impact reports

Five Days in Northeast Kansas

Impact Report
September 2019

Our team gathered from all over the country a few weeks ago (September 8-12) to train students from Benedictine College in northeast Kansas and to conduct outreach with those students both at Benedictine and at the University of Kansas (KU). This Impact Report gives you a glimpse of what our team accomplished during those five days. Please join us in praying for the students you see pictured here.

Sunday (Benedictine College): Kaitlyn Donihue speaks to 28 students (not all pictured) who attended the Sunday seminar. Ten returned on Monday night for advanced dialogue training.

Monday (Benedictine College): 28 additional students attended an evening workshop.

Tuesday (Benedictine College): From left to right, Tammy (light blue shirt), Grace (red hat), Kaitlyn (blue hat), Jeremy (blue shirt), and Jon (shorts) engage students in conversation.

Wednesday (KU): Eric (right), president of the Wichita chapter of Life Runners, talks with a KU student.

Sunday (Benedictine College): Jeremy Gorr steps into the “blue box” as he helps students think through “who would be in and who would be out” if various explanations of equal rights were true.

Monday (Benedictine College): In our conversations during outreach at Benedictine, we encouraged students to join us for a workshop that evening at Benedictine and outreach later in the week at KU.

Wednesday (KU): Catherine (left) was one of nine Benedictine College students who participated in the outreach at KU.

Thursday (KU): Tammy Cook (right) interacts with a passerby at KU.

Thursday (KU): Paul Kulas (center) and volunteer Rebekah (second from right) interact with students near the poll table at KU.

Thursday (KU): JFA staff members and volunteers paused for a quick photo at the end of our second outreach day at KU. Among them are three Benedictine students who traveled more than an hour each way to spend about an hour at KU with our team.

Faithful in the Field

November 2018

This Impact Report features pictures of recent outreach events. We’ve been testing a new smaller type of sign as well as content from our new dialogue brochure.

To complement the pictures, I’ve asked each of our trainers to select the names of a couple of people you have helped us reach in the past few months. Let’s give thanks to God for each of these and many more we’ve had the opportunity to serve.

We are privileged to stand with you each month training Christians to create conversations that make a difference in how people think and feel about abortion. Our aim is always to stay faithful in the field, trusting God to bring change through our efforts, in spite of our weaknesses. Please consider continuing to stand with us through prayers and a generous year-end gift.

- Steve Wagner, Executive Director

Rebecca Hotovy (sitting) interacts with a student at KU. Volunteer Pauline listens.

“Thank you for helping me share with ‘Ben’ how valuable he is. He felt children with cleft pallet should be aborted because he had a cleft pallet and knew how society had treated him. He was very lonely. Thanks also for helping me mentor Ashley, pro-life club president at the University of Kansas (KU), during her third outreach with JFA!” – Rebecca Hotovy

Pauline volunteered again at OU. Here Tammy Cook and Pauline interact with a student near the Free Speech Board.

“One of the standout students that I mentored this fall was Nate. He said, ‘Loved this training today. It felt like I gained so much more knowledge. Definitely changed what I thought was supposed to be having a debate with someone, to genuinely caring and kind and having a conversation.’ A chain reaction has begun as Nate uses what he learned to make an impact for God’s kingdom. I’m also thankful for a student named Sarah at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Through her personal experience with losing a child, I was reminded to lean into the Holy Spirit in tough conversations, especially when discussing the topic of losing a child, whether to abortion or miscarriage. Thank you for your sacrifices that make our work possible.” – Tammy Cook

Steve Wagner (center) interacts at GMU.

“I thank God for the chance to interact with ‘Andrew’ at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia. He really wrestled with what explains equal rights and whether the unborn should be included. I also talked in depth with a young woman at GMU who claimed to be a Christian but who believed women can get abortions because they have a right to their bodies. I had the privilege of mentoring and encouraging Sarah, a high-school student who courageously shared her faith and her pro-life view with students at OU for two days. Our team was also encouraged to see other volunteers, including Pauline, Lauren, Jasmin, Ian, Mark Bryant, and Mark Wood, join our team for multiple days of outreach this fall!” – Steve Wagner

At OU, we filled a large expanse of lawn with conversations sparked by content from our Art of Life Exhibit, our Stop and Think Exhibit, and our new Invitation to Dialogue Brochure.

Grace Fontenot (red sweater) interacts with students at UNT. Note the new poll question JFA trainers have been testing.

“This past October during JFA’s outreach at OU, I was able to mentor a high school student named Haven. Haven is only 15, but her passion for defending the smallest humans on earth is incredible. Thank you for making it possible for me to encourage and assist in honing her skills as an advocate. Thank you, also, for the gift of making it possible for me to meet Katie in Georgia. Our conversation began with her feeling discouraged and angry and ended with her feeling listened to as we discussed whether or not the unborn is human, what we can do to help women in difficult situations so that they don’t feel that they have to choose abortion, and whether or not Jesus Christ is God. These women are very different from one another, but what they have in common is that they were both impacted by Justice For All, so thank you for making it possible for us to pour into people like Haven and Katie.” – Grace Fontenot

“I am thankful for Howa who is passionate about her pro-life beliefs. I was thrilled to be able to tag-team conversation with her on campus. I am also thankful for the opportunity I had to share the truth about abortion and my faith with Abdul, a Muslim student at the University of North Texas (UNT).” – Kaitlyn Donihue

Kaitlyn Donihue (pink) creates conversation at OU. Note how the juxtaposed imagery of mother and child makes it clearer that we care about both.

