It was a beautiful sunny day in Pittsburgh today, but don’t let the clear blue sky and sparkling skyline fool you. It was one of the UGLIEST days at the vigil that I have ever experienced! The spiritual warfare was FIERCE!
Early morning shift manager Sally wrote:
It was a beautiful, dry, very cold morning. The slowdown at PP is evidently over. This was a very busy morning. At least 10 couples went in for abortions on this shift. At least 2 men took offense when Al told them that God loves their baby and they should also love their child. Guilt and anger often go hand in hand.
The First Evangelical Free Church of McKeesport, with their pastor, was a wonderful, prayerful presence on the street for the entire 4 hours. We thank God for their witness each 40 day period. They were joined by about 4 people from various other churches.
The “Infectious Medical Waste” truck was there to take away the bodies of previously aborted babies. The wording on the back of the truck is “Chemotherapudic Infectious Waste”. Translation, of course, is “dead babies”.
When I (Nikki) arrived for my 11am-3pm shift, there were still a few members from FEFC there:
Shortly after arriving for my shift, I was joined on the sidewalk by the arrival of a wonderful group from St. Margaret Mary Church in Moon Twp. Their pastor led them for the entire four hours!
It is so inspiring and encouraging to see pastors take time from their busy schedules to set an example for us to follow when witnessing for life! Thanks to Pastor Kirk Albrecht from First Evangelical Free Church in McKeesport AND Fr. Fisher from St. Margaret Mary parish in Moon Twp.!
I am humbled when I witness priests, (who are undoubtedly used to being treated with respect), react to very disrespectful treatment with humility…as happened today. Within minutes of this church group’s arrival on the sidewalk, we were “graced” by a visit from Emil. He began his usual rant, saying that old people are the cause of abortion (???) and then looked at Father Fisher and made a comment about priests being “pedophiles”. Fr. Fisher didn’t even flinch, we just jumped right into prayer.
As we were praying, there was a man who had stopped to engage our prayer participants in arguments/debates about abortion. Although he remained somewhat respectful in his dialogue (no profanity or shouting)…he was extremely persistent and would not give up his arguing. It was difficult to pray with this loud debate going on next to us…but we persevered as best we could. However, in the middle of our prayer, we were interrupted when a young man came storming out of Planned Parenthood and began to punch the door inside the doorway next to Planned Parenthood. I watched in sorrow as this poor man crumpled to the ground inside the doorway, collapsed onto the filthy concrete where so many drunken bar patrons urinate. I tell you, nothing breaks my heart like watching a man cry as he did. Fr. Fisher and I went over to him and stooped down onto the sidewalk to see if we could offer him consolation or prayer. In between sobs, he told us that he did not want his girlfriend to have the abortion, but could not stop her. He said that this may be his only child he would ever have, and that it was too late…the abortion had already started. Mark, from FEFC asked him if he would take a walk with him, which he did. Mark said that they talked for a long time. This young father, named “D” needs your prayers. He told us that he does not believe in God…but he desperately needs to know the love and comfort that Jesus can give him. Please pray for him. Mark said he plans to keep in touch with “D”.
Soon after this dramatic episode unfolded…while “Chris” continued his passionate pro-choice debate with anyone who would engage him…a young woman named “D” stopped to talk. She confided with us that she had a late term abortion (20 weeks) when she was 17. She had come to realization that what she had done was wrong and gladly accepted a rose and information about Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent-No-More Awareness. She said she was Catholic, but had never asked for forgiveness for the abortion. When I asked if she would like to talk to Fr. Fisher, she said she would. The two of them went across the street and talked for a long time. Please pray that “D” has been reconciled to God and is on the road to healing.
Chris actually continued his pro-choice debate/arguing with our vigil participants for THREE FULL HOURS!!! It was exhausting! Eventually, a group of about five of us began singing hymns (I actually think we sounded pretty good…no thanks to me!). We asked Chris if he wanted to sing with us, but he declined. He walked away while we were singing…I guess it wasn’t his kind of music.
All in all, it was a really rough day on the sidewalk today. The spiritual warfare was tangible. I felt the need to pray on my knees in many cases.
I know that we all know that God wins the war…but I can’t help but feel that today…Satan won the battle. I have a favor to ask from my wonderful 40 Days for Life family. Especially for those who are unable to come to the vigil to pray in person…but who can be with us in spirit….PLEASE PRAY AND FAST FOR US!!! I noticed that the 40 day fast from food that Megan Merante is coordinating did not fill up for all 40 days. I think it was only about half full when I last checked. I wonder if more people were fasting…and praying MORE…if the evil that is at 933 Liberty Avenue would have the power that it had today?
Many lives were lost in that clinic today. Many hearts were broken in that clinic today. Many souls are now in danger of being permanently separated from God because of what when on in that clinic today. It was an ugly day in Pittsburgh today.
It almost makes you want to give up the fight…doesn’t it? But sorry Satan…we are not going to give up. Actually, I received an email from a pro-life friend this week. She was frustrated by the lack of participation in her local Life Chain event last weekend. In her email she said, “I QUIT! I’M DONE!” I replied telling her that I can sympathize with her feelings. I have felt the same way. But I tried to encourage her by telling her that when I feel discouraged and want to quit, I just imaging myself standing face to face with my Lord Jesus on judgment day. I imagine Him looking me in the eyes and asking me, “So, NIKKI…what did YOU do for the least of these…my brothers?” Funny…I don’t imagine Him asking me, “What did everyone ELSE do for the least of these...” It will be ME that He is judging…NO ONE ELSE. I want to be able to look into His beautiful face and hear the words I long to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the reward that has been prepared for you.”
I was sure glad to see the smiling faces of my replacement shift managers, Barbara and Richard Lewis as they arrived for their 3-5pm shift!
Barbara wrote the following account from her time at the vigil:
Sunshine, blue skies and balmy weather greeted us for the Tuesday afternoon 3 to 5 shift. Cotton clothes kept us comfortable. When we arrived the sidewalk was full of parishioners from St. Margaret Mary, Moon Township. As they left, a regular praying vigil volunteer remained and we completed a Rosary concentrating on the Joyful Mysteries.
Bethany, a member of Providence Baptist came to pray, bringing the chair she just bought on the way here. “I was watching some videos on You Tube when I saw David Bereit talking about 40 Days for Life. His message was irresistible. I had to come to town to see for myself. The feeling of being downtown is almost overwhelming. I’m not used to it.” Bethany came last Tuesday and she returned today. She settled into her chair with her prayer journal and prepared to stay until 7.
Bill stopped by for a while. We prayed for his son who is in jail after an episode on the street when he used a knife to defend himself from two guys who tried to roust him.
Three different times, little children walking by on their way home for dinner with their parents noticed that we have flowers in a bucket that was just the right height for them to reach. “Could we have a flower?” “Of course!” we said. They chose for themselves from among the yellow, pink and red roses and purple and yellow chrysanthemums. Of course, they had to have one for their mother too.
Our Pittsburgh group of 40 Days for Life volunteers shows up for 12 hours, for 40 days in a row in downtown Pittsburgh. We hope our standing and praying and conversations can help make a dent in the disconnect people seem to have about how badly things can go for them. People think a casual “sex life,” behavior between consenting adults, is no big thing. In so many ways they are so wrong. Could not the most egregious fact bring them to their senses? Have I become a person who could actually consider killing my baby?
Shift manager, Jeannie, came with her little dog and set everyone smiling.
Keep up the good fight everyone!
Your sister in Christ,