Since we began standing in front of the abortion clinic in Bristol and praying with 40 Days for Life 8 years ago, we have seen several people become involved in pro-life ministry directly in front of the clinic on a regular basis. There is a sidewalk that runs in front of the clinic. This is where they stand, walk, and hold signs. Our 40 Days for Life team usually sets up across the street where there is more room to gather together and pray. We have been encouraged to witness God raise up teams of people on the clinic side of the street who are more available to do sidewalk counseling and reach out to those going in and out of the clinic.
Some of you know that since the Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign, I have been standing in front of the clinic on Monday mornings. Julie and I had been praying about what more we could do to stand for life during the days of the year that 40 Days for Life does not cover in the spring and in the fall. We felt directed that I should stand out in front of the clinic with a pastor and his wife that had been faithfully standing for life in front of the clinic for a while now.
On Mondays there are about 6 of us who stand, a pastor and his wife from Duffield, VA (about an hour away), a dear lady from Bristol and 2 wonderful intercessor women from Elizabethton. As the pastor from Duffield says, we all desire to be a gentle voice for life.
Since I have been there on Mondays, I have had the opportunity to talk to some going into the clinic. It is a little awkward because they have allowed the hedges to become overgrown so we try to speak through the openings and engage in conversation. I know that they can hear me since they turn to hear voices coming from the bushes! I mostly ask them to please stand for life and encourage them that God values life. I will add another phrase “10 fingers, 10 toes” if I suspect they are there for an abortion. That phrase came from a documentary we saw called “I Lived on Parker Avenue” that told of a mother who chose to walk out of an abortion clinic and have her baby after a pro-life person spoke that phrase to her. Click here to see that. It is a powerful story focusing on the blessing of adoption.
Most of the time the people I try to talk to don’t answer back but head on into the clinic. Other times, they do have a response. Let me tell you about one.
I was holding my “Choose life” sign, when I noticed a car slow down in front of me. There was a young girl in the passenger seat that looked discouraged and downcast. I locked eyes with her. The car was slowing down because it was turning into the clinic’s parking lot. As the mother and daughter entered the building, I said my usual and added, “You don’t have to do this.” The mother was ushering her daughter in before her and shouted back at me. “Shut up. You don’t know. You’re a man.”
Well, I may not know the circumstances which led that mother and her daughter to enter the clinic, but I do know there is life in a mother’s womb. I know that I have 5 kids. I know their lives were formed in their mother’s womb. I experienced each of their births. I watched them come into this world very much alive. I have walked through 3 miscarriages with my wife and felt the sting of a lost child. It grieved my heart to see this mother influencing her daughter in having an abortion.
In addition to trying to be a voice for life to the patients walking in the building, we have had a new development since the spring campaign. We have had groups of pro-choice protesters joining us on the sidewalk in front of the clinic. This has added an interesting and challenging dimension to our prayer times on the street. We are pretty sure they are being funded by some group with the express purpose of frustrating and intimidating us. They have a right to stand and protest our presence there, but the tactics they resort to and the ways they treat us are unkind, harassing, and sometimes obscene and vulgar. Name calling, frustrating our attempts to talk to people, vile music, witchcraft or New Age practices, and more have disturbed me in our Monday prayer times. We know that the battle regarding the women and their unborn children who come into the clinic is not ours but the Lord’s. Our battle is not with “flesh and blood,” but it is a spiritual battle. We want to shine the light amidst the darkness. We try to stay focused on singing worship songs, prayer, and reading the Scripture. I am learning many lessons about keeping my cool by remembering the Lord is not agitated by the antics of the pro-choice protestors.
Although we haven’t seen Dr. Boyle at the Bristol clinic in a while, we think he is part owner of this clinic and he owned several other clinics in other cities. We have heard good news that he has closed and sold his abortion clinic in Nashville. This is a huge praise. Please read this article about it . CLICK HERE It is very encouraging. We know that his clinic has been sold in South Carolina, although it was to a Planned Parenthood. We are hoping that his clinic in Bristol where Dr. Adams practices will follow in closing its doors also.
