For this is the will of my Father, says the Lord, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life. John 6:40
I thought about this today. How does one SEE Christ? Most days on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood I am struck by the hopelessness that I see in the faces of so many passersby. And so I thought this morning about this passage and wondered to myself…how are the lost going to see Christ here in the city of Pittsburgh?
Are they going to see him in a powdered, pressed, puffed-up TV evangelist who is telling them that if they just give their lives to Christ (and send a few bucks while they’re at it), their lives will be problem-free?
Maybe they will see him in the gangs that deal drugs in their schools…or their friends who are prostituting themselves for drugs. Or will they see him in their parents who have lost all hope and are desperately clinging to whatever fragile comforts they can eke out of the world?
Where is Jesus, that He may be seen by those who live in darkness?
He is in the Church, for sure!
So…maybe one of these lost souls, who has never been inside a church building before, will on a whim, decide to show up one Sunday morning and walk right up to the pastor and say, “I would like to see Jesus“.
How will they see Jesus and believe, and so receive eternal life?
How about if WE…who have Christ inside of us, GO to where the lost are? What if we simply stand and be available if one of them decides to ask where we get our hope?
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15
What if we have the opportunity to tell them that God is their Father who loves them, and that He wants the best for them, in this life and the next…and that He gave us an instruction manual so that we would know how to succeed?
We DO have that opportunity…every time we witness on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.
Maybe…if YOU come…someone will see Jesus and believe.
We need you to come tomorrow (Thursday) from from 3-5 pm (Seamus will be alone)!
(Please let me know if you can come during these hours…email me at firstname.lastname@example.org )
And we hope you also come to help us celebrate the closing of this 40 Days for Life! Join us at Planned Parenthood this Sunday at 6:30 as we end the vigil with prayer and song…then walk to Catholic Charities for a pot-luck meal and social gathering. Hope to see you there!
Now for the stories from the vigil today:
7-9 am Shift Manager Sue reports
We were soo blessed by the weather today! Last week required hats and gloves and this week, not even a coat. Diane was there when I arrived and had everything set up! Marian stopped on her way to work….and then there were 2, Katie and i with our 2 edged “sword” of prayer and printed handouts of facts/help! ….and then there were 3, Sue M stopped and helped us finish off the rosary! A lot of workers entered pp, but not as many clients as last wednesday. We think about 3, but only one accepted information. Sue M left for work and 2 more prayer-s came…..bringing our total to 4! Close to 9am, the grade school had a fire drill and about 100 middle school aged kids lined the sidewalk, stretching in front of pp and beyond. A lot of them were clamoring for baby models and Katie gave out some whose teacher would allow them! It was an upbeat and energetic way to end the shift!
9-11 am Shift manager Cathy
There were some people going in and out of the clinic, but few who wanted to talk. The most memorable thing was the fire drill. Soon after I arrived we noticed a group of school kids down the street. Just thought it was a school trip. Then they started moving up towards us and there were more groups. They stopped in front of PP, then moved up some more, being replaced by another group. A teacher said it was a fire drill. The middle school students were very interested in our signs and some wanted baby models. Katie gave some of them info cards. Even a teacher asked us for 4 babies to give to some of the students who had requested them. What a teaching moment – and we didn’t even have to say anything! The pictures and signs said it for us.
11 – 1 Cil
Thanks to Joyce for driving us down for our church vigil today and staying with me almost 4 hours. Joyce is a great prayer warrior and brought candy to hand out today.
Upon our arrival, we met Benjamin from Mt. Zion in Prospect who brought with him an Evangelist, Joshua. Joshua was visiting all the way from Illinois! They appreciated the prayer resource book that we had and immediately went to work praying.
It is always nice to have Katie hang with us a while into my shift as well as Elise! They actively try to reach out to those passing by.
Dan also came to pray and stayed focused on his mission.
My college friend, Lisa, took time on her lunch break to come to be with us as well. It is always so nice to have her there! It is great that people take time on their lunch breaks to stand up for life!
Unfortunately I did not think to take pictures until Chris arrived for his shift.
Many people were coming and going from PP. Some workers, some for abortions, some for other services. We tried to reach out to all of them. One lady stopped and said that she didn’t want to support PP but came to get birth control and asked us for another place she could go. That was so nice that she asked! We did give her the new resource card that should help her find a real Health Center. But it gave me a chance to also talk a little about the problems with contraception and I gave her resources about that and about Natural Family Planning since she said she was married.
It was a blessing to be there to witness the “save” today on Chris’s shift. She said that PP told her she could come back if she changed her mind. But she told us there is no way she’s going back to that evil place.
1 – 3 pm Chris gives the great news of a LIFE SAVED TODAY!!!
Sometimes when we’re praying on the sidewalk in front of PP we might wonder whether we’re having any effect. Well…we had a save today! Praise God that during my last shift of this campaign, He showed in a real way what that effect is, through His love and grace. Cil, Marie, and I were praying on the sidewalk about an hour into my shift when a young woman emerged from PP, alone, holding an ultrasound picture. She walked up to us and said, “I went in for an abortion today, but decided not to. The people in there are not of God.” She went on to say that she already had a little one at home. She was crying while saying this, and we were crying, too, and giving her heartfelt hugs. Wow! When we dried our tears of joy, we asked what immediate help she might need and offered to walk her down to Catholic Charities. She politely declined but did take a Resource Card.
One of our other prayer warriors, Hazel, had a woman passerby tell her that, “Because of you being here, I learned the truth.” Our presence does make a difference, even if we can’t see it all the time.
One encounter I forgot to tell you last week- a native of Algeria, now living in the Pittsburgh area, stopped and asked us what we were doing. We explained our presence and he said that abortion was killing a baby and that in Algeria abortion is illegal. He went on to say that his religion, Islam, teaches that abortion is wrong. We had a good talk and gave him some literature.
3 – 5 pm Barbara
For a short time today, I was alone in front of Planned Parenthood.
It was a good thing. I prayed and watched everyone go about their day. Peaceful, prayerful witness.
Out of the building walked Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, per my google search. She was accompanied by a young man.
It surprised me that I recognized her…no question about that.
With my “Silent No More, We Regret Our Abortion” sign and solitary soldierly stance just outside the golden semicircle, I was obvious.
I know 40 Days for Life makes an impression on PP.
She looked at me. We smiled.
A car had been idling in front of me at the curb. She got in and away went the car.
Did I waste an opportunity? Absolutely not.
After she left, Bill H. stopped by with his son, John. Then Hank and Judy came to pray. The sidewalk was crowded.
Hank and I devoted an entire Rosary, Glorious Mysteries, for the good of her soul.
5 – 7 pm Joe K
Last shift of the campaign – another stellar fall evening. Wednesday’s have been blessed with great weather, folks, and support. Wednesday regular, Hank, and his wife Judy joined me and stayed throughout most of the shift to make sure that I was not alone – not the first time this campaign – What a joy to be around them – God Bless “yinz”!!! Judy became engaged in conversation with a young woman Ruth, who is here from Argentina and only spoke Spanish. This presented a HUGE challenge as I speak primarily Pittsburgh-ese along with a few words of Polish, but Google Translate saved us…
From what I can tell she is 15 days into a 3-month stay and was seeking medical help for fertility issues and was seeking financial assistance. After making sure that she didn’t need help with food or shelter. I suggested we try Catholic Charities to better determine her specific needs / issues. Judy walked her down to Catholic Charities and though they were closed, was able to communicate enough with her to get her to return tomorrow (Judy will follow-up with a call to CC tomorrow to give them a heads-up). Please put Ruth in your prayers that she gets the help she needs.
The rest of the early evening was uncharacteristically edgy (to be polite) – it started with mostly kind smiles and support, but regressed as Hank noticed that a young woman had just tore down the signs that Diane has been placing across the street (facing 933 Liberty Ave.). A few women passing by made crude comments as well as signing the “old familiar suggestion”. One young lady even blurted-out “Satan” before entering those noisy / ominous doors at 933 Liberty Ave. The aftermath of Cecile Richards??? Regardless, the “good”, the “bad”, and the “ugly” makes-up the “experiential” (thanks again Judy) learning that often goes on during a 40-DFL Campaign.
The latter part of the evening settled-down as a woman, Carol stopped by to lend her support. Her mother who is 100 yrs. young has led 100 people to Christ using the ABC method (Admit, Believe, Confess).
The mother and her 4 children that typically walk past on their way to the bus late in the shift, strolled by and of course, the kids, ever so curious, smiling, and giggling, stopped to play with the fetal models (as they always do) and mom herded them to the bus stop and then they were gone…
David, a young veteran, who’s going through a tough time, stopped by, and shared his story with Judy. He’s been sleeping in the park for about a month… We were able to get some resource info to him, but please remember him in your prayers…
Diane picked-up all the gear and now all was gone as I made the usual walk up Liberty Ave… During the walk I reflected on this campaign and a conversation that Hank and I had about faith and sports. I realized that someone would win the World Series tonight that wore a “C” on their cap, but we will win in life if we wear the “C” of Christ on our hearts.