Jon Wagner debriefs with Christian Heritage Academy students after outreach at OU.

“Thank you for helping me equip Haley last week in Denton, Texas. She was extremely thankful to learn how to take the abortion controversy from contentious debate to healthy dialogue. You helped me reach out to Eva at our UNT outreach event. Although she didn’t shift her view 100%, Eva was challenged by our pro-life perspective. She was thankful that I acknowledged the complexity of foster care. She admitted that abortion doesn’t fix the challenges related to foster care.” – Jon Wagner

Paul Kulas interacts with a student at UMN. New signs enhance JFA’s poll table outreach.

“Thank you for allowing me to train Kyra, a high-school student who joined JFA for outreach at OU. As I mentored her on campus, she was able to see firsthand how the training prepared her for real-life conversations with those of differing views on abortion. I am thankful for meeting Camden, a freshman pro-life student at OU, whom I was able to encourage and challenge to become active in the pro-life movement.” – Paul Kulas

Jeremy Gorr (right) interacts with students near our poll table at Kennesaw State University (KSU).

“Thank you for allowing me to train Max at Christian Heritage Academy who came to the University of Oklahoma (OU) with us and did a great job at outreach. Thank you for allowing me to talk to Matthew at the University of Minnesota (UMN) during outreach, which opened up an ongoing dialogue about abortion, God, and Christianity.” – Jeremy Gorr

Interns in Action

Susanna interacts with “Rachel” at OSU. See “Of Men and of Angels” below for the story.

Having driven from Virginia to Kansas to begin a JFA internship on September 1, 2017, Susanna found herself four days later in Indiana at Purdue University creating conversations. Sensing that conversation was a passion of the JFA team, she jumped in with both feet. By the time her internship ended in June 2018, she had logged over 100 conversations with students on college campuses. In one of those conversations, she talked with “Rachel” (pictured, right) at Oklahoma State University (OSU) and shared the story in her reflection, “Of Men and of Angels” (below).

Kaitlyn interacts with students at WSU in the first week of her internship with Justice For All.

These conversations didn’t happen by chance. JFA’s training team (supported by hundreds of monthly and annual supporters) worked hard to arrange all of the logistical details so that these events could take place.

Throughout her internship, Susanna also jumped with both feet into another JFA passion: training advocates. She learned to deliver the speaking for whole sections of JFA’s workshops and seminars. And she did it like a pro.

Susanna didn’t stop there. She went on to teach JFA material to 30 members of an outreach-oriented mission team at Boardwalk Chapel in Wildwood, New Jersey in July 2018 during three workshops she organized by herself. She’s now a student at George Mason University and one of the inaugural class of fellows in the new JFA Fellowship program. She’s working to partner with JFA as she creates outreach events on her campus.

More conversations. More advocates. Two passions. Susanna explored and exemplified both. That’s also our aim for Kaitlyn, the intern we just welcomed to Wichita a few weeks ago. In fact, during the first two days of her internship, Kaitlyn was with the JFA team on the Wichita State University (WSU) campus creating conversations with students. Now she’s preparing to teach sections of a JFA workshop on October 7 in Minnesota. Like Susanna, Kaitlyn has jumped with both feet into both of JFA’s passions!

Please pray with us for both Susanna and Kaitlyn. We thank God for their dedication to the JFA Internship program, to creating conversations, and to training advocates on into the future. We also thank God for your partnership that makes it possible for our interns to learn to change hearts and minds for a lifetime.

“Of Men and of Angels” by Susanna Buckley (March 2018)

Out of the corner of my eye by Oklahoma State University’s Chi-O Clock, I recognized her. Just moments before, she had walked past me. I had smiled and she had smiled back, but then she kept walking. Now, she was returning in my direction, slowly. I turned and smiled again, “Would you like to sign our poll table?” As if noticing it for the first time, “Rachel” agreed. (See a picture of this conversation on the reverse.) After she finished writing on the “Yes” side of the “Should Abortion Remain Legal?” poll, she waited around to talk to me about her view.

We introduced ourselves, and she said abortion should be legal because of the many difficulties that people discover along the way in pregnancy. I agreed that there are many possible complications and difficulties involved in pregnancy. Rachel then cautiously voiced her belief that the unborn isn’t human. She asked me what I thought about abortion.

Gently, I said, “Before I tell you what I think, can I ask you more questions?” She happily agreed.

“You said you don’t think the unborn is human. Do you mean that in a biological sense or a philosophical sense [i.e. that the unborn doesn’t share our intrinsic value or basic right to life]?”

She grinned. “I just came from a human development class, and I failed philosophy; so let’s talk about biology!”

