were not to thrilled to see our plans be spoiled, and we were met with more hate then any other shift we had ever had. But through grace we quickly caught on that this was God’s plan and walked past our opposers with smiles on our faces. Then Saturday we had the rally and we prayed at the abortion clinic all together one last time. It has been such a blessing to be with central walk this week and to get to know them all. (Also just want to add we were able to touch the blood relic of Saint John Paul II, the man who inspired this walk).

These last few days have been filled with bittersweet goodbyes. It seems just like yesterday I was praying that God would change His mind about calling me to this mission, and now I’m with these brothers and sisters whom I love to death, and will miss dearly. 13 weeks ago I didn’t even know their names, and now they are the closest of friends. I wish I could give you my thoughts and emotions right now for a grand finally blog, but there’s no words to describe the most heartbreaking yet amazing week ever. I walked away from the ambo after doing my last speech at mass on Sunday, and I lost it. Not because I was sad or upset, but because I was overwhelmed with the joy and grace God was placing on my heart.

I love crossroads and the joy of being apart of its 25th walk. As for my teammates, if I didn’t say enough last week…. Well It’s been an honor to serve and be served by them, they are truly future saint. We’ve made our founding Father’s proud, and above all we’ve pleased our Heavenly Father. We been planting seeds across America for the past 25 years, and it shows. I thank God everyday for everything that Crossroads has provided, and for the cross that I graciously was able to bare. See you later my friends.

Thank for allowing me to write these blogs and for reading them and encouraging me. I’ve always felt like a warrior for Christ, but Crossroads helped me find my Army, and to fall in love with my country. Our God is a reckless loving God, and I firmly believe I will live to see abortion come to an end in America. I know it, God has spoken to my heart. To the future of crossroads, my prayers are with you. Your mother Mary loves you and more so does your Heavenly Father. You are more than enough and the sacrifice you are making is guided by so many angels and saints. Pray your rosary everyday, and do not be afraid. The angels and Saints and screaming out with joy, because the victory of this mission is near. These words are all just an understatement or the song of passion my heart wishes to express. God is good.

May God and all His angels and Saints bless you,

Forever yours and forever His,

Your sister in Christ,

-Mikayla Olson Southern Walk 2019

Let there be Liberty, Freedom, and Justice for all.

The Final Steps

August 6, 2019

Greetings everyone,

This week has been an emotional week for everyone. Our hearts are ready for home, but not ready to leave this new found family. I’ll admit it’s difficult to stay in that mission mindset, but I know these east coast states deserve our very best, just like every other state we’ve walked through.

It’s been crazy to see these strangers slowly become brothers and sisters. It seems just like yesterday that I was crying in the chapel to Jesus, telling him I did not want to do crossroads. (I know I was not the only one who did that) I’m so glad though, that despite the tears and the fear, we all said yes to that call.

Crossroads has forever changed our lives. Going into it, I thought it was just going to be us making all these sacrifices for the unborn, but it was that and so much more. I found that the more we suffered, the greater the graces. I found so much joy in suffering that sometimes I would totally forget about it. We had injuries, we had illness, we had hardships, we watched women walk into clinics, but through it all I’ve never felt so united with Christ.

As we all start to say our sad goodbyes I just keep thinking, wow I’ve only known them for 12 weeks. To think that most abortions happen in first 6-12 weeks blows my mind because so much can happen in that short period of time. Especially if you approach it all with a love and respect for life.

I wish I could put into words what this walk has done for us all, but I can’t. I feel closer to God then ever before, and so much more passionately pro life.

To my fellow walkers:

read John 14:1-18

Thank you for your yes. Thank you for your love and sacrifice. Thank you for letting me serve you and thank you for serving me. Thank you for laughing, crying, praying, walking, and being in the silence with me. Thank you for sitting at the foot of the cross. Thank you for being a witness to the way, the truth, and the life. God has a great plan for each and every one of you. He’s working in your heart, if only you continue to give him that yes. This is not the end, but rather a new beginning. Take this flame which you have received, and light this whole world on fire. Set it ablaze, and know it was born of the same fire, same light, that which is of Christ. There’s nothing you can’t do, and know that wherever you are I’ll be praying for you. Do not let you yourselves be overcome, but let yourself be out done by His great love. Forever in unity, even though we part, because we are united by the same bread, one communion, one body, one heart. I love you all with all my heart, and the good Lord loves you infinitely more. I’ll never forget you all, and the sweet times we had. Thank you for walking across God’s country and assuring me it’s bound to be pro life again. This truly is one country under God, that strives to have liberty and justice for all.

Thy will be done, my Creator is never done.

Every last step, for the memory and witness to the unborn.

Glory, glory, King Most Holy.

Weave for me a crown of thorns,

Save the lives of thee unborn.

Lord I beg of thee, take me instead.

St. Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.

Our Lady Guadalupe, Pray for us.

Forever your sister in Christ,

Mikayla Olson, Southern walk 2019.792F244A-E0C0-4D85-A88C-8D737356ECFF.jpeg

Why abortion is totally incompatible with the American Dream

July 31, 2019

I’m Mexican so I basically grew up watching American TV shows and movies. My good opinion about Americans might not be shared by all Mexicans but I feel confident to state that we admire America in more than one sense. The way our cities are developing imitates American infrastructure, the Mexican market for U.S. technology, clothing and entertainment grows every year.

Thousands of Mexican families have risked their lives trying to come to the U.S. in search of a better life. This search for better opportunities is the same that brought to America thousands of Italians, Polish, and French (among many other nationalities) families to America. It is clear for the world that America is indeed the land of opportunities.

America is a great nation. You Americans have achieved an outstanding level of development and a high quality of life, some of which have become international standards. The world is always looking at you; you are a model and example, an inspiration for so many.

There are many things that I really love about America, but there is one thing that particularly amazes me: the affluence and prosperity. Everything seems to be abundant here in the U.S., there are plenty of resources, wealth and welfare.

Prosperity is a key concept behind the pursuit of happiness in the American way of life. The stereotypes that other nations have of America usually include: a huge truck, huge meals and huge houses. I really want you to acknowledge how blessed and lucky you are for all the wealth and resources you have. I’m not saying there is no poverty in the U.S., I’m saying that Americans don’t suffer from hunger as people in other countries do. For instance, in Mexico, one person dies every hour because of starvation.

Americans are also very generous. In 2017, for example, Americans donated $410 Billion dollars to charity. American NGOs account for most of the help in developing countries.

In this context, it really surprises me that there is a horrifying number of abortions every year in America. I don’t understand how a nation that is so wealthy, that loves prosperity and enjoys life, is rejecting the most prosperous of the human gifts and the most joyful of the human events: human birth.

It is very hard for me to understand abortion in the U.S., a nation that has dedicated so many resources to defend human rights, freedom and a better life for its people.

I don’t understand why, a nation that creates so much wealth, discards the most valuable of all the goods we can have: human life. For there can be no wealth without hard-working people to create it, your nation can not be prosperous if you continue to kill the women and men of future generations.

I really hope that, in the same way that your ancestors fought against slavery, defending human dignity, you will rise again to defend the dignity of human life. Because if taking someone’s freedom is terrible, how much more terrible is it to take someone’s life?

I hope that the same nation that received so many Italians, Polish, French, Latin-Americans, (among many other nationalities), who helped create the American culture as we know it, will receive the many Americans that are yet to be born. I really hope that in the same way the U.S. has always been a land of opportunity for so many, it will also be the land where the opportunity to be born and work for a happy life is granted to everyone.

What would you do if you knew that hundreds of thousands of Americans are being killed? Wouldn’t you march and protest for the government to do something? Wouldn’t you fundraise, pray or volunteer?

Well, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans being killed in abortions clinics all over the US. What are you going to do to defend your nation from this injustice?

Raúl Tépox, Central Crossroads 2019

God’s Country

July 30, 2019

Greetings ya’ll,

We just walked into South Carolina today! I can’t believe in 10 days we will reach D.C.  I think all of our hearts are on an emotional rollercoaster. We are in some ways ready for home, but in other ways it’s sad because we have to say goodbye to the people we have spent the last 12 weeks with (13 if you count training).

This week, when we were shopping, we talked to a gentleman who believed life began at conception, but did not believe in imposing his thoughts on others. I pray for him though, because relativism is a toxic mindset. Honestly I think that’s why most pro life people are afraid to stand up for the unborn. We aren’t afraid to say murdering people is wrong, but when it comes to the lives of the unborn, people turn away. I prayed about this a lot, then on Sunday the Holy Spirit came and spoke truth. I remember I was washing up before mass thinking, man I would love to just tell this whole parish what the Holy Spirit is saying . I thought I could change my personal testimony, but thinking it would take too long I was not going to. God wasn’t gonna stop there though, as soon as I got to my pew the priest approached me to tell me he had shortened his homily because he wanted me to make my personal testimony longer and speak some truth. When I got up to give that talk I wasn’t speaking just to the parish, I was speaking to myself. These were the words I was longing to hear. I knew I was walking for the unborn, but I was discouraged. With a shaking body, on the verge of tears, this is what was said.

       “I walk because God commands me. He does not ask me to be pro life He commands it” pointing to the crucifix behind me, “Look at Him, look at Him, did this man die so I could have your truth and you could have yours, no! He died because He is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. Through out scripture we see a God who loves and a God that commands, and who am I not respond to that command.”

It was longer, but the main point was this. We have to wake up. Our Lord is in agony and he turns to find his disciples (us) sleeping. We need to wake up and realize abortion is happening here in our parishes and in our communities. This is family we are talking about here. Don’t believe me? Well you should see our prayer requests book. These women aren’t strangers to you, they are our sisters in Christ and they are hurting. Statistics show that 90% of women who’ve had abortions would not have gone through with it if they had one person step up and support them.

