Sunday, October 12, 2014

DAY 19: They're Praying In Oklahoma - 40 Days for Life

by Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life: Steve Karlen is our 40 Days for Life outreach coordinator for North America … and he’s on the road meeting – and praying with – volunteers at many 40 Days for Life vigils as the campaign continues.

Here’s Steve’s report on three recent stops in Oklahoma. The people certainly made an impression on him – and so did the weather. It was cooling off quite a bit in Steve’s native Wisconsin ... but not when he was in Oklahoma.

Norman, Oklahoma
The folks in Norman are working hard on their campaign. They pray directly in front of the abortion facility — where I’m told the abortionist is responsible for half the abortions in the state.

But it is difficult for some of the participants (some of the older folks in particular) to be in the hot sun. The weather during my visit was in the 90s—unseasonably warm even by Oklahoma standards!

Some of the vigil participants tried praying across the street on the sidewalks. Another local business manager called the police. But when the police came, they noted that the public sidewalk is ... public! Unable to use the law to stop a peaceful vigil, the business manager turned on the sprinklers.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
It was quite warm in Tulsa as well. As a Northerner who is used to bringing out my warmest, thickest wool socks for cold hours out at 40 Days for Life vigils, you can imagine my surprise to see that the Tulsa campaign needs a big tent to keep the hot sun off the volunteers.

Pro-lifers bought property across the street from the abortion center where they hoped to build a pregnancy center. But zoning rules made that impossible. Instead they built a “Garden of Hope,” where the volunteers can pray, and launched a mobile ultrasound initiative.

Timothy, the Tulsa leader, said the people behind this life-saving effort were 40 Days for Life volunteers who wanted to do more.

Right before I spoke, Timothy announced that a sidewalk counselor was able to successfully encourage a client of the abortion center to leave.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City hosts a 24-hour vigil. Debby, the leader, showed me a chapel next door to the abortion facility, which serves as the home base of the campaign.

The close proximity to the abortion center gives participants access to pray closer to the site than they otherwise would. They are able to counsel women and lead them to a nearby pregnancy center. A dry erase board on the front desk of the chapel had a message that reads “33 saves!

A number of abortion-minded women have come to the chapel accidentally, providing further opportunity for counseling and witness.

Prayer volunteers also have an opportunity to offer a powerful witness on a busy public street. Debby said the community has warmed up to their presence. A school bus stop is right across the street, and the teens on that bus have responded favorably to the 40 Days for Life message.

Thanks again to Steve Karlen for today’s update!

Tags: Day 19, 40 Days for Life, Norman, Oklahoma, Norman, Tulsa, Oklahoma City
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