Sunday, July 23, 2017

Doing the Will of the Father -- The Steadfast Commitment of a Sidewalk Counselor

Angela - long time Cities4Life volunteer, homeschool mom, business owner
As the Cities4Life volunteer coordinator, I hear a huge variety of reasons for why people cannot volunteer on the sidewalks of our busy abortion center where 20-30 babies die each day. The top ten excuses include: family responsibilities, work responsibilities, too far to travel and too much time involved, too many children with too busy schedules.

Angela is a homeschool mom of four children, aged 18 to 9. She co-manages and owns a recruiting business with her husband. She lives an hour away from the abortion center. She has been a sidewalk counselor for about five years. Any one of these responsibilities or situations could keep her off the sidewalk.

When I asked Angela why she keeps showing up when she could legitimately find reasons not to, she said, "Oh, I'm a firm believer that if it is important, you will find a way to make it work. So that's what Mark and I have done. It can make for a busy week, but we definitely feel called to tear down our excuses and be there."

So what prompted Angela to go to the sidewalks in the first place? Here is her answer in her own words. 

Since high school, I've considered myself a supporter of the pro-life movement. I've voted for pro-life leaders and given financially to support local pro-life organizations. That seemed "committed" to me until I was invited to join a friend on the sidewalks outside the abortion clinic on Latrobe. 


On that day, I stood on the sidewalk and watched 30 women walk in and within a matter of a few hours 30 babies were dead. I was shaken to the core. I literally felt sick to my stomach. I came under huge conviction that my previous pro-life support was no longer enough. Although those things were good, it just wasn't enough. God was calling me to do more. I wasn't just compelled by the dozens of babies that died that day, but I was also overwhelmingly burdened for the women who exited the clinic with empty wombs and broken hearts. 

I now stand on the sidewalks once a week to offer abortion-determined women the truth about abortion, the truth of the life within them and the truth of God's love for them. The work as a sidewalk counselor is physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding, but God has blessed me beyond measure as I watch the lives of men and women be changed by the life-giving words of the Gospel.

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If, like Angela, God had convicted you that you desire to do more to stop the scourge of abortion in our city, please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for info and training.
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2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

One Plants, One Waters, But God Makes it Grow: An Incredible, Unbelievable Miracle

New Volunteer Mike Already a Bold and Fruitful Volunteer
One of our on-fire new volunteers, Mike, was on the sidewalks of the busy abortion center yesterday and stopped a guy leaving the parking lot carrying fishing poles. He was going fishing while the woman he brought aborted her baby. He said he was pro-choice and it was none of his business what she chose to do. Mike spoke to him with truth and God's word, but the guy said Mike was too aggressive and he walked away. Mike was frustrated, feeling he had been speaking to a brick wall. We Cities4Life counselors all know that feeling-- keep it in mind as I finish the story.

Mike had already left for home when the fisherman walked by me. I offered him our literature for post-abortive women since I knew the woman had probably already aborted by then. I told him she might need it and just in case she was grieving, it would be best for him to offer it to her. He agreed and took it.

Later, as everyone else was packing up, I was by the center's driveway when the fisherman had finished fishing and walked by me again. He thanked me for the literature, saying another friend with them had agreed the post-abortive woman might need it. His friend was grateful to us for the offer.

I can't quite remember how the conversation about God started, but the young man and I talked at least an hour. Everyone but the RV driver, Patrick, left. Patrick NEVER leaves me alone on the sidewalk. He is a veteran and I know would protect me to the death should any danger present itself.

The young man was an atheist. He said he was raised in a Christian home but at age 11 kept asking God for a sign to prove He was real. God never gave him a sign, so he decided God was not real.

From there, we spent an hour as I shared the Gospel and several of my own stories as an atheist when God was sending me signs and I didn't understand or see them. The guy had no trouble understanding sin, and agreed fully he was a sinner. He also understood the need for there to be a penalty for sin. He even understood that God, being perfectly just, would have no choice but to punish sin. What he had never quite understood was what Jesus did on the cross. He had an "ah-ha" moment when I asked him why Jesus HAD to rise from the grave...what was He overcoming?

"Death!!!" the young man said with a huge smile. I think for whatever reason, that clicked and a lot of things fell in place for him.

We talked alot about all our appetites and desires (thirst, hunger, fatigue...etc) and how in every case, the desire can be satisfied. Why would evolution OR God design us with a desire that could not be satisfied? I asked if he longed for eternity. He said, "Yes." I told him that desire could be satisfied as well... in Christ!

When I finished the full Gospel presentation, I asked, as I always do, if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart right now, proclaim Him as Lord, and trust in Him from this moment forward. I was SHOCKED when he said yes. He prayed aloud and said, "Jesus is Lord, and I believe He died for my sins and rose from the dead..."

