I wish to write about my experience of attending this past weekend’s 40 Days for Life symposium in Houston, so that all of our 40 Days for Life family in Pittsburgh can, in a small way, share some of the blessings that we received by attending this wonderful symposium.
This symposium was special because of two amazing trips that we were taken on…read on to hear about them:
First, when we arrived in Houston on Friday, the very first thing we did was load all 200+ leaders into four large buses and drove to the mega-Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Houston, which is the largest freestanding abortion clinic in the world.
I had seen pictures of it many times before, but I was surprised at the emotional reaction that I experienced when I actually saw it in person. I took a picture of my face, and as a remedy to my own vanity and pride, I will post it to show you my initial reaction to this monstrosity of evil:
Here is a photo of the people sitting behind me on the bus, you will see in many faces the same look of sadness and horror:
The temperature outdoors was about 3 degrees cooler than hell, as one leader aptly put it. I tried to offer my suffering in the heat for those whose lives have and are being lost in that building, but it was tough.
Although the heat was intense…especially for us Yankees…It was the perfect way to begin our symposium. Standing in front of the largest abortion facility in the world was the stark reminder that I needed to remember why I was at the symposium in the first place.
I want to share one thought that I had, as our bus stopped in front of this terrible building: While I was still in my seat, feeling so overwhelmed and discouraged…I looked out the window to see many men who are leaders in this movement. They were all busy organizing and directing the gathering crowd. These men included; Shawn Carney, Matt Britain, Steve Karlen, Robert Colquhoun, Brian Wilson and Rev. Brian Walker (among others). As I sat there, wanting to find a hole to crawl into…looking at these strong male leaders, I sensed that they were our warriors. I had the feeling that I was on the front lines of a very dangerous battle and I did not have the strength to fight, but I was so thankful for the leadership of these godly men. I had the thought that fighting abortion is like being in a war, and men are the ones that God equipped to really fight the hard battle on the front line. Me, as a woman, can fight behind the scenes, Through prayer and fasting and organizing people to show up on the sidewalk… which I know, is also on the front lines… and we women also do battle. But still, I really have a sense of gratitude for these spiritually strong men who have answered the call to lead us! I just wanted to say this. I realize that it may sound old-fashioned and not politically correct these days.
After our time at Planned Parenthood we had a gala event with a wonderful dinner and many great speakers which motivated and inspired us, including Ante, whom we met here in Pittsburgh.
The following day, on Saturday, was an all day symposium with many speakers, including testimonies of those who chose Life and also those who suffered from abortion. One of the most powerful speaker panels included two former abortionists, one former abortion clinic manager, and a post abortive women. As they role played a scene from how an abortion would take place, they were unexpectedly brought to tears as they reenacted the scene.
Saturday night was such a fun time, as we were fed a Texas style barbecue and had the opportunity to learn how to country line dance, which I enjoyed!
On Sunday those of us who are Catholic went to Mass together at a beautiful 150-year-old city parish called “Church of the Annunciation”. The church was PACKED and we heard a wonderful sermon about the importance of praying in front of abortion clinics!
After Mass, all of us had the life-changing and profound experience of taking a two hour bus trip (four buses packed full of 40 days for life leaders), to Brian/College Station, to visit the former Planned Parenthood building, which is now the site of the International 40 Days for Life headquarters!!! This was truly the icing on the cake of a magnificent weekend!
Dr. Haywood Robinson stood in front of that building and told us that he used to do abortions in that same Planned Parenthood…before he met Jesus Christ and was transformed by grace. I was moved to tears to see God‘s power and His Hand in this movement! To see that man standing there speaking to us… to see the transformation in his life and in the lives of so many other former abortionists and workers who were there… brought me to tears. This time they were tears of joy.
Haywood made the analogy of 40 Days for Life being like a lazy river of God. When you stand there, looking at that former abortion clinic, which now serves as the headquarters of 40 Days for Life …and all those former abortion-workers who are now on the side of LIFE… you can’t help but see how 40 days for life is a movement completely of God! With that knowledge, we can feel safe and comfortable (as in the lazy river), because we know that we are in the center of God’s will… as we float along in this movement. It is a wonderful analogy, although I must admit that sometimes I don’t feel like I am floating. I feel more like I am paddling upstream, but that is just because I have the continual fight against my own weak human nature and my own laziness and selfishness! But really, we are in the lazy river of God when we participate in 40 days for life!
Dr. Robinson made the analogy of 40 days for life being like a lazy river of God.
He probably came up with this analogy because we had a really cool lazy river at the Marriott Marquis, where our 40 days conference was held. This lazy river is in the shape of Texas! (Texans are mighty proud of their state!)
The 40 Days for Life national team had a delicious Texas-style barbecue lunch for us. They truly treated us like kings and queens all weekend! I am so grateful to all of their generous donors who made this weekend possible!
We were given a tour of the building, including one of the rooms in which abortions were performed. Unlike the experience of being in front of the mega-Planned Parenthood in Houston…which was so dark and unsettling…inside of this former abortion facility…which has since been exorcised and blessed…I felt nothing but gratitude and joy.
We went into the very room where the abortions took place, which still contained the table that the women would lay on, (now covered with roses)…but the darkness was not there. Only redemption.
They also showed us the plans for a memorial which they are going to build in the backyard, which will be a large granite wall with 6,400 gold crosses… to memorialize the lives that were lost there.
So what are you waiting for? The lazy river of God is waiting for you to JUMP IN!!! Sign up here for the fall campaign: