Day 9: Thank you to St. John United Evangelical Protestant (Burry’s Church, Rochester), Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, “Elsie, Cindy and Friends”, and to Individual Volunteers!

3-9-17 temptation in the desert

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Psalm 51:12a, 14a

 

I don’t know about you, but it seems like for me, a human living in the world, that it is hard to live the life that the Lord wants me to live… all the time.  How about you?  Don’t we ALL find this challenging?  I think that’s why we need Lent.  It is a time that brings us back in check.  It strips us down, humbles us, and makes us see the great need for conversion that we have.

The above Scripture verses come from today’s (Thursday’s) liturgical Gospel Acclamation.  They struck me for two reasons:

  1.  We are in constant need of conversion.
  2. We need to acknowledge #1 before we can have #2 (the joy of the Lord’s salvation).

Let us continue to repent and change our lives.

 

3-9-17 change me Lord

When we minister to those in need on the sidewalk, I believe that we MUST acknowledge our own sinfulness, and conquer our own pride.  Otherwise, how can we reach out to offer help?  How can we speak words of compassion and healing?

The image above depicts the temptation of Our Lord Jesus in the desert (a Gospel many of us heard this past Sunday).  Although He never sinned and was therefore NOT in need of conversion as we are, He still denied Himself.  Why?  So He could forget about what is NOT important and remember what IS.

Our prayer and fasting throughout these 40 Days can be the same for us.  Let us forget about what is NOT important and remember what IS.  And let us serve those we encounter on the sidewalk with love.  Only hearts that are emptied of self through prayer and fasting can empty themselves out for others in love.  Let the Lord pour out His love THROUGH US onto His city:

 

3-9-17 west end overlook

 

Shift Manager Reports:

 

From Nikki:

I was very blessed at my shift this morning to share the sidewalk with Pastor Win and another man from his church, St. John United Evangelical Protestant (Burry’s) Church.  Pastor Win is always a very prayerful witness, and he spends almost the entire time on his knees in quiet prayer.  I know God uses his witness to touch hearts…and I know it must touch GOD’s OWN HEART as well!  Thank you Pastor Win for making this witness a priority in your busy pastor’s schedule!

 

Pastor Win from Burry Church, along with one of his church members
Pastor Win from Burry Church, along with one of his church members

 

Pastor Win praying. Thank you, Pastor, for being a witness for Christ.
Pastor Win praying. Thank you, Pastor, for being a witness for Christ.

 

Marian was there before I got there at 7am, and another off-duty shift manager, Sue M. arrived shortly after.  We had some good prayer time together before Marian took off for work.  Sue and I stood and prayed silently on opposite ends of the circle, since it appeared that PP was open for business after the first couple went in around 7:45.  They appeared to be abortion-bound.  Soon after, Pete from St. Ferdinand showed up to boost our ranks and he and I prayed for a bit.  Another couple (appeared to be a father & daughter) went in around 8:15.  The thought occurred to me that maybe PP is “prepping” people who are scheduled for late term abortions tomorrow…or maybe Thursday is now an abortion day? It is good that we are there every day during these 40 day campaigns.  Thanks to all who are making the time to come to the vigil!

Off-duty Shift Managers Marian and Sue stopped by to pray
Off-duty Shift Managers Marian and Sue stopped by to pray

 

 

The next shift manager, Bill, arrived early for his shift.  At 9 am Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrived for the 9-11 shift.  It was good to see Judy, and to meet Chuck.  It is a sad place to be, but you get to meet the nicest, most selfless people when you go.  These are people who really love the Lord…and it is a blessing to pray with them!

 

Does he look stillborn? That is what the doctor told Bill's mother when she was pregnant with him, and encouraged her to abort him.
Does he look stillborn? That is what the doctor told Bill’s mother when she was pregnant with him, and encouraged her to abort him.