I honestly COULD NOT BELIEVE IT...except I was there.....

And get this: His name is Cristo...Greek for Christ.

I told him if he was looking for a sign from God, just look at his name!!!!! When we were praying, I said, "Lord, Cristo has been looking for a sign from you for years. I am making an AUDACIOUS request. I pray that you would send him an unmistakable sign that you are there."

YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED. You will have to read to the end to find out.

Anyway, I introduced him to Patrick then, we told Patrick what Cristo had just done and he agreed to let us take his photo and share it wherever we liked. He kept hugging us and shaking our hands. I have NEVER seen a transformation like that.



So encouraging on so many levels but here was the major take-away for me. Mike was sad and frustrated, feeling he had not seen fruit, though he had tried so hard with Cristo. And yet look, Mike and the other counselors who called out to Cristo were the ones who planted the seed which I watered, and God brought the harvest. We are out there as a team all of whom play such an integral part in everything that happens that brings souls to the Lord and to life.

So that is a long introduction to Mike, one of our new volunteers. Here is what he said when I asked: what compels you to be out on that sidewalk? 

The desire to minister to those at the abortion mill started initially when I walked with Love Life Charlotte back in December of 2016.  I felt a deep sadness and burden for the children whose lives are cut short because of the abortion industry.  I remember walking down Latrobe and seeing the Mill in the distance nearly surrounded on all sides by a combination of pro-life and pro-choice individuals.  Seeing the very real "war" for the lives of the innocent was very convicting to me.  It wasn't however until around May of 2017 that God directed me back to the sidewalk on Latrobe.  I was on my way to a meeting off Sardis road when it was suddenly canceled.  Almost immediately after getting the notice of the canceled meeting I felt the Holy Spirit tell me go to the abortion mill.

Since that day I have been out every week, mostly Wednesdays or Thursdays.  The Lord has placed the pro-choice escorts on my heart as my specific calling.  I truly believe the method to end abortion is to preach the gospel.  To simply try and convince someone that the life inside a woman's womb is a person is not going to save souls.  Once someone becomes a Christian there is no need of convincing, the Holy Spirit will move and convict.  As hard as it is to hear and see the things these pro-choice escorts do, I feel a true love for them and hope to see them come to Christ.  

The Rest of the Story....
 Later, in the evening, I received this text from Christo:

C: I just wanted to let you know I may have gotten that sign [from God]....

Me: Tell me the sign!!!!!

C: The clinic would not let my friend go through with the abortion because she was too emotional.

Me: WHAT!!!!!!! Will she call me????We can provide all kinds of help!

C: I will let her know.  I love and appreciate you for everything. It takes a special type of love to do what you do!

Me: Christ's love!


WOW. Pray with AUDACIOUS confidence. We serve an AUDACIOUS God.
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To volunteer, please email Vicky at vkaseorg@cities4life.com
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I Corinthians 3: 5-7
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role. I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.…

Friday, July 21, 2017

What God Intends As a Blessing : Gentle Reminder from a Sidewalk Counselor


Ernie- a grandfather ministering on the sidewalks of an abortion center
Every Tuesday, rain, snow, or HOT sunshine, Ernie shows up at the busiest abortion center in the Southeast. He wore a sunhat this week in the brutally scorching sun. Ernie is a Cities4Life volunteer who speaks gently over the microphone to the women rushing in to abort their children. He appeals to them in his grandfatherly voice with a heart that is inclined deeply to the Lord, but also to the joy of grandchildren.

When we asked Ernie why he volunteers on the sidewalk of an abortion center faithfully each week, he answered: Abortion is against God's word first and foremost. Also, I'm a grandfather of 8 grandchildren, 2 of which are adopted, and I want grandparents to have the blessings I have with my grandchildren.

So often, when called by the Lord to do something outside our comfort zone, like speak to those who don't know God about the incredible joyful truth of the Gospel, we feel we are ill-equipped. We wonder: Why would anyone listen to me?? 

However, God made each of us with a unique and valuable insight based on our sum of experiences that no one else on earth shares. Every person is perfectly designed and equipped by God to tell their story for His glory. Ernie's words remind me of that. He is an unassuming man with a simple message. Abortion is wrong, and deprives families of the love and joy of grandchildren.

It is easy to be so caught up in the present that you lose sight of the future. I love the gentle wisdom of this kind man, called by the Lord to remind women not to destroy what God intends as a blessing.
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For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two Babies Saved and Up Close and Personal With a Veteran Sidewalk Counselor

Chrissy- counsels three times a week on the sidewalk of Charlotte Abortion Center


Yesterday was another blistering hot day on the sidewalks of the busy abortion center. As usual, Chrissy was there for her second time this week. She will be back again today. Two babies we know of were saved because Cities4Life counselors were present on the sidewalk and available by phone.