Carefully and respectfully, she and I went back and forth for a few minutes while I clarified the specifics of her position. Through the answers to five questions, I discovered that she believes the unborn is just a mass of cells in the first two weeks of pregnancy. According to her professor, “You can technically get in there and find human DNA, but it’s not a human yet.”* We discussed this and ended up agreeing that the unborn is biologically human from conception. It was her understanding, however, that the unborn was not significant in value until the third week of development when the new heart and brain are in communication, and he or she starts to look more human in appearance.

I felt that we were getting into the territory of philosophy, so I transitioned us. “Rachel, you asked me what I think about abortion. I think we should value human life in all stages of development, even those humans in life stages to which I am not personally attracted. I cannot relate much to the unborn from conception to three weeks of age, but it is still important to treat it like the human that it is and respect life all the way through development, even to old age. That includes the two-week embryo, all these students around us, and you.”

She paused and stared at me for a moment. When she spoke, she said, “Let me just say, that is the most sensible pro-life view I’ve ever heard. Every other time I’ve had this conversation, the pro-life person just screamed expletives at me and derided me for being a ‘liberal.’”

I expressed sadness at the way she had been treated in the past, and I thanked her for sharing her experience. She went on to say how nice it was to disagree in a free way with me. She had grown up in a liberal environment, I had a conservative upbringing, and we were looking for truth together.

Thinking back on this exchange, I Corinthians 13 has new context for me. Even if I could speak with the tongues of men and of angels, having the most knowledge and scientific facts at my disposal, but I do not love the person I’m talking to, it’s more than worthless – it is that obnoxious sound that hurts, and you wish would just stop. For Rachel, I was the first person with whom she disagreed who had allowed her to express her opinion without attacking her. I hope I’m not the last.

Thank you so much for your support which enables me to create a different kind of conversation about abortion with students like Rachel on college campuses all around the United States.

* Explore biological evidence for the humanity of the unborn at JFA’s “What Is the Unborn?” page, and learn why this professor’s statement was problematic on two counts. (Biologically, it’s false. Also, “human” is ambiguous.)

2,017+ Conversations in 2017

2017 Report

Note: This Impact Report is a bit different than others we’ve written. Rather than reporting a story of the impact that God brought about in someone’s life through JFA, we are sharing a sort of “big picture” view of JFA’s impact through names of people with whom we interacted. Each of the names, and each of the conversations associated with them, points to the “one person at a time” we’re so passionate about training Christians to reach. We love the person in front of us for the same reason we love the unborn child and her parents: each of these human beings has intrinsic, enduring value as someone made in the image of God. Thank you for supporting JFA financially and for praying along with us for each individual story represented by the names in this report. - Steve Wagner, Executive Director

This year we wanted to see how many conversations the JFA community could create, so we counted. We’re excited to report that we logged more than 2,017 conversations in 2017. More important than the number of conversations, though, is what’s at the center of each one: a person.

I just read through the reflections of one of our dedicated volunteers who participated in JFA events in Colorado, Indiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma this year. His name is Mark. Some of the 120 people with whom Mark spoke changed their minds and decided unborn children should be protected from abortion. Others seemed unmoved from their pro-choice positions. Yet Mark is not discouraged. He made a list of names and intends to continue to pray for each person with whom he spoke, believing that although good reasons and dialogue are important to helping people change, God is the one who moves in the heart of the person and causes the seeds Mark planted to take root.

Our staff and volunteers (including Mark) worked together to compile the names of many of these people with whom we were privileged to interact this year. Some were pro-choice. Some were pro-life. Some were undecided or confused or searching prior to the conversation.

Please place your trust in God along with us, asking Him to grow in each of these people a strong and active love for those who are often forgotten—for the smallest humans on earth (unborn children), for women and men in distress (related to unplanned pregnancy or sexual assault), and for those whose appearance or worldview makes them difficult to love (such as pro-choice advocates). Pray that each person we talked to this year will take a next step to love the forgotten in the coming months.

Make Your Own Impact with a Year-End Gift

As you consider your year-end giving, please consider giving generously to JFA to help us train more Christians to create more conversations in 2018. You can give online or send your gift using the instructions at our Donate page. Your gift will help JFA plan more events, hire more staff, and reach more people. Here are just two examples: David Rodriguez and Susanna Buckley served as interns during the fall of 2017, and they have both committed to serve as interns during the spring of 2018. Your gift to the Training Program Fund will pay for their travel to and from outreach events, and it will help us continue to provide a place in the Wichita office where they can grow as dialogue artists and mentors of others. Your gift to the Intern Scholarship Fund will fund paychecks for them or other interns like them. Your gift to the Staff Support Fund or to support a specific staff missionary will fund the salaries of those who mentor these interns. Last month, we shared one beautiful story in which this mentoring made a difference ("Three Miracles in One Conversation"). Our “Invest in JFA” page gives you more detailed information on these and other ways you can make an impact with your gift to JFA. Feel free to use our Contact page to contact me directly to discuss JFA’s vision, strategy, and needs for 2018. Thanks for partnering with JFA!

What I Said on Giving Tuesday Might Surprise You

In case you missed it, please read my Giving Tuesday message to all of JFA's readers who serve behind the scenes by praying, supporting financially, providing homes and meals for our traveling team, volunteering during outreach events, creating conversations in everyday life, and supporting JFA in other ways.  This message provides important context to my request for year-end gifts above.

