"We just don't know what to do."
There had already been 8 or 9 clients go into the grisly-looking abortion mill and it was only 8:15. Up top near the entrance were Claire and Quint Coppi. Beside me on the sidewalk along Mission Avenue was Bill Coker. Due to arrive for the second shift in awhile were Carol, Val and Mark. As always, I had with me a big sign with a smiling infant and the word "Life" emblazoned at the top. To the drivers going east, I showed a pink banner with black words reading, "Mom, we care for you and your baby."
Bill and I were talking about his Sunday School class the morning before when another car pulled into the parking lot with a man and woman inside. They parked along a row quite near the steps leading to the entrance. There were three cars between us as well as a bit of parking lot. However, the windows on both the passenger and driver's side had been down when they first drove in and the street traffic had diminished quite a bit since earlier in the morning. So I decided to go ahead and speak across to them.
I spoke of the alternatives to abortion we could offer them, of the facts about the procedure that would be denied them inside. I spoke of the physical development of the child, how the heart was beating even now and how little time would be needed before they could cuddle this precious son or daughter in their arms. I spoke too of the dangers of abortion to the mom's own health and future, of the much higher risks of breast cancer and miscarriage, of the heartbreak and regret she would experience for the rest of her life.
And throughout my attempts to speak to them, I regularly repeated that we truly cared about them, that everything we offered was free of charge, that everything we spoke about was true and in their best interests. I explained that Jesus loved them and that He loved their baby -- and we did too. Wouldn't they please let us help them through this difficult time? I informed them that right down the street was a pregnancy center that could see them right now, a place of safety and peace where they could see their child via ultrasound and hear about the whole range of services the Christian pro-life community could provide for them.
To be honest, I didn't know if they were hearing me or not. Yes, the parking lot was quiet enough but from my vantage point I couldn't tell if their windows were still open or not. Beside me, Bill was earnestly praying for the couple. And up top, Claire and Quint were praying too. In the quiet of the morning, they could hear everything I was saying and they could see into the car. They also knew what Bill and I didn't; namely, that the couple were seriously taking in what I was saying. The woman was crying.
After about 10 or 15 minutes the young man got out of the car. I urged him to come over and talk to me. And he did. I introduced myself and Bill. I reached out my hand and he reciprocated. We shook hands and I told him, "Everything I've been telling you guys is true and from the bottom of my heart I mean what I say about helping you through whatever difficulties you're dealing with. But you know, man, taking the life of that child in the womb isn't the answer."
He nodded. "We just don't know what to do."
As I asked questions, the story came out. They had three other children. There were financial problems. They were being strongly pressured by a family member to abort. There was confusion and fear but they also understood that what I was telling them was true. They really weren't keen on abortion. In fact, he explained that this was their third appointment with the abortionist! For various reasons they hadn't gone through with it the other two.
Bill said to the young man, "Doesn't that tell you a lot? God has delivered you two times already and now He is giving you a third chance. And this time we can take you right over to the CPC where you can get all the help you need."
It also came out in the conversation that the abortion was costing $600. Why so high? Because the procedure involved killing two children. His wife was bearing twins!
The conversation ended when he decided to take us up on our offer. I told him to drive up to where Claire was and she would escort them over to A Woman's Touch Pregnancy Center just around the corner. She would also introduce them to the counselor there. Bill accompanied them too.
Not surprisingly, the warm-hearted counselor at A Woman's Touch was able to deal with the various issues put before her. While over in the parking lot, I had spoken to the young man at some length about the loving choice of adoption. That seemed to strongly resonate with him but whatever course they will take, it looks very likely that it won't be abortion.
When I last saw the young man, it was in the CPC. His wife was back talking to the counselor and having ultrasound pictures taken of their twin babies. He was reading through pro-life literature out front. I wrote down my name and information about Faith Bible Church where I'm preaching. I told him, "In addition to directing Vital Signs Ministries (that's my job), I'm also a preacher. Now don't freak out at that," I laughed, "Preachers can be very helpful. And so if you're looking for a bigger safety net, here's a small church with a big heart that can help you guys get through this...and more."
He thanked me again for being there this morning and for caring about them. And again he shook my hand. I left him with this: "You were a real champ today, my friend. And I'm proud of you. So thank you for listening. And thanks for doing the right thing. And you've got that information about how to get in touch with me, so I hope this isn't the last time I see you."
One last thing I should mention before signing off here. In the activity and excitement of this whole event, something had completely slipped my mind until we were sitting at a coffee shop "debriefing" later in the morning. "Hey, Bill. What about that little gray car with the young couple?" While I had been talking to the others, this car had slowly driven around the lot looking for a place to park. They finally settled into a place. But they were there for no more than a minute or two. Then they drove away. "Did they ever come back in?"
Bill said no. And the sidewalk counselors on the second shift later confirmed that they had never come back. Had someone else decided against abortion? Had yet another preborn baby been delivered by the mercy of God as the parents were held back, like the other couple had been twice before, from the brink of destruction?
We can only hope...and pray...and stay faithful to the call of God to stand as witnesses to His truth, His holiness, and His grace.
For all of you who pray for us as we sidewalk counsel outside the abortion clinics, for all of you who financially support Vital Signs Ministries and other pro-life organizations (especially CPCs), for all of you who raise up His standard in your spheres of influence -- thank you.