Dear Friend of Life:
As you may know, some members of our National Team just got back from events surrounding the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco — one of the top networking opportunities to spread our life-saving sidewalk advocacy program — and as you read this, we’re now on our way to events surrounding the Washington D.C. March for Life to do the same! (Thank you for your continued prayers as we work to spread this life-saving program!)
When we go to these events, we pray for divine appointments to share the program. We ask the Lord to put us at His disposal — that we may be His hands and feet as we give witness to the beauty of every human life. Sometimes, those opportunities come in ways we never expect.
This is what took place just two days ago…
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Eric,” he said.
He was sitting in a wheelchair outside the coffee shop where I’d just had breakfast, surrounded by trash bags with all of his possessions. He had a hat on with a light jacket — okay, but I’m sure he was chilly in the midst of the rainy, 50 degree San Francisco weather.
He was huddled under a tree with a large book in his lap. It looked to be the Bible. There was nothing threatening about him.
I had already given him two packages of breakfast crackers (from my flight a few days ago) and a bottle of water, and I had already said, “bless you!” and started to walk away, waiting for my Uber back to my hotel.
But his sweet demeanor burdened my heart to do more. It hurt not to do more.
I was shuffling through my bag as much as I could to find anything else I had. I found two KIND bars and handed them to him.
“Eric, I’m Lauren,” I said. “I’ll pray for you! God bless you!”
“Thank you, Lauren! Okay! God bless you!” …he put the food next to his wheelchair and went back to reading his Scripture.
“Am I doing enough?” I thought.
That was it. The floodgates opened.
I tried to hold back tears as I walked away and tried to find a clear spot on the side of the road where my Uber could pull in. But the tears just kept coming.
All the brokenness I had witnessed on the streets of San Francisco the past few days had reached a high point. The drugs in the air… the (very apparently) mentally ill… the angry, disgusting, vile signs at the Women’s March where I saw 5-year old little girls marching in pink boots with no idea they were promoting the taking of innocent human life in the womb…
I remembered being out on the streets of San Francisco yesterday as folks were gathering for the Women’s March. A very young little girl and her mother paused right in front of me when the little one figured out one of her boots was untied. I smiled at them.
“I like your pink boots, sweetie,” I said, wanting to make a human connection even though I was wearing a pro-life sweatshirt.
Her mom smiled at me. “Sank you,” she had said so innocently.
My heart hurt.
So there I was, suburbia Lauren, standing in the middle of San Francisco, furiously wiping tears and telling myself that I was going to get a really weird Uber passenger rating if I didn’t figure out how to shut it off.
I kept looking at Eric — just down the street a few hundred feet now — and noting that it was lightly starting to rain again. I kept thinking his head might get soaked if he didn’t find a way to cover himself better.
I had my hands in my pretty-royal-blue-$5-Old-Navy-
“I have a bad cold. I need to take care of myself… but he’s going to get wet… I can take it off and put it around him… I can step under the awning… the Uber’s almost here… but I need to take care of myself for D.C…,” the wrestling began.
I decided to check my pockets and make sure nothing was there in case I decided to give it to him as an added layer. But I saw him reach around his head and pull a hoodie over his head, and I realized he had something and was okay.
I said a prayer for him. My Uber pulled up and I looked down, hiding my red face as I got in the car.
“Sorry, have some allergies…” I said (which was also true!).
“That’s okay… we all do!” the driver said.
We pulled away back towards the hotel and my heart hurt. I realized I would be heading back home to Texas soon — a state with comparatively great economic prosperity. A nice, warm home in Dallas suburbia with a big fluffy couch, two sweet kitties, an amazing husband I don’t always deserve, and lots of friends and family.
It’s tough being a woman. I sometimes fantasize about going out into the streets, passing out food and spending time with homeless people. But I worry for my safety (and constantly think of what my husband wants me to do on these trips), knowing I also have this other work in the pro-life movement.
I realized that I had met — as Mother Teresa had so perfectly put it — “Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
I wished with all my heart I could do more.
I’m now brainstorming ways we can concretely help the poor more as we naturally come across them, traveling across country to give trainings and set up sidewalk advocacy locations. As Sidewalk Advocates on the streets in not-so-great areas of town, many of us naturally find ourselves in personal ministry to the homeless and hungry outside abortion facilities in between outreach to abortion-bound clients.
It’s just a natural part of being the hands and feet of Christ to every soul who crosses our path.
Handing Eric food and water just a couple of days ago feels like such a drop in the ocean of such immense need in that very peace-deprived city. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling when reaching out to abortion-minded clients at an abortion facility, as well.
But as I had that thought — waiting for my shuttle to the airport — an old quote hit me…
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” — Mother Teresa
And yet, when I think about what God has done in the past 2.5 years through your support since we began — almost 1,600 babies saved, 38 workers who have left, 400 hopefuls, and a host of other amazing blessings — I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness, seeing “every drop of good” adding up faster than we ever imagined, revealing a profound impact, as we give witness to the glory of every precious human life.
May Eric be our inspiration to challenge ourselves to give God — and those made in His image and likeness — our best.
Friend, thank you for all you do to support this ministry as we all seek to be the pro-life hands and feet of Jesus to every human life that crosses our path! And thank you for those continued prayers while we spread news of our life-saving program in Washington D.C.!
Blessings in Christ,
Sidewalk Advocates for Life
P.S. — A quick, VITAL update: 8 days to go in our Winter financial campaign, and we’re still short of what we need to survive this year! Can you help with a financial gift of just $10, $25, $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 to get us closer to victory? Go here to make a life-saving, tax-deductible donation:sidewalkadvocates.org/donate. (Watch our progress on our homepage atsidewalkadvocates.org.) And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your consideration and help to ensure this ministry continues well into the future!