Helping others to lift their heavy burdens…isn’t that what we try to do when we are witnessing in front of Planned Parenthood?
I thought about that as I read the Gospel today from Luke 11. Jesus has some harsh words for those who “talk the talk“, but fail to “walk the walk“. Yesterday he was scolding them for “cleaning the outside of the cup, while the inside was filthy”. Today he condemns them for “imposing on people burdens hard to carry“, and “not lifting one finger to touch them.”
As I thought about what would cause a person to judge another person…to expect them to do all the work and not to feel sympathy, compassion or desire to help…I realized that can only happen if the one who is doing the judging (the Pharisee), feels like he is OUTSIDE of the rest of the family. SEPARATED. After all, if one member of your body hurts…doesn’t the WHOLE body suffer? So, if one of my brothers or sisters is hurting, my natural reaction is to want to HELP, because they are part of my body…the Body of Christ! One of the side benefits of witnessing on the sidewalk (besides helping God to save lives, of course!), is that we get opportunities to help our Pittsburgh brothers and sisters to carry their burdens. From listening to their stories, praying with them, offering a coat or gift card from “the bin”, or directing them to local resources…we are showing that we care because we are all part of the human family. We are all God’s kids…and He loves us all!
Our pro-life family was blessed to be able to help Kari “carry” her burden this summer. Kari had come to Planned Parenthood for an abortion last spring, knowing she was pregnant with twins, because she didn’t think there was anyone to help her. Many of you donated money for her, which I have been using to help her as she needs it. She was blessed to see so many caring people come to the baby shower that we had for her in September, and has remained in frequent contact with a few of us who continue to help her. Her babies were born at Magee last Thursday and will be going home with her today. She was actually discharged on Sunday, but the babies needed to stay until today. She lives an hour away from Pittsburgh and the family has no transportation. She would have had to go home and be separated from her new sons for three days…but because I had money donated for her, we were able to pay for a hotel room right across the street from the hospital, so she could stay nearby to be able to walk over to feed and visit them. I was also able to purchase a breast pump, which she really needs with twins. She is so very grateful for all the help…for all those of you who are helping her to carry her burden. I visited them in the hospital this afternoon, and as I held little Wyatt in my arms, and breathed in the sweet “new baby” aroma…felt his little body breathing and seeing his little mouth open in a big yawn, I was overcome with gratitude that our 40 Days for Life and Sidewalk Advocates for Life gives us the opportunity to help women like Kari to choose life for their children…and that we are able to help them to carry their burdens. Because really, when two friends are carrying a burden together, it is not a burden at all!
Now, onto the shift manager reports from today…
7-9am Shift report by Sue D
Several people responded to the plea to stand with me this morning!! Dean, a shift manager came and stood on the far side of the circle all 2 hours. Katie and I stood on the other side, praying and handing out the yellow resource cards. We had both sides covered! Unfortunately many people went into planned parenthood this morning and most did not accept our offers of free help. So Katie, always being creative in ways to reach people, used her sidewalk chalk to write a message…! Walt also came and lead us through prayers the whole time I was there. We had a mixed bag of positive and negative comments, but for some reason the negatives were really bothering me today. Reassurance came from remembering the kickoff….This is God’s battle, he always wins and we need to show up! Thanks! Sue
9-11am Cathy wrote:
It had been, and continued to be a busy morning with a fair number of people going in. Elsie talked for a good while to two young girls, one of whom was going in for birth control, but they went in anyway. Most of those going in, though, did not want to talk. Terry spoke with a woman who was passing by – she had been pressured by friends to have an abortion when she was pregnant, but she did not, and was glad she didn’t. A friend had one and has had problems.
I am very grateful to the Sidewalk Advocates who come – Terry, Elsie and Katie. They are a blessing!
11 – 1 pm Cil wrote:
The KofC were with us again this am. Even though they brought chairs, they sacrificed and stood the 2 hours.
The Guardians for Life kept the sidewalk filled with prayer and song during my shift. It’s wonderful how they come prepared with all their prayers and even kneeling pads.
Thank you Pete for joining me for the ride to Pittsburgh. He spent a good deal of time talking with this nice young man who stopped by. Thanks also to regulars Katie, Elsie and Terri who stayed a while with me. Elsie’s friend Suzanne also came with her and Cathy stopped on her lunch break.
