Written by Ashley Bulthuis, NCLN Summer Intern
Last week NCLN and Advokate joined efforts to co-host our final BC Summer Semester event: training in how to engage others in open, loving conversation, followed by Clipboarding combined with Student Life Chain. Through our combined efforts, over 40 participants were able to lovingly share the pro-life message with the local community in Abbotsford, showing them that every life is worth living.
Our volunteers were primarily composed of high school students in grades 10-12. Most of them were decked out in purple shirts, with the name of their affiliate organization, Gospel Roads, plastered on their backs. These youth joined our event as part of their social justice retreat; the retreat was geared towards helping high school students serve their local community while raising awareness about various social injustices. The students were excited for the opportunity to put their passion for social justice into action as they showed the Abbotsford community that pre-born humans have rights as well!
“Whom you would change, you must first love. And they must know that you love them.”
To help prepare the youth for engaging the community, Joanna, NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator, presented about the need to speak out in truth and love, sharing the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Whom you would change, you must first love. And they must know that you love them.” She shared personal stories of how conveying the pro-life message with a loving, gentle approach is the most effective way to engage our culture. She provided tangible ways the students could put their passion and convictions into action, encouraging them to do all they can to share the truth. As St. Augustine of Hippo said “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”
The participants then spent a fruitful hour of activism on the street. Most held Life Chain signs, conveying the messages that “Abortion Hurts Women” and “You’ll never regret loving this much.” Those who more directly engaged passersby through clipboarding carried themselves with great compassion, empathy and courage; they listened patiently to those they were conversing with and responded in a gentle, loving manner, acting as great ambassadors of the message of truth and love. Their enthusiasm bubbled over from their wide smiles and shining eyes and their joy was contagious.
After the event, every single participant enthusiastically said that they would do this again. Educating our minds with pro-life arguments matters, but ultimately, it is love that wins people over. In the words of Maya Angelou,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Photo credit: Fr. Jim Zettel, SDB