Friday, October 27, 2017

A Couple Different Then Before

On the day their parish had adopted for 40 Days for Life, the ladies gathered at the corner to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Spanish.  They watched and prayed while sidewalk counselor called to a client.  Prayer support makes such a difference!  The clients see people making the effort to leave their jobs or homes to come stand on the sidewalk, praying for them and their babies.
Cate* is forty years old, and she and her husband, George*, have four other children.  George had brought her to the abortion facility, but he wouldn’t come over to the counselors.  As sidewalk counselors, we aren’t supposed to interrupt each other, but when the Holy Spirit takes over, you do what He says.  And when you’ve worked together for a while, you sense when your partner needs to share information and when you should speak. 
The two counselors began talking with Cate.  In a few minutes, she fell sobbing into the arms of the counselors and agreed to go to the pregnancy resource center.  When they passed by the women praying on the corner, Cate hugged all of them, too.  And most of them went with her, praying all the way!  George followed behind, and one of the prayer volunteers walked with him.
George wasn’t very happy with his wife.  He said she was the one who wanted to come to the abortion facility – all he wanted to do was support her decision.  At the pregnancy resource center, tensions continued to rise between the two of them.  Couples arguing in such a stressful situation can be dangerous for the baby, so the sonographer stepped in to say it was time they saw their child, and took them back to the exam room.  After the sonogram, one of the counselors took the couple to the chapel to pray together.  That sealed the deal.
It’s a great gift to see a couple after they’ve decided to keep their baby.  This couple came back to see the counselors, bringing their sonogram pictures.  On one was written “Hola, Mami!”  Cate pointed out one picture where the baby looked like he was sucking his thumb. 
One of the counselors said later that it was as though they were completely different people.  This couple was happy, smiling and at peace.  They even showed off the new box of diapers and other gifts they’d gotten from the pregnancy center!  Their baby is 10 weeks and three days old.  Thank God there were people who cared enough to pray for him and his parents. 
Your prayer can make a difference.  We know because we have seen it.  Won’t you please prayfully consider what one hour out of your day could do for a family?

*Names changed to protect privacy

By: Susan Platt, Dallas Campaign Director

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Sidewalk Doesn't Get Any Softer

People ask me, “When is the best time to come pray?” I guess they are asking when is their prayer the most effective. Maybe during the cool of the morning, when the workers are going in. They’ve spent time away - at home with their families, trying to convince themselves what they’re doing is okay, or even good. They’ve done what they can to forget what they saw the day before. In their short walk from the parking lot to the office, we have the chance to witness that, no matter what they’ve done, we love them too.

Or perhaps the best time is a bit later in the day, when clients begin to arrive. The women who’ve asked God for a sign that they shouldn’t go through with their scheduled abortion drive past us, sometimes parking and joyfully coming over to tell us that their prayers have been answered - just by our being there. Others hide their faces from us, ashamed at what they are about to do. Having us see them makes their consciences burn - enough, we hope, to drive them away.

The weather can change, but the sidewalk doesn’t get any softer. Volunteers who kneel on the sidewalk to pray always astound me. How can the sight of their sacrifice not affect the workers and the clients, no matter the time of day?

Late afternoon is the saddest time for me. The rides come, grim-faced fathers who’ve failed at the most basic responsibility a man has – protecting their own children. They load up their wives or girlfriends into the car, often in the backseat so the women can have more room. One counselor used to describe them as looking “shredded.” And that’s pretty accurate. Dazed, in pain, stunned with regret and loss – the sight of their faces can bring me to tears. I hate being outside the abortion center then. Which must mean it’s the time when my prayers are most needed.

For others, the best time to pray is whenever God calls you to be there for His children.

By: Susan Platt, Dallas Campaign Director

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Someone (else) Will Help

Kaye said she had missed her first scheduled hour at the vigil.  Her little baby girl was asleep in the backseat of the car, so Kaye had prayed from there.  We assured her that it still counted.  40 Days for Life even recommends praying from your car if you are the only one at the vigil.  Today she brought her 9-year-old son with her to pray.
As she signed in, a car drove up and the man driving called out to the counselor.  He wanted to know what we were doing.  She asked him to park his car and come back to talk to her.  And he did.  That always makes you feel anxious because you might lose the person, but you have to do it to make sure they are safely out of traffic.
The man, Case, had one of his children with him.  Case and his wife have three children, with the youngest only six months old.  His wife thought she was only a month pregnant.  She could have an abortion since it wasn’t really a baby yet, was it?  The counselor gave him information and explained the damage that abortion could do to both them and their family. 
Case looked thoughtful but didn’t say much before he left.  The counselors continued to minister as Kaye and her son prayed.  Their hour was almost up when Case came back to speak with the counselors.  His wife’s tests showed that the baby was two months along, not one.  And he had been able to share with her what he had learned from the counselor.  He wanted to tell the counselors that he and his wife were keeping their baby.
You always feel a thrill when you hear those words.  God’s most precious gift has been affirmed.  Kaye and her son had witnessed to life, making the effort to join in the vigil with fellow Christians and God blessed them by showing His love for this baby and his family.
God doesn’t always reveal lives saved to us.  But if we say yes to what He calls us to do, we show Him and others our love.  We can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. 

We have hours that still need prayer.  Could you come pray during your lunch hour?  After you drop kids off at school?  Before you pick up grandkids?  On your way home from work?  Just an hour of your time could help prevent a life lost, a life filled with regret.  We are the ones being asked.  Let us not say, “Someone (else) will help.”