Chrissy has been a sidewalk counselor for years. She is one of our most persistent, determined counselors, never giving up when a woman is in sight that she can call out to. She is a humble and gentle soul, and is likely responsible alone for hundreds of babies being alive today. Was she always this determined to be a force to reckon with on the sidewalks of abortion centers?

You might be surprised by her answer:

I went kicking and screaming to the abortion mill. Obviously I did not feel led by God to go.  My brother had been trying to coerce me into this ministry for a long time so to appease him, I went. He fed me to the wolves but by the grace of God, when I saw the picture of baby Malachi, the aborted baby, my heart broke. All of these women swarming into the abortion mill to do the same thing to their little one in the womb overwhelmed me. I didn't know what to do and then I remembered what my brother said: my job was to suit up and show up, and God's job was to do the saving.

Praise God He did the saving yesterday, and Lord willing, more precious babies will be saved today. So many counselors (myself  included) start off kicking and screaming, saying I could NEVER do this sort of work. What a surprise for Chrissy and for me that what began in protest became our passion. Funny how God sometimes works that way...
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For more information on how to become a sidewalk counselor, please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com
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Deuteronomy 20:4 

For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors

Daniel Parks - Executive Director Cites4Life
Every day but Sunday if you drive down Latrobe Dr. in Charlotte, NC, you will see a small group of men and women gathered on the sidewalk in front of a brick building. These are the volunteers of Cities4Life, committed to speaking on behalf of the babies who will die there. That building is among the busiest, if not the busiest, abortion center in the Southeast. At least 20-30 babies die in the back room of 3220 Latrobe Dr. every day of the week except Sunday. One can only wonder why they take Sundays off...

This week, the temperature is expected to hit 98 degrees or so with 90% humidity. A sauna. As the morning progresses, any shade on the sidewalk is gone. The volunteers wilt in the ferocious sun for hours, sweat pouring off of them.

Human beings are 98% water. By the end of the morning, you can imagine what shriveled, baked pieces of them remain as the sun sucks all the H2O from their molecules. Yet, they keep calling out to the abortion-minded women with offers of hope, help, and truth.

Why do they do this?

Every Cities4Life volunteer is a committed Christian who takes seriously the Biblical admonition to help those being led to the slaughter, to protect the innocent, and defend those who cannot defend themselves. They all sign a code of conduct, pledging to maintain a peaceful and God-honoring presence. They are often sworn at, threatened, intimidated by pro-choice protesters or clients, and lately, harassed by city officials. (Charlotte zoning authority seized and removed our shade canopy, citing obstruction laws though the canopy did not obstruct a single human being from walking under its comforting shade on that sidewalk.)

Why do they endure this?

Today will be the beginning of an ongoing series spotlighting Cities4Life volunteers. The volunteers will answer those questions in their own words. Daniel Parks is the Executive Director of Cities4Life and has been involved in pro-life ministry for many years. He will be our lead-off batter in this series introducing our sidewalk counselors.

Daniel Parks:

I got involved on the sidewalks about 12 years ago when the church we attended, FIRE Church, brought their children's group out to sing and pray. I came as a chaperone for my daughter but the Lord set me up. As I stood there in front of the clinic watching women go in and out, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, "100 feet from where you are standing babies are being killed. Not at some other time or some other place... right here, right now." I knew then and there that my family and I had to do what we can to end abortion in this city. 

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Please consider visiting the sidewalks and shadowing experienced volunteers. Click HERE to express interest in joining us in this vital life-saving ministry.
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Romans 12:21

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

She's Almost 89 and Speaking for the Unborn ... What's your excuse?


This is Kitty. She's 88 years old and on next Monday turns 89 years old. Kitty ministers out at the southeast's busiest Abortion Center three times a week. She had double knee surgery a few months ago but is already back on the sidewalk, calling out to those who feel that abortion is the only answer and trying to convince them that Jesus is the answer.

Kitty is opening my birthday gift to her a week early. I told her that no one who is almost 89 has to wait to open her gifts. I gave her my Unlikely Friends series. I promise a full set of my series to any sidewalk counselor who is out there three days a week for their 89th birthday!

Kitty is a huge inspiration to me. She never complains no matter how cold or how hot it is out there. She is always smiling, and always loving to those that are driving in to exterminate their child. She often stops cars probably because no one can believe that this elderly woman is actually offering anything while standing on her own two feet in the blistering hot day.

