Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
In my view, I see this as: FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO, AND WHOSE YOU’RE GOING TO BE. I have been meditating on this passage all day now; and it is not an easy one for me! But it seems inevitable that this question is going to come to our minds: Why would I want division between myself and my family members? Of course, we normally don’t. But Jesus said that He wanted to bring FIRE to the earth. Maybe we need a fire lit under us to wake us up from complacency! How often do I simply wander through the fog of daily life, only to discern at the end of the day that perhaps I have not done or said anything differently from anybody else? Am I just going with the flow of those around me? Or am I willing to go AGAINST that flow? Jesus knew that some of us would be His followers, and that some would remain complacent. Lord, we pray that You light that fire under us NOW as we continue with these 40 Days of prayer, fasting, and public witness! May we go against the flow, and stand as CLEAR FOLLOWERS of YOURS, on the sidewalk, and everywhere.
Shift Manager Marian was in her usual spot, bright and early this morning. She shared the following with us today:
Thursday morning early shift: 7- 9
I was joined this morning, after Diane and Bill set up the signs, by members of St. Alphonsus Church. Marie, shift manager during the mid-morning on Thursdays, joined her fellow parishioners, Tom and Norma (married couple) and Harry, dressed in formal work attire. It is important for people to see those who witness dressed in casual attire or dressed for business. Sometimes I feel as though the toughest pedestrians to reach are the young men who walk by with briefcase in hand wearing three piece suits. They tend to make the least amount of eye contact. Harry was standing as a role model for them today.
As we were sharing our views on abortion and talking about issues in general, Marie did a little bit of clean up in the area as she threw out her coffee cup. In the discussion about cleaning up, Norma said: “It is like when PennDoT paved right over the deer.” I asked for an explanation and was told that PennDoT really did pave right over a deer that was “road kill.” The workers didn’t even bother to remove the remains to another spot on the side of the road. I couldn’t help but make a connection between “paving over a dead dear” to what the falsehood of abortion is. We pretend in our society that the dead baby and the hurting woman are not even there.
But then, with hearts wide open, we do learn to see. I stayed through the 9:00 hour. A young woman walked by and as she looked at the signs, I asked her if she would like some information. She told me, yes, that her 15 year old niece had just had an abortion. I was able to give her resource information for physical and emotional healing to share with her niece. We said a prayer together- acknowledging that this aunt was hurting too. Please keep “A” in your prayers. Thank you for all the resources to share. As I was talking to the young woman, I could see that an older man across the street was watching the interaction. As I left and crossed the street, he acknowledged me with an affirming look.
I included a picture of the sign for clinic workers today because it was the clinic workers who were entering the PP building today. I asked each, that I saw, if they would like information about other clinics. A young man entered the clinic as well, without a female. After reading Abby Johnson’s story in Unplanned, we have to let clinic workers know that there are other options for them as well. If any of the workers approach for information, be open. If you feel you can’t be a resource, please contact Nikki. The sign has a website and contact information listed. Anyone who leaves a job at an abortion clinic will need emotional, spiritual and financial support. Abby Johnson’s book pointed out that PP is well-represented at college fairs for recruitment purposes. The young PP workers can start as volunteers and then gain work in the system (of lies).
Thanks to the witnesses who took time out of their schedules today to pray and witness for the end of legalized abortions. Since health care plans cover preventative measures, including birth control and abortions, you just never know when a pedestrian walking past will later on in the day have to talk to someone about abortion-related services on their jobs- even if they do not work at PP.
Shift Manager Marie had a little message to share:
I just want to add my thanks to the St. Alphonsus parishioners that joined me on the sidewalk today during the 7:00-11:00 a.m. vigil: Harry G., Norma & Tom H., and Michele M.
Also, thanks to the prayer warriors from St. Teresa of Avila in Perrysville for coming down to pray. And to Marian for staying with us past her shift.
Shift Manager Marilyn (11-1 AM) had the following report and photos to share:
I am ashamed to admit this, but the thought that ran through my mind today was, only one more Thursday to go. When, in reality, there will be many, many more Thursdays… The thing that touched me the most today was a young, well-dressed man who stopped by to admire the baby display. He took a picture of it and said he had never seen anything like it. I gave him a 40 Days brochure, which he took. I was going to give him more material, but he had to leave to catch up with his group. I’m glad he has our brochure. Maybe he will look at our website. You never know whose heart you touch on any given day. Most folks were positive today, just a few odd comments that we know can’t really hurt us. I am saddened for these poor souls who are so lost.
I was blessed to have so many wonderful parishoners from St. Joe’s join in praying this afternoon. It was so nice to hear them sing softly. And then there are the regulars who come by on their lunch time for a short time to pray. God bless them all. Thank you to whomever donated the granola bars. I was able to give some of them out to a gentleman who was in need. Lastly, I was grateful for the brief encouraging words from Melissa Hart as she passed by on the sidewalk today!
God bless you,
I (Lisa) was the Shift Manager from 1-3 PM. Here are a few thoughts and photos:
Although I may have been “Shift Manager,” allow me to admire another Shift Manager who was with me for the whole time today: Cecilia. She always impresses and amazes me, the way she “works the sidewalk.” She knows how to initiate conversation, and how to get information into the hands of passersby. It is a wonderful thing to watch. I was also acknowledging to someone earlier that we all have our own styles, our own gifts, that we bring to the vigil. Cecilia’s way isn’t the only way. But it is really a blessing to be able to learn from one another.
I am so thankful that Fr. Mark, a Capuchin Franciscan from St. Joseph in Cabot, was able to join us for a short time today. It is a POWERFUL and beautiful witness to have a priest in habit with us on the sidewalk. In fact, when I asked Father if he wanted a sign to hold, he smiled and gestured with his hands down towards his brown habit. I laughed with him as we knew that his habit was all the SIGN that he needed!
There were several encounters with the typical angry, misled, or under-informed folks today. But the good moments strongly outshined the bad. Maybe it was the sunshine today (thank You, Lord!), but I don’t feel the need to give blog space to those moments now. The Lord is good.
Shift Manager Bethany shared this from her shift, from 5-7:
Theresa, Paul, and Ed were my sidekicks for this shift. They were an awesome prayer presence. It was during the 4-5 hour when I usually arrive to spend time with Jeannie (the manager before me), that the most memorable encounter happened. A young man with gauges in his ears and piercings all over his face got right in my personal space and demanded, “If I raped you right now and you got pregnant, would you keep the baby?!?!?” Jesus helped me to be brave and put on a super cheerful face and answer 100% positively, “Yes I would!” He was a super bitter human being who was regretting his birth parent’s decision to adopt him out to total strangers instead of just passing him on to a grandparent or close relative. From what I could understand as he shared his frustration, his sister had become pregnant because of rape and had had an abortion. He walked away very quickly before Jeannie or I could get him any information. Jeannie was going to give him a Stages of Development brochure because he was insisting that our 10-week old model didn’t have a brain at that point. How sad life is when the Creator is left out! If I had a second chance I would have reassured him that with a Biblical worldview, every life is a beautiful miracle, no matter what the surrounding circumstances. I’ve added Piercings Dude to my prayer list, and I hope you will too…….Jesus knows what his name is, and he cares deeply for the state of that man’s soul. Thank you so much.
Looking forward to seeing Jesus change some lives for His glory,