“…[W]e rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Dear brothers and sisters, I emphasize the above portion of Scripture so that we can keep this in mind throughout this campaign. There are people with whom we come into contact every day who need to know this message! Our God is a God of hope. And His hope DOES NOT DISAPPOINT.
Before we begin with today’s stories from the vigil, please take a look at the following up-coming vigil needs to see if you can help us to fill one or two, so that our shift manager’s will not be alone: SUNDAY at 10am (Shift Mgr. Sue) MONDAY 10am (Shift Mgr. Kathy), 3pm (Shift Mgr. Rosalina) & 6pm (Shift Mgr. Francis) TUESDAY 2pm (Shift Mgr. Sheila), WEDNESDAY 2pm until 7pm (Shift Mgrs. Cathy, Nikki & Barbara), THURSDAY 9am & 10am (Shift Mgr. Marie P.) Please reply to this email to sign up to help during one of these hours, or go to http://vigilcalendar.com/pittsburgh/admin to sign up online. THANK YOU!!! Now, on to today’s stories…
Let us consider today’s vigil. Shift Manager Sue was the brave early morning soul out there in the cold today:
Brrrr! It was cold this morning! I’m sure it’s been said before, but isn’t it true that if there’s one thing we pro-life folk have become used to, it is cold. Not only the frigid temps that visit us on so many (seemingly most!) of our outings, but also — and way more hurtfully — the coldheartedness with which we and our witness are so often met.
Well, some of that did happen today, but let me begin with the positives! On this chilly morning on which few vigil participants were expected, there were a total of seven of us for the 7:00-9:00a shift!! I am always so excited to see any number of fellow pro-lifers, and the more the better. Pictured in order are Brian, Ben, Rose, Kathy, and Bill (unfortunately Susan left before I could get the photo), from a mix of churches. We welcomed Ben, a friend of Brian, as a first-time participant. I hope he will join us for some more prayer time in the future. Diane dropped off a bucket of gorgeous fresh flowers along with the sandwich-board signs and fetal models on her morningly delivery. I think people right now are so overflowing with spring fever that the flowers are really serving as an especially effective point of attraction.
One passerby told us what we were doing was “disgusting.” Hearing things like this always make me more sad than offended. As we were praying, we saw about 3 or 4 employees enter the building, including Kim, the director. At one point a tall, pretty young blond lady pulled up and parked her car at the curb. She got out & entered PP; Kathy and I said hello but she did not respond. We could clearly see in her back seat a large book that looked like some sort of reference book on human reproduction. This led us to believe she may either have been an abortionist or perhaps an intern to one of the abortionists. Please pray for her.
But now for the positives: several passersby thanked us for being there and said “God bless you,” and one man stopped on his way to work to pray for a few minutes. One lady came by asking for a flower, and although I didn’t get the specifics of what she said, she seemed very happy when we gave her one. Another lady, who identified herself as a social worker, stopped and was talking to Kathy about pregnancy care centers. Kathy gave her some information she had, and the lady said she would stop by at a later time with some information she has to give to us.
So there we were. Again, as always, I was so blessed by my shift. My prayers are with all of you wonderful witnesses to Life — not only that your prayers and witness are effective, but also that you too may be abundantly blessed!!!
Shift Manager Marie P. was also there in the cold, and she shares her story with us:
It was very cold this morning on the sidewalk. I was joined at 9:00 a.m. by Jeanne F. and John M. It was good to have such warm company in the bitter cold air. During the 9 o’clock hour Jeanne and I were approached by a young man, “D,” who asked us, “Is there a law that helps me?” We weren’t sure what he meant by that, and as we began to talk to him he told us that the mother of his son, an 18-month-old, has told him that she is pregnant and that she is going to tell the doctor to “put it in a jar.” He is not sure that it is his child, but he does not want her to have an abortion as he does not believe that it is right. He is also concerned about his relationship with his young son. We talked to him about what he should do and gave him contact information for WCN and encouraged him to get in touch with them. He then went into PP to see what they could tell him but he came out immediately and told us they wouldn’t let him inside. We again encouraged him to call WCN for guidance. Please keep “D” and this mother, “S”, in your prayers that she will see the value of the life inside her and not abort.
Another woman stopped and told us about her niece who is pregnant. She was smiling as we talked. We gave her information about fetal development and a resource sheet to give to her niece. She was so grateful for the information and said she would give it to her.