You Can Help JFA Bring about Stories Like Zachary's

A Special Message from Steve Wagner

Dear Friend,

Whether you read JFA’s letters on a monthly or occasional basis, and whether you read them in paper form or online, I hope you see in every communication from JFA our passion for finding pro-choice advocates, starting conversations with them in a natural way, sharing a defense for unborn children, and responding to objections, all within a framework of loving concern.  Our work is some of the most difficult work pro-life advocates can do, but it’s also some of the most important, if we are ever to see a day when all unborn children are loved as equals. 

In our November 2016 Impact Report, “Small Decisions and Big Results,” I share the story of Grace, Clare, and Zachary, and then I close with a comment about the importance of small decisions.  As you read the last paragraph there, you might feel like the idea of participating with us “on the ground” creating conversations seems out of reach.  Perhaps encouraging your community to learn more about JFA or becoming an intern seems impossible.  Still, you can be a catalyst to help make all of these aspects of JFA’s mission happen – by giving financially to support JFA’s work.

You can be every bit as much a part of JFA’s mission by making a generous special gift or monthly commitment today.  At our Donate page, you can find everything you need in order to become a monthly partner with JFA or to give a special gift.  There you’ll also find information about gift designations and what your gift will accomplish, how to give online using a credit card, and automatic giving options. 

Your gifts to support a staff member designation, our Training Program Fund, our Intern Scholarship Fund, or to support our area of “greatest need” directly impact how many interns we’re able to hire, how many outreach events we’re able to produce, and how many relationships we’re able to build with churches, schools, and other organizations.  These things in turn directly affect the number of pro-life advocates we’re able to train and the number of pro-choice advocates we’re able to engage in conversation so that they can come to their own settled conclusion that abortion is unthinkable.  Thank you for considering partnering with JFA. 

In Christ,

Steve Wagner

Executive Director, Justice For All

 

P.S. I hope that when you read “Small Decisions and Big Results,” you will be just as encouraged as I was to see active, young pro-life advocates creating conversations that make abortion unthinkable.  I hope, though, that you and I won’t stop there, thinking that this is just the job of young people.  The task is too big, and the need is too great.  Please instead consider a small decision to partner with JFA and trust God with us to use each small decision to bring about the “impossible” result of making abortion unthinkable for millions.

Small Decisions and Big Results

Grace Fontenot and Clare Lavergne, two young women from Louisiana, had only been interns with JFA for two months, but they had already been inspired by JFA’s emphasis on creating conversations about abortion every week.  The goal?  Help those who are pro-choice come to their own settled conclusion that abortion is unthinkable, and help those who are pro-life become active advocates for unborn children.

How did Zachary (second from right) get here?  Click here to read the story.

Seeing that there was one week in their internship with no outreach event scheduled, Grace and Clare grabbed a survey clipboard and headed to Wichita State University to start conversations.  Clare described what happened next:

“After a few surveys that resulted in one lengthy conversation about abortion, we asked a few more students to take our survey, but they declined.  So we decided to ask one final person before leaving campus.  The student whom we happened upon was Zachary Lee-Watts.  

Continue reading the story in our short November 2016 Impact Report to see what happened next for Zachary, Clare, and Grace.

New Exhibits: Can We Reach More People?

September 2016 Impact Report

In this Impact Report, Joanna Bai (recently married; previously Wagner) shares a story about a conversation at our new Art of Life Exhibit, and other JFA staff members reflect on what it was like to use our new exhibits in April and May to start conversations.  You’ll notice a theme: With three large exhibits now in the toolbox, we’re experimenting with ways to reach more people by attracting to the conversation many people we would be unlikely to reach with only one exhibit.

Note that this is the third in a special series of Impact Reports giving you an experience of JFA’s new large exhibits through stories and pictures without much prior explanation.  Our July Impact Report introduced the new exhibits.  In August, recent UCLA graduate Meredith Boles shared about a conversation she had at the Stop and Think Exhibit.  As I’ve said previously in this series, we are happy to talk to you at any time to give you further explanation of the exhibits, to hear your comments, and to discuss the thinking behind the exhibits.  You can also see our Exhibits page for pictures and additional information about each exhibit.  - Steve Wagner

***

At UCLA this spring, “Mark” and “Sarah” came up to the Art of Life Exhibit talking excitedly.  As I walked up to them, I overheard Mark mentioning interesting details he had learned regarding the famous paintings by Velázquez and Van Eyck which were prominently displayed on the thirteen-foot-tall panels in front of him.

Joanna (light blue) and UCLA students look up at the Art of Life Exhibit panels (above) during a conversation in May 2016.  See the Art of Life Exhibit in more detail here.

I asked Mark what he thought of the message of the exhibit.  In response he said, “Oh, I don't really know what this is at all.  I just saw the works of art and got really excited.  I had to come over here and see it!”  In fact, he had been so excited that he had brought his friend Sarah with him.

