No sooner had I landed after 40 hours of traveling from Dayton, OH, to Auckland, New Zealand, than I was already getting ready to board another flight to my first stop on our speaking tour. I grabbed a coffee at the airport with Kate from Voice for Life New Zealand and Hillary from Hillary’s Law and we boarded a flight to Whangarei.
We started with a luncheon and talk for local pastors. I was greeted with a traditional Maori greeting and welcome songs. The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and have a wonderful rich culture. The Maori hosts sang praise songs and prayed for me before my talk. It was an amazing way to start the tour.
After a great time with the pastors and an evening talk to the general public, I was feeling extremely encouraged by the reception we had there. Over the next seven days it was early morning flights to each city for lunch meetings with pastors and local leaders, then evening talks in each town.
My second day I was treated with a trip to the Hobbiton where “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” were filmed, then flown to North Auckland for my second evening talk. I was blessed to see a local pastor and his church so open to host a pro-life event and embrace the message and urgency of the movement. A young woman came with her two children and told us her eyes were opened that night and she has been going crazy on social media since — a very loud voice for life.
My third stop was in Taranaki on the North Island. This was honestly one of the most humbling and special nights of my life. After I spoke I was brought back up on stage where the local Maori people honored me with a ceremony draping me with a Maori Korowai, a traditional cape made of feathers reserved for Chiefs, Elders and Dignitaries. I was prayed over and given the Korowai as they embraced the message of life. I also met a young Maori girl named Rawinia who caught fire that night for the unborn. Her mother and her were friends of one of my hosts, Hillary, and have committed to being very involved with pro-life. Rawinia wrote to me when I got home and included a poem she wrote after being inspired at my talk. She gave me permission to share it.
See I attended a pro life campaign
And thats honestly when my realization accrued
We’ve been so silent and misguided
That some of our babies miss out
On being nurtured
And that hurts…
It breaks my heart to think
A young girl felt so weak
It breaks my heart to know
That an innocent life
Is taken each week
It breaks my heart to see
That they don’t have a choice to speak
It breaks my heart to hear
That the truth is just a game of hide and seek
You know we just need some unity
Its time to unite
Hand and hand lets stand together
Its time to cease our moment to fight
Cause with gods love and gods spirit
We’ll fight this darkness with light
Amongst the heart break that I feel
I know theres a future thats bright
Baby girl just know theres help out there
Please realise your strength
Even if you feel uneasy and there was no consent
I know its hard
I know its scary
I knows its different for you
But baby girl just know you’re worthy
And with love you’ll pull through
I speak with love
I speak with empathy
I speak with the truth
I speak with soul
I speak with everything within me for healing our generations my goal
IF YOU’RE WORRIED
IF YOU’RE HURT
IF YOU’RE LOST
KNOW I’M HERE
AND IF YOU’RE FEELING ALONE
JUST KNOW THERE’S SOMEWHERE WHO’LL CARE
I don’t judge
I don’t critique
Because we’ve all got our battles
But may i ask you just one favor
Close your eyes and imagine that beautiful sound of a rattle…
The next four nights I was in Hawks Bay, Dunedin, Wellington and Christchurch, where we had amazing meetings with local pastors and filled-to-capacity evening events. Every stop was crowded with people who were excited to get involved with the pro-life movement in New Zealand and wanting to know how they can be more active. I talked to a lot of people about social media activism as well as other ways to get involved with local groups like Voice for Life and Hillary’s Law.
Each night Kate would share about Voice for Life and its projects, including a summer internship for young adults that she helps run. Hillary would tell the story of her daughter being taken from school for a secret abortion and her subsequent suicide attempt from depression after the abortion. I was honored to be joined by these two women who are committed to the pro-life cause and volunteered their time to go on this whirlwind tour with me.
Our last stop was Christchurch where I got to see some old friends, including the parents of Andy Moore who first brought me to New Zealand years ago and has since moved to the U.S. He works full-time with the Susan B. Anthony List as a social media manager and contributes so much to the pro-life movement.
I departed New Zealand the next morning to fly to Melbourne, Australia, to meet up with Kathy Clubb, the mother of former Stand True intern Josh and an active Priests for Life MEV missionary. Kathy and I joined two members of Parliament from Victoria, Australia, for lunch at Parliament. We met with Bernie Finn and Rachel Carling-Jenkins to discuss the pro-life movement in Australia and in the U.S. Bernie hosted me several years ago for a dinner and the March for Babies there in Melbourne.
That night I gave a talk in Melbourne for Youth for Life Australia and again was excited to see so many old friends from past visits there as well as a couple of friends from Ireland who are part of Youth Defence in their country.
I had such an amazing time Down Under and cannot wait to go back and fight along side of these amazing people for the end of abortion. It’s always so encouraging to see groups from other countries and to experience their resolve to end abortion.
Oceans may separate us but we are joined in spirit and passion for life.