Sunday, October 4, 2015

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 12: On the road ... and in the air

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
The first nationally-coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign in 2007 had 89 US cities. For the first few campaigns, we tried to visit every location – and we came close a few times!

With 40 Days for Life vigils having been done in 579 cities in 30 countries ... that has meant a whole lot of travel! Right now there are 307 cities participating in the current campaign – and our team had a busy week, covering a lot of ground.

We start today with a report from Robert Colquhoun, our international outreach director, who’s just back from Africa, where he met the people behind the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaigns in Cameroon.  


Although abortion remains illegal in Cameroon, there are 40 Days for Life campaigns currently in progress in two cities, as the coordinators wished to encourage a strong public pro-life witness. It is a highly traditional country – poverty, corruption and national security are all pressing issues.

There are outside influences who would love to bring more abortion to Cameroon, but thus far, there has been little if any success.

We had a very high-quality pro-life conference with 130 people attending, including doctors, parishioners, young people and other professionals. It was quite unprecedented for such a country and Felix, one of our local coordinators, did a great job in organising it. He was interviewed by national media.

Felix also served as sponsor of the conference, which was held at the Catholic university, and has also founded a non-profit organization.

I travelled to Mbonge town, out in the rural area – no internet and dirt roads. I saw the real perspective of how many people live in rural poverty. Thankfully, there was no sign of any abortions happening in such rural areas. Even the international pro-abortion organisations must really struggle getting their message heard here!

The majority here is pro-life, but that viewpoint has little representation or voice. In that respect, both 40 Days for Life campaigns are taking small baby steps in terms of what can be done here.

Thanks to Robert Colquhoun for that update from Cameroon!

Louisville, Kentucky

I had the joy of speaking at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Louisville for the first time. Laura is leading a 24-hour-a-day campaign there with her husband Adam.

She says the family – they have seven kids – moved so many times during Adam’s military career that he can’t complain about all the energy she puts into 40 Days for Life!

I also met with the leader of the local post abortive healing ministry and a pastor who comes out regularly to pray from 1 to 3 am!

Laura sent a thank-you note after the event. “Everyone said our 40 Days for Life kickoff was awesome!" she said. "It helped the crowd realize they can do more.”

She also shared the good news that two women had chosen life for their babies.

“One mom came with a man who tried talking her out of the abortion,” she said. “She has four kids and didn't think she could handle another child since she was in her 40s.”

But this woman went to the pregnancy help center ... right next door to the abortion facility ... and made an appointment for an ultrasound.

It was an ultrasound image that made all the difference in the world to the second mom who rejected abortion. “It changed her heart,” Laura said. “She started crying and wanted to leave ... and confirmed that she would give her baby life.”

Here's today's devotional from Kevin Burke, executive director of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.
Day 12 intention

May the King of the Universe, who entered this world as a helpless infant, give us the humility to be healed.

My power is made perfect in weakness.

—2 Corinthians 12:9
Reflection from Kevin Burke

The great mystery of the Humility of God is very near and dear to the mission of those serving in pro life and in a special way, post abortion ministries across this nation.

For those wounded by their participation in abortion, the door to healing often feels like crossing an abyss of great fear: fear of judgment, fear of being torn apart by the pain, by self hatred and rage at those who hurt and abandoned you, and manipulated you in your time of temptation.

For men in particular, entering the unknown waters of emotional vulnerability, so necessary to healing calls for a different kind of courage that feels deceptively like weakness.

The door to healing is humility. It is born in the inability to no longer control the pain, to live with the consequences of that tragic decision to reject life. The hearts cries out, "I have committed a grave offense against my Creator and I am consumed by regret, grief and sorrow!"

During these forty days let us pray for all who have participated in abortion and with love call them to healing and reconciliation. With healing these women and men can become as John Paul II proclaimed in the Gospel of Life, "the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life."

Jesus proclaimed, "I am the Vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5). To bear the greatest fruit, the branches must be pruned. Each level of pruning of the vine requires a deeper level of humility so that we can abandon ourselves to His will.

This is not a lofty theological concept as much as it is an earthy experience of pulling weeds, tilling rocky soil, pruning and healing the vines. "If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps" (Matthew 16:24).

Lord, during these forty days, we ask that with each day of this sacred vigil, everything in us that separates us from your perfect will would be pruned from our hearts and souls.

In this blessed freedom may we experience a powerful anointing of your Holy Spirit. Filled with confidence and trust may we proclaim with the mother of Jesus, "Let it be done to me, according to your Word."
Printable devotional

To download today's devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends: 
For Life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life