USA (MNN) — This Sunday, January 19 is National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in the United States. It’s close to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court case that legalized abortion on January 22, 1973.
Life Matters Worldwide is one of many ministries working to end abortion and support women in crisis pregnancies. Eric Verstraete, President of Life Matters, says they want to address a specific concern in the pro-life movement: loneliness.
Loneliness in Crisis Pregnancies
For women and men facing crisis pregnancies, abortion is a desperate decision. Most women seeking abortion are scared and feel very alone.
Verstraete encourages the Church to remember that the goal of pro-life ministry is not just to end abortion, but to love these lonely, scared women and be Jesus to them.
“Abortion is a horrible thing that happens in our country day-in and day-out. But behind this decision is a story,” Verstraete reminds. “Each one of us has a story and each person who’s struggling with thinking about having an abortion also has a story.
“So as [we] begin to think about life, think about the people behind the stories. Think about people who are hurting, who are trying to decide right now whether or not to have an abortion. Each one of those people has value.”
Loneliness in Ministry
Life Matters discovered there is also great loneliness among pro-life workers.
“We recently did a survey and we found that of the folks that we have the privilege of working with, about 60 percent of those who responded to our survey said that they feel lonely in ministry. To me, this just cannot happen. These frontline warriors who day-in and day-out are putting themselves in the fray to really stand for life, they feel lonely, they feel like they’re not connected and that’s a problem.”
Their solution is two-fold. First, Life Matters is working to better support and connect pro-life workers and pregnancy care centers.
“We want to individually get out to these pregnancy care centers and actually do training with them, spiritually equipping them, teaching them how to better and more effectively share the Gospel, but then also bringing them together in unity with staff,” Verstraete says.
“When they have unity with staff, they as individuals are going to be more healthy. And a healthier individual is going to be more effective in sharing the Gospel. And when that happens, we believe that more babies are going to be saved.”
Second, Life Matters wants to help more local churches link arms with their local pregnancy care centers and pro-life ministries.
“We want them to be praying for these life-honoring ministries. We want them to be learning about them, telling other people about them, serving alongside them, and then giving financially if that’s appropriate.”
For example, Verstraete says, “We’ve got a summit that we do each year, a two-day event for those regionally [in the] Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, [and] Pennsylvania areas…. When you bring people face-to-face together who believe in the same cause, there’s amazing synergy that happens [and] amazing encouragement and networking that happens.”
Loneliness in the Church
Finally, the flip-side to valuing life from conception is also valuing life in the margins. Often, this looks like the terminally ill, chronically ill, and elderly. Verstraete says these groups struggle with loneliness too and often feel forgotten, even by the Church.
That’s why Life Matters also has a program called LIFT (Living in Faith Together). LIFT assists churches in practically and spiritually caring for the elderly and terminally or chronically ill in their congregations.
Verstraete says, “If we’re going to value life at the beginning, we have to value life at the end and we have to show churches how better to connect with that population.
“When we show them value, when we show them worth and you see people connecting with them, I hear time and time again that people go to minister to these elderly folks, and it’s them — the ones who are thinking that they’re going to serve — that actually get served.”
Pray and Reach Out
As we approach National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, please pray for the Church to be united in affirming the God-given value of all life from conception to death.
Ask God to uplift women and men facing crisis pregnancies, pro-life ministry workers, and the elderly and terminally/chronically ill in our churches. Pray for opportunities to minister to one of these groups and let them know they are not alone and they are loved.
Header photo courtesy of Lucas Myers via Unsplash.