BETWEEN NOW AND ASH WEDNESDAY
As we hit the end of this thing, I don’t mind saying that I’m glad that those weekly shifts at the vigil are now in my rear-view mirror. And nominal as it was, I’m also glad to be done with the extra prayer and fasting. But most of all, I’ll be doing a HAPPY DANCE next Saturday knowing that my day will be completely blog-free.
And yet at the same time, there’s something inside that doesn’t want to go back to “normal.” I’ll miss that tremendous sense of unity and camaraderie which will no longer be nearly as visible and tangible. And then there are those good habits (i.e., the prayer and fasting) which I don’t feel right quite about totally letting go of. Finally, there’s that nagging knowing that the abortions will continue to go on at 933 Liberty Avenue because PP is still there.
Sweet and Sour. That’s what I’m experiencing. If that expression rings an “emotional bell” with you too, then you might also be wondering how to reconcile all of this? Obviously we do need to rest and recuperate from this amazing thing we, by God’s grace, have done together. But what now? What should we be doing between November 2nd and February 9th? To that end I have three things for you to ponder in prayer:
1) ONE DAY-A-WEEK FASTING: What if each of us took that fasting we were able to do for 40 straight days and did it on just one of the three days we know abortions are performed at PP (Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays)? Imagine the impact this would have.
2) TAKE THE SIDEWALK ADVOCATE TRAINING: Speaking of impact, Sidewalk Advocates for Life (SAFL) has really taken off here in Pittsburgh. But there’s still a great need for Sidewalk Advocates (those who counsel the abortion-minded), as well as prayer-partners for those Advocates (those who stand at PP with the Sidewalk Advocate, but concentrate on prayer). Kathy Laslow, our local SAFL Leader, wants you know that the next training will be from 1:15 PM to 6 PM on Sunday, November 8th, at the offices of PCUC (3050 Pioneer Ave., PGH). You can reach Kathy at 412/420-4657 or email@example.com.
3) DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD YOURSELF: I give my wife credit for discovering Life Decisions International (LDI) and signing us up to be an LDI partner. They do their research and publish a really well organized booklet of those organizations they recommend for boycott because they donate to PP. Moreover, it provides addresses for the heads of these businesses – along with a template letter – so that you can actually write to the corporation to let them know that you are no longer buying their products due to their support of PP. Their website is www.fightpp.org .
AND NOW FOR OUR STORIES (and pictures) FROM THE SIDEWALK…
Tim had the 7-9:
Expectations were I was going to be alone in the predawn hour, but I was blessed to have Patty, who stops everyday on her way to work downtown Monday thru Friday, come to join me in prayer. Saturday regular Sidewalk counselors, Meredith and Virginia, were both there before 7 am as well. Plus everyday vigil participant Bill H. was there before 7:30.
And the blessings multiplied. I was joined by over a dozen of the Guardians for Life and the Choices Pregnancy Services mobile sonogram – as well as sidewalk advocates Kathy, Jeff, and Sue. Angela, someone who has been wanting to come to vigil for a “long time” finally made the decision and came today – and vowed to return now regularly.
One couple went into the clinic and the woman was crying but would not talk with us or take any literature. However, a little while later the crying woman came out and talked with Kathy, who escorted her into the Choices mobile unit. Let’s pray for her.
Nick, Kelsea and baby Avery witnessed to the beauty of life and the family.
I knew I would never truly be alone, but was blessed to have over two dozen of the faithful join me. Peace and joy.
Here’s Marion’s report:
Great news! A woman, Rosemary, went to the ultra-sound van instead of PP today. There was celebration with prayer and song on the sidewalk as she returned to thank everyone for being there. Please keep her in continued prayer. And thanks to the true women of valor who operate the ultra-sound van (without any guards). Bill H. – thank you!
So many people. The sidewalk was busy, sometimes noisy, but friendly and alive with people who really are concerned for the rights of women, men, and children.
Churches represented were the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Michael, St. Sebastian, St. Wendelin, St. Peter, St. Paul Cathedral, St. Bernard’s in Indiana, St. John Fisher, and Grove City College. Thank you to all, but especially to the young college students and youth who represent the generation facing the choice for life so directly. A couple also walked around the area praying as they went. Thank you for your Jericho walk for life. Sidewalk Advocates for Life was well represented in the mix of names above. Reaching out on a Saturday is SO important as Saturday as it is a scheduled abortion day at PP.
Amy, from St. Fisher in Fox Chapel, drove by and saw us. She made a stop at the Dunkin Donuts in Market Square to bring us donuts and coffee in thanksgiving for the witness to life. Amy made this stop and then had to get her daughter to dance. Amy “danced for us” today with joy. We are very grateful. And we all know that God will never be outdone in generosity. Many blessing for your kind act! So much joy from the random act of kindness shown to us.