God is commanding you, each and everyone of you to be unconditionally pro life. Please be there for these mothers, because they are hurting. A mothers love for her child is indescribable, and looking at the prayer requests in the books you can see that. On top of that I’ve been pretty homesick the past few days, and my mom thousands of miles away knows it without me saying a word. God is showing me just how deep a mothers love is. A mother knows when her baby is hurting. So I can’t imagine the pain of mothers heart when her innocent child is dying right beneath it. The blessed mother  knows what it feels like, I believe that’s why she’s been so present with us every step of the way.

My heart hurts, but I also simultaneously am experiencing such joy, because God’s mighty hand is at work. I would also like to give a special thanks to our walk leaders parents, Mr. and Mrs. Collart. Their witness was inspiring, and it was nice to speak to some science majors. Their entire family really touched my heart from taking me fishing to dinner, praying with us at the clinic and everything  in between. They have raised a wonderful son, Andrew, and it has been a joy to be serving under his leadership. As these weeks come to a close soon, I would just like to thank everyone for following us on our journey. May Christ be with you!

And to my family, I’ll see you soon!

Much love,

Mikayla Olson, southern walk 2019

PS- this is not the last blog! FDB77222-6233-443E-B831-9B9D991EB9F2.png

Chosen

July 24, 2019

Hello all,

We’ve made it to Alabama. We just spent the weekend at the guest homes of EWTN, and even had an interview with Life on the Rock. Fun fact their studio has a first class relic of Maximillian Kolbe, so of course I was super stoked (total fan girl moment). We also encountered some people again while out walking who didn’t even know what pro life meant, but to be able to explain that to them and see them support us was really cool. It’s so important to make people knowledgeable and aware of this issue.

Anyways…

This week has me missing my family, and I’m for sure I’m not the only one on the team who feels that way. When I’m having a rough day, I’ll be honest I wish I was with my mom, but the Blessed Virgin Mother is more than happy to be there for us all.  Seeing how much we miss our parents and siblings, just reminds me how God makes no mistakes. Within our family mistakes are made, but it never destroys God’s plan. Looking at my parents and their marriage, and each one of my siblings I can see God’s perfect plan come to life in imperfect yet amazing people. Each one of us was chosen, and taught how to love like Christ through the powerful love of simply being a family. God didn’t choose our family members because they were perfect and holy, but because he made them good, and he see’s something we can’t see. Family is something so intricately chosen by God, and to see it as anything less is sad. You are chosen, I am chosen, every life that enters the womb has already been chosen. Life is already chosen, there’s no choice to be made, the only choice is to love or to not love what is already so clearly loved by God.

To anyone out there faced with this choice I want you to think about the life of St. Peter or St. Mary Magdalene. Look at how many times, they slipped, and messed up. I mean Christ removed 7 demons from Mary, and Peter denied Him when Christ needed him most, yet He still chose them. Chose them to be saints, to be leaders of the church, to be witnesses to His resurrection, to be forgiven, to be loved. They didn’t receive this by merit or hard labor, but simply because they were chosen.

Life is chosen, your choice is to love it.

Much love,

Mikayla Olson, southern walk 2019B85771C8-77B4-4332-B242-F7CE92205F76.jpeg

In His Footsteps

July 20, 2019

This week, 7 years ago, my parish informed us that a boy walking on Crossroads was hit by a car and passed away early that morning. I was 12 and had known what Crossroads was for as long as I could remember because my parish in Northern Virginia invites walkers to come through and speak at the end of their walks. I remember reading about Andrew and being completely shocked.

This year, I decided to walk with Crossroads, and wow, God’s timing is incredible.

On the first weekend of our walk, way back in San Francisco, at the very first Mass I spoke at, this woman came up to me after and told me she knew someone who did the walk once. I talked to her for a while, and she turned out to be Andrew’s aunt. She said her family was very at peace with what had happened and talking with her was really inspiring and encouraging to me.

On Sunday, I was randomly assigned to speak at St Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in St Louis, MO. Many parishioners came up to me after and told me Andrew had spoken at this same parish just a couple days before his incident several years ago. They were exceedingly sorrowful, and I had many fascinating conversations with them about Andrew. I told them about how his uncle had walked the rest of the summer in his honor and how the rest of the team that year did end up finishing the walk together. It was really moving, and I was struck by how in 2 days or 2 weeks, or at any moment, something like that could happen to us, but are we really prepared? Are we spiritually prepared?

On Thursday, I was on shift walking, and while finishing the final prayers of a rosary with a teammate, we happened to walk right up to the site of the incident, finding the cross planted for Andrew. It was a chilling experience, kneeling and praying in the middle of the road on the median, while cars drove past all around us. My heart was pounding, and I had goosebumps just thinking about Andrew and how he was killed at that very spot while praying the rosary for the unborn, who do not get a chance to live at all. 7 years later, we walk in his same footsteps, and steadfastly continue to pray for an end to abortion.

I am so grateful I was given a chance to live, and for this chance now to witness the gospel of life to others.

Deo gratias.

Victoria Bliss, Central Walk 2019

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