For those of you who have been praying for Christa and the ministry here in Northern New Jersey, and across the US, here is the news for this week, and hopefully a reminder to pray this Saturday Morning.
I do not run these letters as a political statement, or in order to divide the body of Christ. I really believe our generation will be known throughout the ages to come for what impact we've had in our world. It would be like saying Martin Luther King Jr. was just a political figure, or was trying to divide a nation.
Abortion is a plague on our nation that is destroying not just the unborn, but the lives of women, the marriages of couples whom God has joined, and men of all ages. It is an evil that must be stopped. Please join me in prayer, and do what God sets before you to do.
Dear Praying Friends and Family,
Today was really different in three ways.
First, it was sunny! First time doing sidewalk counseling when it wasn't snowing, or frigid and overcast or drizzling. Somehow seemed strange to be there with the sun warming my shoulders - I'm almost more comfortable there when the weather is as miserable as the location. I actually said to the office manager as she entered the side door of the building, "Good morning. Isn't it a great day to be alive?"
Secondly, there was a larger number of people than usual praying across the street. Most were holding signs saying, "Women do regret abortion," "Men regret lost fatherhood," and a big banner, "Choose Life." Praise God for the prayers and the powerful witness to the community.
It's always interesting for Catholics and non-Catholics to be praying side by side - they pray so differently. 40daysforlife.com was started and developed by Catholics. Though it's predominantly a Catholic ministry, they seem to warmly welcome warriors from other faiths (like me) into the trenches with them. For their steadfastness in this battle, I greatly admire them. I hope to see more non-Catholics involved. This is not war about religion (though the love of God compels us), but a war for human dignity. A person of any faith could make a great sidewalk counselor, if he could effectively, lovingly articulate the risks and wrongs of abortion, the wisdom of seeking positive alternatives, and the dignity of choosing life. I'm learning that it's important to have a variety of praying people and counselors out there, because there's a variety of people coming for abortion. When they encounter us, they need to see someone they can relate to, one way or another (gender, age, ethnicity, language, faith). As diverse a group as we may be, our single goal when we meet in front of an abortion clinic, is to steer people away from the lies and the violence of that place, to much safer and healthier alternatives. Keeping focused on that one goal makes this a very effective outreach.
My third observation was that there were fewer abortion customers today - I'd say, almost half as many as usual. I believe this is just as much an answer to our prayers as a dramatic 'sidewalk-save' is. I hope and pray that it's because God spoke to women's hearts - as many of us prayed - even before they came for their appointments, and they canceled, and turned around right there in their beds, or bathrooms, or cars. Or that they drove by, saw the people praying, read the signs, and had a change of heart. (As has happened in many other cities, maybe business will get so bad, the clinic will close!) We may never know in this life how God is responding to our hundreds and hundreds of prayers, but we know that He IS responding.
(In case you are unaware, 40 Days for Life organizes this 40-day campaign in the spring, and a 40-day campaign in the fall. See their website for encouraging daily updates. But pray-ers and sidewalk counselors independent of 40 Days for Life are needed all year 'round. The battle rages 12 months a year. If you want to get your feet wet, 40 Days campaigns are a great way to start. But pray about being involved beyond 40 Days!)
To honor the precious children that lost their lives today in our local clinic, I just want to acknowledge that many couples did go in for abortions today, and didn't have a change of heart. Lord, have mercy.
"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather, expose them." Ephesians 5:11
Thanks for coming by.
Related article: Forty Years Ago Today, I Was an Affable Agnostic