Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Fight for Life in Australia

Dear reader,

"My family just returned from a whirlwind 40 Days for
Life speaking tour all across Australia -- speaking to
over 1,200 people at 35 events and meetings over 13 days
in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide,
Perth and Sydney. WOW! God showed up in a powerful way!

(Thanks to the many wonderful Australian groups that
sponsored the tour and flew our family "down under"!)

I had already planned to send you a praise report about
the trip, but this past weekend when I spoke at the big
Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., I was inundated
with questions about the "incident" we experienced that
made international news ... so let me address that first:

On the final Saturday evening of our trip, I spoke at
a banquet in Sydney for New South Wales Right to Life.

Right after I was introduced, two young women jumped
up from a table in the back of the room. They began
yelling "this is for the women," and one of them threw a
pink sparkly ballet shoe at me (fortunately, it missed).

That was the cue for another ten people to burst into
the room, chanting abortion slogans. They ran around
the room throwing glitter on banquet attendees while
distributing brochures depicting Mary and baby Jesus
along with "prayers" demanding that abortion be
affordable and accessible, and that pro-lifers would
"keep their vitriolic nonsense to themselves."

Then they ran to the front of the room and locked arms
around the podium, intent on shutting down the event.
One young lady was yelling into what looked like a toy
megaphone, which thankfully failed to work.

While I was a bit surprised by the sudden barrage, I
was saddened more than anything else. As I looked at
the anger and hatred in the eyes of these young people,
I realized that some of them had probably experienced
the pain of abortion in their own lives.

It was at that point that I asked the audience to bow
their heads and join me in praying the Lord's Prayer.

See the photo of that moment at:

Then we prayed for all women and men who have been
harmed by abortion, that they would find healing ...
and that they would experience love and compassion from
pro-lifers, without judgment or condemnation.

After about ten minutes, security guards were able to
remove the abortion advocates from the room, and the
event continued on -- with the audience more motivated
than ever before.

If that wasn't enough excitement, on Monday morning
I spoke to 60 college students from the University of
Notre Dame (Australia) and the University of Sydney at
a breakfast. Desperately trying to disrupt us once again,
abortion advocates organized an even bigger protest
outside with 30-35 people. We simply moved our event
half a block away to avoid confrontation, and they never
figured out that they were protesting an empty room.

Sydney's largest newspaper covered the twin protests,
and we learned one of the most prominent feminists in
Australia was among those protesting on Monday morning!

For pictures of their protest, audio of my talk to the
university students and links to the news story, go to:

A top pro-life leader in Australia told me: "Your
ministry has stirred up more public opposition than any
other visiting speaker in the history of the Australian
pro-life movement!"

As I explained to my wife Margaret and our children
Claire and Patrick (who experienced these events with me),
we should consider this a compliment.

Matthew 5:10 assures us: "Blessed are those who are
persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven."

And, as I told the college students at the breakfast,
abortion activists wouldn't bother protesting our events
if 40 Days for Life wasn't having a tremendous impact.

By comparison, the rest of the trip wasn't quite as
eventful, but we did experience many more blessings.

The amazing tour organizer, Warwick Marsh, summarized
our efforts across Australia:

* Spoke to over 1,200 people face to face in 13 days
including nearly all of the key leaders of the
Australian pro-life movement

* Reached hundreds of thousands of people through
newspaper, video, web and radio

* Filmed a full-day training seminar for 40 Days for
Life leaders that will be used to expand 40 Days for
Life from its seven current locations to dozens of
other sites across Australia

* Activated and encouraged many pro-life leaders and
volunteers who were on the verge of giving up

* Reactivated and brought many new leaders and players
into the pro-life field

* By the grace of God, brought an unprecedented level of
unity, cooperation -- and even healing -- to the
Australian pro-life movement

* Set the stage for the 2013 Australian National Day of
Prayer and Fasting ... which, for the first time ever,
will be focused on the Sanctity of Life

* Laid the groundwork to launch a massive expansion of
40 Days for Life across Australia in 2013 and beyond

As Warwick e-mailed me after I returned home, "I can
safely guarantee from the amazing events and the record
and response to the whole tour that Australia WILL HAVE

I wholeheartedly agree.

Between pro-life events, we did get to see koalas and
kangaroos up close ... but that didn't compare with the
blessing of meeting the amazing people of Australia.

On the opposite side of the globe, faithful believers
are praying and fasting, standing in peaceful vigil and
conducting grassroots community outreach -- just like
we do back home in the States. And, just like you, their
faithful efforts are changing hearts and minds, saving
lives, and impacting eternal souls.

To see a 5-minute video of short testimonials from
several of the Australian leaders sharing blessings
they've experienced from 40 Days for Life, go to:

As together we prepare to launch the largest 40 Days
for Life EVER this coming Wednesday, know that you are
a part of a worldwide movement that is changing the
course of history.

Let's give this fall's 40 Days for Life our best effort!

For Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: To answer the most frequent question I've heard
since returning home from Australia ... YES! I got to
keep the pink sparkly shoe! To see a picture of me with
my favorite Australian souvenir, go to:"

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