By: Susan Platt, Dallas Campaign Director

Friday, September 29, 2017

First Day, First Save ... Five Years Ago

On the first day of the vigil, a woman came over to talk to the prayer volunteers. She wanted to thank them for being there today ... and for being there five years ago. When she found out she was pregnant, she and her husband decided that they couldn't afford a child. So they made an appointment for an abortion. They noticed the people on the sidewalk as they drove in to the abortion facility parking lot. Walking to the front door, they'd even stopped to take literature from a sidewalk counselor, but they went inside to keep the appointment.

While she and her husband sat in the waiting room, God heard our prayers and worked on their hearts. They listened to Him and decided to leave. This woman shared that choosing life for their son was the best decision they ever made. He has become their little prayer warrior -- always praying for other people, especially for the sick, and God answers his prayers. We look forward to the blessings the Lord will bestow on the vigil through the petitions of this beautiful family.

It's only the beginning, and our vigil has already seen incredible blessings. Please join the vigil, and find out what God has in store for the next 37 days!

By: Susan Platt, Dallas Campaign Director

Sunday, November 6, 2016

There is always a darkness around Planned Parenthood

This was our church’s adopted day at the 40 Days for Life-Dallas prayer vigil.  We started the day at 6 am with seven prayer volunteers, several from the Knights of Columbus.  The area is well-lit, but there is always a darkness around Planned Parenthood.  One volunteer told me he could feel the evil.  But where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.  We began our task of covering this place of death with prayer, imploring the Blessed Mother to intercede for all her children.
Around 7:15 am, the security guard for Planned Parenthood showed up.  The abortion center is usually closed on Mondays, so his appearance was not a good sign.  Sure enough, clients began arriving.  We had a Sidewalk Counselor with us, along with prayer support of five to ten people throughout the day.

Two Knights ran a shuttle in tandem from our parish, starting at 8am.  One of them, Chris, has provided this service for several years.  When the Council’s pro-life director had first mentioned needing prayer volunteers for 40 Days for Life, Chris knew he wanted to be involved, but standing in prayer was not something he could do.  “I asked God how I could be of service,” he said, “and it came to me that I could drive people who otherwise couldn’t get there so they could pray.”  He takes a day off from work and all day long, he brings people to and from the vigil.

On her way out from one of the medical offices next door to the abortion center, a woman stopped a prayer volunteer to ask, “Does Planned Parenthood really perform abortions?”  Her question was yet another confirmation that we have to be present outside the abortion center to witness to the truth, not just for 40 days but every day they are open.

Our priest came to join us in an hour of prayer, bringing his father with him.  His dad, in his nineties, insisted on being there, too.  Having clergy is a powerful witness, not just to the clients and workers, but to the volunteers as well.  The people gain heart when the shepherds show up.

Throughout the day, volunteers came and went.  Two construction workers with a job about 5 miles away dropped by to pray before heading home.   And the shuttle car brought their last group and waited until 6 pm.  

A day of prayer and penance, asking the Lord to heal our land and His people.  Please join us as we close out the prayer vigil tonight with a celebration at St. Elizabeth of Hungary.  More details at www.prolifedallas.org/40days

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Raped and pregnant at 16

The girl is only sixteen.  When she found out she was pregnant, she went to the South Dallas Planned Parenthood to abort her baby.  Although Planned Parenthood is not known for adhering to rules, this time they told the girl that she couldn’t have the abortion unless a parent (in this case, her father) gave his permission in writing. She would have to tell him she was pregnant. 

After what must have been a painful and emotional revelation, the father refused to help his daughter abort her baby.  Desperate, she told him that if he didn’t cooperate, she would commit suicide. 

The director of the Project Gabriel Ministry was brought into the situation, counseling and offering prayers and help.  Fearing for his daughter’s life, the father told the director to leave him alone. He felt he had to agree to the abortion, even though he didn’t want to. 

All this time, prayers from 40 Days for Life volunteers were covering the Planned Parenthood. 

Unexpectedly, the Project Gabriel Ministry Director heard back from the Dad. He had talked more with his daughter, who finally revealed that she had been raped. Raped by a family member. After many tears and praying together, the daughter decided to keep the baby. Together, they were choosing life!  

This baby is the seventh save from this year’s prayer vigil, and these are just the ones we know about.  Praise God! Prayer works! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Answering when the Spirit calls ...

Sometimes volunteers step up in unexpected ways.  The sidewalk counselor was tied up with someone else when a young African woman, toting a beautiful baby in a handheld carrier, walked out from the abortion facility parking lot.  

A Knight of Columbus, untrained in the ways of sidewalk counseling but realizing something needed to be done, stepped up to her and asked if she had come from the Planned Parenthood. “Yes,” she replied quietly.  “Were you there for your first appointment for an abortion?” “Yes.”  

Trying to recall what he’d heard sidewalk counselors say before, he told her that everyone outside was praying for her and for her babies, born and unborn.  “We have resources and people to help,” he said, and quickly dashed to the “You Have a Choice” brochures on the sidewalk.  Pressing one into her hand, he told her, “Call these people.  They will help you with your pregnancy.”  

Smiling, the woman took the brochure, looked at it, and then stuck it into her purse. “Thank you,” she said, and went to wait for her ride.


When the Spirit calls, you listen!