Day 7: Thank you First Evangelical Free Church, St. James/St. Mary (Sewickley) and Individuals

Years ago, when I was young and shopping downtown with friends, someone on the street approached me for money. Startled, I initially hesitated but then I dug into my pocket for the few coins that I had left. I gave them to that soul and wished her well. Once home, my Mother told me she was happy that I gave the person something and said she may have been an “angel unaware”!

These many years later, I still see “angels unaware” in all sorts of situations and I know others do too! Whenever I’ve mentioned angels to anyone, there’s almost always a story or incident about their own angel encounter.

When the angel Gabriel announced Mary’s chosen role as Mother to our Saviour, her acceptance changed everything! As we stand on the sidewalk, with the support of the angels…we, like Mary, say “YES to Life”! Be aware of our angelic company and you’ll never feel alone. Guardians, protectors, messengers and ministering angels are just a thought away!

In Billy Graham’s book “Angels, God’s Secret Agents”, he says that “angels are a very real and powerful force in our world today. They are not sent as weaklings but to do battle and are on our side in the fight as we pray…”

Besides the reality of true angels….are each of YOU; who are “Angels Unaware” to those you witness to and encounter on the sidewalk! Keep reading for more angel stories!

7-9: Tracy

After she finished putting out the materials, Diane gave me a crash course in Shift Manager-ing. (Thanks, Diane!) I’ll look forward to Charlene’s return next week. 🙂 Thank you to early morning vigil attendees, Pastor Kirk from First Evangelical Free Church and Sidewalk Counselor, Stephen. SC’s Greg and Jackie showed up as well and everyone was delighted to welcome Ed back! He’d been absent from his ‘post’ for some time. The morning wasn’t complete without Bill making an appearance. Having run out of Holy Water, he came supplied with Holy Oil! God blessed us with fair weather and mostly friendly faces – not too much negativity out there. PP was mildly busy. Only a few couples and several girls went in. I’m not sure, but most folks entering seemed to work there. We weren’t successful deterring anyone, but the fight (PRAYING!!) continues even after anyone walks through those doors!

A couple representing First Evangelical Free Church, Jim, Charlene and Dean

9-11: Beth and Ed

It is always an honor to be at Planned Parenthood, fighting the good fight with the members of the First Evangelical Free Church of Mckeesport.  With Pastor Kirk at the lead, Dan, Rick, Patty, Barry,  Dean, Dave, Janet, and others filled in the 9-11 a.m. shift with prayer and fellowship.  Tracy from Steubenville was shift manager as Sidewalk Advocates, Jackie, Greg, Steve, and Ed offered help to the four or five couples entering PP for the early shift while the second round of clients met Beth Ann, Charlene and Jim trying to avert the disaster we know as abortion. Overall, it was a rather quiet day with prayer and lots of literature being distributed.  Tuesday is a surgical abortion day.  Our hope in God’s promise, to overcome evil, is stronger than the absolute betrayal each mother and child must eventually feel. We’re here; we’re not quitting.  We can do this.

11-1: Elsie

11AM-1PM: My parish (St. Mary’s/St. James’) was supposed to be providing prayer coverage today from 11-3, but I didn’t know for sure whether I would have companions. How pleased I was to find Charlene already there when I arrived, as well as Jim (parishioner at Assumption but a frequent communicant at St. James’)! Beth Ann from St. Alexis managed to pray and offer help and info simultaneously! Ken from a new South Hills parish soon joined us, and several kind, prayerful folks from McKeesport stayed beyond their shift. A young man came up to us just for “conversation,” he said. He recognized that abortion is wrong, but seemed to have given up hope on life, telling us that he smoked because his life didn’t matter and planned never to marry or have children because women couldn’t be trusted not to kill your babies and/or leave you. He said he is part of a movement of men who have just given up. Beth Ann and the good folks from McKeesport tried to convince him that he is indeed a beloved child of God and CAN have a meaningful life in Christ. By Noon we had been joined by two more of my fellow-parishioners, Christian and Jen, who jumped right in, sweetly offering help and info to anyone walking by or in or out of the death mill. And before 1:00 Nikki arrived!  

