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Bound4Life … rain or shine

September 16, 2008

My Facebook message late Friday night read, “I assume we stand rain or shine, right?”
Johnnie’s reply simply said, “we do =]”

At 8:30 the following morning, despite days of intimidating forecasts, Sara, Connor, Leah, Kendra and I piled into my car. I flipped on the windshield wipers and headed for Route 90.

By the time we got to the “Family Planning Center” on Elston, the rain had gloriously let up. We got out of the Bound4Life-mobile with just hoodies on, and the Catholics who are always there before us, realized they could close their umbrellas for a while. We were small in number – our five, two from the Prayer Furnace, and one other woman from Elgin – but steadfast. As I suited up I dared to wonder how long the rain would hold off, knowing that at the same time the students with me were peppering their prayers for the unborn with prayers for a downpour.

Red corners secured to my cheeks, I banished thoughts about the weather and turned to meet my now familiar adversary: the chain link fence surrounding the clinic’s parking lot. Randy encouraged us, prayed over each of us, and asked us to spend the first half-hour praying for the mothers inside. I closed my eyes and forgot about the weekend outlook.

A moment later, eyes closed, I felt Holy Spirit just over my right shoulder. At first I thought it might be someone standing behind me, but the force of His presence was too strong to be anyone who was there with us – or any random stranger passing by on a Chicago sidewalk. I looked anyway, and grinned behind my red tape when I saw no one there.

It wasn’t long until the rain returned. It was gentle at first, but quickly became a steady shower. We had a couple umbrellas in the van, but no one moved for them. It wasn’t that bad. We were wet, but it wasn’t all that cold out anyway.

We took a break for communion inside the van. I realize this is a useful break and that sometimes people need to share what’s on their hearts, but – honestly – I always get a little antsy here. I don’t want to talk in that moment, I want to pray. Randy asked if we wanted to cut the day short because of the weather, but no one agreed.

It was raining harder now, but we took up our places just the same. One person was brave enough to roll down his window and shout obscenities at us, but that was all. Just one.

And that is why, when the rain really started to assault our team, we just got wetter. The curb was flooding onto the strip of grass just before the sidewalk. The abortion clinic’s parking lot was a small pond. It was starting to get cold, but I knew that our standing through the storm was a witness. Our God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

He also sends subtle encouragement. Randy decided that we’d wrap it up about 20 minutes early because of the monsoon. He set us on a 15-minute count down and almost immediately a minivan pulled up next to the parked cars on the side of the road. A man got out of the driver’s side and ran around to meet Randy. “You guys are amazing,” he said, and handed Randy a plastic bag. Randy shook his hand and thanked him; the rest of us were smiling as much as you can smile with duct tape over your mouth at the two boxes of Dunkin Donuts munchkins.

Back in the Bound4Life-mobile 10 minutes later, soaked to the bone, we tore through those donut holes on the way back to the Prayer Furnace.

(There are more pictures here.)

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