Sidewalk Warriors for Life

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Sidewalk counselor Ruth Westra looks for distraught pregnant women outside an abortion clinic in Grand Rapids, Mich. Meanwhile, at a large restored home next door called Omega House, Christians fervently pray for the pregnant women who come to the clinic.

Westra said some of the pregnant women say they are believers or that they go to church. “I ask, ‘What is your situation with the Lord?’” Westra said.

She said some clinic clients shout verbal abuse at sidewalk counselors, while others who seem reluctant are coerced to enter the clinic by a male companion or parent. “Sometimes I dread going,” Westra said. “It’s a difficult place to be, and it’s not fun in the winter. But it’s not about what we want. It’s about where God wants us to be.”

Westra, a member of First Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center, Mich., said than in 14 years of counseling, she has seen women and couples change their minds about abortion at the last minute—due, she says, to the prayers of members from her church and other prayer warriors.

“The thing that keeps me going is when there is a ‘turnaround,’” said Bert Vandentop, one of those prayer warriors.

That happened recently when “Debbie” decided against abortion and gave birth this spring. The church threw a baby shower, and Sunday school students donated enough money for a stroller and car seat. A businessman gave the new mom a van.

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