1-3: Nikki

 Thanks to Elsie and her wonderful crew from Saint James and Sewickley! Elsie was the hands and feet of Christ on the sidewalk for four hours today! Since she had it well covered with reaching out to abortion bound couples, I decided to take advantage of that and just spend the time on my knees in prayer. It was a blessing just to see how she interacted with  these couples with such love and concern. One teenage girl with her friend were going in and Elsie educated them on the dangers of contraception, which  this young girl had implanted in her arm. She is so knowledgeable, I learned a lot from listening to her myself! Another very young couple, a teenage boy and his girlfriend were going in to the clinic. They seemed open and receptive to hear what Elsie was telling them, and Bernadette  offered them a homemade rosary, which she had made herself. The young girl crossed over to the edge of the circle to take it from her hands and Bernadette told her that she had been praying for her and gave her a  pre-born Jesus brochure that includes a prayer for pregnant women to trust the Lord with their child. It was a beautiful prayer, and we prayed for that young couple as they were inside that God would touch their hearts. We never did see them come out, unfortunately. 

A passerby gave us this card. This couple are good friends of his and they are desperate to adopt a baby, they cannot have one on their own. Let’s spread the word!  Wouldn’t it be great if we had more couples who are waiting to adopt a baby make business cards like this that we could have to offer couples who are coming to Planned Parenthood to abort their children! 
Kim and Mike at prayer

  Another interaction reagrding the baby models happened during my shift. Elsie was admiring the baby models and was saying how glad she is that we have them on the sidewalk, and she wanted to know if we could count on them being medically accurate. I had my phone out and was looking up photos and information on a seven week fetus,  to try to determine if they were in fact accurate,  just as a young woman who, trying to act calm, but it was obvious that she was upset, she stopped at the models and was complaining to Bernadette that they are not accurate. She said, “you are not showing God’s truth by having these lies on display.“ I heard what she said, and I was actually in the process of looking up on my phone what a seven week unborn baby looks like! So, I walked over to her and I told her that.  I told her what a coincidence it was because Elsie and I were just discussing this very thing, if we could trust these models to be medically accurate! I was pulling up the information on my phone, and I had a picture of a seven week unborn baby on my phone, which actually did not look quite like the seven week model. However, she did not want to look at it or engage with us in any sort of reasonable conversation. She just kept telling us that those models were lies, and it was quite obvious that she could use prayer because she must have  a wound in her soul. Anyway, I realized that when I looked up a nine week unborn child on my phone, it was exactly the same as the seven week model. So, what we should keep in mind when we talk to people about the models, is the age of the model is from the time of conception, not the last menstrual period. So, the seven week model would actually be nine weeks LMP, which is another way to calculate it.  But, they are accurate! Pray for those who have blinders on because of something they do not want to face, for those blinders to be removed. 

3-5: Michael and Kim

Shift manager Mike, with buddies Kim and Mike have the 3-5

5-7: Lisa and Johanna

WOW     #1 The beautiful weather and  #2 The beautiful people who joined Johanna and me on the sidewalk.  Truthfully, I usually find myself somewhat jealous of shift managers that have large groups joining them.  The shift I have covered for several years, Tuesdays 5 – 7 PM, typically does not draw too many additional prayer warriors.  Tonight was not the case.  A record (for us) number of people saw the plea for prayers and joined us this evening.  Upon arriving at 5 pm, Johanna is already there enjoying seeing Mike again, We relieve him from his 3 – 5 shift.  Mike gave me one of the most beautiful prayer cards I have ever seen – Prayer to End Abortion.  Thank you Mike!Joe, a Knight of Columbus and  member of St. Bernadette parish in Monroeville and Thao, the beautiful young woman who also volunteers at Catholic Charities were also there already.  Shortly there after two additional women arrived separately but coincidentally both named Elizabeth both with rosary in hand.  Then, the greatest surprise and delight of the evening, a dear mother, Laura and her beautiful family of 6 children all veterans to the sidewalk.  Faith, Hope, Charity, Aletheia, George and little Leo.  Those dear children grabbed signs and pamphlets and made the sidewalk come to joyful life!  It utterly amazed me how many pamphlets those young children gave out and how many wonderful comments were received from passerby’s.  Amazingly, this family traveled all the way from Steubenville and are members of St. Peter parish, (two older brothers are away at college).  Finally, to round out the night after experiencing extreme traffic woes but still persevering to attend Eileen, member of St. Phillips in Crafton arrived.If not for the sobering reason we are all there, tonight was one of the most wonderful evenings I have had in a long time.  Love of Jesus and all people – no matter how small – was the overwhelming theme tonight!

Lisa between two Elizabeths
S. Family from Steubenville
Eileen with George caressing the baby models
Faith, Hope and Johanna
George entertaining Joe.  George wore the 3 baby signs.  What a joy!
The very prayerful Denise
Denise, Johanna, Thao and Joe

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