 

Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene
Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene

 

 

Shift Manager Bill, along with Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene and Pete from St. Ferdinand
Shift Manager Bill, along with Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene and Pete from St. Ferdinand

 

From Marilyn:

Thank you to Erin from St. Richard, and St. James parishoners, Elsie, Sandy, and Cindy accompanied by Fr. Gruber who all came to pray today during my shift.   Unfortunately it seemed as if it may have been an abortion day today at PP.   Couples going inside with just the male partner coming out; a mother figure exiting with a very unhappy young lady; an older woman coming out to smoke making comments that suggested the person she came with was having an abortion.  Nobody comes out looking happy.  Sigh.  We prayed.  It broke my heart to think of what was taking place behind the facade of 933 Liberty Avenue.  Usually Thursday is not an abortion day – but last week it looked like it was, as it did this week.  It is a totally different feel being down there to pray when it is an abortion day.  I’ll bet readers enjoyed the sunshine today.  Well, we could see the sun to the left and to the right, but right where we pray, as always, it was cold and dreary.  The sun does not shine in front of 933 Liberty Avenue.
 
On a more positive note, a young lady stopped briefly to tell us that she had gone there and changed her mind.  Her baby is now six months old, but is sick. Pray for Baby H.  She thanked us for being there.   Several people expressed their gratitude.  Some women accepted literature, looked at it and then handed it back.
 
As far as the weather is concerned, I won’t complain one bit if it does snow tonight as it just might keep some clients away from PP tomorrow morning!
 
God bless you,
Marilyn Buck
3-9-17 marilyn
Sandy (L) and Cindy (in blue) from St. James in Sewickley, along with Erin from St. Richard. Thank you, ladies!

From Lisa K.:

A moment of humility has arrived.  Well, it is Lent after all.  Marilyn texted me during her shift to tell me that it might be an abortion day.  This thought made me suddenly so afraid and anxious- as though I had never been in front of PP to pray before!  It seemed like forever since I had been there on an abortion day.  I think that part of my anxiety came from the fact that last Thursday, I was praying with someone who was a Sidewalk Advocate, and I felt intimidated by that.  Silly, I know.  So this week, all I could feel was what I lacked, instead of what the Lord could do through me.

Suddenly, I had a very encouraging thought: a certain woman would be there during my shift who I KNEW had experience and was unshakeable, in my opinion.  She was indeed there, but that was not what ended up helping me.  Sandy from St. James was praying with me, when out of “nowhere” came Fr. Tony from WV.  We talked for a moment, then he was going to pray by himself, but said, “Before I do that…” and he raised his hands over Sandy and me, and prayed a beautiful blessing over us!  Now THAT brought me peace.

Makes me think about what I said earlier, about remembering what is important and denying oneself.  Many lessons to learn.  Thank God for Lent.

 

Suzanne from St. James in Sewickley. Note the sunglasses and short sleeves! Thank you, God, for the beautiful weather.
Suzanne from St. James in Sewickley. Note the sunglasses and short sleeves! Thank you, God, for the beautiful weather.

 

From Helen:

Shift Manager Dee and I had a week’s worth of blessings in two hours.  While we stand at 933 Liberty, school students head for home, downtown workers wait for buses headed for faraway places like Monroeville, the Mon Valley and Chippewa, Beaver County.

Today a tall young mom came along with two beautiful babies in their stroller.  She said she would like to be part of telling people about how evil abortion is.  She used to be an atheist. She met a man from Jamaica, fell in love, and learned from him how good God is.  When she got pregnant, her family told her she was too young to have a baby, but she married the man, and they have two beautiful girls and a new baby is on the way.

3-9-17 mother with twins-dee

 

3-9-17 mother with twins and helen- dee

She learned that people in Jamaica are very poor. They have no welfare, no public assistance, no agencies to offer help, but they DO NOT abort their children.  They have beautiful babies who grow in the love of God.  She has all of the numbers for help. I could not find the one business card I KNEW I had put in my pocket. While I turned all my  pockets inside-out, Dee came along and said, “Your card was over there (near our big box) on the ground.”

