Friday, October 29, 2010

The power of prayer - NEVER give up!

As we bring this 40 Days For Life to a close, it is important to remember that prayer is still vital and still powerful, any day of the year. I have been meaning to write this story down for a long time. It illustrates beautifully the power of prayer, and the importance of remembering that if our efforts affect JUST ONE PERSON, that is meaningful. Even if it seems that your efforts are going nowhere, never give up. God knows what you are doing and what is in your heart, and His power and grace are without limits. We may never know how many babies were truly saved, or how many clinic workers' hearts will be converted by our presence and our prayers.


I was raised by an abortion clinic nurse, and required to work as a patient escort in the clinic parking lot on abortion days. There were many pro-lifers who came out to the clinic on those days; some were sidewalk counselors, some were protestors, some were prayer warriors. There was one woman in particular who never spoke a word, never even interacted with the other pro-lifers. She was a tiny, frail, very elderly woman, who each Friday would walk to the clinic, kneel on the sidewalk at the corner (some distance away from the entrance), and pray the Rosary. Sometimes she would be there for hours, through any weather, with her bony knees on pavement that could be blazing hot, freezing cold, or soaking wet. I saw her every Friday I was there, and she always smiled at me when she arrived and again when she left, but never said a word. One winter day she came and prayed for at least three hours, in freezing rain. The clinic owner came out and saw her, and asked the escorts to ask her to come in for tea when she was done. When she got up from kneeling, I went over and invited her in. She accepted, and I walked her into the clinic and the owner brought over a pot of tea. The three of us sat together on one of the couches in the counseling area. The old lady (I never did find out her name) sipped her tea and smiled peacefully, nodding solemnly as the owner explained that her efforts in prayer were wasted, that she was needlessly inconveniencing or even harming herself by kneeling on the sidewalk, that she would be better off staying at home in comfort since nothing - NOTHING - would ever dissuade the clinic's owner, doctor, or staff to stop performing abortions; and that by just kneeling and praying without interaction, she was hardly going to convince any women to change their minds. When the owner finished speaking, the old lady put her teacup down, and said "God knows what I'm doing out there, and it matters to him even if it doesn't matter to you or anyone else. My prayers have value to God. And if I can change one heart - even ONE" - and she looked straight into my eyes as she said this - "then it will have all been worth it. I know God will reward me in the end." The clinic owner rolled her eyes, sighed, and shook her head. The old lady stood up, thanked us for the tea, and left.


I never forgot her. I was already questioning and doubting my pro-abortion indoctrination; and years later, I would join the pro-life movement as a post-abortive mother, and speak out against abortion and to encourage people to reach out to women considering abortion, people who have been harmed by abortion, and especially to clinic workers. I now pray in front of our local abortion clinic, and I plan to one day pray in front of the clinic where my mother worked. I am certain that the little old lady who used to so faithfully pray there is in Heaven now; and I want to encourage all of us to follow her faithful example. She did change the one heart she hoped for; and who knows how many more?

~ Abigail

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Umbrella

Today I went back to Planned Parenthood to retrieve an umbrella that I had left with a friend earlier in the day.

As I stood in front of the clinic chatting with a fellow pro lifer a group of teenage boys approached us on the sidewalk. We were so engrossed in our conversation that we weren't paying careful attention to the direction the "Pray to end abortion" sign was facing, which happened to be facing away from the teenagers. As the boys walked past us I noticed them looking backward to read the sign.

As my eyes met the last boy in the group I expected him to say something to impress his friends. I remember being a teenager and what can happen when a group of them get together. Peer pressure is a powerful influence.

I had just finished that thought when to my amazement the young man fell to his knees and began praying while his friends continued walking down the sidewalk.

"I've never seen anything like that before." I said to my friend who turned his gaze to the boy and his friends who were now all turning around facing their friend.

As the other four boys stared at their friend on his knees I was certain one of them would say something to discourage him. The approval of your friends is incredibly important as a teenager -- often more important than the approval of your parents and family. And just as I completed that thought another boy in the group fell to his knees and began praying.

"I can't believe my eyes." I said, as the remaining three boys looked on in dismay as their two friends knelt before the Planned Parenthood in prayer.

I wanted to run over and give them both a hug and tell them I was praying for their kind of courage. The courage to serve God even if it means the ridicule of those whose opinions matter most. I have to wonder what the world would be like if everyone were no longer afraid of what their friends and colleagues thought and simply served God when their hearts told them to do it.

