After all these years of praying in front of PP, the biggest thing I still struggle with is forgiving the pregnant women entering those doors for what they’re about to do. I try to love them in my heart as I pray that they will choose life for their unborn child. But can I say that I truly forgive them for what they are about to do? If I am truthful with myself, the answer is, most times, no. When I focus on the little ones growing inside them, and the fate that awaits them in a few minutes, I find it very difficult to forgive the parents for their decision to end a life created by God, in His image.
But Jesus teaches us to forgive others as we would like to be forgiven. “And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against another, forgive it, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your trespasses as well.” (Mark 11:25) That no sin is too great for his forgiveness. Jesus’ parable of the prodigal Son teaches the depths of a father’s forgiveness for his son. The father says, “For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” (Luke 15:24) We are also warned not to judge others. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37) After enduring unspeakable torture and ridicule, from the cross Jesus says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
As we pray during these 40 days, may we be beacons of love, compassion, and forgiveness for all who enter the doors of PP– not just for the mothers and fathers, but also for the doctors, nurses, staff, and security guards. Only through the love of others will this battle be won, one heart at a time.
7-9 AM +++ Greg and Susan
There was not a whole lot of activity going on for the first hour of our 7:30-9:00 AM shift. It was exclusively workers going in until about 8:35 AM. Susan and I never failed to mention abortionworker.com to the PP employees entering the building for their work day. It was a really ironic when I commented to Susan at 8:30, “Well, at least we haven’t seen anyone go in that’s not a worker.” Immediately after I said that, the parade of customers started flowing in. That will teach me to keep my mouth shut, and not start counting my chickens too soon! After that, their business picked up, although we were not clear what kind of business it was as we did not see any obvious abortion candidates.
After a while, the chill started cutting though us. Susan commented, it’s always colder in front of this building than anywhere else in Pittsburgh because it’s such an evil place!Greg
9-11 AM +++ Michael, Mark, and Kathy
The weather was cloudy, windy and rain was on its way. All was calm and peaceful until a man flipped out because he was convinced there was an animal in his clothing. He stripped naked and was completely out of control. He said he was scared to death of animals and there was no animal anywhere. It appeared his lighter fell out of his pocket and slid down his leg. He thought it was an animal in his clothing.
Police were notified and they arrived at the scene by which time he had already dressed himself. Police gave him a warning that if it happens again, he may be arrested. He apologized to me and other bystanders and went away. That was certainly enough excitement for the shift and the day. There was a steady flow of people going into PP and some of them willingly accepted our handouts. We just don’t always know the impact of our endeavors, but it is worth it if one baby is saved from abortion. It is always a joy to be with our pro-lifers. They are the finest people I have ever met.Michael
11 AM-1 PM +++ Elsie, Katie, and Maggie
We enjoyed many prayer warriors on the Sidewalk around Planned Parenthood, braving cold heavy rain and wind. One of our challenges was to keep our papers and handouts from looking like soggy cookies!
Many prayers were said as we peacefully approached several couples (a few male and female, a few moms and daughters) who were determined to ignore us and go into the abortion mill. While it is easy to feel discouraged as your attempts to show love and offer help to those going in are most often rebuffed and sometimes angrily protested, but as the day went on, and we watched faces passing by and yes, sometimes going into the facility, our smiles, prayers, and beautiful signs ARE impacting people who pass AND people who go in. Today. we may not see any movement of hearts, not at all. But we trust that these signs of love and care do affect the consciences of those who pass. Our signs and larger groups of stalwart prayer warriors who won’t go away are getting under Glynn the security guard’s skin and we need to keep the peaceful witness of Christ’s love for both mom and baby and dad right down to that sidewalk.
One young man brought his girlfriend in and then went outside for a cigarette. He seemed hostile when they first walked in, but he did turn back to look at us a few times as they were inside getting checked in. When he came out, I approached him, as he was wearing a hoodie and it was really raining hard. I asked him if I could help. He said he has other children and whipped out a cell phone to show me his little ones playing with toys and seeming happy. I asked him what his wife/girlfriend was in there for and he kind of hemmed and hawed and seemed uncertain and holding something back…not sure the story made sense, but in any case, he was offered a rain jacket and a bag of granola bars and candy of which he seemed grateful and surprisingly gave me a hug. I warned him that PP is not the place to go if a woman has a medical emergency with a pregnancy. He said his girlfriend just kept saying she had to come to the clinic. I told him there is help out there for him, for her, and for, if by the grace of God, the unborn child lived. I gave him some info. He said a few times that he was thankful for our kindness. I really don’t know if he was telling the whole story, but at Mass tonight, I prayed for them, committing them to God’s mercy. So, with wet shoes, and heavy hearts, we finished our shift committed to praying for everyone we met. God can see what we can’t, and He can reach deeply into hearts beyond our imaginations. We are called to be faithful in sogginess and sunshine. The results are God’s.Maggie
1-3 PM +++ Jeannie and Elaine
What a difference a few hours makes! We moved around the display to accommodate the strong rain that was ongoing when I got to the sidewalk. Elaine (Sidewalk manager) was already there, as well as Marilyn her shift buddy and a great group from Saint Matthew (a.k.a. Saint Bonaventure) church in Glenshaw.
A couple of interesting things happened. First, Glynn came out and chided Elsie for talking to a couple of would be patients through the glass. It confirmed that clients can hear you! Keep talking!
Secondly, Glynn came out to bring someone in to PP while Maggie was talking tto her in the circle – so Glynn is definitely on edge and perhaps maybe at a precipice. Pray for him.
Also, the Quest Diagnostic vehicle pulled up and the guy got out . On his way out of the building he was shaking his head looking at my sign. I said, “Are you OK ?” and he said, “ I hate this place.“ I said, “Why?” and he said, “I’m a Christian.”
Finally the Quest driver remarked that PP actually has handouts inside about not smoking because it could be harmful to your body!!!! He said “They’re doing what they’re doing and they’re worried about someone smoking?” Sheesh.
Cold, wet, wonderful day on the sidewalk. I am blessed to have stood with every one of those great people.Jeannie
3-5 PM +++ Mike, Val, and Pat
Thanks to everyone who suffered through the rain for the sake of God’s little ones today!