It’s too important not to sign up for our next Sidewalk Advocate training on January 25th. This is one of the most effective ways to learn conversational techniques that have saved nearly 8,000 lives on the sidewalk including hundreds of lives saved right here in Pensacola!
Below, please find a story of a father impacted by the presence of a local sidewalk advocated in Pensacola, whose conversation changed his life forever.
Fathers Suffer Too: An Advocates Story
One of the most memorable sidewalk advocate encounters was with a father. One Friday morning as we were praying and doing outreach on the sidewalk, a man with two beautiful children in the club cab of his heavy-duty white pick-up truck, pulled up to me on the sidewalk as I offered him information about local resources. He took the information to and we began to converse.
I asked him who he was with at the abortion facility. He said he was with his wife. She was pregnant with their third child. I asked him if they were there for an abortion. He said yes. He said he was not certain how he felt. He knew his wife was against having a third baby as they experienced financial strain. She was overwhelmed with the two kids they already had. I looked at the children in the back, who sat quietly in the back, peacefully, as if they were waiting for someone to help their dad.
I then asked if he knew of anyone who has suffered from the trauma of abortion. Immediately tears began to fill his eyes. He said yes. He told me that he and his high school sweet heart conceived a child. He went off to serve our country in Afghanistan and upon his return without knowing he was a father, he learned that his girlfriend had aborted their child after being pressured by her parents. He stated he has been devastated ever since this discovery. He stated he never talks about it and has never gotten over it. This very big masculine man, whose hands were nearly triple the size of my hands, was in tears. As a fellow father, I began to tear up with him. We talked about the pain he has and continues to go through. I told him that he no longer has to suffer. I told him that we could help him. I asked him if we could pray. He said yes. As I held his hands in prayer as I reached into his truck, I prayed for this young father, his wife, and his family that they would have the courage to choose life, that they would have the courage to trust us to help him. We were both sobbing together as the power of the Holy Spirit took over the situation.
I began to ask him how much he loved his wife. He said very much. I then asked if he wanted his wife to go through the same pain that he has suffered. Last time he had no control over the situation. This time he does. This time he was present. This time he had an opportunity to say something. He had an opportunity to break the cycle that has been impacting him for years. He stated that he wanted to keep their baby, but felt that he could not interfere with her choice. I told him that I bet she really feels the opposite. She wants you to care about her decision. I explained that she most like is sitting in the waiting room hoping that he would come and say, “Everything is going to be okay. We don’t have to do this. We are going to get through this together. We don’t need to do this. Let’s go home and take care of our family together.” He began to tear up again, as if fear was taking him over, and the gravity of their decisions were weighing on him. He responded with an, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I can go in there.” I offered to stand beside his truck as he went in to watch his kids for him. He was not comfortable with that. Knowing that he remained on the fence, I began to say a quick prayer asking to Lord to give me the words to help this father in such turmoil.
I said to him, “Do you know you are shell shocked like a soldier on the battle field. Right now, if you don’t wake us, your child is going to lose their life. Also, your wife is going to be experiencing major trauma. It’s as if you are on the battle filed and bullets are flying everywhere and if you don’t do something, you battalion, in this case, your family, will lose their lives. I then said, “Wake up soldier, before its too late. Wake up. Your wife and your child need you to wake up and go rescue them.”
I could tell this was reaching him, but I did not know if it was enough to react. His kids were getting hungry, so he had to take them to breakfast. He needed to leave soon. I asked if I could get his number. I gave him mine and I told him he could reach me through the number on our brochure. I told him that I would be praying for him and I encouraged him to come back quickly and make an effort to speak with his wife. As he drove away, I was uncertain as to how this would go. I left it in the Lord’s hands.
I remember praying for this man, this father, his wife, and his family as I drove to work. I asked my wife and kids to pray as they watched me speak with this father for 45 minutes. As I arrived at work, backing up into my parking spot. I received a text on my cell phone. After I put the car in park, I read the text message. It was from the dad I was just speaking with, it read, “Life saved. We are going home. Thank you for all of your help.”
I jumped with joy and I walked into work that day. I called my wife and family to tell them the good news. On the way home from work, I called my new friend. I wanted to let him know that I was here for him if he needed anything. He picked up the phone and we had a quick conversation. He thanked me for helping him see what he needed to do. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help. He said, “We are going to be just fine.”
That was my last conversation with him, nearly 3 years ago, but I continue to call his number at least once a year, as his number remains the same. With each call I leave him a message of encouragement and let him know I am praying or him.
I thank God that I was there that day. I thank God for the training I received through sidewalk advocates. The gift of “dialogue” does save lives. Love on the sidewalk, expressed through words and actions, is saving lives, one life at a time.