Hosanna Church in Bellvue, CIM-PA (Cultural Impact Ministries from Christ Church Grove Farm) and St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Oakmont brought the light of Christ to the dreary sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood today. It was inspiring to see so many people’s faith “IN ACTION” today, and throughout these first 15 very challenging days…through bitter cold, ice, snow and rain!
ACTION…is it really necessary? Can’t we just pray from home? How many times do we tell people who are going through a difficult time, “I’ll pray for you.” I do it all the time. But sometimes I forget to pray after I promised…and then I feel guilt. One thing I have found is that if I decide to add FASTING to my prayers, then I don’t forget! My stomach reminds me! I think prayer, fasting AND action must be a package deal…they go hand in hand. In fact, St. Augustine said, “Fasting and almsgiving are the two wings of prayer that carry it to God.”
But action is hard…and it is natural to want to be comfortable. I have to fight against this inclination all the time. Like this morning, at 4am when my husband’s phone woke us both up. It was someone who rents a house from us. He woke to find his furnace not working, and when he went to investigate, he found three feet of water in his basement! It was an emergency call. My husband got up and began to get dressed. He said to me, “I sure wish I had someone to help me!” I whined, “I just can’t!” My bed was so nice and warm, it was 4am and he was going into a yucky BASEMENT to pump out yucky WATER! There were lots of reasons I needed my sleep… I had to get up early, I had to do my shift at the vigil today, I had people’s hair to cut, the blog to write…a busy day. But after he left to gather his tools I began to think of him outside on the ice, trying to handle the pump and hoses all by himself on the slippery outdoor basement steps. I began to worry what would happen if he fell and hit his head and there wasn’t anyone there to help him.
Then the thought came to me, “I know what to do!” I said to myself, “I will PRAY for him!”. I immediately began to pray asking God to send my husband’s guardian angel to his side to help and protect him. I was only about halfway through the prayer….and I felt a nudge (maybe a kick)…in my conscience. I think it was the Holy Spirit giving me a kick in the butt…saying “Get out of bed and go help him yourself!” I realized that my prayer was just empty words if I was capable of action but refused to do it.
During 40 Days for Life we PRAY to end abortion. We FAST to end abortion. And we GO to the place where abortions happen. We allow God to use us as witnesses to the evil of abortion. It is a winning combination! It works! In fact, I will share a very inspiring story about a woman who chose life after seeing folks praying and witnessing in front of Planned Parenthood recently. (It was before our 40 days started, but I just found out about it). The story will be posted at the end of this blog.
But first, let’s hear about the stories from the vigil today:
Charlene managed the vigil from 7-9am and wrote:
Rainy and snowy but temps in the 30s…we can do this! People saying hello and a delivery truck went out of his way to avoid splashing us! Everyone was feeling a lift in their spirits. Dick and I were joined by some wonderful witnesses from Hosanna…first Joe, then Rich, then Wayne and MaryAnn. Joe, Rich and I had an interesting conversation with a young man, also named Rich. It was long and confusing but what we came away with: he didn’t know they did abortions at Planned Parenthood, we think he is Pro -life, we think he believes in “a” God, he thinks we are all fallen angels. You meet everyone on the street.
Cathy was the shift manager from 9-11am and wrote:
I arrived and joined three members of Hosanna Church, Rich, MaryAnn, and Wayne who had come earlier. There were some people going in and out of the clinic. Rich and I spoke with a young man whose girlfriend was inside. I gave him a card with resources on it. He said he wasn’t crazy about having the abortion but they had three young children and he was laid off. He didn’t know how they could handle another child. He said she was going to get “a pill”, that she was only 2 weeks, that “it”, they were told, wasn’t even formed yet.? I told him that this child is just as much a human being as their other children, and that the resources on the card could help them. Also, that the abortion would affect them physically and emotionally, causing all kinds of problems. He went back in, but didn’t come out until after I had left. A young girl, with friends, was going in and I offered the resource card. She said she wasn’t pregnant, but just going in for her Depo shot. If they only knew! Marian C. stopped by on a break from work to see if we (by then, just Rich and I) needed a break. Thanks, Marian!
I (Nikki) did the 11am-1pm shift.
It was my church’s adopted time (St. Irenaeus), and it was wonderful to be joined by my pastor, Fr. George, Carole, Rich, Maria and Jeff.
While we were praying we were joined by lovely Aimee, who has become a “regular” at our 40 day vigil. Soon afterwards Neil from Hosanna Church arrived:
The pray-ers just kept coming….as members of CIM-PA began to arrive:
During my shift we were visited by Julian, a student at Point Park College, and a reporter for his school newspaper. He had been given the assignment to do a story on our 40 Days for Life vigil. He interviewed me, Fr. George, Carole and Aimee.
