Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Where is the hope?

Today is one of my favorite days out at PP. Well, I guess I say that almost every day!  :-)  Love you all! 
But today is special because of Pastor Bill, John and Richard who faithfully come EVERY Tuesday morning and stay for 4 hours! 9am to 1pm they can be counted on to be there outside Planned Parenthood! 

These days we always have our fair share of conversation in between prayer and Pastor Bill has been so kind to share much of his life experience, advice and answers to Theological questions with me! I love this opportunity to learn from him as well as get to know him and my other brothers in the Lord! 

His example today was especially neat and encouraging for me to be apart of and witness, and I wanted to try and write it out to document it. :-) 

Many times when approached by people, I'm quite unsure of what is the best way to interact and respond.  Some folks need real facts and answers in a quick and engaging way.  Some folks just need an ear that will listen and a prayer offered.  Being able to watch my dad, Pastor Bill, Pastor Dean and so many others interact with people is such a great opportunity - and whether they know it or not they are training and disciple-ing me and all who are blessed to watch-and-learn! This spring chicken is still "learning the ropes" and I'm so thankful for my "elder" and more experienced brothers and sisters!

Today was one of those awesome opportunities, and God taught me a few things too. :)

About half-way through our time at PP a blue mini van parked across the street at the auto parts store.  Out stepped a mid to late 50's man with a big ole' Duck Dynasty beard, long hair, and a fair share of mud on his pants/shirt - pretty much the poster child for a mountain man look. :-) 

I commented to Pastor Bill as the man walked across the street to meet us, "This should be interesting!" 

Immediately the man launched into about a 15 min. monologue about the evils and unfairness of child support that is "slammed" upon the children's fathers when their wives divorce them. 

I tried my best to follow along his lengthy story but I admit, my first thoughts were, "so...what does this have to do with praying to end abortion?"  I was quite confused to say the least.  :-) 

Thankfully, Pastor Bill led by example and kindly and compassionately listened to this man. (I had to keep biting my tongue, but was SO thankful to let Pastor Bill lead and have his example to follow)  Occasionally Pastor Bill would ask a question to clarify, or make a comment to let the man know he was listening. And he always had such a spirit of love, gentleness and care for him, even when our friend was less-than-respectful at times in his words and actions.
 As our friend continued to monologue about the unfairness of child support, Pastor Bill commented with gentleness and in a non-confrontational way something like, "is it better to take the child's life, than pay child support?

Our friend immediately said no. But continued to monologue. :-) 

As the man continued, it became pretty clear he had suffered a very difficult life, laced with much dis-function, betrayal and divorce. (I'm unsure how much was true, but Pastor Bill gently pointed out to me afterwards that it's not up to us to judge his story or even believe it, but just listen.)
In all this confusion, the point that I gathered from what had been said so far was that the man was hurting and angry because of the way his life had gone and he was searching for some glimpse of hope in all of it. 

Eventually, the man came up for air and Pastor Bill was able to gently share some hope with him. He agreed and understood that this life on earth can be very brutal, unfair and messed-up. He understood that life is filled with brokenness and difficult situations because of hurting and hopeless and sometimes even cruel people. He shared that we are out here to pray for people in all of these broken and difficult situations and circumstances, and that we are concerned for their well being. 

And then he shared that the only hope we have to cling to in this life, the very hope that helps us and guides us through the difficulties of life, is Jesus Christ. 

Pastor Bill then asked our friend if he would like to pray with him. 

This seemed to be exactly what our friend was looking for. With eagerness he immediately said he would like that. P. Bill asked for his name, they shook hands, and then prayed a simple yet powerful prayer for him.  

Afterwards, we genuinely thanked our friend for having the courage to come speak with us and share his side of the story. I told him with a chuckle that I was so thankful that he didn't simply drive by and shout at us, or give us the 1 finger wave, but that he was willing to take the time to communicate with us. 

We continued to stand for a few seconds, and I was expecting any minute for him to go back across the street since it seemed he had calmed down and said all he thought he needed to say. 

I was quite wrong - apparently he had more he wanted to share. 

Because of our gentleness and love expressed for him; he was able to actually open up about what was truly bothering him. 

 Paying for child support wasn't the source of the pain and anger, or even why he came out.  Abortion was. And he finally felt comfortable enough to talk about it. 

He had been affected by the tragedy of abortion in his own family. His first wife (now ex) had been abused by her father. He had driven his girlfriend (now ex wife) to the abortion clinic years ago.

It all began to make sense. I finally understood why he had come out to talk with us and why he had spent the first 15 minutes trying to justify abortion by the tragic stories he had told. 

More than anything he had been trying to convince himself, not us, that abortion was ok. 
Although he wouldn't admit it, I know he was hurting and had felt convicted as he drove by us this morning.
We continued to gently listen to our friend, offering some "uh huh"s, "that's terrible", "so sorry"s and questions now and then.  The only words I could choke out to say to him after he told of his first wife's abortion was, "I'm so sorry." 

At this point the woman he had with him in the car got out and yelled across the street to hurry up or she'd be late for her appointment. We chuckled with him, and thanked him again for taking the time to share his side of the story with us. 

As he left, I told him that no one is ever beyond the reach of God's grace and that Jesus loves him. He waved and smiled at us as he drove off. 

We hope and pray that God will work in His heart and water those seeds. Although we didn't say much, at least the man now knows there are Christians that truly love and care about Him in the name of Christ. Perhaps God will use it in his life to reach him and draw Him into a relationship with the Lord. 

Up until the past couple days when I've had the opportunity to meet a few post-abortive men, I never really knew the scars that men deal with from abortion. I knew it hurt  and affected women, but I hadn't given much thought to how it affected men up until then. 
Not only does abortion emotionally and psychologically scar women for life, it also affects men almost just as painfully. Pastor Bill pointed out to me later that the pain parents experience losing a child is the same - no matter if it was miscarried or aborted, or even if the child was born and passed away from an illness or accident. Parents should never have to bury their child, no matter the age or circumstance. 

However the pain of an abortion is even more intense because it was not an accident or illness, but a deliberate choice. The parents not only deal with the grief of their dead child, but also deal with the intense guilt of taking their child's life.  
Over 80% of post-abortive women feel "self-hatred." 
According to this study; complications of suicidal ideation, drug and alcohol abuse, PTSD, eating disorders, increased smoking, divorce and broken relationships, repeat abortions, sexual dysfunction, and child abuse become more prevalent in men and women who have experienced the tragedy of abortion. 

Pastor Bill said he's counseled MANY post-abortive parents and said it's one of the most difficult things to work through. 

It's such a lie from the Enemy that abortion will make everything better! I've read so many stories from Silent No More Awareness and they all say, "abortion doesn't fix anything, it just makes me a parent of a dead baby."
  Such a tragedy.  But there is HOPE in Christ! 

