Stand True Summer Mission Trip Report Part One
It is hard to believe we are already three weeks into the 2011 Stand True Summer Pro-life Mission Trip. While yesterday was a day off in Chicago with the Gulden family to enjoy pizza, laundry, fireworks and fellowship, we are back on the road again getting ready for Lifest in Wisconsin.
Our first stop was at the National Right to Life Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, which included a day of praying at the local abortion mill. We were excited to get to meet the wonderful women who were working at the local pregnancy help center right in between two abortion mills.
Our good friend Joshua Edmonds from Georgia joined us for the week at the NRLC convention along with Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and Janet Morana of the Silent No More Campaign. We hung out with and took in some great pro-life talks from Bobby Schindler, Abby Johnson, Steve Ertelt and so many more.
One of the highlights of the NRLC convention was meeting all the young winners of state oratory contests and seeing their passion for the pro-life movement. We loved talking to them and hearing their ideas and seeing the future/present of this movement in action.
Next we had to split the team in two as we hit Cornerstone and Creation Festival, which were going on simultaneously.
We normally just give you a short report from each festival but I really wanted to share with you the journal that Lerryn, one of our missionaries kept of her experience at Creation Festival:
Wednesday: So, we’re in Pennsylvania at the largest Christian music festival in America. Who knew Pennsylvania was so beautiful! It has been awesome weather the whole time we’ve been here and I love the scenery. I also love the atmosphere; we’ve got tons of people taking literature and are very interested in learning more about abortion!
At the beginning of each day, we pray together. Yesterday we were trampled when the doors opened; so we prayed after we’d been open for an hour… not my favorite. Anyway, whenever I pray for the booth, I always pray that God would send us some hard people, people we can really talk with and explore the tough questions people have about abortion. People are always very surprised that we ask for that, but I figure that’s what we’re here for, to stretch people and make them think (and hopefully plant that pro-life seed). Believe it or not, either most Christians here are pro-choice or they just don’t care. I think it’s mostly the second one, although I am painfully aware there are people here that support the killing of babies because they believe the lie of ‘choice’.
Thursday: God provided! We had some really awesome conversations yesterday, not necessarily debates or anything, just some really good talks. We answered questions about talking to people who don’t believe in God and why they should still have a solid pro-life argument, and we talked about how science and faith are not opposed, as some would have us believe, but they actually work together in a beautiful way. We talked to people who were in pain over a loved one’s choice, and we talked to a woman who kept her child (and had him with her! Six months old, the little cutie pie) and can’t imagine life without him.
God has a funny sense of humor. During my conversation with this young mother, we were having a really personal moment, and Family Force 5 started playing from the main stage and basically burst our eardrums and made everyone laugh a little. Can you imagine telling this girl something so intimate about this struggle you’ve been through, and “Love Addict” comes on? Oh my. It was funny.
Today has been a real challenge. We prayed again this morning for tough, meaningful conversations, and they have come in abundance.
We talked to radical idealists, apathetic teens, and hurting men and women. I spoke with a man who looked at some of our graphic image book and asked me if this was still legal in our country. Do people really not know about abortion still? We have so much work to do. These are voters, influencing the pro-choice movement with just their ignorance. And I’m not sure it’s their fault. He had no idea about abortion, and sure he could go online and research it, but really, it’s society’s problem. They have made killing a person so nonchalant that it isn’t on people’s radar at all.
I spoke to a man who speaks all over the country on behalf of his daughter, who has Down Syndrome. Did you know that over 93% of all Down Syndrome children are aborted? Our society has said that these human beings do not meet their standards of perfection, and therefore deserve to be killed because we determine their lives less valuable than ours. Since when does a disability make you any less human?
I hurt for this man. I hurt for his family! Can you imagine if the world said your precious daughter was not valuable, or worthy of life, simply because she was different?
It’s been a hard day, and it’s only halfway over. We still have at least 6 hours to go.
God answers our prayers when we pray for his will.
Friday: This morning, we prayed again for tough conversations, and again, the Lord provided in abundance.
Someone asked us what we thought about the aborted babies going to heaven, and then proceeded to tell us it was better to abort them so they could go to heaven than to let them be born and run the risk of going to hell after rejecting God. I talked with him for about twenty minutes and it was a good conversation… even though he was crazy. He thought we were good Samaritans by sending them to heaven, and couldn’t see there wasn’t a difference between abortion and killing a toddler for the same reasons.
Lots of people are asking questions and we’re happy to answer them.
Spiritually, I’m exhausted. It’s the middle of a festival. Just have to make it one more day. I’m exhausted because God is really teaching me so much here. Sometimes I get so caught up in how much I know about abortion and how passionate I am, that I forget that God has so much to teach me about other things.
During the summer, we meet a lot of people that are quick friends. Most of them work for other touring organizations and we spend the summer at festivals all together. I’m so glad to be back with some of those friends, many of who take the place of my family for the summer. I love the community that we have. After the booth closes, or on breaks, we chat about life, tough questions, challenges, and the joys in life. Whenever I’m with these people, I just feel really satisfied, like this is what God created me for.
Saturday: Last night, I took my first shower. I thought you should know that.
Also last night, I saw one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, 50,000 people with lit candles on a hill, singing worship songs to the Creator of the universe. It was gorgeous.
Sunday: We drove to meet the rest of our team at Cornerstone for the last night. Long story short, 16 hours in a small car packed with stuff, and we may have gotten lost a few times. Maybe. We got to Bushnell and went to catch the last show at Cornerstone… The Chariot with Listener, and a bit of a Gungor worship set.
I can’t even describe how awesome God is right now and the things he’s doing with our team are unexplainable.
The rest of the team and I were excited to have Mike and Lerryn back with us as a complete team again. While we may have been separated by distance, we were working together in solidarity, fighting for this generation and a culture of life.
Cornerstone was so difficult this year as the crowd was very small and the first few days were registering heat indexes between 100 and 110 degrees. We chugged a lot of water and had to go buy a couple of electric fans for the booth; of course the power went out as soon as we got the fans. We tried very hard to strike up conversations the first few days, but everyone seemed to be just overwhelmed by the heat.
The last two days of the festival got much better as the weather got a bit cooler and people started to strike up conversations with us. It was really started by the best news we have received all summer. A girl told us about how she got a post card from us a few years ago about the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity and participated at her school. She said that a couple of years later a boy from her school told her that seeing her do that is what convinced him to be pro-life and then shortly after that he was able to talk a friend out of abortion. Praise God, another baby alive because of the work we do at these festivals.
From that moment on the conversations got better and we were able to have some great ministry. It breaks our hearts when we see so many young people from a Christian background who have bought into the lies of this world. Every year reconfirms to me why we MUST be at these festivals.
We are excited to see what God will do this week in Wisconsin; please continue to pray for us and for the work we are doing.
While the ministry was plentiful at the festivals this year, the shirt sales, which help us pay for this mission trip, have been down by over 50%. If you believe in what we are doing this summer please consider making a donation to Stand True.
or send a check to Stand True – PO Box 890 – Troy, OH 45373
Here are some photos from the Summer Mission Trip so far: