Maaike Rosendal is a lovely lady that everyone needs to meet. Married to Nick Rosendal, they have two of the cutest boys you could ever see and a new baby girl (!!!). Just as she is patient and compassionate with her own children, she communicates to people on campus with a listening heart and a gentle voice while powerfully bringing the pro-life message to the people of Canada. As Campus Outreach Director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), Maaike has been influential in changing campus culture across the nation. We are so excited that she will be speaking at the Symposium this fall because now you CAN meet her. We asked her some questions so you can become just as excited as us.
1. Can you pinpoint an event or time in your life when you became extensively involved in the Pro-Life Movement? What convicted you?
It’s hard to think of something in particular since I was raised in an actively pro-life home, but there are two events that stand out for me. The first one was a silent pro-life demonstration which I attended as a teenager, outside of the Parliament buildings in the Hague in my native country of the Netherlands. I remember looking at the crowd around me and thinking, “What if we all stood up for life, every single day?” The second was a prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic, which I went to with my dad and sisters. The commitment of the few doing outreach there and the steady stream of women entering and leaving the clinic left me shaken and more resolved to do whatever I could to stop abortion.
2. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned working for CCBR?
I’ve truly learned the meaning of the saying by Augustine: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” My amazing colleagues and I have seen that when either one of those two components are missing, we are out of balance and things soon go wrong. On the flip side, when we do everything in our power to make a difference while realizing that we are entirely dependent on God and His blessing on our work, amazing things start to happen. It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of on a regular basis!
3. What is the most inspiring conversation you’ve had while talking to a pro-choice student on campus?
The most inspiring conversation I’ve had took place while doing the Genocide Awareness Project(GAP) at the University of Lethbridge. I stood in front of a large display with abortion victim photography when a female student walked past. I asked her what she thought about abortion and she responded angrily, “I will suck a fetus out of my uterus if I want to!” We engaged in discussion about what the pre-born really are. 15 minutes later she said, “Okay, you’ve convinced me that embryos and fetuses are human beings, but why should they have more rights than adult women?” When she had to go, I thanked her for taking the time to talk. She said, “I came here expecting to be yelled at by a bunch of bigots with terrible pictures. Instead, you guys listened and explained humanity and personhood.” And after a long pause: “I’m not sure I can accept the implications yet because that would make me pro-life, but really appreciate the discussion.” It’s humbling, exciting, and inspiring to be part of a change like that!
4. What is your favourite thing to do on a family outing?
We are privileged to have a large conservation area close to our house; Nick and I love to go there with our kids to walk, bike, or picnic, and still plan to camp by the river at some point. One of the things I enjoy the most about it is discovering nature through the eyes of a child; it’s a beautiful experience!
5. Why are you excited to speak at the Symposium?
If you’re a pro-life student wanting to make a difference on your campus, the NCLN Symposium is without a doubt the best place to start. In 2008, attending the Symposium provided me with skills, knowledge, confidence, and connections that helped me run our campus club and engage with fellow students about abortion. I’m excited to now return to the Symposium as a speaker for the second year in a row to provide attendees with pro-life apologetics and practical tips and, of course, to have a good time together!