What an eventful and exciting first day I had at Hebron yesterday with Eliana Smith! God truly prepared the way before us.
I showed up and parked on a side street, but was unsure of where the building actually was. After a quick, "Lord, show me where this place is" prayer, I saw Eliana pull around the corner. It's always nice to see God in the details. She pointed out the building across the street and, materials and signage in hand, we walked over together. We were saddened to see a lot packed with cars and wondered if perhaps they had changed the time to keep us guessing, but within a few seconds, a car was already pulling out. We stopped it, and the lady told us she had decided not to go through with it! Praise the Lord! It was a wonderful reminder that He is the one who truly does the work and that prayer is far more effective than we sometimes even realize. We took a moment to give God glory and pray that she would remain firm in her decision.
Throughout the time, I got to get to know Eliana better and I feel like I truly found a new friend! What a blessing her tenacity and passion was to me! We shared many of the same joys and frustrations and it was such an encouragement to know that I am not alone in many of my feelings. We had a wonderful iron-sharpening-iron session right there in the midst of ministry. And as we talked, I found out that she also grew up in Greenville, SC! This was exciting to me because I have felt God impressing on me the need for people to go out to the abortion mill in Greenville. God seems to be bringing more and more Greenville connections my way! Maybe someday we will be able to start a team there, too.
It was exciting to see how God is using Eliana and her Spanish-speaking ability. I would say 90 percent of the people we talked to were counselled by Eliana in Spanish! As a "newbie," she was understandably not yet completely comfortable with counselling and I was tickled on several occasions when she would look at me and in an almost panicked way ask, "What do I say?!" I said, "I have no idea what you have said, so I don't know!" :) Plus, I am usually on the mic and counselling is pretty new to me, too. So I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill her and I know God used her words, as it was evident the instant connection she had with each person, simply because she spoke their native tongue. Clearly Spanish-speaking counsellors are a definite need and that made one particular encounter all the more exciting. A lady in a minivan pulled into the lot and Eliana called out to her in Spanish. Without hesitation, she walked over with a calm, peaceful look on her face (rare for anyone headed to abort their baby).
Eliana spoke with her at length and updated me halfway through: "This lady is not here for an abortion. She just wanted to know if they were still doing them here. She had two abortions here and suffered horrible depression. That is what led her ultimately to Christ and now she just really wants to help other women." Wow! What a divine appointment! Eliana told me that the lady was quoting Scripture left and right and just truly seemed to love the Lord! How exciting that we may have one more Spanish-speaking counsellor whom we met right out on the frontlines, already eager to fight in this spiritual battle! We gave her a Cities4Life brochure so she can know better about the ministry.
Later we saw a fancy new car start to pull in the lot and as we approached, we saw an older man driving. We assumed it must be the abortionist until he rolled his window down and said, "I just love seeing you girls out here holding that sign!" We thanked him and I said, "Let me get you a brochure so you know who we are with." He gladly took it and said, "Well, let me give you one of mine, too!" It turned out that he is with a home called Lois' Lodge for women with unplanned pregnancies. What an encouragement to meet another warrior who is working on a complimentary front of the battle!
Most of the women and men we (or rather Eliana!) talked to seemed open and receptive. One man went back in to try to get his wife out, but I don't think he succeeded. He used the excuse that they don't even know if it was his baby. Of course, every baby is a valuable human life, made in God's image! And the baby should never be murdered to cover the sins of the mother. We saw many women reclining in the passenger seat in obvious pain, physically and emotionally. I spoke to a woman who had already aborted and she seemed open to hear us and took a Tiny Hands booklet and tract, but how difficult it is to speak with someone who has already murdered! It is so hard to know what to say. I pray she repents and sees what she did as evil. Overall, I was surprised how many booklets we were able to hand out and how receptive people were. There were several who would not talk to us and seemed to be so troubled, but only one young couple stood out to me as truly cold, hard, and completely God-hating. We tried to talk to them as they waited to pull out, but they didn't even look at us and only scoffed and laughed with each other when I pleaded with them and told them how their baby had been dismembered. Only God knows if it was a cover for their guilty consciences or if it was true hatred for God and anything to do with righteousness. Only God knows if there is still hope for them, and we just have to pray!
