Be encouraged by Steve Karlen, our North American outreach director!
Here’s Steve’s account of a couple of recent stops (and one close call) in Michigan and Illinois.
The weather was quite cold and there were still mountains of snow in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
I attended a great event in Marquette hosted by Water’s Edge Church, with pastors from three different churches speaking and leading prayer.
The leadership team took a leap of faith in bringing 40 Days for Life to Marquette for the first time, but volunteers have seen many blessings – filling vigil hours … and reaching out to people seeking healing from past abortions.
Planned Parenthood started doing chemical abortions here recently. But there's a strong Christian presence nearby. Care Clinic, a pro-life pregnancy center, is next door. Water’s Edge Church is right behind Planned Parenthood, and St. Michael Catholic Church is right across the street from Water’s Edge.
Care Clinic’s director said they were able to provide ultrasounds for women who were abortion-minded, and that the prayers of the 40 Days for Life vigil participants were definitely needed.
As I left Marquette, I made the mistake of not stopping for gasoline. A couple hours and no gas stations later, I had to call my wife. I was running on empty and the temperature was inching towards zero … and eventually dropped below. Fortunately, she got on the phone and found an open station for me before I got stranded!
Wood Dale, Illinois
This 40 Days for Life vigil is in a high-visibility location for people driving by. And people riding the commuter train across street certainly see this prayerful witness every day on their way to and from their jobs.
A typical abortion day at this facility once included seven abortions, but the volunteers told me that in recent days that number has dropped to three. Or two. Or even just one.
“We have encountered people on the street who do not know that abortions are performed at the Advantage Healthcare Clinic,” said Sandy, the local coordinator. “We also had one gentleman congratulate us on the fine job we are doing to educate the public. It was a good day!”
Thanks again to Steve Karlen for today’s update.
Day 28 intention
Pray that those standing in peaceful vigil will extend mercy and grace to others as they remember that Christ did not treat us as our sins deserve.
"You have heard it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
— Matthew 5:43-44
Reflection by Carmen Pate
Perhaps it is obvious by now that not everyone thinks this campaign is a great idea! In fact, those on the front lines standing in peaceful vigil are perhaps being cursed and hated for what God has called you to do.
Because we are all fallen creatures, our natural response may not be as Christ-like as we would hope it would be.
So, how do we keep our natural response in check, while allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us to love, bless, do good, and pray for those who hate us or would do us harm?
Consider first the Holiness of God.
It seems that sin has clouded our ability to think clearly about God's nature. We simply don't have a clue of how outraged God is by our sin, what an insult sin is to His person, or how sin fires the flames of His wrath.
Praise God that He didn't leave us in our depravity destined for His divine wrath!
Ephesians 2:4-5 says, "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, made us alive together with Christ; by grace you have been saved."
Because of God's mercy and grace towards us, we who receive Him receive eternal Hope.
Those who curse you, hate you, spitefully mistreat you and persecute you need that same Hope.
That is the only way we can ever expect them to behave differently.
Ask the Holy Spirit to love them — through you — so they are drawn to the Hope that is in you, that is Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, may we reflect your character of grace and kindness to those who hate us and curse us.
Guard our hearts and our tongues as we respond in love to words and actions meant to rile us or cause us harm.
Let others see the Hope that is Christ in all we say and do. In His precious name we pray, Amen.
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40 Days for Life
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