Please join us in continuing to pray for the ending of abortion in Bristol and the whole Tri-Cities. For info on the upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign which focuses on prayer and fasting to end abortion in front of local abortion clinics, click here.
Lord, we pray that you would end the shedding of innocent blood in our region. Close the clinic at the corner of State Street and Slaughter Street. Lead the many who have had abortions to healing in Jesus Christ. Awaken the Church to stand for LIFE and to help those in crisis. Encourage pro-life efforts and push back darkness. In Jesus name, Amen.
During the recent 40 Days campaign (CLICK HERE for more info on 40 Days for Life), I met a pastor who travels about an hour to stand with his wife in front of the Bristol abortion clinic every Monday morning as a positive pro-life witness. I felt led to join him on Monday mornings. So, since the Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign, I have stood on Monday mornings down in front of the abortion clinic in Bristol and continued to pray and also to be a pro-life witness for a few hours.
I have had the opportunity to pray but also to have some short conversations with those going in and out of the clinic. I think the most impacting conversation so far has been a simple, short conversation but it has spoken volumes to me. The conversation went something like this…
Me: Can I speak to you a second, ma’am?
Woman: No, no, I am only here for an exam.
Me: Do you know they do abortions here?
Woman: Yes, I am aware of that. That is why I go here.
It is one thing to reach out to a woman who may be considering an abortion and offer a better way, communicate that there is a real baby in her womb, and that there are other, better options than the decision to have an abortion. It is a whole other thing to know that women are frequenting this clinic to support the killing of the unborn. Undoubtedly, they would say they are for the woman’s choice and she alone can make the decision about her body. It’s a whole mindset, philosophy, and ideology.
Fundamental to this mindset is that God is not the center but the woman is, her rights, her choices, her decision. The fact of the matter is that more and more pro-choice individuals are believing that a fetus IS life in the womb. The main argument for abortion has changed from “it isn’t even a life.” It is now more accurately stated that it is more important that a woman has the choice to kill that life rather than the value for life itself. It’s disheartening to see that the life that God values and created is not valued. If He were at the center of the mindset, there would be serious consideration of what HE thinks about aborting a baby. (Psalm 139, Psalm 106:38).
So, my short conversation illustrated for me the problem of a faulty mindset that is a factor in someone having an abortion, but also it is that mindset that fuels and supports the whole abortion industry.
Oh, that God would be our center again and not what we feel is right in our own eyes.
*We want to make a special note that we realize there are very difficult situations surrounding a woman considering abortion. We always want to express compassion for women in these circumstances and emphasize that abortion harms women (and men and families) as well. We also always want to point to Jesus and the forgiveness and healing that He extends to those who turn to Him who have chosen abortion.
As we sat in front of the abortion clinic this Monday with 40 Days for Life, it rained and rained. Yet it didn’t seem to stop those going in and out of the abortion clinic. As we prayed under our tent we watched a pastor who faithfully drives an hour and fifteen minutes to be a witness for life each Monday and offers to talk to each one who walks into the clinic. There was no visible response to his kind words. I contemplated the mercy that each person is being offered and yet they continue on their way. I know not all of them are completely numb to the decision they are making. I realize fear is leading some of them; fear of losing their boyfriends, fear that their lives will be wrecked, fear about someone finding out the true story. I feel like some are confused and feel like this is the only solution they have. There are many factors that play into each decision to have an abortion.
I say all this to say what I am about to. When you pray for the ending of abortion, standing in front of the clinic there are times that you have to come to grips with the evil that is actually in front of you. There is an ongoing practice of absolute wickedness, innocent lives are being taken, babies are being murdered there. Oh, to say that makes me cringe at those who may take that as insensitive or condemning. Please hear me, I know God would meet any patient from the clinic, any staff worker, even the doctors with mercy and help if they chose to turn to Him in repentance. There is an opportunity for a transformed life, forgiveness, healing, and peace in Jesus. We stand in a spirit of mercy and compassion for all who are involved. And, we stand knowing we need His mercy and forgiveness for any sin in our own lives as well.
