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.
Matthew or Julie Wine