(SNR) - As people in Nebraska prepare for another 40 Days for Life vigil of prayer, sacrifice and community outreach, the faithful in Sherman, Texas, are giving thanks that their local Planned Parenthood facility has shut down "as a direct result" of the prayerful presence of 40 Days for Life participants, according to Shawn Carney, national campaign director.
40 Days for Life is a peaceful event that has three key aspects: prayer and fasting, the constant vigil and community outreach.
"We’re there not to win an argument. We’re there to convert souls," stressed Matt Tapling, president of Lincoln Right to Life and coordinator of this autumn’s vigil.
"Our end goal is to stop abortion in the city of Lincoln, and we can do that by prayer and by fasting and by being present," he added.
All across the nation, there is a growing list of these "success stories" – abortuaries seeing reduced traffic, clinics closing their doors permanently, and, best of all, clinic workers reporting profound conversions.
That is what happened in Sherman. Clinic manager Ramona Trevino credits 40 Days for Life for her personal conversion, which led her to resign her position about four months before the clinic was closed due to lack of clientele.
Mrs. Trevino had been conflicted about her role in referring women for abortions when she learned that the 40 Days for Life vigil would be coming to the clinic where she worked.
"I thought, this will be a perfect opportunity to go out … talk with one of the protesters and ask them to pray for me," Mrs. Trevino told reporter John Jalsevac of LifeSite News. "…[A]t that point I was reaching out for someone - prayers, some kind of guidance, some kind of support."
During the vigil, she spoke with the man leading the local 40 Days for Life campaign. He gave her a copy of Unplanned, a book written by former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson, who now speaks out for the pro-life clause.
Mrs. Trevino was also told how to contact the national 40 Days for Life campaign team. They offered to pray for her and to give her the support she needed to leave. Though it cost her family half of their income, Mrs. Trevino determined to resign on the Feast of Divine Mercy and gave her notice the following day.
Abby Johnson also believes that 40 Days for Life was instrumental in her own change of heart. She resigned as an abortion clinic manager months after having been named Planned Parenthood employee of the year in 2008.
"I can tell you that I wouldn’t be here today, on this side of life, if it hadn’t been for my local 40 Days for Life campaign," Mrs. Johnson has stated.
Mrs. Johnson worked at the Planned Parenthood abortuary in College Station, Texas, which is where 40 Days for Life began. Over the years, six vigils were held outside that clinic, where people gathered to pray for Mrs. Johnson and other workers as they prayed for the children killed and their mothers.
In her book, Mrs. Johnson recounts the many different influences that the pro-life group had on her while she worked at the clinic, from bringing her flowers, to just letting her know that they were praying for her.
As a pro-life worker today, Mrs. Johnson emphasizes the need for people to get involved with programs like 40 Days for Life.
"We have to be where the abortions are taking place," she stressed. "We are these women’s last hope. We are their last chance."
Mrs. Johnson also believes that praying for clinic workers is crucial in the fight to end legalized abortions. She announced Sept. 1 that she was working with two more abortion facility workers who had decided to leave their jobs due to a change of heart.
"Planned Parenthood’s greatest fear is that clinic workers will leave and that they will come out against them and that they will air their dirty laundry, just like I did," she stated.
Mrs. Johnson acknowledges that it can be difficult to pray outside of an abortion clinic.
"Is it uncomfortable to pray outside of an abortion facility? Yes. It should be," she said. "It should always be difficult to look into the eyes of a woman who is about to take the life of her child. But let me tell you the best feeling in the world…when a woman changes her mind."
Mr. Tapling said that there is no need for any 40 Days participant to engage in conflict or arguments with people who support legalized abortion.
"It’s our job to provide an example or a witness for life, and it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convert them," he said. "We just have to stand up and tell the truth."
Lincoln will be one of more than 290 cities in six nations with active 40 Days for Life vigils this autumn. In Lincoln, the vigil will begin Sept. 28 and last through Nov. 6.
As Planned Parenthood is in the middle of relocating and expanding their clinic into a "mega center," members of Lincoln Right to Life are particularly motivated to gather more people to pray, fast and make other sacrifices to end the scourge of abortion in Lincoln.
"We anticipate that the move will occur within the 40 day window," Mr. Tapling said. "Instead of going halfway through and moving, we wanted to introduce all the people who are doing this to a new location and welcoming the new Planned Parenthood with prayer."
The goal is to have people in prayerful attendance at the new location at 5631 S. 48th Street (48th and Old Cheney Road) for 15 hours a day throughout the vigil, and to have many more people praying and fasting for the end of abortion.
Volunteers need to sign up so they can read the rules of conduct for the vigil. Anyone interested may sign up at his or her parish. Or to sign up online and get for more information, go to www.40daysforlife.com/lincoln.