Day 9, Our 40 Days for Life Family rallies together to maintain the vigil!

I was so encouraged and inspired to see folks sign up to fill our vigil today.  We have no church presence there until the last shift (3pm-7pm), when St. Bernadette’s Parish in Monroeville will carry the torch.  So, when we sent out the email last week telling our family of our need, you responded!  I feel so blessed that the Lord gave us 40 Days for Life to band us together in unity…so we can all work together with one goal…to end abortion!  Towards the later half of our 40 days we have many days like today…with no church coverage.  I hope and pray that we can continue to support each other by each filling in where we can.  Today, it was important that we were there.  At about 10am, two young girls showed up and were trying to get into Planned Parenthood.  Luckily, the doors were not yet unlocked, and I was able to talk with them.  The one girl, Jada, had taken a pregnancy test at home and it was positive.  So she had come for another one.  I was able to give her information directing her to Women’s Choice Network…which happened to be open in Oakland at that time.  They left, looking for a bus to take them to Oakland, along with educational literature about fetal development and a little 12 week fetal model.  I pray they make it to Women’s Choice Network or one of our other wonderful Crisis Pregnancy centers…and don’t return later to Planned Parenthood.

Here are some photos of some of my brothers and sisters who came to hold our vigil this morning:

Sisters Barbara and Nancy drove all the way from Butler to stand with me during the early 7am hour!
Kim & Marie from St. Alphonsus kept vigil with me
Marie and Kim drove in from Wexford to stand with me for the 9 O'clock hour, and Vic stood for two hours, beginning at 8:00.
Mary Ann came for the 10 O'clock hour and was there as the second shift manager, Lisa, arrived.
First-Timer Chris (from St. Alphonsus) bravely signed up for 3 hours, so that Shift Manager Lisa wouldn't stand alone!

When I see young people, who have never done this before…stepping out in faith and courage, and driving into Pittsburgh to stand on a public sidewalk to witness to the dignity and sanctity of human life…it gives me the encouragement that I need to continue leading this campaign.  Thanks to ALL who came out this morning, and to all who will be coming tonight with St. Bernadette’s!  See some photos taken by Lori and Tim from the later shifts on this day:

Fr. Tony Gargotta, Pat, Lisa & Laura from St. Bernadette's in Monroeville
More saints from St. Bernadette's...plus "regular" Susan
Christians unite on Day 9's last shift from many different churches!

And here’s one taken by Lisa during the afternoon:

God bless you,

Nikki

Happenings from the past few days……

Slightly edited from shift manager Jim, from 10/2:

Rain and cold and prayer.  Met some friends from long ago at the vigil and we prayed together to see the end of abortion.  Some harassment from the bar next door.  Drunk patron trying to get us to go home.  We just prayed the harder even with the music turned up.  Hope this doesn’t become a daily occurrence since the language and intimidation was pretty bad. 

Slightly edited from shift manager Beth, from 10/4:

What a wonderful, wet day at 40 Days for Life. During the afternoon shift, we met Jonathan, who was on his way from Washington to three colleges in Ohio to discuss the pro-life stand. He was wearing his 40 Days for Life sweatshirt and said that he had just finished co-coordinating some similar events in Virginia and Maryland. If this 30 year-old is the future of the pro-life movement, halleluiah! We exchanged information and he gave us lots of contacts and references to further the cause.

Then, a woman stopped, and was talking to some of us about her abortion so many years ago, and how she believed her son’s suicide was God’s “revenge” for that abortion. Our shift manager and others offered sympathy and the knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness. The woman took the Rachel’s Vineyard literature, and said she was going to do the retreat.

I went home feeling inspired and lucky to have participated.

My first Grandson was born today!

Praise God, I am a Grandma!  My first grandson, Kydan James Trobaugh was born today!  He is a little guy, only 4lbs 8oz, but healthy and very handsome.  Here is a photo:

Life is such a miracle, and such a gift.  The only sad thing is he lives 1,200 miles away in Oklahoma…and I have to wait until November to see him!  What a blessing, I just had to share it with my 40 Days for Life family!

