A View from the Sidewalks

A group of sidewalk counselors that peacefully witness for life outside of abortion mills update this blog periodically to give like-minded believers specific prayer needs and encouraging stories of God's goodness.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

To our newest bloggers: Welcome!

I am pleased to announce that our sidewalk counseling family has grown!

We now have sidewalk counselors from:

Sacremento, California
St. Paul, Minnesota
Greenville, South Carolina
Dallas, Texas
The San Francisco Bay Area, California
Washington, DC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

We look forward to gaining prospective from sidewalk counselors in even more parts of the country and abroad. If you'd like to join us in sharing your stories outside of abortion mills, please email abbywomenscenter@gmail.com.

God Bless You,

Dallas, TX

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sidewalk Counseling

by Fredi

Lives and souls continue to be saved in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On this particular day in Oakland at least one child was allowed to live, at least one mom was spared from making a tragic mistake and suffering the many consequences - physical, emotional and spiritual, and one woman began the healing process just one year after aborting her child rather than what could have been decades later. All, thanks be to God.

A mom to whom I had given literature upon her arrival and came out of the abortion mill shortly after, said "You are so right" and that she couldn't go through with the abortion.

Shortly after, the Holy Spirit and I reached out to a young woman who had come there to find out if she was pregnant. I explained to her why I was there and what was contained in the literature that I had given her. I recommended that she have her pregnancy test done at First Resort (pregnancy consulting services) and offered to drive her there and take her home afterward. She accepted my offer, but it was only 9:00 and First Resort wouldn't be open until 10:00. I was concerned that I might lose her, especially since she had come by bus and it was raining steadily. Because I was alone on that morning, leaving with her at that time would have meant abandoning the other moms who would be arriving shortly. It had been a typically busy morning already. I pointed out to her that the Amtrak station was just up the block. I asked her to go there where she could sit comfortably and read through the literature that I had given her while I remained outside the mill for another 45 minutes to help other women just like her. She agreed and at 9:45, as I started to make my way to the train station, I was relieved to see her returning to meet me.

As we chatted for a couple of blocks during our walk to my car, she confided that she had aborted a child one year earlier at this same killing center. She had read through the literature while at the train station and learned the facts about abortion. No, it's not just a "blob of tissue" and yes, there are side effects and risks and other consequences. She said that previously she did not have a clue. Now, knowing the facts, she was regretting that abortion.

She was sad and upset that none of the staff had informed her of the facts at that time even in the least way. That came as no surprise to me. California doesn't have an informed consent law and these baby killers aren't the least bit so-called pro-choice. There is only one "choice" that is able to satiate their hunger for money.

I consoled her as best I could in both practical and spiritual terms and told her that the staff at First Resort would be able to counsel her further and that I would also put her in contact with a minister, which I did as soon as I arrived home.

While we were driving to First Resort she received a phone call during which she found out that she had been granted a four-year scholarship to NYU. I tried to assure her that if she were pregnant, God would provide just as He had with her scholarship.

Her pregnancy test turned out negative, but I am certain that she would not have aborted her child had she been pregnant.

I asked her if anyone was there last year reaching out to her as I had done today. No one was. Perhaps she had gone on a day or time of day that no member of our tiny team of sidewalk counselors was able to be there.

Judging from her receptiveness on this day, I have no reason to believe that she wouldn't have been as receptive last year had someone been there for her and her child. Her child would be alive today and she would not be wounded.

This disturbs me very much and I hope that it disturbs you as well because your help is desperately needed!

If you have any spare time or are able to reprioritize your commitments, I implore you to be concerned enough about these poor victims – mothers and children – to make yourself available to them. We have both a civic and Christian responsibility to come to their aid. Considering all of the ways in which God is being offended in our time, can there be any doubt that we are living in a time of Divine Mercy? By participating in sidewalk counseling you can be an instrument of God’s love, mercy and peace.

There are many killing centers in the Bay Area (or wherever you live in the world). There is at least one near you.

With regard to the killing centers in San Francisco, I understand why some individuals may be intimidated by the buffer zone ordinance initiated by the city’s Board of Supervisors in August of 2003. Promoters, supporters and defenders of this despicable ordinance have judged all of the mothers who will arrive at abortion mills as having cast their decisions to kill their own babies in hearts of stone. They care nothing about these women and their babies. They care nothing about a woman's right to know all of the facts and her right to change her mind and they care nothing about an unborn child's right to be born.