The Bible says the prayer of the righteous man availeth much, so I am left to speculate about the effectiveness of my own prayers, but I know the the prayers of those two boys went straight to heaven and into the ears of God.

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" - Matt. 19:14


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Man's Fight to End Abortion

The story of a man's struggle to save children destined for abortion. What an inspiration to us all when we feel we do not have the time or the money to share!

For six years, Phuc has buried the lifeless bodies of children in Nha Trang. Since 2004, he, with the help of his friends, has brought over 9,000 babies or fetuses from hospitals, maternity wards, and even dustbins to a cemetery, which is located on Hon Thom Mountain in Vinh Ngoc commune of Vietnam’s central city of Nha Trang...

Tong Phuoc Phuc said that after having buried so many dead babies, he recognized that it would be better if he could try to save the their lives.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tyler's Child

Today was one of the busiest days at Planned Parenthood -- there was only one empty parking spot. The couples that began arriving in the morning had come to abort their babies. Shortly after the abortionist parked her car in the congested parking lot a father came out of the abortion clinic and approached the sidewalk where the pro lifers were praying and holding signs. He said his name was Tyler* and that he didn't want his girlfriend to have an abortion and that he felt he could be a good father.

He said he would never abandon his girlfriend, but that it wasn't his choice since it was her body.

He was told that it wasn't her body or even her baby -- but God's. Tyler was given adoption information and advised that there was a pregnancy center just down the street that could help them in addition to literature showing the development cycle of babies. Earlier, Tyler and his girlfriend had been told that God loved them and their baby and that their child was a blessing.

Tyler eventually agreed to go back into the abortion clinic and attempt to talk his girlfriend out of having an abortion. He was going to tell her, "If you love me you will have this baby." Cell phones lit up as the local pro lifers called everyone they knew to begin praying that Tyler would find the words to reach his girlfriend and that his precious baby would be spared.

"Your baby is waiting for you to be a hero and go into that building and save its life." a pro lifer told him.

Sadly, despite the prayers of God's faithful and words of encouragement to empower a father to save his child, Tyler's baby did not survive. About half an hour later Tyler came out and shook his head "no" when asked if he was successful. He spent the rest of the time around his car -- obviously uncomfortable with being inside the building. Later, he reached over and waved goodbye when he left with his girlfriend -- and began a chapter in his life that only God will be able to heal.

Tyler's baby is safe with God where no harm will come to it and where it will be loved by a heavenly Father that sent some of his very best servants to its rescue.

A few minutes later another couple came out smiling and said they had changed their minds. They were told the same thing that Tyler and his girlfriend had heard and saw the same people praying, but with a very different result. Perhaps God knows that his followers have their emotional limits.

And so there was joy through the tears as a mother and father took a very different path toward the miracle of parenthood. And they were told to praise God because their baby is a blessing.


*Name changed to protect identities.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

God Loves History Teachers

Today at around 6 pm a Charlottesville high school history teacher saw someone holding a "Pray to end abortion" sign and decided to pull over to voice his discontent. It turns out that the history teacher was against abortion but would never impose his morals on someone else. There was a lengthy debate that followed which included attempts to get the teacher to see the contradictions in his own moral philosophy. He admitted that if rape or pedophilia were made legal he would stand against those laws and do more than simply hold a sign, but the same standard did not apply to abortion.

Debates can sometimes be helpful -- but that's not the miracle that occurred.

As twilight approached the pro life volunteer looked up and was shocked to see a brigade of pro lifers surrounding him and more volunteers crossing the street. The clinic was closed and yet God's army was still arriving.

One of the pro lifers walked up and introduced herself to the history teacher. And he asked her why she was there and she told him that she was adopted and that someone loved her rather than choosing abortion. And then she asked if she could introduce him to the other pro lifers and allow them to answer the question. And one by one the history teacher met God's faithful servants and each of them witnessed to him -- including the pastor of the church that made up the pro life brigade.

As darkness fell the pro lifer who originally thought he was trying to reach this man alone marveled at how much God must love that history teacher to send so many earth angels to his rescue.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Hour of Power

Friday, Oct. 15 we were inspired by the participation of the Palmyra Knights of Columbus. It was a site to behold. The Knights decided to come back this Friday and the coordinated with other Knights in the area. Then the thought occurred to them — what if we all showed up during rush hour on Friday?

The UVa students were already scheduled to be there — at least one and quite likely two Knights of Columbus groups would be joining them. The stage was set for a tremendous showing of how God's grace can move people.

And there was. Over 70 people showed up to pour out prayers and hope onto this place that so sorely lacks hope.

We had a large crowd from Laurel Hill Baptist Church. There were more than 20 people who made it and even more were trying to get there but couldn't because of the traffic — so they prayed with us while driving. One woman told us how she had handed the sign around at her Sunday school meeting to show how holding a sign isn't nearly as scary as everyone thinks.

We also had a pastor from Calvary Baptist and a priest from Palmyra. The witness of the pastors is powerful in a time when leaders are told to shush and let people sin. Pray for our church leaders, that they will become convicted of the truth and will stand up.

Finally, we had representatives from three groups of Knights, Palmyra, Incarnation and St Thomas and the UVa students came. These are the groups I know of personally. I unfortunately didn't get to talk to all 70 people — so if I missed your group please let me know.

We had people coming out for the first time, and others who are veteran soldiers for Christ. There were folks who knelt in prayer, others who stood. Some waved at the passing cars and prayed for the souls inside. It was a time to meet fellow prayer warriors and give God praise for the power of His hand.

So when you are standing out there alone — remember you are NOT alone. Apart from the countless angels our Lord sends to protect you, all of your brothers and sisters in Christ are there with you in spirit!

Thank you for coming out and being a witness to LIFE!

To see more pictures from this event and others - join our facebook group.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rape exception "necessary"?

"One study found that 50% of women who became pregnant by rape underwent abortions, 5.9% placed their infants for adoptions, and 32.3% of raped women kept their infants. Another study, conducted in a separate year, found markedly different results, concluding that 26% of women pregnant through rape underwent abortions. Of the 73% of women who carried their pregnancies to term, 36% placed their infants for adoption, and 64% raised the children they conceived through rape."

"These societal constructions have created a “prototype” of the pregnant raped woman and of the prototypical rape pregnancy experience by which all raped women are judged. […] Proponents of abortion rights used the image of the raped woman to challenge the public opinion that all women who sought abortions were making a choice “against motherhood.” They did this by depicting raped women as having no choice or personal agency in seeking their abortions. Instead, raped women were depicted as “unfortunates who, through no fault of their own, were forced into an abortion” […] by describing the unborn child in terms that suggest the child is a mere extension of the rapist (that is, by labeling the unborn child as the “rapist’s baby”) with the unborn child continuing the rapist’s violence against the woman, this time from within the raped woman’s own womb. By vilifying the rape-conceived child, these proponents depict abortion as a raped woman’s self-defense tool[.]
Perhaps surprisingly, the only study to ever analyze the effects of pregnancy upon raped women found that raped women are, above all, victims of rape, not pregnancy. […] “it appears that the pregnant victim’s problems stem more from the trauma of rape rather than from the pregnancy itself.” Only 19.2% of raped women stated that they needed to confront feelings of “resentment of the pregnancy” or “hostility towards [the] child.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Unwanted. Unsafe. Unfair.

"Coerced abortion is explicitly recognized as a violation of basic rights and principles." – United Nations Population Fund.

"Some claim that abortion is only 'forced' if physical force e.g., kidnappingis involved, and that all other abortions have been 'chosen' ... even where women have been harassed or brutalized to force them to comply. The 'forced' versus 'coerced' argument dismisses the fact that coerced abortions are human rights abuses. It legitimizes abuse of women by implying that any woman who had an abortion because she was unable to withstand being psychologically or physically abused, got what she deserved. ... "Both 'forced' and 'coerced' abortions should be opposed as fundamental human rights abuses."

Learn more at Abortion Is The Unchoice

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On Eagle's Wings

I often tell people that it's not always the righteous who find their way to the abortion clinics. It's often unlikely heroes. In fact, I'm fond of saying a lot of the people, myself included, manage to get there despite being spiritually broken. A few of us limp to the battlefield ... and God somehow manages to use us and illustrate His greatness. Today was no different, but with a slight caveat.

When I arrived there were three men praying. I only recognized one of them. All three had driven an hour to stand outside of the Charlottesville abortion clinic.

At the end of their stay one of them mentioned that he was looking forward to addressing a medical issue. It turns out that he has a very rare muscle affliction that causes him considerable pain. And yet there he was standing outside the abortion clinic in prayer despite the pain. It reminded me of a man I had met in Houston that was dying of cancer outside of the abortion clinic, only we didn't know it at the time.

He never told us that he was fighting for his life.

All of us must overcome something to serve God. And for many Americans the struggle is to overcome fear in the battle of good versus evil. Many of us are in perfect health and yet we find reasons why we can't stand up for the unborn. But these men convict us in those moments when we don't feel like holding a sign or praying in the cold rain. These faithful servants of God show up and minister that it's not our strength that will win this war, but God's strength.

If God can give them the strength to overcome physical pain then surely God can give us all the strength we need in our moment of weakness.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the Earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:28-31

-- Steve

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Be at peace

"Be at peace.

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.

God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from out of them.

He has kept you hitherto, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow, the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and everyday.

He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination."

-- St Francis de Sales

HT to Lauren

Day 13: Midpoint Rally & the Importance of Prayer

Hi Prayer Warriors!

It's hard to believe that we're already more than a quarter of a way through the 40 days -- in fact day 20 is only a week away! And with this passing of time, the midpoint rally is now at hand!

Midpoint Rally
When: Sunday, Oct 10 from 1pm to ~2:30pm
Where: Albemarle High School with some opening prayers, then doing a prayer march down to Planned Parenthood (1/2 a mile walk)

While talking with a fellow Christian I realized I'd done a poor job of explaining what 40 Days for Life was about. It's not about the vigil at Planned Parenthood, it's not about community outreach, and it's not even about visiting the website and signing up for the daily devotionals. 40 Days for Life is simply about praying and fasting for an end to abortion. One of our most powerful prayer warriors will never make it out to Planned Parenthood or perhaps even witness to the community, for she can barely walk. She'll never receive a single email from me or the national team, for she has no email...nor even a computer.

Yet she is praying, every day, for an end to abortion, for this campaign and for each of us. When she signed her name with an arthritic, shaking hand, I knew it was her prayers, and the prayers of the many more unknown souls like her, that were upholding us. Everything else is an outward, visible sign of this necessary, invisible reality of prayer. Without that prayer nothing will be accomplished!

If your church or community is doing something prayer centered to end abortion, please pass it along so others may join in. Here are two events coming up within the next week:

Holy Hour for the Respect of all human life
When: Sunday, October 10th at 3pm (we'll try to end the rally on time so people can make it to this)
Where: St Thomas Aquinas
What: An hour of private prayer in front of the exposed host.
Who: Anyone may attend - if you have questions please feel free to contact me

Mass offered for 40 Days for Life
When: Tuesday, October 12 at 12:25pm
Where: UVA Chapel on grounds (note: parking can be difficult)
Who: Anyone may attend, but only Catholics who have prepared themselves may receive communion.

Thank you for all your prayers and may the Lord bless you abundantly as you continue to put your trust in Him!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day Nine: The Monsoon

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" - Matt. 19:26

Several inches of rain did not stop God's army from braving the elements outside of Planned Parenthood on Hydraulic Road - among them 84 year old Mary Jo. Despite being a little bit under the weather she brought her umbrella and grabbed a "Pray to end abortion sign" and alongside other volunteers she walked up and down the block in the pouring rain. She walked, and walked, and walked ... and when asked how she was able to do it she attributed it to "good genes".

One onlooker stated, "I hope to have have half her faith when I'm 84."

Later, Mr. and Mrs. Kenney would inherit the signs and pick up where Mary Jo left off -- being joined by fellow parishioner Steven. Hundreds upon hundreds of cars drove by and stared in amazement as men and women illustrated how much God loves the unborn. In the midst of the storm the light of God's love shone through.

We wish to think everyone who has stood for God's truth even when it was uncomfortable and inconvenient.

- Steve

Lost Hope

The reason that people want to kill the unborn is that they have lost hope.

I received a class recently on suicide awareness here at The Basic School. The instructor began by taking a survey of how many people knew someone who had attempted to or who had committed suicide. Almost every hand went up.

St. John Vianney tells us that “The eyes of the world see no further than this life, but the eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity.” The world, therefore, cannot hope for anything more than the pleasures of this life. We Christians, however, see the hope of the next life. We hope not that we will be loved, for we already are, but that, because of Jesus, we will perfectly love God and one another.

When you listen to the reasons espoused by the proponents of abortion, they are always something along the lines of “The child won’t be loved” or “the child won’t have a good life with its disability”. Yet none of these things will preclude the child from our hope, either in this world or the next.

- Martin