A new witness moved to the Pittsburgh area from Cape Cod to be near family. Welcome to the Pittsburgh family for life. Also, Mike and Chris were new to the sidewalk today. They help celebrate life at the other end of the age spectrum on a regular basis. Both entertain by juggling, hula-hooping and a engaging the audience in dance variety show for the elderly (but young at heart) and the infirmed in adult care facilities. Both are retired from their “day jobs.”
PP performance today: The men and women going in and out of PP pretended to ignore us and were respectful. You can understand why they do not want to talk. One man, who did come out, did take a brochure I handed him which was titled “Men and the Myth” of abortion. The baby witness today always makes a strong statement for life. She reached out her hand to me! That is what we do – and she knew!!
Now for the bad and the ugly…On Saturday, the pink vested escorts are out to secure safe passage to the clinic. Afraid of losing business, the escorts can sometimes be very mean spirited. There was one especially arrogant escort guarding the door today. Clipboard and camera in hand, she was checking to make sure no one crossed the line. However, with her note-taking and camera, she was violating everyone’s right to assembly and free speech. She also did a mockery dance as she brought in her fellow guards. I reminded her as she left her shift that although she can mock us, God will never be mocked. Rinse and repeat: God will never be mocked. Jesus, pictured with the aborted baby in His Hands, was present for the “dance for death.” The faithful know how God responds to mockery.
An older woman, also pink escort guard, was quite negative. She felt she had the right to tell a runner he could not stand in the circle. He was taking a break. Policing the sidewalk is not one of the escorts’ rights. Rolled eyes was the response from another male escort as he left his shift. Eventually, they will meet God one day at the end of the sidewalk so we pray for their conversion since we know we are all a work of conversion in process.
A pedestrian danced along the sidewalk shouting about “yeast infections”. Her dance of mockery will have to be explained to The Creator too. Does she not know that the resource guides we hand out list clinics which address all issues related to sex, not just unwanted pregnancies? I guess not.
God danced the day we were born- with joy and great expectations!! May we continue to stand in prayer for His children.
Marian Carlino (9-11 shift substitute)
Pictures from Maggie’s shift and her report (11-1):
We had a nice crowd. The best part was when a young girl of about 19 stopped by to say that her mother was told to have an abortion because she (the young woman) had “cerebral palsy,” but ended up just having spinal curvature. She is healthy, happy, beautiful, and alive because her mother chose life! She hugged is after telling us the story. Sadly traffic was very high starting around noon. It was hard to see so many enter today. The work must continue but with Gods help there will be an end to this!
Daniel and Louisa with their two children
Thank you to the students of Grove City College!
Amy and Paul
Julie had the 1-3:
When I arrived a group from Holy Trinity parish had just arrived to relieve the previous group from that parish. Marian was there also praying and doing sidewalk advocacy. Over the two hours we probably watched 4- 6 women go in. I felt the sense to pray on my knees just for a short time and ask the holy spirit to touch the hearts of the people inside.Anyway, as the group from Holy Trinity prayed faithfully on one side of the sidewalk, Marian and I tried to offer information to the people going in and out. A couple that came out said they were homeless. I left it up to Kathy K. to offer them the phone number of the church organization that takes in homeless families, when they come back out. Kathy did try, when the young man went out, but he ran back in as if in a big hurry.A couple dressed up for Halloween walked by with a wagon full of coats! – just as we were talking to the homeless couple and offered them a coat. Kind of ironic that we forgot to offer a coat at that moment, but someone else did!Otherwise, many people passed by and let the display of the pre-born babies catch their eye, or the sign. Marian and I offered information asking if they want more info as to why we are here standing for life, but folks didn’t seem interested, so there were no sidewalk conversations today.It seems that we still do seem like the “wacky” people that folks want to avoid, but I hope they see a glimmer of the light of Christ, the light of truth, sanity, dignity and hope in us. I am proud to be a part of such a credible organization, who helps people in need and in crisis, when we can.Peace,Julie
Kathy K. had the 3-5:
God’s love and presence beamed in faces of Janice, Donna, Bill, Bill, John, Ben, and Clint. Many help brochures were handed out.We were all invited to an August Wilson play by one of actors. When encouraged, he gave a dramatic testimony to his faith in Jesus. Many passerbys heard him.Please pray for a young mom whose 24-week gestation baby girl, Lyla Rose, was delivered and lived an hour. She gave her address to receive info on support group for pregnancy loss.
Joe managed the final two hours of the vigil tonight and wrote:
Courageous, peaceful Christian men, from numerous denominations answered the call to do battle this Halloween,and armed with prayer proceeded to defend life. 5 students from Franciscan U. stopped by and lifted spirits with the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy(forgot to take their picture. My bad). Surprisingly, this shift may have been the most tranquil shift I have participated in. Go figure, I guess with prayers’ like these(pictured, Pastor Ben, Bill, Bill, Tom(back)) protected by the Holy Spirit evil went trick or treating.
All glory and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