Monday, June 19, 2006
Last Friday, Teresa Tomeo of Ave Maria Radio, interviewed Alicia Wong and Ed Miller on their sidewalk counseling experiences. I did not hear it because I went to the abortion center to join Meg to talk with women before the door unlocked at 9:00AM. Laura from the Lennon Center heard the interview. Alicia and Ed had worked to shut down Dr. Alexander's abortion center in Ann Arbor. It did close, but he now opened up for business in Ypsilanti, and they are currently working there.
Our world is the Schaefer abortion center where Kathy has been working daily for ten years. She has established a relationship with the Dearborn Police so that we can maintain a peaceful presence there by abiding by their rules. Abortionists have come and gone under her watch. Kathy knows them all, and knows the staff. It is part of her ministry....to evangelize, convert, and pray for them. She does not denagrate or disparage them. Stan and Chris have been working there for a long time too. Richard, Joe, Jim, and Jane always come to pray. I am the new member, and they have welcomed me as part of the team. The team also includes Laura from the Lennon Center, who is very important because ultimately our goal is to send the women to her. We are not really sidewalk "counselors" we are more like intermediators. Laura is the counselor.
When I came to join Kathy on the sidewalk five months ago, I had no idea how much this work would affect me. I had no idea how much I would learn from her about God, prayer, abortion, sin, evil, and about people who live on the street. I learned a lot about myself too. Another person who has helped me, even though I did not think I needed any help, is Laura. She helped me to stay focused, and gave me encouragement when I was frustrated and disappointed. She said I should never leave that place discouraged. She said I should leave thanking God that He allows ME to be the one to help do His work, and thank Him for letting the women see His light shine on them through me. What an honor! Laura told me that many of the women who come for an abortion have insurmountable problems, and they want to hurry hurry hurry to solve this one of many problems by a quick and "easy" abortion. Also, she stressed that we do not know what God's plan is for these women, or for us, and we must trust in Him because it is Satan who wants to thwart our efforts by discouraging us. My pastor, Fr. Browne, also gave me encouragement by telling me that he thinks God has sent me there. He said, "When I look at you, I see..." I thought, oh no, he is going to say...."a big fat sinner" or "an over zealous evangelist"...or "someone who needs lots of help". But he said, "When I look at you, I see a wonderful transformation." Whew what a relief; I almost laughed aloud at my insecurity! God knows I need these wonderful people.
Friday was a slow day for the abortionist. Most of the women took Meg's and my information. Meg did not want to stay there alone, and I had to rush off to work in Grand Rapids. Fortunately, Chris was coming towards us just as I was leaving.
I was happy that Stan joined me this morning. Two young white girls came to the door. They took the card I gave them with information for help, but they would not talk. A black couple came to the sidewalk next. They both looked distraught, and they both took the information. I sensed that there was tension between them. He came out for a smoke. I asked him if she is pregnant. He said she is having a pregnancy test. I asked him if he would be the father. He said he did not know. I talked about how nice it would be to have a baby so close to Father's Day. He said she might abort. I told him how badly that would hurt her, he looked down but did not reply. I asked him to consider using the information on the card for help. He went to stand by his car, and she came out to join him. They argued for awhile. I moved away to give them some privacy. They quieted down, and left. She did not have a white 24 hour notice folder. She was holding my card. We prayed they will not return.
A young girl went in alone. She hurried in and would not talk with me. She looked very upset. I smiled at her and gently suggested that she come back out to talk when she is ready. She did not come back out. Others took information, some went in the center, and some left. Kathy was there to help and to lead us in prayer. She designed our prayer session. It is perfect. The three of us prayed the Rosary, Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on our knees, and other prayers. I am not sure what else could be as humbling as praying on my knees at a busy intersection in front of an abortion center. I think it is powerful, and I would not do it any other way! We pray for certain people and situations. Often, the people on the street and even the people inside the abortion center come out to ask us to pray for their special intentions.
They can hear us praying in the waiting room. And believe me, they wait a long time. There are no appointment times. The door opens at 9:00AM, and everyone just sits and waits until the abortionist is ready to see them....and their baby. They hear us pray for forty-five minutes....."blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus...."...evangelize, convert, pray.