As the Cities4life volunteer coordinator, I have been privy to a whole host of excuses for why people do not feel they can give any of their time or resources to help stem the terrible tide of abortion. I, of course, must always be polite and encouraging. But then I see people like Kitty who has every right to sit down and relax. She has earned it. And yet the burden of the unborn fills her spirit and so she's out there week after week, as she will be next Monday on her 89th birthday.
What's your excuse?

As I drove into the abortion center yesterday, I heard a sermon about Hebrews 11 which lists the heroes of the faith. Yesterday with my new wonderful iPhone 7 plus, I took portraits of some modern heroes of the faith that stand with me every Monday out on the sidewalk speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.








Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who opposed Hitler and was eventually killed in the Nazi death camp said, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

The death of innocent human beings at the permission of their own parents is evil. A society that remains silent and even condones this slaughter is complicit. God WILL hold us to account.

The Bible echoes this sentiment: Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? Psalm 94:16

My near 89-year-old friend holds up her age worn hands and says, "Me!" 
What do you say?


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We would love to have you stand with us! Please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for info, or fill out a volunteer contact form by clicking HERE.
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Psalm 92:14

They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Little Lesson About Abundance and Need And God's Providence in Both


Look who came to visit! My granddog, Ragnar! Oh, and he brought my daughter and son-in-law with him. Whenever we make ribs we invite them over. It was Asherel's favorite dish growing up so we like to include her when ribs are on the menu.
My husband makes stupendous rib sauce, and a potato/onion/bacon dish to DIE for that goes perfectly with ribs. We were all stuffed to the gills. The kids left Ragnar with us while they went grocery shopping after our sumptuous lunch.


I sat outside with Ragnar in  the shade of an umbrella but he wasn't super thrilled.  90 degrees didn't sit well with his 6" fur coat.
"I'm from Siberia," he reminded me.
"No you're not, You're from North Carolina."
"My ancestors were from  Siberia."

We went inside to the air-conditioned  house until his people returned from grocery shopping.


When Ragnar and his folks departed, I hurried off to kayak. By this time, it was late afternoon and the sun was low enough that the trees blocked the sun. I could kayak close to shore in the shade. I almost didn't go because it was so late in the day. Also, the ferocity of the pop-up storm the last time I had kayaked gave me pause. What if that happened again?

In the end, the desire to LIVE life in all its beauty and danger overcame my desire for safety. How glad I am that I went! There was a breeze wafting over a very quiet river since everyone else was on their way home for dinner. The trees hanging over the shore provided a cool shade. I even saw an owl in one tree, watching me with his big unblinking eyes. It was inexpressibly pleasant.

As I cruised along the shoreline, I passed two fishermen. They did not have a fishing pole, just a line to which they had attached bait on one end and flung into the water. Their clothes looked tattered. I suspected any fish they caught would be dinner. My own tummy was still uncomfortably stuffed with ribs and potatoes with bacon and onions.

"Any luck?" I asked.
"No ma'am," they said. They smiled, despite their threadbare clothes and hopes of dinner resting on the thin hope of a bit of string and a worm.
"Well, I'll be praying your luck changes."
"Thank you," they said, tossing the baited line into the water again.

I don't believe in luck. It is just a saying for me. I believe all life events are woven together in a grand plan of which I usually only can catch a glimpse. It is just more cumbersome to say, "Hi fisherman, any divine providence of God displaying Himself in this particular venture?" That is what I meant. However, I did offer a prayer for the fishermen, a small prayer. I talk continually with God while I am out in nature. It is one of the reasons I spend any rare spare moments I have in the midst of God's beautiful, natural creation.

I kayaked on, enjoying the peaceful late afternoon river in the exquisite light of a sun dipping in the sky and casting long shadows.


Reluctantly, I turned around when I reached the bridge and headed back downriver. As I passed the fishermen again, they were smiling.

"Did you catch a fish?" I asked.
"Yes! A big one!"
"Oh good! I am glad!"



I was so full from lunch that I didn't have dinner. But I really was grateful to God that the men in the tattered clothes without a fishing pole had been blessed with a big fat fish for their dinner. How much I take for granted!

I pondered the fishermen's thin hope of a bit of string and a worm. We had just sung a song in church that morning: "My hope is built on nothing less" by Edward Mote.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 
Today I return to the sidewalks of the Southeast's busiest abortion center with the rest of my Cities4Life team. In our own strength or ability, we have no hope of helping anyone. However, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness, On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. Those words encourage me in that dark and evil place.

I toss the meager thread of obedience into water. It is God who provides the catch. His providence prevails in feast or famine. In every storm, His anchor holds. When every earthly prop gives way, He then is ALL my hope and stay!
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Join us! Email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for training and information.

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Luke 14:12-14

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.