Pastor Bill and I talked about it afterwards and it was really neat hearing his thoughts on the interaction and what he had felt the Lord leading him to do and say. 

I admit, when I'm confronted in that way by a man who is less-than respectful in his words and actions - I immediately put up walls and launch into "defense mode." I honestly was running through a list of pro-life arguments for the first 10 minutes. I wasn't really listening cause I was too busy coming up with responses and judging if his story was true or not! :-) 

But watching Pastor Bill gently and genuinely listen really struck me.  Plus, the words of a friend of mine that I've been learning from were running through my mind, "I have experienced more favor with opposing people when I listened first and then spoke second.  They seemed to care about what I'm saying when I'm not speaking "down" to them. 

I realized then that this man was not "attacking" but was simply trying to justify himself.  He was hurting and he needed to know that we cared for him, and even more importantly that Jesus forgave Him and loves him.  

I tried to openly listen from then on and allow the Lord to lead. 

I and Pastor Bill both felt we could have said more, or even tried a more evangelistic approach to show him his need for a Savior and share the good news. But we both came to the conclusion that in this instance just listening and showing our love and compassion for him, as well as praying for him was what he really needed and wanted. 

It taught me a lot about myself and about real-life. Being so young and inexperienced, I honestly haven't been exposed to the dysfunction and evil of our culture all that much. I haven't experienced the pain of losing a child. I haven't ever been in a situation when I truly felt hopeless or desperate.

I think those who are so openly supporting abortion are the ones who have been hurt the most by it. I learned that I must be SO careful and gentle with how I interact with pro-choice advocates. Listening to their stories and backgrounds is so important to understand where they are coming from and what would be most helpful for them to hear or not to hear. 

I'm SO grateful for all these opportunities to grow and learn! Even if we don't see a life saved, 40 Days for Life has given us all such an opportunity to grow. And God's been teaching us about His heart for the unborn and the lost - and showing us amazing glimpses of His power and grace! Praise the Lord - great things He has done! 

John, Richard and Pastor Bill
Other than that interaction, I had a good conversation with the 3 owners of the auto parts store as well!
They've been kind enough to let us use their restroom, and so I go in every now and then to use their facilities and try to make a little small talk too. 

Well this time one of the owners eluded to his viewpoint by saying something like, "I appreciate the way you do this, but you can't really understand what it's like to be in that situation if you haven't been abused."
I agreed with him that we will probably never understand just how difficult those types of situations are and that my heart goes out to women in such crisis. It also gave me a brief opportunity to share the very words and stories of sexually abused women - that abortion only makes it twice as painful and tragic. And that raising their child helped them heal as they experienced the joy of bringing a precious, beautiful life into their lives out of something so tragic. We talked a little more until a customer walked in. :-) I thought it was a neat opportunity! 
It was interesting, as I was washing my hands in the restroom before I had even talked to them much, I felt like God was leading me to make a point of speaking with them as I left. Turned out to be a neat opportunity! God is good! 
There was also a young man and lady that parked at PP and walked up to the clinic. It's closed on Tuesdays, and so I walked over and let them know they were closed. I wish I had pointed them over to Possibilities!  But for some reason that thought didn't cross my mind just then. :-(  They thanked me though, and I think having even such a brief interaction let them know we care about them. :-) 
And the really neat thing was that a special friend Phil, the chiropractor who works about 2-3 blocks down the street, brought us pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch!  It made P. Bill, John, Richard and I so happy!  He also brought some more amazing dark chocolate for us to share too.  What a kind blessing that was!  Thank you Phil! 

Well, that about sums up the highlights of today! God is so good! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

How good is the God we adore - Day 27

One of the many amazing blessings of leading 40 Days for Life is the opportunity to meet SO many wonderful, Christ-like and selfless fellow believers. It's almost a touch of heaven to meet so many new brothers and sisters - all with testimonies of God's faithfulness and goodness to share.  All fully devoted to our Lord and Savior!

How amazing it has been to see those who love the unborn and their mothers so much that they are willing to step outside of their comfort zones and into the storm - literally, spiritually and emotionally. :-)   Not only are these amazing folks willing to give of their time in prayer at home, but many have braved the frigid cold, the downpours, the snow and the wind to stand outside Planned Parenthood. They've stood fast, despite being reviled and ridiculed by the angry and hurting people driving or walking by.  They've come out even when they don't feel like it.  Broken toes and dialysis won't stop a couple of you!!  (Laurie and Carl - thank you!!)  

In dwelling on all of you inspiring people - it struck me the other day... 

Why do we do all this?  Or maybe, why CAN we do this?  

Why CAN we love other people SO much - most of whom we've never met?  Why can we love them enough to give of our time and our comfort to pray for them and stand-up for them? How CAN we love this way - returning kindness and compassion for ridicule and anger?

More personally - WHY can a naturally self-centered and comfort loving person like myself feel an overwhelming love and compassion for a blue-haired - nose pierced - backwards baseball cap teenage boy who walks out of PP and hands me a little pink sticker with the words "I STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD." 

WHY do I love this boy, and his girlfriend, enough to shed tears the entire 45 min. drive home; fervently praying for their salvation and well being?  I couldn't get them out of my mind.  My nose was running so much I started running out of dry arm space to rub it on. ;)  I squinted hard trying to see through my teardrop covered glasses, sometimes driving by "braille" as my dad likes to call it. 
Why do I care about them?  Why do you care?

The only answer - the only reason why is because our Savior did the very same for me - and for you. 
Only His sacrifice was far more astounding. 

Even when He was reviled; He did not revile in return.  Even while He was suffering; He uttered no threats.  Even though He was abandoned by all; He never abandoned them in return.  Even though He was unjustly judged and persecuted; He graciously forgave His persecutors. The Holy One who knew NO sin; bore the very thing He abhors - our sin - in HIS body.  He payed the penalty that only I deserved to pay. 

And He did all this for what reason?
So that we might DIE to sin, and LIVE to righteousness. 
By His wounds we are healed.

"For what credit is there, if when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?  But if when you do what is right, and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 
 For you have been called for this purpose; since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to the God who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (1 Peter 2:20-24)

Because of His sacrifice - we are free to serve. We are free from sin's power and penalty, and one day we will be free from it's presence. We are called for this purpose - to love and live by His example.

My new friend; blue haired - nose pierced - backwards baseball cap and all, needs Jesus.  Just like I did.  Just like you did. Just like we all continue to need His grace. 

I wrote his name on the back of that little pink sticker, as a reminder to always pray for him and his precious petite girlfriend. 

The amazing thing is; God wants to use us to reach him, his girlfriend and people just like them.  Isn't it amazing that God CHOOSES to use our prayers for His purposes? 