I suspected that once Mark and Sarah began to see that there was another intended purpose for the exhibit in addition to the art itself, they might lose interest and walk away.  But much to the contrary, both remained interested throughout my whole tour of the exhibit, and as interestedly as they had shared their artistic knowledge, they began sharing their views about abortion with me.  Both were pro-choice, but they did not hold identical positions.  I talked with them for a significant amount of time.  My recollection is that it was at least an hour, and Sarah and I were so engaged in dialogue that she skipped one class, and I ended up walking her to another class that afternoon as we were still finishing.

The details of the conversation are fuzzy in my memory, but what stuck out to me was how fabulously the paintings themselves worked to interest these students in a conversation about a totally unexpected topic – abortion.  They (Mark especially) loved the artwork, and it seemed to create an openness in both of them to discuss whatever purpose we had in raising the well-known works of art on their campus that day.  The exhibit seemed a uniquely beneficial starting point that helped them enter into talking about abortion.  - Joanna Bai

***

Tammy Cook opens the original JFA Exhibit Brochure to refer to pictures of human development in a conversation with a UCLA student at JFA’s new Stop and Think Exhibit.

What I like about the Stop and Think Exhibit is that the subject matter seems current because it addresses topics like feminism which are very important to many women, especially women with pro-choice views.  So, as a woman, it gave me a platform to find immediate common ground; and in turn, this helped most people see me as a reasonable person, and it kept them engaged.  At both Colorado State University (CSU) in April and UCLA in May, I saw more pro-choice people rethinking their views on abortion than at any of our previous events this school year.  - Tammy Cook

***

Rebecca Haschke was interviewed by student television during the Art of Life Exhibit at CSU (April 2016).  Watch the coverage here.

I was excited to be sitting in front of a new exhibit that reaches yet another unique group of students.  Several students shared with me that it was the beauty of the Art of Life display that made them stop.  Other students told me they were willing to stop this year because the display wasn’t graphic.  In years past they had avoided coming near the exhibit.  The variety of responses gave me confidence that we are reaching a new group of students with these new exhibits, which is exactly what we want to do!  We desire to have more conversations that change hearts and minds.  To have the flexibility to put up more than one exhibit during an outreach allows us to reach a variety of students we wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to engage.  - Rebecca Haschke

***

I was talking to two students in front of the Art of Life Exhibit at UCLA, and a young woman cut into the conversation asking if she could record our conversation since she is a reporter for FemNews, a UCLA magazine.  I hesitated, knowing that audio recordings can be manipulated, but I decided to extend the benefit of the doubt to her and said it was fine.  She put many questions to me, such as, “What about back-alley abortion?” and “Since people disagree about abortion, how can we make a law about it?”  I think she was surprised by my willingness to give ground, to find points of agreement, and to qualify my statements with concern for women both outside and inside the womb.  I was uncertain what kind of treatment our conversation would get in FemNews, but her report, while confidently pro-choice, ended up being pretty fair.  [See the FemNews article here.]  The pro-life perspective I shared with the people in the conversation was heard, and unlike many articles, I think my words were relayed to the audience verbatim.  So, a whole new audience got to hear some of the logic of the pro-life position, and that audience also witnessed our heart for all human beings, including women and men struggling with unplanned pregnancies.  Not only that, through the images of the Art of Life Exhibit, the FemNews audience saw that we are interested in a different sort of conversation about abortion, one that sometimes uses beauty as a starting point.  I am hopeful for more dialogue in the future with the woman who wrote the article.  - Steve Wagner

***

JFA trainers Catherine Wurts (second from left) and Jeremy Gorr (right) dialogue with UCLA students about abortion at the Art of Life Exhibit in May.

It made me reflect that in order to make abortion unthinkable we need to reach all kinds of people, and different kinds of people respond to different types of things.  Therefore, it is important to utilize all types of exhibits and approaches to reach all types of people.  I liked how the new exhibits confused people – many expected something else entirely.  This seemed to make some people stop that wouldn’t have otherwise.  I enjoyed seeing and hearing their surprise and, in some cases, delight.  - Jeremy Gorr

Note: Although the actual date of this posting was December 15, 2016, it was back-dated to the original date the letter was sent to supporters.

How JFA Helped Me Reach My Campus: Meredith's Story

Meredith Boles, a recent graduate of UCLA and member of Live Action UCLA, tells about her recent experience with JFA and JFA's new exhibits, including a conversation with a young woman named Amanda.  Read her story in JFA's August Impact Report, "How JFA Helped Me Reach My Campus."

Note: This post was backdated from December 21, 2016 (its post date) to August 21, 2016 (the publish date of the Impact Report) so that it would appear in the blog on approximately the date it was sent to supporters. 

Two New Exhibits: A First Look

Note: This Impact Report (print version dated July 2016) is the first of a series of Impact Reports which focus on JFA’s newly-expanded large exhibit campus outreach program.

 

One exhibit for fifteen years.  Two new exhibits in three days.  What’s going on?

 

I wish you could have been there to experience it with us.  After displaying one large exhibit on 40 campuses for more than 250 days over the past 15 years, the JFA team raised the nine panels of a new large exhibit called The Art of Life at Colorado State University (CSU) on April 18 and April 19.  Then on April 20, we raised the panels of another new exhibit called Stop and Think.  A month later we used both exhibits again to create dialogue at UCLA. 

