Each winter, many northern people vacation in Florida. Their tourism industry is huge. Besides the beaches, there are amusement parks and Disney World. Orlando alone has millions of visitors. We took the kids to Orlando, but the heroes we introduced them to were not Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. Instead of going to see (and be) Goofy, we saw the real heroes of Florida, pro-life rescuers.
My children heard firsthand how the Lord closed down abortuaries, saved souls, and rescued babies. Their heritage of Rescue was greatly strengthened by meeting Lawrence and Alene Reves, old friends and jail mates of mine. We celebrated in Brevard County, a very populated area where all abortuaries have been closed for over ten years. Jay Rogers, Pat McEwen, Patty Laite, and the Pinkstons told of the history of what it took to remove the scourge of local slaughter houses.
We visited Ed Martin in Jacksonville, the faithful veteran of many rescues who still is on the streets evangelizing. As well as beloved old friends, our kids got to meet the tremendous sidewalk counselors Patte Smith and Allura Lightfoot while watching them minister in front of an Orlando death pit where sometimes babies are born before being murdered.
We were in Florida to help with the ballot-access petition drive for their Personhood Amendment (http://www.personhoodflorida.com). Encountering opposition for saving babies wasn’t just old stories for the kids the nights we petitioned outside of the St. Lucie County Fair. The “Fair Association Board” came to “talk to us” accompanied by uniformed officers from the Sheriff’s Department. The director of Personhood Florida, Pastor Bryan Longworth, joined us in gathering signatures, witnessing for Christ, and distributing pro-life literature on County property outside of the gate to the fair.
The organizers of the fair couldn’t understand why we were petitioning and witnessing there, talking about “abortion” to people wanting to have fun. People were signing and taking the literature. Claiming to be “pro-life Christians too,” they denounced us and our peaceful actions. They had even had a few complaints, so they said. We were “officially” asked to leave. We “officially” stayed. They “officially” called higher-ups on the phone. We “officially” called upon the Most High in prayer.
I handed the van keys and phone over to my wife when it appeared that they were ready to haul us off to jail for exercising our freedoms. No, they weren’t impressed by Pastor Bryan’s quotation of the First Amendment part about the right to “petition for redress of grievances.” Thankfully, their leaders told them that we were right and that they couldn’t arrest us just for petitioning. One barking deputy demanded “government-issued-identification” and was irritated when my son respectfully declined, “I’m thirteen and don’t have any.” They really didn’t like it when we recorded their “official” conversation.
One of the voters who signed (amidst the interruptions from the officials) thanked us profusely, “I was rescued from abortion. Give me some blanks so I can help too. Thank you so much!”
Those nights at the fair, seeing a courageous pastor stand calmly against tyranny, etched upon the souls of my children how to live: free in Christ. When Pastor Bryan told them later of his past rescues and having spent a total amount of three years in various jails for saving babies, they knew they were in the presence of real faith. Those stories, that faith, combined with what they had just seen and experienced, deepened their Rescue roots. My prayer is for those roots to produce much fruit. “Dad, when do we get to do big Rescues and shut down more death-pits?”
“Soon children, soon, I pray.”
The highlight of the month was the two-week Florida Personhood Tour led by Missionaries to the Preborn. Their tremendous report and pictures are here: http://www.missionariestopreborn.com/flpersonhood.html and here is an encouraging video from Pastor Matt Trewhella about it: http://vimeo.com/10552669. From riding in Ron Brock’s Truth Truck to displaying signs to passing out boxes of petitions, our whole family was greatly blessed by participating with one of America’s most effective ministry groups.
We skipped Disney World to experience the real world – the spiritual and cultural wars in Florida, while our kids had a great time standing for Jesus and the babies.
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