Day 6 of 40 Days for Life is just beginning. Because it is a new week, I thought it might be worthwhile to reflect on a few of the things that have inspired and encouraged me so far. I am sure that others have incredible stories to tell too (please let me know, I would love to share them). Maybe my experiences will inspire and give hope to you too.
1. A woman turned away! On our very first morning outside AMAC, our vigiler’s noticed that a woman went to open the door of AMAC (it is the only door in and out), she hesitated and turned away. After waiting for some time, looking distressed, the woman walked away from this place of death. No one has seen her return. We continue to keep her very close to our hearts as we pray for her and the situation she is experiencing right now.
2. Mark, the co-ordinator of 40 Days for Life in New Zealand, spoke to the abortionist. On the very first day, a man (whom we believe to be the abortionist) walked out of AMAC and approached Mark. He said that we “embarrass” the girls, he also attacked the faith of those gathered. While this may seem like a negative, it is unusual for anyone to come out across the road and engage with people standing outside of AMAC. It shows our presence has an impact on the staff.
3. Committment. So many wonderful people have taken time out of their very busy days to stand at this place of death and pray for the unborn, their mothers and fathers, the staff, and for an end to abortion in New Zealand. A number of people have stood literally for four, five or more hours a day, every day since Wednesday. Others, like Peter, have had to navigate the buses to get there. Still others arrive for an hour, but linger on… Thank you.
4. Random acts of kindness. It can be a little disconcerting standing outside the clinic. Abortion after all is one of those silent issues that you don’t speak about, who knows what people will say or do. While there’s been the odd angry person walk or drive past, and people do like to express their opinion (often in foul language), in my experience the good far outweighs the bad. Here’s a few examples:
- a woman stopped to say how she walks past often and admires those that stand here and asked us to please keep it up (we have a group that keeps a weekly Wednesday morning vigil throughout the year too);
- another woman had just been to the supermarket and had a big bunch of fresh grapes, she walked past, saw the signs, stopped and gave us the grapes – it was her way of supporting us;
- a security guy approached me while I was standing alone with the signs wondering what I was doing – it turns out that 13 years ago, he and his now wife almost aborted their daughter. “We were young he said, we didn’t know what to do”. But they didn’t have her aborted. They gave life to their baby and now she is a pre-teen with two siblings. “Keep it up” he said as he went on his way;
- a Christian man stopped (while I was alone) to talk about how his wife had had an abortion before they were married. I could see how deeply this had affected their lives, the love he had for his wife and his sorrow at the pain she suffered. “We were young” he said, “we didn’t know, but we do now”. He prayed for me. I appreciated his story, his honesty. I can’t help but wonder, if there had been people standing witnessing when his wife went for her abortion, would they have gone through with it?
5. Universal Prayer. It has been incredible knowing that this isn’t just a small group of people in Auckland making an effort for Lent. 40 Days for Life is universal. There is another vigil outside Wellington Hospital, where I know they are experiencing all sorts of blessings and graces. There are thousands of people praying throughout New Zealand for the end of abortion. These prayers support those who vigil outside the places of death. They are very necessary. But what I find truly amazing is that there are thousands of people storming heaven, asking for God’s mercy and being a sign of hope in 253 locations in 12 countries. So far 38 babies and their mums have been saved from abortion because people have been there at that greatest hour of need. This is a time of great grace.
6. God’s Grace. This was never supposed to be about me. But standing the few hours I have managed outside AMAC has been filled with unexpected grace for me. I can feel God working in my heart, changing me, molding me, making me more like Him. I am more patient at home with my children. I am acutely aware of my own sins and failings. I want to reach out and love each person who walks past as I see their pain, their anger, their loneliness and their indifference. Standing at this calgary, the enormity of the passion of Jesus Christ, is becoming so real, so tangible in a way I have never experienced before.
I wonder what God has in store for this week?