Of course, we also had the usual angry honks and profanity. But it seemed to be less than at Wendover and we just were on such a "spiritual high" that it didn't phase us in the least. One man hung out the passenger window of his car and yelled at us "F*** you!" along with a string of demonically-angry insults which I couldn't hear, so I just prayed for him and thought what a small way to take part in Christ's suffering this was. Being yelled at is nothing compared to what Jesus endured! Another man yelled out his window at me to "get a life," which I found ironic. If only the babies being murdered steps away had that choice. A few people waved at us and a couple delivery guys made small talk and seemed supportive of our work.
More and more, I realize the importance of preparation in this battle. It is so crucial to put on the "spiritual armor," as Ephesians 6:10-18 instructs us. I spent an hour in prayer and Bible reading before I left and I believe it made a big difference. In addition, I prayed whenever I thought about it in the days before and also on the way to the mill. It is usually so hard for me to discipline myself to spend this kind of time preparing, but I am seeing that it is crucial!
Going through the passage in a practical way may be helpful here:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. A reminder that it is GOD'S power through us. We do not have to be strong in ourselves. In fact, His strength is made perfect in our weakness, as Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 12:9)! 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Don't forget any one piece. They are all crucial to the battle. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Those of us not raised in charismatic circles forget this truth too easily. There is a hierarchy in Satan's kingdom and he is active in this world. At the abortion mill, that becomes very evident. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Again, a reminder to completely prepare! 14 Stand firm then, The phrase "stand firm" jumps out at me. If we go by feelings, none of us would be back out there after the first one or two times. Those times seem to be most intense as we are spiritually attacked for taking a stand. Our commitment to "go" is challenged heavily. I never felt that more than at Wendover! But stand firm! That is a command. with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, You know the Truth of Scripture. Have it handy so you can "hold yourself together" with it. with the breastplate of righteousness in place, Confess your sins so that God can fully use you for His glory. 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Be ready to share your faith, "in season" and "out of season" (2 Timothy 4:3)! Those on their way toward murdering their children definitely need the gospel and what better time to share it! The conscience is in overdrive and they know they are sinners. But always "wear your shoes" and be ready to "give an answer for the hope that lies within you" (1 Peter 3:15), no matter where you are. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Faith! Oh how much we need it on the frontlines when we are mocked, yelled at, and threatened...where we sometimes see no visible results. But faith that God is always glorified when we obey Him and that we will someday in eternity see the fruit of our labor is the only thing that truly brings peace and comfort on the darkest days. It is ALL about Him! 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The helmet of salvation protects us from any mortal wounds, and the sword of the Spirit is our true weapon! We do not fight with our own words and reasoning, but with the words of the Holy Spirit Himself, speaking through us! I will always be amused and amazed by this. When I start to think, "What am I going to say next? Oh no! Am I going to fail?" I suddenly stumble over my words and say stupid things. But when I get out of the way, pray for God to empty me of myself and of my pride and fill me with His Spirit, the words flow from my mouth in an organized, eloquent way that is totally beyond my own ability! It is not false humility to say that it is truly not me speaking, but God through me! What a privilege. And that power is available to anyone who asks.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. When? All the time. What? Everything! Be in a spirit of prayer! He is with us always and we should be in an ongoing conversation with Him, praying on behalf of all God's people and all those who need Him.
So, it was a great day yesterday! One of the memorable ones. One save, two divine appointments, encouraging words, and uplifting conversations. God is good! Please continue to pray for us and if you haven't seen firsthand what you are praying for, consider coming out at least one time! This is the holocaust of our time and we all can and should be involved in some way to put a stop to it. Some day, when abortion is outlawed in our nation, what part will you, a Christian saved by God's grace and spared from abortion yourself, have played?