I’d just parked across from the area’s only abortion facility in Moorhead, Minn., when I noticed a man approaching the pro-life advocates on the sidewalk out front. Since we’re not used to a lot of walking traffic in this dead-end spot, I was prudently alert.
Was he there, like so many others, to challenge us and argue why we shouldn’t be getting in the way of a woman’s choice? I would quickly find out.
Gathering my brochures, I made my way across the street to where he’d just arrived and had begun talking to my sidewalk friends. “Are you the people who help women who don’t want to do this?” he asked, stunning us all. It isn’t every day we are approached by someone recognizing us as the helpers and reaching out for information.
He continued. “Where would I call if I wanted to help someone change their mind?” The others there at the time only had signs, but I happened to have some information about the local pregnancy-help ministry, Women’s Care Center. I opened my backpack and dug out the pamphlet. “This number right here,” I said, pointing to the front.
He was a driver for the African community, he explained; not for a company like Lyft or Uber, but something like that; someone to whom they could reach out when they didn’t have wheels or a way to get somewhere. “A lot of these women don’t want to do this, but they don’t know where to get help,” he said. “Thanks for this information.”
The man returned to his car on the other side of the street, waiting for the woman he’d dropped off earlier. Yes, she was inside, readying to end her baby’s life. He was just the driver, so his hands were tied, but he seemed to sincerely want to help those in his community reconsider choosing this regrettable route.
Feeling moved, a few of us walked over to his car to talk with him further about the available local support so he could convey that information to his community, and to affirm the movement of his heart. “You’re like an angel sent by God,” I said. I shared my awareness of the African community’s general pro-life mindset, and understanding that lack of information and support is likely the root of their presence there.
“Most of them, they are not happy afterwards,” he agreed. “They cry, and wish they had not done it.” He shared the story of a woman he knows who had two abortions and one living child, age 19, who recently died in a car accident. “Now, she is wondering, what have I done? She almost took her own life.”
After commiserating over this achingly sad story, we shared post-abortive resources and life-saving facts about the abortion pill. Our new friend seemed glad to be armed with information to offer the women he helps transport there a way out. “I’m meeting someone (abortion-minded) on Saturday and I’m going to tell her about this,” he assured us. Praise God!
As we talked, he wondered whether someone in the pro-life community could offer an educational session for the local African community to bring awareness about these resources ahead of time. What a great idea, we responded. By mentioning it here, I’m hoping someone might have ideas on how this might happen.
We’ve known for a long time that one of our biggest challenges is reaching vulnerable people ahead of time. That isn’t an easy obstacle to solve. This man, who seemed authentically eager to help be a bridge between two cultures that are neighbors, expressed a hopeful idea, leaving us surprised at the ways God works through people to see his will take root, reminding us again that together, we can meet the challenges of this broken culture.
The same day of our visit with this “African angel,” I talked with someone from Moorhead invested in getting the 40 Days for Life fall prayer vigil going. Thankfully, despite a delay in planning, that campaign is going forward. If you haven’t signed up yet to pray with others committed to the cause, please visit the website, 40daysforlife.com/moorhead, and claim your hours. You might not receive your reward here for that span of time, but rest assured, heaven will be taking note.
[Note: I write about my experiences praying for the end to abortion at the sidewalk abutting the Red River Valley’s lone abortion facility for New Earth magazine — the official news publication of the Fargo Diocese. I hope you find “Sidewalk Stories” helpful in understanding the truth about abortion and how it plays out tragically in our corner of the world. The preceding ran in New Earth’s Oct. 2023 issue.]