This poem was given to me by a dear friend whom I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know through 40 Days for Life. Mr. Taylor and His wife are one of the sweetest most Christ-like people I've ever met - and he recited this poem one rainy afternoon to me as we stood at PP.  I will forever cherish it! 
It goes like this: 

How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable friend.
Whose love is as great as His power, 
And knows neither measure nor end.

'Tis Jesus, the first and the Last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home
We'll thank Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that's to come. 

And trust Him
And trust Him
And trust Him
And trust Him
And trust Him for all that's to come. 

Each of you have experienced the goodness of the God we adore - our faithful, unchangeable Friend. May we continue to thank Him for all that is past - and trust Him for all that's to come! 


Now for some pictures from the past couple weeks!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Amazing Divine Appointments

divine apointment n. An apparently coincidental encounter or event that has actually been caused by God for a specific purpose. This purpose may be obvious during the encounter or may become apparent only sometime later.*  

In big and small ways - God's sovereignty has been displayed the past 25 days, and it's been so neat to see!  One of those particular ways is how He so precisely arranges conversations with the right people at the right time at PP.  He knows EXACTLY who needs to be there at PP during that exact moment when a specific question or comment is raised from drivers or people passing by! Thank you Lord!

Here are a few examples!

One cloudy afternoon my dad was out alone praying at PP.  He was holding a 40 Days for Life sign (pray to end abortion) and also had a yard sign stuck in the ground around the corner.  A youngish man walked past him and turned the corner, then stopped at the yard sign and began reading it.  He stood there for quite a while looking at it, rubbing his chin and contemplating something to say. He continued to stand there, as if he wanted dad to notice him.  Well, knowing my dad, he wasn't going to let a possible opportunity to talk pass him by!! :-) Dad walked over and said something to him about the weather to open up any conversation if the man wanted to talk.  The man responded, "Well I have 1 question for you... how many have YOU adopted?"  My dad smiled and replied kindly, "Well we've adopted four!....how about you?"  :-)  You could see the wind fall out of the man's sails as he brought up another common pro-abortion point. My dad continued to have a great conversation with him - all with gentleness and respect as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us. What are the chances that that man would walk by at the moment my dad was there - one who had personally adopted children and was prepared to answer his first objection! Praise God for His wisdom!

Another example was one of my mom that I mentioned awhile back in a post.  My mom is so amazing with the kids, and most of the time is "holding down the fort" at home.  So the times she is able to join us at PP are sometimes few and far between - as much as she would like to be out there more!!  Well she "happened" to be standing there on the street corner at EXACTLY the right moment and in EXACTLY the perfect position for a driver who stopped at the red light on Yew. St.  The couple rolled down the side window and the passenger asked, "What about the 'crack' babies?"  (Meaning the babies exposed to drugs in utero) To which my mom responded with a smile, "Well, we have four of them in our home.  Just because they may be affected by drugs gives no reason to take their lives."  The passenger thought for a second, and then genuinely thanked mom as she rolled up her window. The driver nodded his head in agreement too! What are the chances that mom would be there at that exact moment, in the perfect spot, with the personal experience to answer the question of a couple that just "happened" to drive by at that moment!!

We had another really neat one happen just yesterday (Friday 3/24).  Mr. Emmerson was standing in about the same place as my mom and had a man ask him a similar question. Only this time the question was regarding special needs babies. The man said someone he knew had a baby in utero that had been diagnosed with Spina Bifida. He said that because the quality of life would be diminished for the baby, the doctors recommended abortion. What a difficult and scary situation this must have been for the parents to wrestle with.  Amazingly, Mr Emmerson replied, "well, it's quite interesting you would ask, because I have a sister with Spina Bifida." (Wow!)  Mr. Emmerson was able to share about his sister, and that all life is valuable, precious and worth preserving no matter the circumstances. All in a very gentle, understanding and engaging way!  I'm not exactly certain how the conversation ended, but from what I heard sounds like the conversation ended well. Praise the Lord!
 What are the chances that God would bring that man, with that question, to Mr Emmerson - who just "happened" to have a sister with Spina Bifida- and not one of the other 5-6 people that were there at PP at that time! God is good!

"Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are His." (Daniel 2:20)

*Source: dictionaryofchristianese

Healing the Wounds of Abortion

The reality of the emotional pain of abortion became more real to me and some of my friends yesterday afternoon, as we stood out at Planned Parenthood. I've heard the stories, read testimonies on Silent No More Awareness and watched videos of the personal testimonies of so many men and woman who have been scarred by the tragedy of abortion.  But, there's nothing like hearing it first hand from a stranger in tears. 
  My friends and I had been chatting a little in-between fervent prayer, all the while trying to keep the little ones occupied (ages almost 1 - 8 years) :-)  I, Mrs. Emerson, and the kids had huddled under a couple umbrellas and we had just begun to pray again, when I noticed a man walk across the street. He put his arm around Mr. Emerson, who was a little ways down the sidewalk from us, and then they walked toward us.  I was a little wary, unsure of what this man would say and or what he would ask. But he seemed like a nice older man and as they came near he asked, "Which one of you dear ladies is the leader of this effort?"  I introduced myself as he did the same. And then he proceeded to tell us his heartfelt story. 
He told us before he and his wife were married they lived the life of any usual young person - a little crazy, always fun and sometimes not very smart. :-) Then they got the news - you're pregnant. They were so young, afraid, and unable to provide for their baby. Like so many young couples or teens, they were desperate and thought abortion was not only their only choice - but also the responsible choice. So they made that decision to abort.  His eyes filled with tears as he fell silent for a few moments. Then, "Sorry, I thought I could get through this...it still hurts 33 years later."  

33 years later... 

33 years this man and his wife lived with the regret of their abortion. How heartbreaking it is that SO many young people are being told that abortion is the easy way out.  That they're lives will be restored to normalcy as they finish their college studies and become successful business people. But the truth is - abortion ALWAYS leaves an emotional and psychological scar.  So many men and women have shared their heartfelt stories and testimonies of the pain and anguish they have felt after their abortion through healing programs like Silent No More and Rachel's Vineyard

Studies have shown that:
  80% of women who have aborted expressed feelings of "self- hatred" 
49% of women who aborted began or increased their drug use.
39% began or increased their use of alcohol.
14% described themselves as having become "addicted" or "alcoholic" after their abortions.
In addition, 60% reported becoming suicidal, with 28% actually attempting suicide. 14% actually attempting suicide two or more times.* 
 The reality is that abortion does not help but hurts women and men in crisis. The PPFA (Planned Parenthood Federation of America) does not "Care, no matter what."  They've now come out with something more real. "Abortion care, happens here.
A sign the 40 Days for Life volunteers in Boston photographed. They put up their sign next to it :-) 
Praise the Lord, the good news is, this man that came out to speak with us, had become a follower of Christ and experienced the surpassing mercy, forgiveness, healing and new life found in Him.  Praise the Lord! He prayed for us, and thanked us for being there. 