1-3 pm, Chris reports:
Today there was a lot more traffic going in and out of Planned Parenthood during my shift. I was joined by Sheryl, a homeless person, for about a half-hour. She said that her mother in Milwaukee had been an abortion protester for years and that she, Sheryl, felt she was led by God to join us today. I offered her a $10 Bruegger’s Gift Card. She first politely declined, saying she had cash for her lunch today. I responded that she could use it tomorrow, if she needed to, and she graciously accepted the card. Barbara and Patty (Sts. John & Paul) prayed with us in the bright sunshine. For about 10 minutes I was alone, when, Praise God, Father Jason Charron joined me. Fr. Jason is Martha’s father and a Ukrainian priest. Many of you remember Martha’s story, one that played out at Children’s Hospital over the summer. Martha had a serious bone infection and her prognosis was touch-and-go for a time. After multiple surgeries and a lot of prayers, she went home in mid-August. Fr. Jason firmly believes that Martha’s recovery was a miracle and mentioned the saint he asked to intercede for her healing (Metropolitan Andrew Sheptysky). He mentioned that he had completed the walking pilgrimage he’d promised in thankfulness for his daughter’s recovery, thanked all the 40 Days for Life participants for their prayers for Martha, and asked us to pray for all the young patients at Children’s Hospital.
3-5pm Shift manager Barbara wrote:
Hosanna Church out did itself, filling the sidewalk with its praying witnessing people today.
We were joined in prayer by Vicky, Mona Lisa, Joyce and Doug, Jean, Barbara and Hank from St. Valentine. As Christians, we shared hope in the Lord.
The Lord said: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You will call upon me, and I will answer you, and I will lead back your captives from every place. Jeremiah 29: 11, 12, 14
Such a beautiful sunny day. Commuters line up and their buses arrive to seat and return them home. Workers flow from the darkly cold PP interior into the sidewalk sunshine. They walk away. At least two young women walked out slowly, uncomfortably, and then… away.
Sun searching out and warmly lighting cracks and corners, masks the bloody horror Planned Parenthood plans and executes (pun intended).
No abortion worker or patient escapes. Evil has its way with them.
Do not be afraid. Call upon the Lord. He will answer you.
The Lord calls us all to a happy ending. But there is a time limit…and you must repent.
Barbara, Shift Manager
5-7pm Shift manager Joe reflects:
“Jump, Jive, and Harmonize” – Heard this song from the 60’s LA rock band The Midniters for the first time today, and oddly enough, that’s exactly how this evening’s 5-7 pm shift seemed to play out…
Arrived on this spectacular fall evening ready to jump into my shift. Greeted our Wednesday
regular Hank, and was about to relieve Barbara as shift manager, but I noticed that she was
involved in deep conversation with an emotional woman, “B”. My first reaction was to
jump into the discussion, but decided that they were best to continue without me butting-in,
but did support them in prayer. It ended peacefully – job well done Barbara!!! and
keep B in your prayers.
In the course of B’s conversation I heard many a time the “…if this hasn’t happened to you,
you have no right…” mantra to a number of pro-life issues… Maybe, it hasn’t happened to
me, but I am sincerely sorry / concerned, and I am more than willing to help you, but it
DOES NOT disqualify me from discussing, having opinions, and solutions to try and make the world a more loving, respectful place for all (the born and unborn).
What was so, so beautiful this particular evening was the harmony in seeing how our community authentically reaches out to women in need – be it Barbara talking with B or the wonderful folks from Hosanna Church that joined us today.
Pastor Gary reached out to “B” after Barbara left and continued talking with her for quite a while
and shared a bit about Hosanna’s overseas mission work, especially in Liberia (they’re building
their second school). Joe spreading the message of hope. Meredith leading the MaGee Project.
Bernadette reaching out to explain the fetal models to the four very curious children who
were fascinated by them and played with them for a bit. Erin and her husband Neil who
engaged a woman about fetal development, provided her with one of our flyers. This woman
revealed that she is a post-abortive mom that has long regretted her decision and has long-ago
asked for and received God’s forgiveness. Erin and Neil provided her with a Rachel’s Vineyard
flyer. Hosanna harmonizing and living out the pro-life song…
Another woman, “G”, stopped by and expressed her regret over aborting her daughter, the
lies and deceit of the “clinic” involved, the impact of her decision on her other children, and in
near tears, the need to tell her daughter she is sorry. G was also given Rachel’s Vineyard info
and keep her in your prayers.
Overall was a pleasantly large amount of support from passersby’s and not one single
anti-life comment or gesture.
Thank you to everyone who came out to pray and witness today!!!