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Deacon John,

Persecution is taking unusual forms during this 40 Days for Life campaign – especially during the debate over defunding Planned Parenthood.

Sometimes the opposition is organized – complete with chanted slogans from protesters in strange costumes. At other times, it’s just a sudden reaction from a passerby.

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In all of these situations, 40 Days for Life volunteers did exactly what we’ve all pledged to do – they responded with the love and joy of Christ.

The vigil often touches people’s consciences – and reminds them of situations in their own lives that they’ve come to regret.

These are people who need Christ’s mercy – and the 40 Days for Life vigil participants were just the ones to provide a living example of His love and forgiveness.

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Melbourne, Australia

The 40 Days for Life volunteers face a variety of challenges at their vigil. Sometimes it’s the government … but on one occasion it was a jogger.

For starters, Melbourne has a unique law that compels vigil participants to remain at least 150 meters from the abortion facility. So they’ve set up next to a tree outside the 150 meter distance – they refer to it as the “tree of life.”

Fons, the local coordinator, was seated in prayer beneath the tree when an athletic-looking young woman ran by, possibly on her morning workout.

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“She returned about ten minutes later with a plastic bottle of tomato sauce and proceeded to spray us and the posters with it,” said Trudi, one of the 40 Days for Life team members. “She did not stop until her anger and the tomato sauce were spent. She didn’t even ask if we wanted fries with that!”

(It’s “tomato sauce” Down Under, but I believe it’s what North Americans call “ketchup.”)

Some of the people who saw this called police, and it wasn’t long before three officers arrived.

“They asked if we wanted to press charges,” Trudi said, “and Fons replied that tomato sauce never killed anyone … and that the young lady was more hurt than we were!”

She called Fons’ response “a great witness to the compassion of Our Lord – so ready to love and forgive.”

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Tempe, Arizona

Protesters in pink shirts, pink tutus and brightly colored hats shared the sidewalk with 40 Days for Life prayer volunteers in Tempe.

Some of them twirled noisemakers and encouraged drivers to honk as a show of support for Planned Parenthood.

But Jim in Tempe says the vigil participants were “too caught up in prayer and good works to notice.”

Jim pointed out three positive takeaways from the protesters’ presence.

“First, what we are doing is having a major impact. It’s working! Second, their response is drawing more attention to Planned Parenthood’s funding, atrocities and actual purpose,” he said.

“Three, their negative antics showcase and put a spotlight on the beauty and devotion of our prayer vigils.”

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Walnut Creek, California

Seven protesters chanting “Save Planned Parenthood!” greeted 40 Days for Life prayer volunteers in Walnut Creek.

They also carried signs reading “abortion is a civil right” as well as that pro-abortion classic, “keep your rosaries off my ovaries.”

“Our volunteers were not intimidated, but, in fact, greeted the ladies and respectfully explained our stance,” said one of the team members in Walnut Creek. “Please continue to pray that hearts will change and that light will shine in the darkness!”

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Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sin is covered. Blessed is the one to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.

— Romans 4:7-8

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for your amazing grace that saved a wretch like me. I come against the enemy of my soul who would have me feel cast down and dejected. Lord, keep your children from falling prey to the accusations of the father of lies. Turn our mourning into dancing and may we bring praise to you as we give testimony of Your healing and restoration in our lives.

See today’s full devotional

For life,

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Shawn Carney

President, 40 Days for Life

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40 Days for Life 4112 E 29th St. Bryan, Texas 77802 United States (888) LIFE-316

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