That is our heart and our hope, as we fervently pray during 40 Days for Life - that the precious men and women who have experienced the emotional, physical, and psychological pain of abortion will experience forgiveness and healing through a redemptive relationship with Christ.  

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in Spirit." (Psalm 34:18)    We pray that they will personally experience and know Romans 8:1 that. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  

We pray also for the precious people who work in abortion clinics across the nation. We pray that their eyes will be opened to the painful reality of abortion, and that their hearts will be softened and broken by the work they do. We love them, because Christ first loved us. When we were in sin and without hope - He rescued us and transferred us from darkness to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. We pray every single PP staff member - especially Ms. Cecil Richards (PPFA President) - will leave their jobs and become followers of Christ. 

Thank you Lord for your love and mercy. May the MILLIONS of precious people who have experienced the trauma of abortion find healing and hope in in you alone.  Thank you for your death for us, so that we could be set free from the penalty of our sin and experience a wonderful relationship with you. We love you, and we trust that one day you will end the evil of abortion. We pray especially for the staff of PP, that they will leave their jobs, and be transformed by your grace and redemption. We love them, because you first loved us. We praise You for You are a good and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and mercy.  May you will be done for your Kingdom and your glory! 

Resources: abortionfacts.org

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A special update from my sweet sister Lydia Tevis

So there I was.  The sun was peeking out between the occasional misty drizzle as I sat there, alone, on the sidewalk.  I am 9 months pregnant with our first child, a little girl whom we adopted as an embryo at literally 6 days old.  When we signed the paperwork that made her "ours" she was only a precious, tiny speck, complete with a unique--and never to be repeated--genetic code. The story of how and why she came into our lives is pretty amazing and fresh on my mind as I sat there, head bowed, on this chilly morning in Centralia. 

About an hour previously, my little sister Caroline sent me a message letting me know that the 10-11 am slot was not filled with 40 Days for Life prayer warriors on this particular Wednesday.  I happened to be heading "out town," (a term we rural country bumpkins use for Chehalis & Centralia) and decided to grab a 40 Days sign "Pray to End Abortion" on my way to Planned Parenthood. 

I've stood there in front of the clinic a few times before with my husband and family, which has been a stretching but amazing experience. Today was nothing like those other days. God had something to teach me, as I sat trying to ignore the vulgarities and flip-offs thrown in my direction from drivers on the busy street. 

When family and friends were there, we would chuckle about how popular we are to receive so many #1 signs from our "adoring" fans, and visit cheerily between periods of silent, fervent prayer for the unborn, the women who carry them, and the staff at our little clinic. 
Since I was by myself today, I had the opportunity to really focus on prayer. I am no prayer expert, and wasn't overly confident that I could sit there alone and pray for an ENTIRE. HOUR. I mean come on folks, that's really asking a lot of an introverted, scatterbrained, 36 week pregnant lady who can barely go an hour between restroom breaks! 

As I made myself comfortable sitting cross-legged with my sign propped up on my knees - my prayer was "God, give me your heart, let me see through your eyes, break my heart for what breaks yours." It's amazing how swiftly and powerfully God answers prayers sometimes! 
Immediately it hit me. Here I was, 21 years old, pregnant, alone, sitting on a sidewalk.  I felt vulnerable, and a bit unsure of whether I should be there or not. Although life has not always been easy, (in fact, my husband and I went through a pretty tough struggle with cancer and infertility) I can say with absolute, certainty that there has NEVER been a time when I felt truly alone.  There has NEVER been a time when I didn't have a solid, encouraging shoulder to lean on in times of confusion or crisis. I always had my family, close-knit church family, and Heavenly Father to turn to. 

As this realization came to me, I contrasted the story of my life with the 60 MILLION women who have had abortions since Roe V Wade. Perhaps it hasn't been quite that many women, since some likely had more than one abortion. (60 million is the number of abortions performed.) Immediately I was moved with compassion and grief for these women, some even much younger than me.  The vulnerable, directionless, abused, and lost.  The women who are lied to, and who, out of pure desperation, (or by the adamant instruction of a boyfriend or parent) are led to make a choice that will haunt them for life.

"It is only a clump of cells." I wondered what I would do if I had been a 21 year old pregnant homeless girl, and if the only person who seemed to care told me that my 18 week old (which is the legal abortion limit in WA) clump of cells was really no big deal.  That there was a way out that could return my life to normal and save that clump from a life of not being.....wanted. (Huh?)  With no help and no direction...what might my decision be? 

The tears started to flow, and quickly my emotions got the better of me and evolved into sobbing.  "I have to get control of myself!"  My makeup was completely ruined, and I had an entire day of errands yet to accomplish! This was really weird for me, as I am not usually an outwardly emotional person.  I am definitely not a weepy woman, even during pregnancy.  I felt like this was a direct answer to my prayer as I felt completely, uncontrollably broken for women who continue to be deceived and wounded by lies and false hope. 
After my shift, and as I waddled back to my car, I looked up Matthew 9:36 on my phone. Being the sheep owner and lover that I am, I can always appreciate a verse that compares us with my fluffy four legged friends. I do find these passages to be quite accurate, ha!  This particular verse, which speaks of Jesus, is such a great reminder for us as we fight this battle on our knees.
 "When He saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Although my time on the side-walk was less joyful that it had been during previous shifts, (and quite frankly, made a mess of my face--think matchmaker scene on the Disney classic Mulan ;-) I left with a much deeper sense of Jesus' compassion and brokenness for the lost. 
I hope ya'll driving by know that despite the accusations from our pro-abortion friends, we are not there to judge or condemn.  We are there to listen, to love, to adopt your precious ones, to show you how Christ can transform our lives from something hopeless, to something far beyond what you could ever imagine or dream. We are humbly standing there together as a family of brothers and sisters, to set captives free, to see broken people made whole, to welcome you into safety, and to share in the forgiveness and love that Jesus extends for any and all who will accept it.  We are there to awaken our nation to the truth that abortion is a tragedy that hurts women and takes human life. And ultimately, we are SO ready to see it stop! 

My precious, beautiful little niece at 12 weeks 3 days old.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

God is Faithful!

Well my wonderful, Christ-like and courageous prayer warriors - we are now at day 22!  Already more than halfway through 40 Days for Life! It's almost a sad thought, isn't it? Isn't it crazy how fast the time flies when you're out there?! My dad shared at the rally how he LOVES being out there at PP and doesn't want to leave. Can anyone identify with that? I sure can! 