Despite this unjust ordinance, it is perfectly legal to sidewalk counsel in the city. The ordinance is simply stated and if properly understood, can be used to defend your rights to free speech while you legally and safely exercise them in complete adherence of the unjustly imposed restrictions. Do not allow it to prevent you from doing so. Be not afraid.

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right."
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Further Reading:

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Holy Saturday Miracles in Dallas

“Pray for the girl in the truck. She’s reading the literature I gave her.” I motioned towards the truck as I spoke to Joe, Holly and Oscar, and the Christians formed a circle and began to pray. I held back– hoping that mother and daughter, talking and reading the literature and looking at the photos of pre-born babies, would choose life. I didn’t want them to feel pressured, but I was torn – should I say something? I knew that the Holy Spirit could speak to them more powerfully than I. Yet, when the doors of the vehicle opened, I knew that it was time for me to act. “Are y’all Christians?” I asked. I had seen their bumper sticker, “God Bless America” and hoped to engage them in conversation. Mother and daughter both assured me that they were Christians. “Well, then you know abortion is wrong, don’t you?” Mother took charge of the conversation, admitting that she knew abortion wasn’t a good choice, but assuring me that I did not understand their situation. “You know - you’re right. I have no idea what your situation is. But I know this – God works in the midst of life’s most difficult circumstances. It’s in those tough times that the Lord makes us stronger and blesses us and shapes our character.” Mother went on to explain how her daughter already had two babies and that she herself suffered from nearly unbearable physical problems. “Anyway” she said, “It’s not a baby.” It might surprise the reader to know, that in all my years of pro-life work and sidewalk-counseling, I have almost never heard an abortion-bound person claim that the life about to be extinguished was not a baby. “Not a baby?” I looked over at the young mother and asked her gently, “How far along are you? Do you know?” She had such a sweet face – the tender face of a child and a mother. She told me of her pregnancy and we talked about her baby. I called her baby “she” and spoke of her already-beating heart and of the fact that her little fingers and toes were already forming. Mother interrupted. “Well, it’s not a baby yet,” she exclaimed. “Not a baby yet? What about Psalm 139 where God proclaims that He knitted us together in our mother’s womb? What about John the Baptist, leaping for joy in his mother’s womb in the presence of Jesus, himself pre-born, alive in the womb of Mary?” Mother had no answer. She looked at me and smiled. “You must be an angel,” she said, as a tear welled in her eye. “My name is Michael.” Mother began to crumble. She told me how hard her life was and that I did not understand. We hugged, and I assured her that she was not alone. Her daughter seemed to gain strength, even as she spoke in a near whimper. “Mommy, I don’t want to do this. Let’s leave here.” The struggle had not ended. Mother said, “No. We’ve got to at least go inside and talk to the people.” She reached for her daughter’s hand. Her daughter resisted and replied ever more forcefully, “No – let’s go to this other place (The White Rose Center; staffed by Christians.) I want to see my baby on the ultra-sound.” Mother scowled, “I am mad at you Michael” even as she made her way back to the driver’s side of the vehicle. I motioned to Joe. “Joe, go ahead and get in your car. Get ready to lead them to the White Rose.” Before departing, this sweet mother hugged me – her embrace was one of thankfulness and joy. She had chosen life because Christians prayed and acted in loving obedience to God. And she was not the only one who had chosen life on Holy Saturday, 2006, at the Fairmount Center in Dallas. There was yet another. I cried that day.

Rockwall, Texas

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Free Sidewalk Counseling Newsletter

I am the Education and Counseling Director for Pro-Life Action Ministries in St. Paul, Minn. We are developing an international network of active sidewalk counselors and would love for you to join us! I have been sidewalk counseling for about 25 years and I edit a little newsletter called "Sidewalk Counseling News" which is meant to encourage, inspire and educate those who go out to the abortion centers to save lives. (We all know how difficult this ministry can be sometimes!) It is published three times a year and contains sidewalk counseling tips, etc. We also welcome submissions for possible publication from sidewalk counselors all over the world! If you are interested in receiving and/or contributing an article to this free newsletter, please contact me at: debra.braun@plam.org Please include the name of the abortion center where you sidewalk counsel and/or pray and the name of the city in which it is located.

May God bless your very important work on the sidewalks!

St. Paul, Minnesota