Day 25 Mid Day Shift (by Timothy) and Evening Shift (By Chaplain Steve)

Timothy writes:

“The turnout was excellent, as there were representatives from 13 churches present. Because of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, there were many people walking by, and some of them did not support what we were doing. The courageous vigil participants were nevertheless steadfast their prayerful witness, and their example was truly inspiring. Some supporters also walked by, and one woman, in particular, asked a question about adoption. I offered her some literature about local crisis pregnancy centers which would have that information, and graciously accepted it, which was a positive sign. Lisa Kosloski also dropped by with some excellent flyers which explained the truth about abortion, and several people who walked by over the course of the next few hours took that flyer, which was another good sign.”

Chaplain Steve wrote about  his 3pm-7pm shift:

“One man yelled at me, “No one’s having abortions on Saturday!” as he headed to one of the bars in the same block as the Clinic.  St. Patrick certainly would have turned green to see the people going into Planned Parenthood.  I turned green a little later when another man spat at me, missing my head by inches as his spittle hit the building.  I was thinking how lucky I had been, then an hour later another man came by who didn’t miss.  About dinner time the walking crowd had thinned quite a bit, but cars started coming to park directly in front of the clinic, ignoring the crosswalks and the intersection itself.  One driver very carefully backed up next to where I had moved my chair, so that when his passenger opened her door it would hit me.  She closed it and reopened it vigorously 3 times, yelling at me, until I got up and moved away.  She was yelling that “you all tell lies, there’s no way that’s not a legal parking space, and you tell lies about abortion too.”

Three ladies from Ambridge, in Beaver County, were there, too, praying with me the prayers Jeannie had laminated on the back of our “40 Days For Life” signs, when first one young man and then another came up to us to have a reasonable conversation.  The first wanted to know when we believed life began, and then tried to change our answers into something ridiculous.  Then he didn’t consider “the morning after pill” to be abortion since the girl would never even know if she had gotten pregnant, never mind that her intent was to terminate any pregnancy – kill any baby – that might have begun.  Finally he insisted that Obamacare is critically important because without it his girlfriend couldn’t afford the $800 fee her doctor charged for a routine office visit to get a prescription for the pill.

The second young man thought we were wasting our time, that we should have been providing direct assistance to some young mother who had decided to keep her baby.  He didn’t consider my two adopted children to be “direct assistance…”  He admitted mixed feelings about abortion, but focused on us “wasting our time.”  While he was talking a middle-aged woman came by, cursing us and the mother and father who had conceived her and given her up for adoption.  I think she was saying they should have aborted her instead of giving her up, and she blamed her many emotional problems (she described her life as “hell”) on being adopted.  I’m sure my daughter would have loved to argue with her about the life adoptive parents provide.

As I went home to my warm house and loving family, feeling sorry for having been spat on, yelled at, and hit with a car door, I turned on the television, and found the movie, “Bonhoeffer –Agent of Grace” (www.imdb.com/title/tt0250264/) and was reminded of what Christian martyrs have experienced throughout history.  “Matthew 5:11  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matthew 5:10 NASB).”  Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis, hung on a gallows with piano wire, a technique used to make death more gruesome.  My father and great-grandfather became ill while serving as missionaries, and died as young men.  After considering these 3 fairly recent witnesses who died while serving Our Lord, I didn’t feel so bad about my first experience as a Shift Manager.

We had begun the day at the Clinic with Prayer and Praise on the sidewalk with a grand spectacle: A Roman Catholic Priest from Greensburg and a Pentecostal Chaplain from the South Hills shared in leading worship with Catholics and Protestants singing and praying together for an end to aborting in this country, and for the closing of this office, all the while green-clad and green-haired partyers headed for Pittsburgh’s St. Patty’s Day Parade.  The sight of a truly United Church contrasted strongly with those celebrating the Feast Day of one of Christ’s most famous saints was outstanding.  I used healing oil to anoint the building where so many babies have died, praying that God would remove this infection from this building, this City, and this country.  I was struck by the way the stone building absorbed the oil so quickly, a parched structure receiving the anointing hungrily, as if the building itself regretted the murder which takes place within its walls.  Yet the spot where I trace the Cross was still visible when the service was over.

Wishing you God’s peace,

Chaplain Steve

Day #5: “Pay to End Abortion” and St. Patty’s Day Revelry

How is the prayer and fasting going? Are you doing the daily devotionals, asking God to bring an end to abortion? It is wonderful to think of the united prayers all across our nation. Our prayers must be a wonderful music to our Lord’s ears. Our sacrifices must be sweet smelling incense to His nose. He is so merciful…so eager to forgive us. He doesn’t ask much really…not compared to what He gives us.

