The past two days on the West Coast have been amazing as my family and I have prayed and visited with many faithful 40 Days for Life volunteers in Bakersfield, Fresno, and Monterey, California.
To help you get a feel for how God is at work in cities like these across the country, I have posted photos from our visits as well as an audio recording of short, inspiring interviews with each of the local campaign leaders here:
Listen to the Audio Online (click “Play” button to start audio):
Download MP3 (click to play, right-click to save to your computer):
Bakersfield, CA 40 Days for Life
Fresno, CA 40 Days for Life
Monterey, CA 40 Days for Life
More from Monterey 40 Days for Life
One of the many inspiring stories I heard while out here was from Josh Brahm, the dynamic young man who is coordinating the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fresno, California. Josh shared a story with me that I’d like to share with you.
Here it is in his own words…
I stood outside of Planned Parenthood for about 6 and a half hours today, most of those hours alongside my wife, who is 9 months pregnant. A young, attractive girl started walking toward me from the Planned Parenthood driveway. I smiled at her thinking she was a Planned Parenthood employee.
The young woman said she wanted to ask me some questions, and I told her that I’d be glad to answer any questions she could think of. She asked why we were out here. At that point I knew she wasn’t a Planned Parenthood employee, because she would have known exactly why we’re out here! I told her that we were there to peacefully pray for an end to abortion. I introduced myself and asked for her name, and she shook my hand saying her name was Ashley.
Then she said, “Well, I changed my mind.” I figured maybe she had become pro-life, so I asked her what she meant by that. Ashley responded, “I was going to have an abortion, but I’m not going to now.” My eyes widened, I gave her a huge smile and told her that she was my new favorite person! (Except for my wife, of course!)
Ashley explained further that she saw a news story on TV about us this morning and knew she couldn’t have an abortion. I hadn’t seen that coverage yet, so I asked her what it was about the story that changed her mind. She said that she saw men and women praying and holding signs and Bibles, and she knew that she couldn’t go through with the abortion.
Ashley is 16 years old and 5 weeks pregnant. Her parents wanted her to have the abortion and have now kicked her out of their house and taken her cell phone. She’s living with a friend now. I began to tell Ashley about the local pregnancy care center and how much help we personally can offer her as well. I told her, “You’re not alone.”
Josh, thanks to you and your wife for faithfully leading this effort in Fresno, and Ashley — I was so honored to get to meet you while there. Your courage is truly inspiring.
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!
Here’s today’s devotional from Rev. Ben Sheldon, President Emeritus, Presbyterians Pro-Life…
DAY 5 INTENTION:
May the truth of the final judgment shape our thoughts, priorities, and choices here on earth.
The King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
– Matthew 25:31-46
REFLECTION by Rev. Ben Sheldon:
Caring for others is not optional.
Jesus’ picture of the final judgment concludes with this sobering word: the wicked, who failed to care for others in their various needs (e.g., the hungry, the thirsty, the aliens, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous who did seek to meet those needs will end up with him, enjoying eternal life.
We know that this was no parable! Jesus has given us fair warning! Everything in God’s Word points to the truth that compassionate concern and practical care for all people, especially for the poor, the destitute, the weak and needy is required of us, if indeed we hope to escape the punishment of the fire of hell.
And who are the poor and needy, if not helpless, unborn babies, as well as the aged and infirm at the other end of life? Surely the “least of these” embraces not only those at both ends of the continuum of life, but all others in between.
Just how we, as Christ’s true followers, respond to his admonition “inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me” will determine whether we enjoy eternal bliss in his presence or the bleak and dreadful reality of eternal punishment in hell. Nothing in God’s Word could be clearer!
Gracious and merciful Father, we gladly embrace your Word that counsels us to care for the least of your children, and we renew our dedication to defending the unborn and all whose right to life is compromised by our godless society’s selfish lack of concern. Free us from our own failures and sins so that we will be truly pro-life in every area of our lives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Have a blessed Sunday!
Yours for Life,
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life