Love,

Nikki

Day 8 – We Gather Together

Upon arriving at Planned Parenthood, I met Jessica and Gary, two young adults, like myself, ready to take a stand, pray, and share their testimonies with people around them.  By the way, they both had incredible testimonies!  I was looking forward to spending time out there with them on the front lines.  It was just the three of us.

Shortly thereafter, seemingly out of nowhere, Nathaniel and Pete showed up.  They had been released from school early, and, instead of going home to relax or do their own thing, these brothers knew where they wanted to be.  And there they were, right at the place God had called them to.

Next thing you know, we were welcoming Vince.  Although he normally attends on some Saturdays, he took a bus into the city to meet up and pray.  He was so knowledgable.  We had a great time of prayer and some great conversation to go along with it. 

I saw a woman walking up the sidewalk, and she stopped where we were.  I didn’t know Jessica’s mom, Hana, had been on her way all along.  Having been involved in pro-life issues for quite some time, she knew her stuff, and she was a great addition to the team.

As our time was winding down, others were already there to take our place. 

P.S.  You’ll just have to trust me on all this.  We were so in the moment, we forgot to take pictures!  Whoops!

P.S.S. Thanks for reading this entire post.  If you hadn’t, you would have missed this most important message.  I should have mentioned it first, but here it is.  We met a woman, Linda.  Her 25 year old daughter, Darnika, is 5 months pregnant and still considering abortion.  Linda is totally pro-life, and is a huge support and influence in her daughter’s life.  She assured us she isn’t going to let this abortion happen, if she has anything to do with it. When she heard all about the Women’s Choice Network and the services they provide, she was so excited.  She said she may stop back where we are located, and, if she does, you can’t miss her.  She’ll bring so much joy and encouragement with her.  SO, everyone, keep an eye out!

Day 8, Fourth Presbyterian & Emmanuel Christian Church

Rev. John Patterson and his wife Carol were our Shift Managers this morning, and they were happy to welcome members from Fourth Presbyterian Church, and young Jessica from Sts. John and Paul in Cranberry…who has been emboldened and inspired to come frequently by herself.  Lori stopped by to take a photo this morning and sent the following:

Rev. John & Rev. Eric from Fourth Presbyterian
Rev. Eric, Jessica, Carol, Rev. John and Frank

Although our numbers are small, I am encouraged by all who are sacrificing time and comfort to come represent Christ at a place that so needs Him!  Our Lord delights in using a small remnant to accomplish His Great Works!!!

This afternoon our vigil will be maintained by members of Emmanuel Christian Church.  A photo will be posted later.

The following photos were sent in by Lori, our 40 Days for Life photographer, and were taken during the last shift of the day, while Barbara Lewis was manager:

Katie from SHAG and Erica from Life Church
April from Life Church
Susan, with Shift Manager, Barbara

Keep up the prayers, fasting and vigil!  We are making a difference!

Nikki

Day 7, Women’s Choice Network & St. Killian’s

We are already one week through our 40 Days for Life campaign…thanks to all who are faithfully standing vigil and witnessing to the injustice of abortion! Thanks to all who are praying from home and fasting!

The beautiful women from Women’s Choice Network held our vigil from 11-3 today. Although I don’t have a photo of them, here is a comment sent in by Linda, from WCN:

“It was a rainy day but a great one none the less. We were so impressed with the commitment of several year round vigilantes we met and the folks who stop by routinely on their lunch breaks to pray alone. Many people took the baby models and information cards that Shift Manager Charlotte and her mother had purchased. It was uplifting to have strangers say ‘God Bless you’ as they passed us by. The day’s devotional was so appropriate as we read:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim
liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those
who are oppressed. Luke 4:18-19

Who are the captives, if not those unborn children who are bound over to death by the “choice” of abortion? Women’s Choice Network appreciates the work being done by 40 Days For Life and fondly value our partnership together.”