Far from replacing the original Justice For All Exhibit built in 2000, these two new exhibits simply increase our options for large-format outreach.  For any given day of outreach, we can now choose to display the original JFA Exhibit, the Art of Life Exhibit, or the Stop and Think Exhibit.

Our goal with Art of Life and Stop and Think is to try some new things without losing touch with the original JFA Exhibit which has become a mainstay of JFA’s conversations with pro-choice advocates and JFA’s training program for pro-life advocates.  Indeed, while conducting conversations with passersby in front of these new exhibits, we are still using the original JFA Exhibit Brochure to help people connect with the humanity of the unborn and the inhumanity of abortion.  The Brochure is also still the main resource passersby can take with them from our exhibit conversations.

These new exhibits are part of an ongoing research and development project which the JFA team restarted with new energy last year, thanks to generous supporters of JFA.  These exhibits look different than the original JFA Exhibit, and this is very intentional.  We are still the same JFA, though, and we are still driven by the same twin passions: engaging hundreds of pro-choice advocates in conversations in each single day of outreach and training pro-life advocates to skillfully create those conversations wherever God places them.  In fact, it’s precisely our mission of training thousands to make abortion unthinkable for millions, one person at a time that is causing our team to seek to discover new ways to reach more people.

In the galleries below, we’d like to give you a first look at these new exhibits and allow you to experience them in much the same way that students first see them on campus, without much prior explanation.  Along with the galleries, five JFA staff members share stories of conversations and reflections from these recent events.  To learn more about the exhibits, please feel free to contact me or any JFA trainer.  We are happy to answer questions, listen to your comments, or delve deeper into the thinking behind our new exhibits.  You can also use the links at the bottom of each page to explore the exhibits.

I hope you enjoy learning about these new exhibits as much as we enjoyed creating them and using them in these recent outreach events.

- Steve Wagner, for the JFA Team

 

The Art of Life - An Exhibit by Justice For All

***

I spoke to “Cori” at UCLA who identified herself as pro-choice.  After asking more about her view, it turned out that she was only in favor of abortion in the case of rape.  I pointed to the feminism panels on the Stop and Think Exhibit and explained the picture of a first-trimester, suction abortion.  She said that prior to this she had never seen abortion.  I opened up our brochure to show her an eight-week embryo and explained that this was what a human embryo looked like before a suction abortion.  She thought for a moment and then said that she believed that all abortions should be illegal.  - Tammy Cook

***

At UCLA in front of the Art of Life Exhibit, I spoke with two sweet young women, Ani and Angela.  They were both “personally pro-life” but each gave reasons why abortion should stay legal.  Ani, a Christian, thought abortion is justified in certain “hard cases,” while Angela said the question should be left up to the individual pregnant woman, taking into account how she feels about her circumstances and what she believes about when the unborn becomes a human being.  Looking up at the “poverty” panel on the exhibit, the three of us found a lot of common ground as we discussed the difficulty of poverty, especially for single mothers.  The girls agreed with me however that, as difficult as poverty is (e.g. for the woman represented in the painting), it could not possibly justify a mother taking the lives of her already-born children.  After a few more questions, both girls became quiet.  I could tell their wheels were turning.  After a minute, Angela smiled at me, so I asked what was on her mind.  She said, “I thought it was up to the person and the circumstance, but I guess it’s not so much about that – it is a human from the beginning.”  - Catherine Wurts

***

In front of the three feminism signs on the Stop and Think Exhibit, two CSU students, Kevin and Megan, stopped to ask about the exhibit.  Kevin personally thought abortion was wrong but that it should be legal.  Megan felt abortion should be legal in most cases.  Because of the panels set in front of us, we discussed women's rights and the foundational reason that explains why women deserve to be treated equally – our human nature.  The conversation then turned to the fact that the unborn also have this same human nature: “So shouldn’t the unborn be included in the group that is granted equal rights if the unborn have this same human nature?”  Although she didn’t change her mind during our conversation, at the end of the conversation Megan extended her hand to shake mine and said, “Thank you so much for this conversation.  You have given me a lot to go home and think about.”  - Rebecca Haschke

***

We turned some of the Art of Life Exhibit panels into coloring pages and then set up a coloring station.  That quickly became my new favorite spot to start conversations at our outreach event.  (I’ve asked many questions in front of Justice For All exhibits, but “Would you like to color with me?” was new.)  My second conversation that took place at our coloring station was with three high school girls who were just visiting CSU for the day.  As we added our own unique spin on classic pieces of art, I learned about their views on abortion.  At the beginning of the conversation, one of the three girls was pro-life, but by the end of the conversation all three girls were pro-life!  My favorite part of the conversation happened when I talked to the girls about how we have equal rights because we are human and how the unborn should have the same equal rights because she is human as well.  With wide eyes the girls looked at me and one of them exclaimed, “Well, I guess I have to be pro-life now!”  - CK Wisner

***

My first few experiences with these displays reminded me that we can’t ever be totally sure which method or which exhibit will impact the greatest number of people, but when we stand for truth and interact with grace, we can be sure that God will open doors for many lives to be changed through the efforts.  - Jon Wagner

More Conversations and More Advocates (Spring 2016 Report)

At JFA, we prize one-to-one conversations and the opportunity to help pro-life advocates develop skills for one-to-one conversations.  What isn’t always obvious when you look at stories of those conversations is a different sort of story—what it took to bring those conversations into being. 