Truly what a privilege and blessing it is to be given the opportunity to meet a wide range of people that we never would have met without being out there on the sidewalk! I personally have never met, non-the-less spoken to a pro-choice advocate... or a staff worker of PP, or a lesbian couple or a homeless person. :-) But, through the platform of 40 Days for Life and standing for LIFE and Truth, God's brought so many people for us to love, reach out to, get to know and interact with! We now know the names and faces (even some of their stories) of those who are captives of the enemy. We now can specifically pray for their souls; that God would transfer them from the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous light.
 Some of you have had the courage, kindness and opportunities to share the Truth of Christ and the value of every precious human being. All of you have touched and changed lives by your gentle smile and prayerful presence on the sidewalk. I think the saying is true, that sometimes our actions speak louder than words. So when you give of your time and step out of your comfort-zone - no matter the weather - to pray in public; it makes an impression on those watching. God is so faithfully answering our prayers that hearts and minds will be changed. We have yet to see a life saved in our community, but that's all in God's hands and timing! 

It's been awhile since I've written an update so I think I'll try to re-cap the highlights since the last update!

Tuesday 3/14
 I already wrote a very brief re-cap of a special conversation between Mrs. Kast and one of our pro-choice friends. But I wanted to share more in detail as it's been one of the most inspiring and touching testimonies to me and others! 

It was a little rainy on this particular mid-afternoon as Mrs. Kast and I were huddled under an umbrella praying together; trying to stay somewhat dry and warm. :-)  Well, after a while I looked up and saw our pro-choice friend across the street, waiting at the crosswalk with her sign. We offered a quick prayer for her as she came across the street, and then made herself comfortable next to us with her umbrella and sign in her hands. Now if you've met sweet Mrs. Kast, you would know her tender and selfless heart and love for the Lord and for people! She felt led to speak with our visitor and walked over to her with a smile on her face as she sweetly introduced herself and made some small talk.
 I didn't fully hear the conversation, but Mrs Kast's eyes were brimming with tears as she re-counted the conversation to me later. I was SO amazed; this particular pro-choice friend has been the most faithful at joining us on the sidewalk, yet she's sadly been the most defensive and closed to any interactions or conversations with us. But in a matter of seconds, sweet and gentle Mrs. Kast was able to break through that ice and carry on a conversation with her. Such an answer to prayer! 
 Our friend felt comfortable enough to share some of her family's history of abortion.. although she said she had never had one herself. Mrs. Kast was able to identify with her and share some more with her. Eventually our friend said something like, "Well abortion isn't the un-pardonable sin, right? God will forgive those who have had abortions."  (Wow, what a wonderful opportunity to share the hope and mercy found in Christ!) Mrs. Kast responded with heartfelt passion and gentleness, "Absolutely! God loves to forgive, heal and restore broken people.  He sent His son to die in our place so that we could be forgiven and experience His love.  He loves you so much and desires to have a relationship with you"  
Our friend was utterly speechless; almost in shock it seemed. It was obvious that was not the answer she was expecting. You could see her face drain as that life-giving Truth set into her heart and mind. 

There wasn't a dry eye in the room at the Mid-Point rally as Mrs. Kast shared that story with such a compassionate heart and tears in her eyes. What a powerful testimony of how God can use our interactions and turn it into something so meaningful. Mrs. Kast certainly didn't feel perfectly at home talking with her, but the Lord so faithfully spoke through her to give her the words our friend needed to hear at that moment. 
Thank you Lord! You are so good and faithful! May our friend come to experience your forgiveness in her life. Thank you that you love her, more than we ever could. We place our faith and hope for her soul's salvation in your hands and ask that Your will be done in her life, for Your glory and for Your Kingdom!

Wednesday and Thursday 3/15-16
 I'm trying to recall anything from these days that were especially notable or encouraging. It's currently quite early in the am in this morning as I write this, so my brain is protesting "I can't remember that far back at this hour!" :-)I know Wednesday was full of our amazing, sweet Chehalis Foursquare prayer warriors!  Thank you all so much! 
Thursday my sisters Valerie, Victoria and Brielle and I were out for a lot of the day, and we were joined by so many more selfless believers throughout the day! A couple very sweet older ladies joined us and it was such pleasure meeting you two! Thank you all! 
That day our pro-choice friends did not come out to join us, so it was quieter and somewhat un-eventful.  :-)

Friday 3/17
 Today is always my favorite day... although I may be a little biased. :-)  My amazing, sweet courageous church family fills up this day and I'm so thankful and proud of you all! :-) 
Mr. Stroup gets a gold star for that day!  We got a call early in the morning from his wife that he was at PP and was currently the only prayer warrior there. Apparently there were 7 pro-choice advocates there already... so needless to say he felt a little outnumbered! But his dear wife said that He wasn't bothered by it saying, "God's with me, so I'm not alone!"  That's just like him to say, who's always quite upbeat and always has a smile on! :-) 
My family and I, plus our dear friends that had stayed the night with us, jumped in our vehicles as soon as we could to "rally" some more troops to help him in prayer and to lovingly reach out to our visitors.  
I heard later at the mid-point rally that Mr. Stroup had a brief divine appt. with another staff member that works at PP. It brought tears to my eyes as he described the woman to me. Turns out she is the one that our dear church family member emailed me personally to ask for specific prayer for. I knew it was an answer to prayer that Mr. Stroup had that brief opportunity to speak with her, and I pray that the Lord will water the seeds He planted in her heart! Please pray for this petite woman for salvation, as well as healing for her medical issue. (I'm sorry I'm being very vague, but I want to protect her privacy. Thanks for understanding!) :-) 
When we arrived there were some more prayer warriors that had come to help- Jeff who has been faithfully there every Friday for several hours and sweet Mrs. Mullen. Thank you! 
We all began praying, and after awhile my new pro-choice friend that I had chatted with on Tuesday and her soon-to-be husband showed up. I was quite happy to see her again, and welcomed her with a hug. :-) She introduced me to her fiance and we chatted a little, and then she joined the others.
I admit, whenever I see our pro-choice visitors coming to join us, my heart starts beating a little faster and I start sweating a little!  I've never felt adequate or comfortable reaching out in conversation with them. But this time I decided to introduce myself to all of them and thank them for having the courage to come out and stand for what they believe in... rather than just driving by shouting at us or waving the one fingered peace sign. (as my dad likes to call it :-) ...Victoria always says, "I'm number one... oh yeah!!" She never ceases to lighten what could be a discouraging moment and make us laugh!! Love you sis!)  :-) It was quite fun seeing the surprise on their faces as I introduced myself! I truly am so thankful that they are courageous enough to come and open the dialogue. It must be quite intimidating to stand for something that you simply cannot defend rationally. And I'm SO thankful God has brought them out there and given my dad and others these opportunities to graciously speak with them and get to know them. A 30 day friendship won't necessarily change their minds right way or lead them to Christ, but perhaps they will look back on that time and be drawn to the love and truth communicated to them. God is planting a seed in their hearts, and we're trusting Him to water it!

