Often the impact of standing in prayer and witness outside an abortion facility goes unnoticed by those who make sacrifices to be there.
At times, prayer volunteers may wonder how, or even if, they can save lives.
Yet prayer and witness outside abortion facilities has a profound impact on abortion-minded mothers, fathers, abortion workers, and even those who are passing by.
Here are some stories to encourage and inspire you in this great work which consoles the Sacred Heart of Jesus and does indeed change hearts and save lives!
An encouraging example of how a peaceful, prayerful presence saves lives can be found in the young woman who approached Auckland vigil participants near the middle of the 40 Days for Life vigil in 2018.
She approached a selfless prayer volunteer and told him that in the previous year she had an appointment at the Auckland Medical Aid Centre (AMAC). However, when she arrived, people were standing on the pavement just as he was, and she lingered near them, listening to the prayers and speaking to prayer volunteers only briefly, never letting on that she had an abortion appointment.
“I went home that day without keeping my appointment,” she explained. “My son is now three months old. Thank you.”
Angry woman apologises
The first 40 Days for Life vigils in New Zealand took place in 2014. That year, (and the following year), Mark Mitchelson co-ordinated the Auckland vigil. Each day, he spent many, many hours at the vigil site, often receiving abuse from a few vocal members of the community as he fervently prayed.
A year later, Mark was back out on the street opposite the misleadingly named Auckland Medical Aid Centre (AMAC). He was approached by a young woman who apologised profusely to him.
“Last year,” she said, “I was so angry with you standing out here. I am a Christian. I have realised that I need healing and forgiveness.”
The woman spent many months reflecting on her own abortion experiences, and sought forgiveness and healing from God. Although seeing prayer volunteers outside the abortion place initially caused her great pain, the experience enabled her to face that pain, and begin the path to healing.
It’s a place of despair
At the beginning of 2020 outside Wellington Regional Hospital, prayer volunteers were approached by a woman who asked if anyone had been inside.
She explained that near the end of 2019, she had gone in when she accompanied a family member to her abortion.
The only words the woman could find to describe the abortion place was “a place of utter despair.” She kept insisting that “all you feel in there is nothing but despair.”
Desperate to bring hope, she told her relation that she did not need to do it, but the staff repeatedly advised her “it was best in her situation.”
The woman continued, “I can not tell you all that I saw, it was just too horrible. I will never forget it; I regret ever having gone in. Utter despair and hopelessness that is all there is up in there.”
Couple didn’t return for scheduled abortion
In 2018, prayer volunteers were encouraged with the news that a husband and wife, who had attended an appointment at the Auckland Medical Aid Centre (AMAC), had chosen life.
The couple were told by AMAC staff to return in the early afternoon to begin the abortion process, so they went home to wait.
Still undecided, the husband returned to the vigil site and took down the number on the sign offering help, then returned home to his wife. From there, multiple texts were exchanged with a pregnancy advocate at FLI. The couple explained their situation and asked what kind of assistance could be given.
Finally, the decision was made that they would not go through with the abortion! The team at Family Life International were at their home that afternoon to assist with housework, and continued to support them through the pregnancy.
Grateful 14 years later
A few years ago, FLI’s Founder, Colleen Bayer, was standing outside AMAC praying, when she was approached by a woman. The woman said hello and started to say Colleen’s name.
Colleen looked up and the lady began expressing her gratitude. “Thank you Colleen. My son Harry is 14-years-old now and he is amazing and has grown up very well. He has a younger brother and we are all very happy.”
More than fourteen years earlier, Colleen had been standing outside the very same abortion facility, praying and offering alternatives to the mothers seeking an abortion. It was there that she met Yuki, the woman who recognised her on this day. Yuki had been there for an abortion. A procedure that would have taken the life of her son, had it not been for Colleen who promised to support her throughout her pregnancy and for as long as needed after baby was born.
This is precisely what Colleen, and the team at FLI did. They gave Yuki hope in her greatest hour of need, causing her to still be grateful more than fourteen years later.