Every semester, I look with pride at the list of high-quality events we’ve just completed across many states, awed by what JFA’s staff, volunteers, and supporters were together able to accomplish with God’s help.  Spring 2016 was a good example, as you’ll see in this Impact Report highlighting our work across nine states, including 12 seminars, various presentations, and 16 days of outreach on nine campuses.  Our passions for more conversations and more advocates animated and emanated from every one of these events. 

Thank you for your generous gifts to JFA to help us continue to work to make abortion unthinkable.  We’re honored to serve alongside you.

Georgia

(Jeremy Gorr, Rebecca Haschke, Jon Wagner, Joanna Wagner, CK Wisner)

  • February 19: Interactive Seminar (Roswell)
  • February 20: Interactive Seminars (Roswell, Athens)
  • February 20: Interactive Workshop (Smyrna) 
  • February 21: Interactive Seminar (Kennesaw)
  • February 22-23: Outreach at Kennesaw State Univ. (Kennesaw)
  • February 24-25: Outreach at Univ. of Georgia (Athens)
February: Jon Wagner (center) teaches during a seminar preceding outreach at University of Georgia.

February: Jon Wagner (center) teaches during a seminar preceding outreach at University of Georgia.

Bakersfield, California

(Catherine Wurts, serving Right to Life of Kern County with Mentors from Right to Life of Central California)

  • March 5: Interactive Seminar
  • March 7-8: Outreach at California State University, Bakersfield
The JFA training and outreach in Bakersfield was outstanding. The civil discourse, the fact-based information, and the consistent effort to find common ground prompted numerous thoughtful discussions with students. Those who stopped by the display were fascinated by the pre-born imagery and seemed eager to share their views and listen to ours. Of all our pro-life efforts last year, the JFA outreach in Bakersfield was by far the most impactful.
— Marylee Shrider, Executive Director, Right to Life of Kern County

Stillwater, Oklahoma

(JFA Team)

  • March 21-22: Outreach at Oklahoma State University
March: During outreach at Oklahoma State University (OSU), JFA Volunteer Carson Banks (who also helped invite JFA to campus through his work with the OSU student organization Cowboys for Life) interacts with other OSU students.

March: During outreach at Oklahoma State University (OSU), JFA Volunteer Carson Banks (who also helped invite JFA to campus through his work with the OSU student organization Cowboys for Life) interacts with other OSU students.

Fresno, California

(Catherine Wurts, with Mentors from Right to Life of Central California—RLCC)

  • March 31: Interactive Workshop
  • April 2: Interactive Seminar
  • April 4: Outreach at Fresno City College
  • April 5: Outreach at California State University, Fresno

Highlight: JFA/RLCC Mentor Marcos Espinoza led his interactive small group at the seminar in Fresno entirely in Spanish—a first for JFA.

Lawrence, Kansas

(Tammy Cook, Joanna Wagner, Steve Wagner, CK Wisner)

  • March 29, 31 (and April 1): Multiple Workshops and Presentations (Two Groups of High School Students)
  • April 1: Interactive Workshop (Kansas City, KS)
  • April 2: Interactive Seminar
  • April 3: Interactive Workshop
  • April 4-5: Outreach at University of Kansas
April: Workshop Preceding Outreach at University of Kansas  Pastor Chris (above, left), who also attended the outreach event commented that the workshop was "so helpful and practical as an introduction for preparing believers to begin a loving conversation with those who are for abortion."

April: Workshop Preceding Outreach at University of Kansas

Pastor Chris (above, left), who also attended the outreach event commented that the workshop was "so helpful and practical as an introduction for preparing believers to begin a loving conversation with those who are for abortion."

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Joanna Wagner, Steve Wagner, Former JFA Intern Holly Fugate)

  • April 8: Interactive Seminar
  • April 9: Interactive Seminar

Highlight: JFA equipped four Methodist ministers during these two seminars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This is especially exciting as recent pro-life efforts in the Methodist General Conference are this year causing productive discussion about the Biblical call to protect unborn children and will likely continue to cause discussion in future years.

Wichita, Kansas

(Paul Kulas, Jeremy Wheeler, JFA Team)

  • January 15-March 15: Design of Two New Exhibits
  • March 1-April 10: Construction of Two New Exhibits
  • March 31: Test of the Structure of the New Exhibits

Note: In addition to planning events and giving leadership to JFA, Paul Kulas and I led the JFA team in the design, construction, and structural testing that enabled us to display each of our new large-format exhibits for multiple days in April and May.  Jeremy Wheeler and Jon Wagner worked many hours in the warehouse with Paul building signs.  All of our training staff contributed ideas, gave feedback, and shouldered various day-to-day tasks for Paul so that the exhibits could be completed.  You can learn more about funding the new exhibits at www.jfaweb.org/invest.  Look for pictures of the new exhibits in a future letter, at www.facebook.com/trainthousands, or at www.jfaweb.org/blog.

