So, when exactly did God break your heart over abortion? Did you always know it was wrong, or did He reveal it to you at a certain point in your life? Have you been wounded personally by abortion?
If you are like me, when you first began to be involved in the battle to end abortion, you most likely felt very alone and discouraged. The abortion giant is so huge and vast…and those of us fighting against it are so few and tiny. It is just too much for one person to fight it alone…and it is too overwhelming for us to go at it as lone rangers. I have seen what happens when God convicts someone of the wrong-ness of abortion, and they become passionate to work to end it…but they have no way to connect into a larger effort. They can become bitter and even self-righteous. They develop an attitude of “me against the world“.
The wonderful thing about 40 Days for Life is that it provides a way for all of us who are passionate to UNITE so that we are no longer alone. God takes our individual commitments and joins them together to make something powerful and beautiful!
INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENTS…hmmm…so many inspire me! Let me share just a few of them that I have witnessed in the past week:
The pastor of Our Lady of Victory Church in Carnegie, Fr. Rodolph Wakim. Fr. Rodolph has faithfully adopted a four-hour shift at our vigil for every campaign as far as I can remember. He has stood by himself for hours, even when no one from his parish joined him. I was privileged to stand with him a couple times, and his gentle humor and his un-wavering confidence in God’s Goodness was like warm ray of light on that gloomy sidewalk.
Pastor Win , St. John United Evangelical Protestant Church. Pastor Win has also represented his church, even when no one from his church joined him. I remember being touched and inspired on one very cold and rainy four hour shift by the picture of Pastor Win praying alone in front of Planned Parenthood on his knees.
Then there’s Judy Stump, wife of Pastor Joe Stump of Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Judy has committed to adopt EVERY Monday morning shift from 7-11am during this 40 day campaign! Even if no one else joins her, she has made it a priority to witness for Christ at our vigil.
These humble servants of God, with extremely busy lives and many responsibilities, have quietly, gently…but STUBBORNLY committed to the cause of Life! They inspire me tremendously!
Like a steady, gentle trickle of water will wear away the hardest rock…these persistently faithful pastors are steadily eroding the culture of death from our city.
Other examples of individual commitments come from our own 40 Days for Life team:
For example, Diane, who has given so much of herself by purchasing many of our vigil materials…organizing them into a wonderful, portable “office-on-the-sidewalk”, and transporting them back and forth each day!
Then there is the “anonymous” donor, (one of our shift managers) who purchased the beautiful fetal model set that we display at our vigil (it wasn’t cheap!)….and who took it upon herself to compile the beautiful prayer booklets that we now use.
The many vigil shift managers, (along with Barbara, who coordinates their schedules)… and the display of unity that they show by helping one another by filling in for each other when needed. We never seem to have a problem finding a replacement when one shift manager needs to “switch” with another.
Thank you to those individuals that provided the witness at the vigil today, especially St. John United Evangelical Protestant Church and Cross Connections Alliance Church!
Brand-new shift manager Charlene sent in this report from the 7-9:30am hours:
Today was Dick and my first day as Shift Managers. We were nervous and arrived at about 6:40 am…but within a few minutes Bill joined us and Diane rolled up with everything we needed. They gave us their sage advice and then Pastor Win arrived and his spirituality sealed our calm. It was a chilly morning and we remembered about dressing in layers from here on. Chris arrived and led us in a rosary before he returned to work. The street was pretty quiet this morning and even though our numbers were few we felt like an army with Jesus and Mary standing with us…warriors on the sidewalk.
Cathy Z. managed the vigil from 9:30am till noon. Pastor Win was with her until 11am, when Francis arrived to fill the empty hours this afternoon.
I (Nikki) arrived for my 12-2:45pm shift. Rick and Bill stopped to pray briefly, but other than that it was just Francis and I until 1:30…when Seamus arrived to make sure I had company for the remainder of my shift. Tony also stopped by to pray for a while.
Maybe it was because there was no church group this afternoon, but we had lots of encounters with passersby today! It seemed like everyone wanted to stop and talk…whether it was to encourage us, thank us, debate us, question us…or argue with us. It was non-stop! We talked to a Christian woman who was very thankful, a Muslim man who was very respectful but questioning, an angry African American man….and many others. I think that when there is only a couple people at the vigil, we aren’t seen as intimidating as when a large group is praying together, and therefore more passersby stop to talk. The clinic was very quiet today, thank goodness. Only a couple single girls entered.
Barbara and Richard arrived to take over for me before 2:45, and Barbara took this photo:
This evening, again sunny and warm, was gentleman’s night. When I arrived Nikki stood with with an Irish Marine and Tony, two of our regular men who come to pray. As the evening progressed Richard and I were joined by Jim and Pastor Kevin from the Cross Connections Alliance Church. Both came because Nikki went to their church and asked the parishioners to think about coming to pray Downtown with 40 Days for Life. Men talked with men. Two young men stopped for more than 10 minutes, sharing their story about abortion. Abortion is not a woman’s issue. Abortion is an issue that breaks the hearts of all people blasted by its terrible lie.
Barbara Lewis, Shift Manager
Thanks for uniting with our 40 Days for Life family…please continue praying, fasting and witnessing!
Your sister in Christ,