I also got this SUPER DUPER sweet update from the B. family!  Love you all!
"We played a point game with the kids, every time they got a friendly wave from cars going by, they scored a point. They earned at least 36 points & a big ice-cream party at home tonight! Also we made friendly with the pro-choice women there... talked about parenting & then one of their spouses brought us coffee to share.  Trevor Smith shared his hot chocolate with the kids. :-) Saw Richie too and enjoyed talking with him! And Pastor Dean and Linda, and Linda C.!" :-) 

 Aww!! That made my day to read that and see the pictures! Love you all!

Sunday 3/19
I heard some people went out to PP in the afternoon after church!  Thank you all SO much! I really appreciate it!

That night we had our Mid-Point Rally!  It was such a blessed and encouraging time of worship, fellowship and training with so many faithful prayer warriors! God is good! 

Monday 3/20
This day is always filled with our wonderful friends from St. Mary's and St. Josephs and Human Life of LC!  Thank you all! I wasn't able to make it out there that day, although I really want to go sometime and meet you all one of these days! Cassie and Ann the leaders and primary update sharers of Mondays were both on vacation :-) I hope you two had a good time! 

Here's an update Cassie got from one of our Monday volunteers, Alice. 
"Hi Cassie, I had a fun story from my time praying in front of Planned Parenthood. I noticed a motorcycle biker stop at the auto parts store across the street- big bike, black leathers - looking over at us. After a while he started over. I thought "ok, this might be the first time I have to talk to someone" and said a prayer to the Holy Spirit. When he came close enough, he said, "I want to THANK you guys! You're doing great and my Christian motorcycle riding club will be riding around town on Sunday, with this abortion clinic as one of our stops to pray." ha ha ha - we had a great chat about Centralia and motorcycles and Christian support groups. :-)" 
Thank you all! 

Tuesday 3/21
This morning is staffed by our dear brothers from Jackson Prairie AG!  Even though they have such busy schedules to keep they still manage to fill 4 hours from 9am to 1pm. They are so inspiring to me and to the body of Christ! Thank you friends SO much! We are so grateful for your sacrifice and service for the Lord!
My sister Victoria and I showed up at around 1:00 and come to find out, our dear mother and father in love of our sister Lydia were there already! Thank you SO much Mr and Mrs Tevis; it was such a blessing to have you two out there with us!
Mr Taylor showed up in the mid-afternoon. Him and sweet Mrs. Taylor have been such an inspiration to me as they have shown up every day they can. Christ is so evident in their lives! Praise God!
My dad showed up by mid-afternoon and he immediately began praying for God to bring some people he could talk to! Daddy is SO good at kindly and graciously engaging people, and I'm SO thankful for him.  He even said he was considering going over to the college with a sign and standing outside their building. Oh my!! I told him he better not get himself killed! :-)  He just laughed. :-) 
Well God answered our prayers with a middle aged pro-choice man that stood on the opposite side of the street in front of Possibilities (thankfully they were closed by then) He had written on a neon green poster the words, "The right to CHOOSE" My dad handed his sign to me with a smile on his face saying, "I'm heading across the street." :-) 
Well turns out this man was very open to conversation, especially after my dad spent some time in small talk as well as thanking him for his courage to take a stand for what he believes in; trying to help him feel more comfortable. My dad was able to discuss the choices that we will always want and allow women to make. We are pro-choice except when it comes down to 1 choice. The choice to take the life of an innocent, distinct and complete human being.  He brought up the facts of the science of embryology - that we are who we are at conception. The man changed the subject to ask about unwanted/undesirable children, to which my dad responded with the fact that no child is unwanted and that there are thousands of couples and families waiting and wanting to adopt a baby. That issue will never be a problem. The man reverted back to "it's a woman's right to choose" Again, dad graciously went through what he shared a few minutes ago... but then backed off a little saying, "I don't want you to feel pressured or cornered here. Would you be willing to read some answers to pro-choice objections?" The man said yes and my dad was able to give him a brochure and card with pro-life videos/organizations on it. Praise the Lord for such a fruitful conversation! And let's continue to pray for this man! 

I wish I had skills like my dad, but he sure is a great example to me and to all of us, isn't he? 

 What a week it's been! So grateful for each and every one of you! Let's keep pressing forward and interceding for LIFE - at every stage and in every walk of life.  God is faithful and almighty - may He glorify Himself as He blesses his endeavors in our hands! 

"For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive. And abundant in loving-kindness to all who call upon you." (Psalm 86:5) 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Check out these videos!

Why protect a baby with Down's Syndrome? (Have a tissue ready!) 

Why babies conceived in difficult circumstances should be protected; and why we should strive to help and love their mothers. This video is long, but SO inspiring and helps answer the question of rape and incest conceived children, special needs children, concerns for mother's safety and more! 

Why we should pray for and lovingly reach out to women who work at abortion facilities; Abby Johnson's Story. (40 Days for Life had a huge role in saving and helping her when she left Planned Parenthood. If you have the 40 Days for Life book read chapter 14 Unplanned for the whole story!) 

Why we should not export abortion to Africa. 

Why Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers should not receive government funding. 
Disclaimer: This next video is hard to watch at first...but very inspiring to keep fighting for an end to abortion!  The little boy, Toby, is SO cute and a living miracle! 

Does Planned Parenthood offer prenatal care? 

Planned Parenthood's 3% abortion myth 

Ultrasounds for killing, not care, at Planned Parenthood. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

40 Days for Life - Day 15 Update

Wow!  God is continuing to do amazing things, and is answering our prayers!  He is faithful!

To start off here's an update from the 40 Days for Life HQ - since 3/1/17 they have had 98 reports of women making last-minute decisions to save their babies before their scheduled abortions!  98 precious babies will be born!   And 98 women have been spared from abortion! Praise God!

Monday 3/13
Updates from Ann and Cassie; our Monday prayer volunteer leaders!
Ann- "On Monday, it seems all went well! More pro-life people are having the courage to step out and pray outside Planned Parenthood. We had 2 pro-choice ladies join us after 2PM - 4PM. We did not communicate with them, but prayed for them. Our 4PM group had an older gentleman come and talk with them.  I'm unsure what was spoken, but will try to find out."
Cassie - "I was there only at noon to 1:00. We had about 3-4 people praying per hour. Everyone with cheerful hearts! I can tell you that a gal from the Church on Sandra Ave walked by and said her entire church is praying for us. I simply thanked her. But maybe I'l give them a call and see if they can help us fill Thursdays.
Also, my friend had a long conversation with a young man and girlfriend. He was not hostile at all but needed more info on abortifacients  We were glad that God brought Him there!"