Linda Frank,
Partner Services Director, Women’s Choice Network

I (Nikki) wasn’t at the vigil today, except for a  brief minute while I snapped a quick photo of our beautiful Shift Managers Jim and Cathy;

Shift Managers Jim & Cathy

I also got this photo of a lone prayer warrior from St. Killian’s Parish in Cranberry.  There were more prayer participants from St. Killian’s that were to be coming later;

Prayer Warrior from St. Killian's Parish

I encourage all who participate in the vigil to snap a few photos and email them to me so I can post them on this blog.  I hope to post some stories from the vigil, when they are reported by the Shift Managers or participants.  Keep up the prayers and the fasting!  38 babies saved so far nationally!  Pray for one here in Pittsburgh!

God bless you,

Nikki

Day 6 Blessings Rain Down

This morning was a blessed time at the vigil. I had the honor to stand with members of my own church, Riverside Community Church in Oakmont.  The morning was quiet, with just Cathy, Dick and I;

Cathy & Dick from RCC

Later, we were joined by a whole crew of courageous women from Riverside.  Here is a photo of them:

Esmeralda, Michelle, Ginny, Caara, Cathy, Jessica and Cruz Maria
Cathy, Cruz Maria and Esmeralda from RCC

Although the rain continued, we enjoyed the fellowship, prayed together and allowed the Holy Spirit to shine through us at this dark place.  Jessica came by herself to join us…after conquering her fears last week and coming for the first time.  As we were ready to leave, Fr. Tim’s Guardians for Life of Indiana and Westmoreland County group arrived to hold vigil for the following two hours.  Cathy Zuza was also there to represent St. Juan Diego’s parish, and will stand with Shift Managers Rose and Beth for the second shift. The last shift will be taken by Shift Manager Melissa and her father.  So far no one else has signed up to stand with them…hopefully some will just show up. 

Guardians for Life of Indiana & Westmoreland Counties
Fr. Tim leads his group in song

Upon completion of my shift, Cathy and I were on our way back to the parking garage, and a young girl was sitting on the wet sidewalk asking for change.  I went into the restaurant to get her a sandwich while my friend Cathy stayed and spoke with her and her friend.  It turns out they are both homeless and traveling, trying to make their way to California.  They are pan-handling to get money for a bus ticket.  The Light of Light mission is full, and they don’t have anywhere to stay.  They didn’t look more than 18 years old.  Cathy witnessed to them about Christ, and prayed with them and gave them her bible….after recommending to them to start in the book of John.  I found out this morning that she really has the gift of evangelism!  It was a blessing to be a part of all that happened this morning.  The Spirit of the Lord is truly moving here in Pittsburgh and in our nation!

Your in Christ,

Nikki

Sunday groups had different experiences

Quoted from Jen, Sunday AM shift manager: “Beautiful to note that a dozen people came over the course of the shift, despite the ugly weather! Thank you and God bless you, too! :)”

Also from Sunday, slightly edited info from shift manager Nikki W.:  

“Things went very well, but one man verbally attacked the young girl I was with.  He was very angry with us, calling us stupid.  He kept insisting that she was a “Catholic nut,” but she wasn’t even Catholic.  She handled herself very well.  I was inspired and proud of her and her gumption. She handled persecution like a pro.” 

Yes, we have a battle to fight.  Any way the devil can use to attack us and distract us, he will.  But we are not alone.  We stand united in prayer and the name of Jesus Christ.  We must not be afraid.

Day 5, Where were you today?

Today was not a nice day to stand outside and pray in front of an abortion clinic.  The rain never stopped, and it was bone-chillingly cold!  So…where was I at 7am this morning?  Actually, I was snug in my warm bed.  I can’t say the same for our Shift Manager, Jen McDevitt.  At 7am, she was standing for life outside of Planned Parenthood…and there she stood until 11am.  She was joined by 12 other brave souls from Church of the Assumption. 