But there is a holocaust in our land and this is one of the death camps. There is a mass murder and this is one of the murder sites. There is a scheme of the enemy to kill the babies and it happens at the corner of State St. and Slaughter St. in Bristol, TN. Oh, it is like a ball of pain, grief, frustration, and anger that comes with knowing what is going on across the street from where we pray. It is a temptation to get bitter and angry in an unholy way. ABORTION IS WRONG: IT IS WRONG FOR THOSE WHO PERFORM THEM, FOR THOSE WHO ASSIST AND ENCOURGE ABORTION, AND FOR THOSE WHO GET THEM.
Indeed, there is a call to the church in the Tri-Cities to do something about it. We pray, we fast, we hold signs, we offer sidewalk counseling, we talk about it, and we respond. We cannot be as ostriches who stick their heads in the sand over this issue. Where is the church who will labor to see this clinic close, to see the murder stop? To see those who have had abortions receive healing and wholeness? To see women in crisis receive help and hope? It’s now time to respond to God. If not now, when?
I want to offer a measure of comfort to those who seek justice in the face of wickedness, who pray for the ending of abortion. Psalm 37 says
Vs 1Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb……
Vs 7Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more….
Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
36 Yet he passed away,[a] and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
We put our trust in the Lord to ultimately deal with the wickedness we witness, especially when the current laws and culture give allowances for it. We trust He will deal with those who do evil and those who practice abortion. The wickedness will be judged and those who have been involved in it will face His judgment, and we look to Jesus for His mercy towards them. He stands as the one who took on their punishment. Rest in Him as you labor against abortion. Trust in Him as you stand for LIFE.
We continue to stand for the rest of the 40 Days for Life looking to the One who actually created babies in the womb and appeal to Him to bring justice for them. He will sooner or later. We pray sooner…. Let abortion end in the Tri-Cities and all across our nation.
We are well into the fall campaign of 40 days for Life, praying for the ending of abortion. Locally, we gather on State St. in Bristol, TN across from the abortion clinic and pray. I will be honest. This time of prayer can be difficult to endure. Sometimes, the thoughts of “When is this ever going to be over?” fill your mind. This is not necessarily referring to the campaign but the practice of abortion that is an atrocity in our region and throughout the nation. I mean, 8 years of praying regularly and the clinic is still open. We still see women going in the clinic for that purpose. It is heartbreaking but more than that, it is heart sickening sometimes.
Yet I can step back and breathe and thank the Lord for those who have been raised up who ask to talk to those women going in and out of the clinic and offer another solution and hope. They are voices for LIFE that have chosen to continue on past 40 Days for Life and they stand all year to serve the Lord in front of that clinic. When we started praying 8 years ago in Bristol, there were few to pray and hardly anyone offering help directly in front of the clinic. I thank God for the consistent voices crying out. I thank God for the constant witness of life and truth. I thank Him for the other LIFE victories in our nation and region.
Sometimes in the prayer time we hold signs by the road and pray. Signs saying, “Pray for the Ending of Abortion”, “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood”, “Women Regret Abortions”, “Choose Life”” etc. Passersby in cars have all sorts of reactions. We have profanity yelled at us, people who throw trash, and many not so nice gestures. We also have many honks and waves. We also get a lot of thumbs up. One particular day earlier in the campaign, I was particularly burdened by both the issue for life and areas of personal struggle. A car passed by and both in the front seat gave me a thumb’s down. It was more than just general discouragement. I was weighed down with “Will this ever change?” As I talked to the Lord about it. I asked Him to give me 2 thumbs up to encourage my heart. The rest of the morning passed and I never saw it. I encouraged myself in the Lord and kept going.
One day last week I was pained by what was going on in the clinic. It’s easy for me to get upset by what we witness when we are down there. We chose to stand with signs by the road. A car honked and I looked up to see 2 thumbs up from the two in the front seat. I was surprised. I forgot about what I asked of the Lord. Tears started streaming down my face as He ministered to me. Through that little incident, I was encouraged that He is smiling over me. It was an affirmation and approval of my choice to stand for LIFE, that I was doing the right thing and that He was proud of me, an affirmation of the sacrifices I have made to stand for the unborn. Even an affirmation of my choice to respond to His calling on my life overall. He used 2 thumbs up to encourage me. And I am thankful for that. God is like that. He wants to encourage us in the assignments He gives us. He never leaves us alone.
So, I say to all those who stand up for LIFE, for those who are part of 40 Days in various cities across America and the world, “2 THUMBS UP” and I remind you of an instruction from the Scripture (that is actually on one of the signs we hold at 40 Days for Life)
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.” Proverbs 31:8
Wow! It is hard to believe that the fall 40 Days for Life campaign is upon us. It begins on September 27th and goes through November 5th! For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief summary of what this ministry is about from their website: “40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion.” To read more about the campaign in the Tri-Cities, CLICK HERE. To learn more about the international ministry of 40 Days for Life, visit the website www.40daysforlife.com.
This past Sunday afternoon, we had a rally preceding the campaign. Instead of gathering in Johnson City (as we have done in years past), we gathered across from the Bristol Regional Women’s Center, the abortion clinic we pray in front of for the ending of abortion during the campaign.
Linda, our fearless leader, had asked me to share about the subject of solemn assemblies in regard to 40 Days for Life and this fall campaign, even calling those gathered there to the solemn assembly gathering that the 40 Days for Life Rally in Bristol is. A solemn assembly is a time of serious gathering for God’s people, to humble themselves and cry out to the Lord to have mercy in the face of His judgments. A clear picture of this is in the book of Joel. In Joel, the people of God have turned from the Lord and are under His judgments. They are experiencing great economic crisis and are under the threat of an invading army. The instruction God gives His people through the prophet is to blow the trumpet, sound the alarm, gather the people, return to the Lord, rending their hearts and not their garments. It is a call to repent and seek the Lord. If they respond, then there is hope God will restore the land and protection.
We as a nation are in great crisis. Abortion alone has claimed the lives of over 60 million innocent babies. We have embraced and celebrated immorality. We have issues of hatred and racism. We have gone against God’s purposes for Israel. We have turned to greed, self-reliance, pride, compromise and covetousness. We have abandoned God for idols of pleasure, entertainment, comfort, possessions and money.
We have stepped out from under God’s protection and we have turned from God. Because of that we have faced current race riots, natural disasters of hurricanes and flooding, wildfires ravishing the west, not to mention the effects of the sins we have committed.
Many have opinions about what we should do in the face of crisis but God gives us a prescription for what we are to do first when we are in crisis: gather and turn to Him.
With this upcoming 40 Days for Life, we are gathering on the streets with this understanding. We want God’s mercy (specifically the ending of abortion) and so we will humble ourselves before the Almighty God and appeal to His mercy. We will make a conscious effort to seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. Please join with us in this prayer movement/solemn assembly. Contact us if you would like to be involved.
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
Into the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
We have completed the spring 40 Days for Life campaign. Julie and I were involved in regularly scheduled prayer vigils across from the Bristol Women’s Center in Bristol, TN that offers abortion at their facilities. We are thankful to God for his sustaining power and encouragement throughout the 40 days.
After the 40 days for Life, we gathered together for a time of thanksgiving and celebration, thanking the Lord for answers to prayer and for His help.
There is a lot to be thankful for:
715 Cities represented
44 Nations represented
4,876 Local Campaigns
13,153 Known Lives saved
144 Abortion workers quit
84 abortion centers closed.
Although we have not seen this clinic close, we are committed to pray toward that end, and the end of all abortion in the Tri-Cities region.
In our January newsletter we mentioned Matthew contacting churches in the city of Bristol specifically about 40 Days for Life and other prayer initiatives in Bristol. He was able to contact some before this campaign started and will continue making those contacts before the fall campaign.
Matthew or Julie Wine