Thank you SO much Ann, Cassie and all of your wonderful St. Mary's and St. Joseph's prayer warriors!  You all are amazing!

Tuesday 3/14 
Tues morning started out with Pastor Bill and four of his faithful Jackson Prairie AG prayer warriors from 9AM-1PM. I can't tell you how blessed and grateful I am to Pastor Bill for taking so much time out of his incredibly busy schedule to come and pray for so long.  And you know what?  Carl, one of the gentlemen, just had 5 hours of Kidney Dialysis that morning but still wanted to come!  He stood, talked and prayed with us for about 45 minutes!  I was AMAZED and blown away by these four gentlemen who stayed for such a long time! Also a sweet older lady bought us some coffee, and said she is praying for us at home, but because of her Chemo treatments she couldn't join us outside. Pastor Bill prayed for her; and I'm asking you all to keep her in your prayers too!  Thank you Pastor Bill, John, Richard, and Carl; you all are very inspiring to the body of Christ.
John, Richard and Pastor Bill. I forgot to get Carl in a photo since he came a little later. :-( 
At about 1:30 the gentlemen left and sweet Mrs. Kast showed up soon thereafter- broken toe and all!! We prayed for a while together, and then at about 2:30 the first pro-choice lady showed up. :-) (She was the first lady that came on Frid. with the sign "Pray to End Judgement") Mrs. Kast went over to talk with her for a while and the lady was more open with her then she had been with anyone else Mrs. Kast listened to her personal story and her opinions on abortion.  Mrs. Kast also was able to share her story as well as brought up some good points. At one point the pro-choice lady said something to the effect of "God can forgive women who have aborted."  Mrs. Kast responded, "Absolutely! God loves to forgive, heal and restore broken people ... and  He loves you and desires to have a close relationship with you."  (I'm not quoting verbadum...but that's a brief summary.) :-)  This seemed to surprise the lady as if it wasn't the answer she was expecting. The conversation ended well, and Mrs. Kast joined me again and we continued to pray for her!  Praise God!

Dawn and Mrs. Kast :-) 
My dad and brothers showed up at 3:00! At that point another pro-choice lady showed up with her rainbow colored umbrella and the signs "Free will" and "Look in the Mirror" (??  I wish I had asked her the meaning of the mirror sign!)
After her, another young smiley lady showed up with the sign "More Birth Control = Less Abortions"   My dad graciously, respectfully, and kindly engaged in conversation with all 3 of the ladies as much as they were willing. Surprisingly, the rainbow umbrella lady was the most willing to talk, and my dad said she was very open to hearing and discussing pro-life points. After about a 1/2 hour conversation, she stayed for a little while longer and then headed back to her car and drove off. Let's all keep her in our prayers, that God will open her eyes to the Truth and that she will come to know Him as her savior.  For privacy, I will not share her name.:-)
The rainbow and green/black umbrellas were those of our visitors. :-) 
My Dad then talked a little more with the "Pray to End Judgement" sign visitor. :-) She had written on the other side of her sign. "Jesus didn't shame women, so you shouldn't either"  My dad oppened with agreeing with her sign and then asked if she was familiar with the Bible story of the woman caught in adultery. She wasn't and seemed interested in hearing it.  Dad told the story as she listened...leading into saying that Jesus graciously forgave that woman, as He has forgiven all of us broken people, yet Jesus also told her to "go and sin no more." 
This lady in particular has been harder to speak with or get her to open up, but that's OK.  Other than hearing her side of the issue, my dad didn't engage much more with her. I noticed though, soon after they ended she flipped the sign back around. :-)  Let's pray that the kind and compassionate interactions my Dad and Mrs. Kast had with her will be the first step in reaching her for Christ. Pray that she will dwell on the truth spoken to her!

The smiley young lady with "More Birth Control = Less Abortions" was quite the hoot! :-)  She was so energetic; waving and smiling at everyone driving by. I got a kick out of her and we laughed a lot along with her! Later on, her and I were able to have a fun conversation about where we grew up, what we like to do, what we hope to do with our lives, Chinese food, telling jokes.. and whatever else that would come to mind!  She was easy to engage with, but was very pro-choice in her thinking.  My dad had a great conversation with her and brought up some good points to her.  She would turn towards the street and "smile and wave" whenever my dad made a good point that she couldn't answer. :-)  After some time of silence, she brought up that she was grateful we were "so chill"  for pro-life people as she had been spit on by pro-lifers at the march in Olympia.  I told her that while some people on both sides are dis-respectful the vast majority of pro-lifers are just like us.  It was interesting, we continued to get the usual 1 finger waves and shouted vulgarities even while the pro-choice ladies were there... and she seemed actually quite surprised to get that treatment from her own side. The people driving by didn't always realize that the 3 ladies in the middle weren't part of us. :-)

Let's keep praying for these women, that God will continue to work within them and open their eyes to the truth! What a wonderful opportunity this is to love them, get to know them, speak with them if possible and pray for them! God is answering our prayers!

Handsome Bro's!

That evening we had several more brothers and sisters join us on the sidewalk! As we all were beginning to pack-up, Mr. Taylor, myself and my brother Kyle had a divine appointment with a young teen-age couple. They were both very respectful and we were amazed at how they were so willing to listen, ask questions and talk.  Mr. Taylor did an EXCELLENT job presenting the truth of scripture and Jesus' love and redemption to them in a very gracious and loving way. Thank you Mr. Taylor! What a blessing it was to have you there with us just then, and I know God set-up that appt. in His timing and sovereignty! Pray for them that they will seek to learn more about Jesus, and make responsible and mature choices!

Wow, it's been so amazing watching God work in and through you all as He answers our prayers! To God be the glory, great things He has done! 

"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son. In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins."
(Collossians 1:13-14) NASB

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Pictures from week 2!

Just a sampling of the awesome peoples that have come out for 40 Days for Life! 

There are still SO many I haven't had the chance to photograph. Please feel free to take pictures while you're out there and send them to me!  I would LOVE to have pictures of you all! 

J.'s world is a very happy place! Thanks for brightening up the day J! You're awesome! 

Some friends from Ultimate Frisbee! 

Most of the beautiful L. Family! Love you all! 

Thank you sweet S. family! 

Sweet sisters!  

Of one of the dear sweet believers that comes almost every day during lunch.  I've had the pleasure of meeting Mr. and Mrs. T and they are such a blessing!
God brought these two happy people on Saturday. Dr. M. and his sweet daughter made my day...even bringing me a free Chinese food dinner! God is good! 
This picture was from Friday 3/3 but I wanted to post it since I haven't yet.  A great turnout...even in the downpour! 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Be prepared to give an answer!