Fort Collins, Colorado

(JFA Team)

  • April 17: Interactive Seminar
  • April 18-20: Outreach at Colorado State University
April: Catherine Wurts interacts with a student during outreach at Colorado State University using JFA's new "Stop and Think" Exhibit.

April: Catherine Wurts interacts with a student during outreach at Colorado State University using JFA's new "Stop and Think" Exhibit.

Los Angeles, California

(JFA Team)

  • May 21-22: Interactive Seminars (Playa del Rey, UCLA)
  • May 22: Interactive Workshop
  • May 23, 25: Outreach at UCLA

Other Events and Locations

In addition to the events listed above, JFA trainers were present at Washington and San Francisco pro-life events in January (Evangelicals for Life Conference, March for Life, Walk for Life West Coast, West Coast National SFLA Conference) and throughout the semester, JFA trainers gave presentations in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (Jeremy Gorr), Valley Center, Kansas (Joanna Wagner), Wichita, Kansas (Tammy Cook), and Prescott, Washington (CK Wisner).  Steve Wagner led an interactive seminar in Washington, D.C., and Rebecca Haschke led an interactive workshop in Norfolk, Nebraska. 

Recent Unforgettable Conversations

At the heart of all of these events are unforgettable conversations in which we seek to change hearts and minds about abortion.  Here are recent newsletters:

Thank you for partnering with JFA as we create events that make it possible for more advocates to have more conversations.  Your gifts are especially helpful during these summer months, as our team focuses on planning a full slate of events for the fall!

More Recent Praise for JFA

JFA does a magnificent job forming students to be winsome and persuasive when engaging the culture on abortion. I deeply appreciate how they communicate truth with grace and I heartily recommend them.
— Stephanie Gray, Love Unleashes Life, 2015
JFA’s training and outreach helped make me the pro-life advocate I am today. I wholeheartedly recommend anyone interested in learning how to defend the unborn check out their program.
— Trent Horn, Catholic Answers, 2015 (Trent was an intern with Justice For All from 2009 to 2010.)

 

Confidence Creates Conversations - Andrew's Story

Andrew gained the confidence to create conversations in a matter of a few days.

Andrew gained the confidence to create conversations in a matter of a few days.

Imagine how many lives would be saved and how many hearts would be changed if all of the people who have pro-life views would regularly talk about abortion with their pro-choice friends. Often, pro-life advocates don’t raise the topic, and when it’s presented to them on a silver platter, they don’t dare speak up. That is why Justice For All’s training program is so vital.

In our March Impact Report, "Confidence Creates Conversations," JFA trainer Jeremy Gorr and one recent JFA volunteer, Andrew, reflect on Andrew’s experience with JFA. Along the way, they illustrate how confidence is built little by little, through the right kinds of activities.

Thank you for partnering with JFA to serve pro-life advocates like Andrew and help them gain the confidence to become the sort of powerful pro-life advocate we imagined above, able to create conversations that change hearts and save lives.

[Note: This was posted on May 4, but was back-dated to sync with the content so that JFA's content can be viewed in order through the blog.]

Bridges Builds a Bridge

Keawe Bridges (holding brochure) talks with a student at the University of Oklahoma in March 2015.

Keawe Bridges (holding brochure) talks with a student at the University of Oklahoma in March 2015.

Keawe Bridges learned recently that talking to pro-choice advocates wasn't the only thing worth doing at a JFA outreach event.  (Keawe's alma mater, Christian Heritage Academy, is a regular partner of JFA's.)  You'll be encouraged to see how in his first conversation that day, Keawe built a bridge for a pro-life student who didn't know how to defend the unborn.

Then, in another conversation with his pro-life friends and a pro-choice student, he was able to build a bridge for all of them at one time.  

Read both stories in JFA's November Impact Report, "The Student Becomes the Trainer," written by Joanna Wagner.  Joanna's short report includes numbers that also illustrate JFA's impact in 2015.

"I Couldn't Stop..."

Most of us have fears about discussing abortion.  Corrie was no different.  She recently attended a mission trip that JFA led for Christian Heritage Academy's Salt and Light program.  Here's what she said about the outreach to the University of Oklahoma:

I was terrified to talk to anyone, and made a goal to talk to just one person.  Once I talked to one, I couldn't stop.  I realized they're just people.

In this month's Impact Report, we hear from one of Corrie's classmates and from students in Arizona and Nebraska, who through their experiences with JFA also became...

"Ready and Eager for the Next Conversation"

Other JFA Links:  About JFA     Donate Recent Event Pics & Updates

"Better than Saying Nothing"

Volunteer Charity Boaz had planned “to let others do the talking.”  Seeing a young man looking at the Justice For All Exhibit alone, though, caused her to gather up her courage.  Afterwards, she wrote,

I decided someone had to talk to him, and it looked like it was going to be me.  I was so nervous.  We talked for a good 15 minutes and the guy seemed like he was really listening.

 

I think at that point I realized I didn't need all the answers; and if I helped someone just get one step closer to being pro-life that was better than saying nothing.

The next morning on her way to a second day of outreach at Georgia Tech, Charity had another unforgettable conversation, this time on a MARTA train.  To find out what happened, read JFA’s Janaury Impact Report, entitled “Charity on the Metro” (www.jfaweb.org/Impact/Metro).