Two rosaries later, I looked across the yellow “forbidden area” to Dee. She was being assailed by a very angry woman declaring, “This is National Women’s Day! This is National Women’s Week! You people are so misguided. You are taking away women’s rights to birth control. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING?”  The lady was so vociferous that people waiting for the next bus were shaking their heads and smiling at me. To each one I said, “Please pray for that lady.” Each one agreed.  Then she came to where I stood and asked the same questions. It had to be grace that made me very happy to talk to her. After, “Do you know what you are doing?” (Yes) and “Do you know the harm you are doing?” (NO)  “Do you want all women to have many children?”  Then she came in close and said, “How did you lose your teeth? Are you an alcoholic? Did a MAN punch out your teeth?”  I told her about the accident that has caused me to lose three (and soon, four) teeth.  Then she said she was sorry about that. She had an abortion in the 1980s. She did not want to do that but her boyfriend threatened to haul her into court…

That was my time to tell her that I am reading and writing from a book titled, WOMAN AND THE NEW RACE by Margaret Sanger. She said she knows about Margaret Sanger.  I told her that on page 63, Sanger wrote, “The kindest thing a large family does for one of its youngest members is to kill it.” I told her how Sanger worried that the immigrant families would bring diseases, parasites, etc. Then I told her about my mom’s entry at New York in 1921.

The conversation then went into an attack on Christians. She is an atheist. When I told her I would pray for her, she begged me not to do that. Of course Donald Trump was blamed for all that is happening.

I have no doubt that many of our vigil keepers have had similar conversations. I don’t know how long we talked, but her last words to me were, “God bless you.” Dee took a picture of the young mom. My last words for today are that I was blessed to be there.

Helen

 

3-9-17 gentleness

 

From Rick:

During the Thursday 5-7 PM Shift I was accompanied by caring and prayerful pro-life witnesses.  I would like to especially thank Adam from Monroeville, Billy from Assembly of God Church in Plum and my wife, Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their faithful witness and for doing such a great job passing out crisis pregnancy contact information. We were wearing the K of C Choose Life signs and one lady walked by carrying a baby on her back and proudly told us that she Chose Life!  Praise God!
Rick
3-9-17 doing good

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Day 9: Thank you to St. John United Evangelical Protestant (Burry’s Church, Rochester), Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, “Elsie, Cindy and Friends”, and to Individual Volunteers!

  • March 10, 2017 at 12:05 am
    Permalink

    “When we minister to those in need on the sidewalk, I believe that we MUST acknowledge our own sinfulness, and conquer our own pride.  Otherwise, how can we reach out to offer help?  How can we speak words of compassion and healing?”
    Well said.
    I’m reminded of an article in a Human Life International (Father Paul Marx vintage) publication decades ago by a rescuer. In it he made a startling statement–that the pro-life movement wouldn’t get anywhere unless pro-lifers entered into a spirit of solidarity in sin with those involved with abortion. In other words, until we identify with them as fellow sinners, rather than identifying with God as judge.
    My own sins, though they may not be crimes, as abortion is, are an affront to God and a scandal to all those who witness them, or worse, who are victims of them. How many feel worthless and unloved and invisible because of a lifetime of not being the right sort, for example, or bruised by incessant impatience, and turn to addiction or improper relationships (with abortions to follow) as a result? That doesn’t necessarily eliminate their responsibility, but it certainly implicates me when I have been part of their hurt.
    Our gratitude for mercy received will convey itself more persuasively than our insularity and critical spirit. Humiliating that we can’t command ourselves to have the right attitude non-stop. But it starts with trying, and repenting when we fail.
    So that is what your article reminded me of today. Thank you!
    What good examples of mercy we have been reading about–or seeing–on the sidewalk in Pittsburgh. Thank you all so much for that! And praise Jesus for His mercy to us and those who pass by and even those who enter!

    Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 1:33 am
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    Wow! Helen’s story of the yelling woman should remind us that those most incensed by our presence are frequently post-abortive women and men who are still tormented by that decision (although they will defend it). Our presence is akin to ripping the scab off of a festering wound. Once you realize that, you can choose not to take the comments personally and to see the person in pain in front of you instead. Let the Holy Spirit do the rest – speak the truth in love.

    Thanks, Helen!

    Ephesians 4:15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ;

    Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 7:55 am
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    Awesome responses Helen and Dee. Your gentleness was evident. The LORD is near!

    Reply

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