God was good to us to allow us to share information and be a source of help and hope to these individuals today.
Thanks for Pastor Matt for joining us in prayer at 10:00 a.m.
Thank you to Shift Manager Cathy, who filled in for us today, and gave us this report:
There were a number of pray-ers during this shift today – a group from Waynesburg, individuals from North Hills, South Hills, Uniontown and Harmony – all praying, individually or in a group, for the babies and their parents. A woman pushing a stroller with a beautiful baby girl stopped for a few minutes to talk. She shared that her stepsister had had many abortions. I gave her some literature about Project Rachel to share with her sister. She said she did not believe in abortion, though she could understand it in the case of rape. One of the pray-ers shared that many grown children of rape, and also many women who had been raped and still gave birth to the child have been glad they did. Women who are raped and have an abortion suffer twice.
Kim, the coordinator of the group from St. Anne in Waynesburg shared her experience at the vigil today:
I thought our group of three would be the only ones there from 11 to 3 but I was so happy and grateful that many others joined us in prayer throughout the afternoon. It was very cold. I laughed when I went to pull out a flower for a mother and her baby and the flowers were stuck, frozen in the bucket! God did bless me greatly that day. I think he blessed us all. I know the two other people who came with me from St. Ann’s feel the same way. It is always a blessing to pray with 40 days for Life. I know God is awesome and heard our prayers. It was a very powerful experience hearing the story of a man whose girl friend had an abortion some 30 years ago and his journey that brought him to us that day. We all cried for his loss and for the joy of God’s forgiveness and in thanksgiving for his witness. Thank you for coordinating this heroic effort and thank you to all of the other volunteers who commit to many, many hours helping us. Everyone was great.
The following is a report from Shift Manager Lisa’s shift (that’s me):
Today’s shift was amazing. I was blessed to be participating in prayer with the beautiful parishioners from St. Anne in Waynesburg, and another man joined us for a while as well. I’ll call him “Dave.” He was praying with us for a while as we used a pro-life prayer booklet, and then felt led to pray one with a title something like, “A Father’s Prayer After Abortion.” Dave began to weep as he read the prayer, and I knew that he was the one in need of the prayer himself.
In the next few minutes, Dave began to humbly and gently tell us his story, of how he got a girlfriend pregnant some thirty years ago. He didn’t want to be part of the situation for a couple weeks, and the girlfriend ended up having an abortion. Dave went on to tell us of the pain he has lived with for all these years, from losing the girlfriend and the child… but also he shared about the beautiful healing process the Lord was bringing him through. He has undergone a lot, and has a story of hope to share. We all encouraged him to share it with others who need to hear this message of hope and healing.
Personally, I feel so blessed to have been there. I cannot describe what I sensed was going on there in any other way but FAMILY. I told my husband on the way home, “These people down at the vigil… they’re really FAMILY.” And this scenario with Dave illustrated that in the beautiful way that he shared with us, and the loving and supportive ways that we responded to him. May we all share that kind of HOPE with one another.
One of our afternoon Shift Managers, Dee, had this report and photos to share with us:
We had a wonderful group from Steubenville today from 3 to 5 and some stayed to 7. Many were parishoners from Triumph of the Cross (formed from 6 parishes), also from Holy Family, and St. Anthony. They were very prayerful, caring, and patient. A passerby, Terence, stopped to chat with us. He told us he is one of 16 children. He is number 15. His parents were very “pro-life.” He has many, many, nieces and nephews –I believe he said over 130. That is one Family celebration!!!!
Weather was sure good for us–still a bit cold, but, bearable.
Shift Manager Julie shared this reflection from her shift:
I was with the fine folks of the Triumph of the Cross parish in Steubenville, Ohio this evening. We prayed and sang a bit, and all was very quiet. One of the ladies was offering beautiful red roses to passers by. I watched quite a few young ladies exit the building and I was praying for them. There was only one familiar face, but it seems maybe to me that Planned Parenthood has some new employees. I continue to pray that we could befriend them and show them the love of Christ. Thank you also to Jim who stopped by for a bit after his work day. The Lord is with us, to refresh and strengthen us. Amen.
Finally, we would like to send a thank you to Leslie Park Floral in Lawrenceville and St. Paul Cathedral for donating flowers for us to have on hand to give to people (and to beautify) our vigil! The flowers themselves are a symbol of beauty, life and hope in front of a place that feeds on ugliness, death and despair. Thank you!!