Anyway, I just thought I would keep you all updated on the happenings at the vigil. Yesterday was a very “active” day in Pittsburgh, since it was the St. Patty’s day parade, and there was much beer-induced revelry going on in town. Although not formally scheduled for a “shift”, I went down with my husband to check on our vigil manager, Maggie Stuart, to make sure she wasn’t alone. She was. Although, there was a nice, but inebriated young man who thought he needed to keep her company. So, I was glad that my husband and I had gone. We stayed until the group from St. John Fisher got there. They had been stuck in traffic for two hours!

At one point, a young woman, clearly homosexual, stopped to yell at us for our signs, saying that she had been raped when she was 15, and had an abortion…and that it was mean to say that abortion is wrong. I asked if she would like some post-abortion healing information. She said no, and walked away. (After my husband and I left, Maggie emailed me to say that she came back and asked for that information! Praise God! I pray she will be open to the Lord’s healing of her heart.)

A few minutes later, I noticed a very large, very drunk man staggering towards us. I backed up…afraid that he might fall on us. I thought he was going to criticize us, but then he dropped to his knees, right there on the sidewalk. He put his hands together and began to pray. At first, I thought he was simply mocking us. But, he was really praying…praying for God to end abortion! He had tears in his eyes, and prayed for about 5 minutes on his knees…until his friend came back and took him by the hand, leading him away.

Barbara Lewis, the shift manager from 11 to 3, emailed me the following, similar account of the activity during her shift:

“Our Saturday 11 to 3 shift was remarkable for its pro life witness. Many of the people who stopped to talk were tipsy. So was I by the time the shift ended, tipsy with happiness. It seemed that hearts were more open in downtown Pittsburgh the day of the St. Patrick Day Parade. And why not? St. Patrick was a powerful Catholic saint, preacher. He reached the hearts of the pagan Irish. The happy Irish celebrants seemed to be asking us to reach their hearts. So many people asked us who we are. So many high signs and some thumbs down for the posters. So many people spilled out of the “gay bar” to talk about their being gay, their disappointment that “people on the right” looked down on them and didn’t understand them. One of those very openhearted young men gave me $10 for you… see enclosed. Later another man passing by on the sidewalk gave me his business card and made recommendations for my home made bill board along with his rationale for the changes. He is a filmmaker and specializes in communications. He is pro life but feels that the pictures of aborted babies hurt our cause. Good conversation came from that. A newly married couple, 3 months, from Steubenville Franciscan College came and prayed with us. They hadn’t signed up. They knelt, sang, prayed the Rosary. A street evangelist gave the husband plenty of opportunity for love, generosity and patience. Saturday was a blessed vigil.”

I also want to pass along this remarkable story emailed to me from Katie Beresik, who participated in our vigil last Wednesday:

“The rain didn’t bother me at all – God’s very presence was so thick all around. I believe it was a sort of redemption for all the times that I walked past the Planned Parenthood during my workday and looked away instead of praying. But I wanted to share a story of God’s amazing blessing. I was standing in a little alcove to the building next door to Planned Parenthood. A minivan pulled up with a handicapped sign and I could see a little girl about the age of 5 with her mother in the front of the car. The little girl kept looking at us and I could tell that she was talking with her mom. After 5 minutes or so the mom got out of the car with the little girl. The mom needed to get into the building behind us. As she passed, the little girl held out a dollar bill to me. I asked her what it was for and her mom said, “Oh I think she thought the sign said, ‘Pay for an end to abortion'”. We chuckled and I said to the little girl, “Thank you but you don’t have to pay us. In fact there is something far more important and special that you can give instead of money. You can pray to God that He will put an end to abortion.” The little girl nodded vigorously and said she would. The mother then told us that she had to explain just now in the car to her daughter what abortion was. Her daughter could not understand why a mother would throw away her own daughter. The mother said that the little girl looked back to her doll sitting strapped into a car seat in the back of the minivan. The mother thanked me for what we were doing and she and her daughter got back into the car. But they didn’t leave right away. Instead the daughter again got out of the car and asked if she could take one of the 40 Days for Life signs with her. I asked Marci and we thought it would be good so we gave her a sign and then said to the mother as she again got out of the car, “Your daughter is just precious!” The mother said to me, “Why, that is her name! Precious!” God is sooo amazing how He uses the little children to teach us so much about child-like faith.”

Also, I just watched the video of our candlelit vigil last Saturday (embedded below), where we were singing Holy, Holy, Holy. It was so cool to see so many Christians of all faiths, standing in the rain, with their candles, singing and praying together for an end to abortion. You will be blessed by watching it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-v11TF0nOQ?rel=0&w=640&h=390]

See you at the vigil!

With Love in Christ,
Nikki

P.S. If you can, stop by the vigil anytime tomorrow. Our attendance from the churches may be light. Although we do have vigil managers scheduled for the entire day…so someone will be there! We could use more people!