The many perks of participating in 40 Days for Life

I was a passive pro-lifer before this fall’s 40 Days for Life. I sat on the sideline’s afraid to make waves with many friends and acquaintances. I live in a town that is very liberal, and even though I have many conservative values, because of various reasons I easily connect with people who are usually pro-choice. Last year I saw the 40 days for life prayer warriors every day as I drove down Fayetteville’s main street and I wanted to get involved. But I always found excuses to continue staying on the sidelines except for attending the closing ceremonies at the vigil. But this spring, a few things happened to convict me that I needed to get involved. The first was that my children (14 and 21) wanted to get more involved with service. They came up with the idea of starting an organization called Fun, Fellowship and Service based on Matthew 25:35. Because the kick off for the 40 Days for Life was coming up, I encouraged them to have their first service project be promoting the Kick Off in order to get more young people praying. They really liked the idea and had no qualms about turning anyone off because they were involved in a controversial topic. They just cared about life. Another was a “chance” meeting with Natalie and Ray Hines at a potluck (of all places!). They were on the local leadership team and were so kind and helpful. One thing that stood out in our conversation was that most of the churches didn’t want to get involved because of various reasons. I decided that I was going to get involved even more than supporting my kids efforts and joined the leadership team. The list of benefits for me personally is a long one, and I will share just some of the blessings: 1. I used my facebook page to share my passion for saving the unborn. Rather than receiving scathing insults like I expected, friends shared their pro-choice opinions civilly and I facilitated very meaningful dialogues with pro-choice and pro-life people. I found that all the pro-choice people really didn’t like abortion–just thought it was sometimes the only choice. 2. Working with my children has deepened our relationship even more I have been touched by their commitment. Today we are all getting up very early to go to the farmer’s market to do community outreach. Going to the vigil with my daughter several times a week has offered so many opportunities for conversation about meaningful topics. 3. Because of my children’s involvement, people at their church were inspired to attend. At least 20 more people joined the ranks of prayer vigil participants, and many passive pro-lifers have had their desire to serve re-awakened. 4. I had a very inspiring conversation with the president of our local peace, justice and ecology organization about abortion. Although the group is probably 99% pro-choice (with our family being in the one per cent pro-life) she was willing to consider having a dialogue between pro-life and pro-choice people to build bridges of understanding. Because of previous negative comments made about pro-life people in an email which I protested, she was willing to send out a letter describing 40 Days for Life and their commitment to non-violence. 5. Each time I pray at the Planned Parenthood site, it is a meaningful spiritual experience whether I am alone or with others. Rather than being a burden, I look forward to it as does my daughter. Getting to know other dedicated people including two women who had abortions has been very uplifting. 6. One of my clients paid be extra because of my “fervent” dedication to helping with pro-life. 7. People who have different opinions have been encouraged because they see I am not aggressive or attacking. 8. My organizational and activist skills and ideas have been welcomed by the local leadership which helps me to feel fulfilled. 9. I dedicated my blog to writing about the vigil and pro-life issues during the 40 days for life, and have found such joy in sharing my thoughts, and much encouragement as well. 10. Fasting on liquids and fruit has increased my sense of physical well being as well as saving time. I have not been able to fast or eat raw for years and knew that I was using food to stuff my feelings. Fasting has helped me to feel closer to God and helped me heal emotional wounds. Well, I need to get ready to go do a table at our local farmer’s market so I can’t write all the other benefits–but you can read more at my blog at http://www.patriciamikkelson.wordpress.com I welcome your comments. Thanks to everyone involved with 40 days for life. You have changed my life for the better by helping me save lives. I feel so much better about myself because I am no longer hiding and being a passive pro-lifer and I give the credit to God and the fact that your organization is so peaceful and loving.

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