"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. Yet, do this with gentleness and respect.."
(1 Peter 3:15)

After the interactions we were blessed to have yesterday I want to share some resources/websites for you all to look at and become familiar with.  I don't know all the answers, but I can point you to smarter, educated people who can help!

Please check out Live Action: http://liveaction.org/
They have done MANY investigations exposing Planned Parenthood.

The Guttmacher Institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/
A credible sight for abortion stats, articles and studies.  The neat thing is they aren't necessarily pro-life, their research is dedicated to giving credible data on everything regarding reproductive health.

Debunking Pre-Natal Care Claims: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekgiScr364Y
De-Bunking the 3% Abortion Myth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtgqxvaV-8U

Abortion Procedures - What you Need to Know: http://www.abortionprocedures.com/induction/
NOT for the faint of heart, but it's good to know the evil and the risks of abortion.

Great Books:
The Case for Life (Scott Klusendorf) Equpping Christians to Engage the Culture
UnPlanned (Abby Johnson) An Abortion Clinic Director's Conversion

Hopefully those will help get you started!  I'm going to write up another card/hand-out to give to people who ask for resources/websites etc.

Thank you all!

God is Sovereign!

Thursday, March 9th
Although I didn't go out that day, I heard it was a very great day with a pretty good turnout of people!  Thursdays have always been our lighter days for volunteers, but this time we managed to have a few people out every hour, so praise God!  Valerie and Victoria met an amazing sweet couple from the Valley of Blessing Church.  I hadn't even thought of reaching out to that church, but they had seen the newspaper article and decided to come on the very day we needed more people.  They were such a blessing to my sisters and they came home beaming and telling of the conversations they had with them! God is good! 
Friday, March 10th

God works in mysterious ways! Today was the warmest and sunniest day.... but it was also the most challenging and dramatic of all the days so far.  The whole day was filled with lots of people from Shoestring VC Church, Love inc, and Mt. View Baptist, and some Ultimate Frisbee group friends. Such a blessing! Thank you all!! 

At about 2:30ish we had some unexpected visitors join us on the street. Two pro-choice ladies came out to exercise their 1st amendment right - standing along with us.  :-)  Valerie saw the first lady across the street writing on some canvas with a marker, and sure enough she walked over to stand among us with her own signs.("Pray to end Judgement" and "My Body, My Choice")  About 20ish minutes later another younger lady joined her and held one of them. As they stood there on the street corner for the next 3 1/2 hours I admit, at first I was disappointed and discouraged, thinking that this was quite unfortunate!  But, then after I talked with dad he pointed out that we don't always know God's ways - perhaps this is God answering our prayers that hearts and minds will be changed.  Even though it did disrupt the peacefulness of our vigil and bring a LOT more drama and reactions from folks in our community, it still brought a lot more awareness to the issue and brought people out of the woodwork that we were able to speak with!  These ladies are not our enemies.... they are captives of the enemy. They've bought the lies and need the truth and hope of Christ that sets captives free.  Perhaps our short, peaceful and kind interactions with them coupled with the power of prayer will make a difference in their lives!  I wouldn't be surprised if we start having more of a push-back from the other side now.... but praise the Lord!  That's what we're out there for - to spread truth with gentleness and respect.  Whether we speak or not our kind, peaceful and compassionate witness out there speaks volumes. 

Pastor Dean was able to engage in conversation with a young pro-choice mom that came to encourage the other ladies. It was PERFECT timing when he showed up just then!  He had a great, non-confrontational, and rational discussion with her - speaking the truth to her in a very kind, gentle and thought-provoking way. By the end of the conversation she said she would look into Live Action and do some study, and both of them shook hands and thanked each other for the civil conversation! Praise God for that opportunity, and let's be praying for her that she will dwell on the truth that she heard that day and that she will look into the Truth. 

I was also able to engage in conversation with a young man that was on-the-fence and unwilling to take a side. At first he tried to engage with one of the pro-choice ladies to hear her side.  She was unwilling to speak with him, so I then engaged. Oh boy!  I'm not very good at this, but I shared my testimony and the case for life.  Did the best I could to answer his questions.. and then encouraged him to get off the fence and take a side.  Who knows if it made an impact on him, but we can certainly pray God will bug Him about it!

We had two other middle-aged men that came to ask what was going on.  The one man said he was a Christian and said he felt led to go and speak with the ladies. Well, it's his right to do it, so I didn't stop him. :-)  It didn't last long though. :-) 

The other man drove into the PP lot - he was in a company car and was doing some paperwork. He yelled across the lot "Did you guys vote for Trump or Hillary?"  I responded, "Well, that's not the issue... the issue is life.  We're out here to peacefully pray for all those affected by abortion and pray that it would end."  He said he agreed with us and that He was also a believer... but that he thought women should have choices.  As kindly as I could, I asked, "Well, what about the baby's choice? What about the baby's voice that may never even be heard?"  That seemed to make an impact on him, as he thought a second.  He then nodded and said he agreed as he walked back to his car.  It was funny, as He drove away he held up his Bible that he had in His car mouthing "see.... I have one, I have one"  That made me chuckle a little! It truly takes courage to publicly take a stand for your faith and beliefs. :) Thank you all!  I know some of you just can't make it out here as much as you would like to.  Thank you for your prayers for us behind-the-scenes! 

Another really neat thing that happened...Richie said just 15 minutes before we left at 6:00pm a mom parked at the vacuum store, got her young children out of the car and walked over with her "little ducklings" following behind.  She asked to pray with Richie and the kids. "Of Course!"  She prayed for a few minutes, thanked Richie and then loaded her kids back up and drove off. Later as Richie was recounting the story to me, he said something like "even if we don't impact any other people by being out there at last we're impacting children. This is such a great opportunity to reach the next generation!" 

Stand strong my fellow soldiers! We may see more of a push-back now. From what I could gather from the first pro- choice lady that came, she said she was from the college and a leader on the women's gender and social studies. I wouldn't be surprised if more ladies came out from her classes/circles.  But, ya' know?  If she comes out and dwells in the presence of God as HE is with us on that street corner... it can't help but change her.  She and her students/friends can't help but know that we are different. They'll see kind and compassionate people that are not judging people... but judging ideas;  The idea that every human being has value and worth no matter what the circumstance.  They can't help but see that we care about them.  Let's keep doing what we've been doing for the past 10 days - peacefully praying and being a witness to the truth, mercy and hope found in Jesus Christ!  We know our almighty and sovereign God has a plan in this, and I pray He will continue to use us for His glory and that hearts and minds will be changed! 

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it" (John 1:5)