Look what the Lord has done in 2016. It has been an amazing year of ministry for Cities4Life™ here in Charlotte. 1 Peter 1:6 says “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.” As you may know, having kept up with our social media and emails, we have had many reasons to rejoice. But along with that comes various trials. I want to share some of the stories of what God is doing in our city to encourage those who pray, give, and are involved in the ministry.
First off, having been involved in frontline prolife ministry for over a decade in a more volunteer capacity has been such a blessing to my family. Our children have grown up learning how to serve others and have seen firsthand the effect that the Gospel has on the lives of those we reach out to. My wife has been able to use her nursing skills to reach abortion minded women and also to share her testimony of our own crisis pregnancy situation when we were in high school. I say all that because as I serve as Director of Cities4Life, now in a full time ministry position, it has also been a blessing to our family. I am able to pour the gifts God has given me, and my family, into moms and dads we meet at the clinics and beyond. We are also able to encourage and equip our volunteers who tirelessly serve in this ministry. In April it will be 2 years that I have been serving as director of Cities4Life, and I have to say it has been the most trying but also the most rewarding 2 years of my life.
Sadly, this year started out fairly busy at the abortion clinics here in Charlotte. The first day of the new year that they were open the Latrobe clinic was a little slow but the next Monday the parking lot was so full it was hard to count all people that were there for abortions. It seemed to start very busy for the Latrobe abortion clinic but as the year went on we saw it slowly drop off. Some days seeing a 15%-20% drop in patients and for that we are thankful.
One encouraging story to share that took place earlier this year. K and J came to the Latrobe abortion clinic seeking an abortion. K already had two children and wasn’t planning on another. When our Cities4Life counselor told them about the free ultrasound available they took her up on the offer and went onboard. After seeing their baby on the ultrasound and hearing of all the help we were offering they chose LIFE! We have been blessed to walk alongside K and J and even help them through a few struggles they have had. They have joined us on the sidewalks and even brought a group to one of the prayer walks our friends at Love Life Charlotte held. They feel so blessed to have their little boy, who’s now 4 months old and is as cute as a button. This is one of many, many stories we can tell of how God took a family on the brink of making a terrible decision and turned their whole life around. K wrote to our sidewalk counselor the other day “I wake up smiling and enjoying every second, God has given me forgiveness and guidance to make the best decision in my whole 26 years, to choose life for my baby. Last year I didn’t know any better when I went inside and then met you on the RV. I was a wreck and terrified of what the outcomes were mentally and financially. I had no home, nowhere to go and no family. Vicky, you gave us the encouragement and help that we needed to get by through my pregnancy.”
Our Cities4Life baby shower ministry has been blessed to be able to meet the needs of quite a few families that we encountered at the local abortion clinics and beyond. Cities4Life has worked very closely for years with Truth and Mercy Ministries (who does baby showers for moms in crisis pregnancy situations), but we’ve encountered so many moms in need we decided last year to start a baby shower ministry of our own to supplement the wonderful work that Truth and Mercy does. This year we have been able to provide 21 families with practical help through our baby shower ministry. One story in particular comes to mind of a young lady we showered back in September. Her situation, like most every mom that we minister to, was a difficult one. One of most touching parts of her whole story how overjoyed her mom, the grandmother of the baby, was to see the loads of baby items provided by those who donated their time and resources to meet their needs. This young lady had chosen LIFE and even prayed to surrender her LIFE to Jesus as Lord. The baby shower served to encourage her in her new found faith and to show her the tangible love of her Heavenly Father.
Again there are so many stories I could share of the 428 moms who chose LIFE this year. But I’m sure you get the idea. God is faithful to do amazing things if His people just show up. One important thing that needs to be mentioned is that every aspect of this ministry is about sharing the Gospel. Whether it’s on the sidewalks, throwing a baby shower, or connecting a mom with other practical help, our volunteers are lovingly pointing these families to Jesus. After all the Gospel is what breaks the cycle that many of these ladies are caught in. This year we have had the honor of being part of leading at least 15 moms to Jesus and countless others have heard the Gospel. We’ve had a front seat at seeing lives saved and transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.
Looking ahead to 2017 we are seeking to follow the Lord in all He has for us in the coming year. Of course, we will continue to expand our sidewalk ministry. We are committed to being a faithful Gospel presence at the local abortion clinics. That requires finding, training, and equipping new sidewalk counselors which can be a full time job in and of itself. We are also looking into some strategic targeted ads on Facebook which will be able to reach women who are inside the clinic.
Another thing that is on my heart is to expand the reach of Cities4Life nationally. We currently have Cities4Life chapters in 5 other cities but I receive calls, Facebook messages, and emails from all over the nation and even the world from people who see what God is doing in Charlotte and are wanting to begin in their city. The Proclaim, Provide, Protect, Pray model of Cities4Life is effective and Biblical, and those who see the fruitfulness of it want to see it implemented in their city.
I wanted to share these things with you, so you would be encouraged that God is doing wonderful things through His people in this city. I also ask that you stand with us in prayer as we seek to be led by the Lord in carrying out the mission He has called us to. If you are excited by what you see happening at the abortion clinics here in Charlotte, please consider partnering with us in this crucial mission of rescuing the unborn and bringing the Gospel to the darkest of places.