The clinic was busy with lots of couples exiting…some entering. Many of them accepted my literature. Before I knew it my replacement shift manager, Chris, had arrived. It is his birthday today! Happy Birthday Chris! I heard it is another of our shift manager’s birthday today also…Lisa K. Happy birthday to her too!
Chris wrote about his 1-3pm shift:
The 1:00pm-3:00pm shift had 8 prayer warriors, representing Hosanna (including the pastor), the Culture Impact Ministry, and Christ Church at Grove Farm. The weather was dry for the most part, but still a wet, chilling cold. During the shift several couples went in and out of PP. With today being my birthday, it was sobering to think of the little ones who would never get to celebrate even one birthday.
Barbara and Richard managed the vigil from 3-5pm. Barbara wrote:
“Fast from depressing news. Feed on prayer.” http://peopleforothers.loyolapress.com
This good advice was just what we needed. The drizzling never stopped but it never conquered us. Richard and I were accompanied in prayer for our shift by Mimi, and Hosannah church parishioners Barbara, Vickey and Tom.
Audrey and Jim managed the last hour from 5-6pm. Audrey wrote:
It felt like a heat wave even though it was only in the mid-twenties. As always, the 40 Days for Live prayer vigil was eventful. Vicky and her husband Tom were prayerful and supportive for the last hour of the Wednesday shift. We were approached by a man named Jim who expressed an awesome support for life. Jim talked to us for a long time sharing some very beautiful and strong insights for life in today’s modern world. His theory was machines and technology can be devastating because they numb the mind and the spirit. He voiced powerful words for the children. He described an analogy of King Herod’s destruction of baby boys during the time of Jesus and our society’s acceptance of abortion. The theme yesterday was definitely helping children. Several little ones passed us with their mothers. The shift managers, Jim and Audrey, had attended a campus ministry luncheon at Duquesne where Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe’s work was discussed. She is the director of St. Monica’s Vocational School in Uganda and was one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014. There are horrific stories of the treatment of children in Uganda during the civil war, and Sister Rosemary is rebuilding the lives of the youth who were devastated by the war (http://www.prosforafrica.com). We prayed for the children who were being destroyed in the abortion clinic and all of the children across the world who are suffering atrocities due to the cruelty of mankind.
Read here about a woman who chose life after seeing people praying and witnessing at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood!
When “Graham” and “Patty” visited the Pregnancy Resource Center of the South Hills, they were in disagreement over their unplanned pregnancy. Patty wasn’t ready to have a second child. She had too many plans and dreams that she believed a larger family would ruin. Graham, on the other hand, was thrilled and ready to embrace his role again as a father. As the two weighed the future of their unborn child, our staff nurse ministered to them with compassion and love. Read in her own words the story of this special couple:
I woke up with a heavy heart this morning, thinking about a couple who came through the doors of the Pregnancy Resource Center of the South Hills. Patty wanted to abort, while her husband Graham wanted desperately to keep his child. The tension between them was palpable.
In the following weeks, I remained in contact with Graham, checking in to see how everything was going. He shared that Patty had scheduled an abortion at a clinic downtown. He didn’t know the details, and he said he wouldn’t be going with her. He wouldn’t support that decision.
On the morning of the abortion, I sent a text to Graham to see how he was doing and to find out what time the abortion was scheduled. I told him to please keep us posted and we would be praying for them.
Going back to check the texts several hours later, I read a message that caused every hair on [the back of my neck] to stand straight up. In one short sentence, Graham shared that his wife had changed her mind and they wanted to come in for another ultrasound. I responded with our number to call and encouraged him to come into the center that afternoon.
Within minutes, Graham called back. He was laughing, and even over the phone I could tell he was beaming. He shared that Patty had gone to the clinic and there were a lot of people standing outside, pleading with her not to go through with the abortion. But his wife went inside and took a seat in the waiting room.
She noticed that everyone except for her had someone there with them. Suddenly overcome with anxiety and fear, she got up and walked out. Patty returned home to tell Graham she had decided to keep the baby.
Words cannot describe the deep gratitude I feel in my heart for our Great God and His faithfulness. Thank you to all who pray and work so hard to “rescue those being led away to death; [to] hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). What a privilege to see the MIGHTY HAND OF OUR LORD SAVE.
We are so grateful for your prayerful and financial support that helped us connect Graham and Patty with life-affirming truth and Christ-filled love. Please continue praying for this young couple as they prepare to welcome their baby into their family. Your prayers and giving make all the difference. So Every Child Makes Their Mark!
So Every Child Makes Their Mark!
Pregnancy Resource Center of the South Hills is an operating division of Online for Life, Inc. (OFL), which is recognized as a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization by the IRS. Contributions to OFL are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law. Please consult your tax advisor regarding specific questions and permissible deduction amounts.