Where was I at 11am?  I was at my church service, enjoying worshipping the Lord with my church family.  During this same time, from 11am-3pm, Shift Manager Nikki Wallace was standing in the rain, shivering….to be a voice for the “least of these”.  For most of her shift, she was joined by two determined and faithful witnesses from Lutheran’s for Life, Cindy Fenger and Angela, as well as another dedicated volunteer named Elena.  For the remainder of her shift, it was just her and the Lord keeping vigil.

Where was I at 3pm?  In my warm, cozy home, resting up for a cold and rainy shift at Planned Parenthood early tomorrow morning…(which I will have the honor to share with my own church family from Riverside Community Church).  While I was comfortable and warm in my home, Shift Managers Jim and Cathy Shantz were standing outside in the cold rain in front of a closed abortion clinic, on a lonely city sidewalk, witnessing for un-born life to whoever passed by.  Hopefully they were joined by three other individuals…Judy, John and Mary Ellen…who had signed up to join them. 

I have to admit that I felt guilty for not going to the vigil today…and all three shift managers were in my thoughts and prayers all day today.  At one point in my prayers, I actually wept with gratitude that God has blessed me with knowing such good people as our Shift Managers.  The theme for this message today is not to make anyone feel guilty for being warm and comfortable while others stood in the freezing rain.  I’m sure that we will have our turns to stand in the freezing rain to be a voice for the voiceless.  The point is this; Today Jen, Nikki, Jim and Cathy, Cindy, Elena, John and Mary Ellen…and a few others…took our place.  I thank them from the bottom of my heart.  This is why I call us our “40 Days for Life family”.  Because we all take turns doing the work.  The battle to end abortion is too big for just a few people to fight.  We all have to fight it in turn.  When we are tired and need to rest and refresh, new troops will go into the battle and fight.  When they get weary…we will step back in.  We are family, and I love all of my fellow warriors.

Your grateful sister in Christ,

Nikki

Where does the truth “lie”?

It’s October again, and that means it’s breast cancer awareness month.  If we didn’t realize it at first,  we were certainly reminded when we tuned in for today’s Steeler game and saw all the players and coaches wearing pink, went to the store and noticed some of our favorite products on sale in new pink packaging (with part of the proceeds going to breast cancer research), or had lunch with a friend who asked us for a donation to support her in running the race for the cure.

Breast cancer.  It’s a critical women’s life issue for which awareness and research are both necessary and positive.  Anyone who has ever lost a family member or friend to this horrible disease would especially know that.  And,  for those of us who haven’t,  we must be sensitive and sympathetic,  realizing so many precious lives have been lost.

It makes sense to look to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the poster child for breast cancer awareness and research, to thank them for their extensive work.  Yet, upon a closer look, one comes to realize that this organization, synonymous with the cause,  is admittedly sending a substantial amount of raised funds directly to Planned Parenthood.

According to Eric Winer M.D., a chief scientific advisor for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “Susan G. Komen exists for only one reason: to save lives and end breast cancer forever”.  Although their strong desire to beat breast cancer is obvious, can they really say they exist to save lives?  If so,  why are they supplying Planned Parenthood, a nefarious organization for the destruction of life through abortion, with funding?  Winer says, “as part of our financial agreements, we monitor our grantees twice a year to be sure they are spending the money in line with our agreements, and we are assured that Planned Parenthood uses these funds only for breast health education, screening, and treatment programs”.  This may be the case; however, by their financial support, they are clearing the way for Planned Parenthood’s other funding to be earmarked for the shedding of innocent blood. 

Should we stop supporting Susan G. Komen?  That is not for me to say.  Although, I don’t particularly like seeing a partnership that exists between a supposed reputable foundation standing for life and an evil business that doesn’t value life. 

This being said,  I implore you to consider other outlets if you are planning on donating to breast cancer research.  I know I’ll be looking for alternative organizations that care about the precious lives of ALL of our loved ones, including those in the womb.