Impact Report, January 2018
My experiences at our outreach events over the past 15 years have taught me again and again a lesson we now emphasize to every person we train: you can’t judge whether or not you’re successful in a conversation by looking at the results. Sure, if you get a bad result, it might be a clue that you are doing a bad job of articulating the truth or loving the person with whom you’re speaking. It might be a clue you need to work on some aspect of being an ambassador for Christ. There may be other reasons, though, that the results you saw were either bad or nil. For example, the person may think things through privately when you are long gone.
When we share stories where we do see some specific good result or moment of impact, we try to keep this reality in mind. Even still, we enjoy sharing stories where God seems to be making his presence clearer or when people seem to be especially open to our work of kindling affection for the smallest humans on earth and women in distress. As we share these stories from JFA staff members Susanna Buckley, Jeremy Gorr, and Rebecca Haschke, we’re mindful that we don’t deserve to see what God is doing. Stories like these are simply a special grace from our loving Father, partly shared with us and you for our encouragement. Let’s enjoy his work!
- Steve Wagner, Executive Director
While in Georgia, I had an amazing conversation with a young man who approached the exhibit. We agreed that abortion should not be legal in the last two trimesters and should not be done for just any reason. He said that a good reason to have an abortion would be if the unborn was diagnosed with a disability. With permission, I shared with him the story of a baby with spina bifida who had received surgery in utero to fix part of the baby’s spine. In the corner of my eye, I saw a lady in a wheelchair coming down the sidewalk in our direction. I kid you not ― as we were talking, this woman approached us and interrupted our conversation. She passionately shared that she had spina bifida and was afraid for unborn babies with that diagnosis. Many of them are aborted. She said, “Never let disability be the reason you have an abortion. Never. We can have good lives too.” The young man listened in awe as the woman told her story. He left an hour later saying he had a lot to think about.
- JFA Intern Susanna Buckley
I met Sharon at the University of Oklahoma (OU). She thought there should be no legal restrictions on abortion even though she personally believes the unborn are human and abortion is wrong. She said it is situational, and even she may end up in a situation later in life where she would choose abortion, so she doesn’t want to take away the right from others who may be in tough situations.
I proceeded to “trot out the toddler” and tried to convince her that there are no situations that justify killing innocent human beings. We talked about this for a while, and at the end of the conversation she said:
“This is a very eye-opening conversation. I like this. I see people on our campus all the time with signs I disagree with, and I pre-judge them and don’t speak with them. And then I don’t have the opportunity to have conversations like this, where it really makes you question things and think about your own moral judgements.”
- JFA Trainer Jeremy Gorr
“Zoey” shared that she would never choose to have an abortion but that abortion should be legal because women need to be given the right to choose. As I asked questions about what she believed, I discovered she didn’t have confidence that the unborn was biologically human at conception. Throughout the conversation she asked me a lot of questions about the things that didn't seem convincing to her. After that part of the conversation she agreed that the unborn was biologically human from conception.
We then discussed whether or not those human beings deserved equal treatment. I used the Equal Rights Argument just as we teach it in the JFA seminar. After that discussion, she agreed that abortion should not be legal for any reason throughout the entire pregnancy. Of course, it was a joy to witness the fruits of our conversation, but it was the end of the conversation that surprised me:
Zoey: Wow, I’m excited to finally have the same opinion as my family!
Becca: I’m excited for you too. Are a lot of your family members pro-life?
Zoey: Yes, they are all pro-life, and I’ve been the one who has the “different” ideas. My aunt and my grandma have tried to talk to me about this but it never goes well. You and I had differing opinions but I felt safe asking you the questions that I had because you didn’t get mad at me. This conversation was different because you helped me process through the information to help me understand your position.
What a surprise it was to find that Zoey actually wanted to have the same opinion as her family and that it was a relief to her that she could now honestly hold the same view her family held. This conversation was a reminder that I can’t conclude that someone is close-minded just because she holds a view that is different from mine.
- JFA Trainer Rebecca Haschke