Every Sidewalk Counselor's Story
Roger Lopez is a sidewalk counselor with Helpers of God’s Precious Infants San Diego
I’ve often been asked how I got involved in sidewalk counseling with Helpers of God’s Precious Infants San Diego. I didn’t choose it. It’s like when you see a small child drowning. You don’t stop to question how qualified you are as a lifeguard, but you just jump in and do what has to be done.
Every successful sidewalk counselor I know, started by praying in front of an abortion mill. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have against abortion, and it is a fairly easy thing to do. You stand or kneel in front of an abortion mill while praying for the women going in—that they will open their hearts to God and realize the precious gift of life they carry inside is priceless and can never be replaced.
While you are praying, you quickly realize those women in front of you are not just some generic, unknown group, like a herd of cattle. They are your neighbor’s daughter, your niece, your co-worker’s sister. They are real, individuals who either don’t understand the magnitude of what they are about to do or are so overwhelmed they feel like they have no other choice. It be comes personal, even though you don’t know them. It
is a spiritual battle that is hard to walk away from. “Prayer warriors,” who put their souls into their prayers, experience a deep involvement in helping save a woman and her unborn baby from abortion.
There is no “typical” Saturday morning for a sidewalk counselor. Every car that enters the parking lot carries a unique story: a young woman not ready to start a family; a couple with three kids, who think they can’t afford another one; a vulnerable woman afraid of losing her boyfriend, who doesn’t want to be a father. The sidewalk counselor has a few brief seconds to size up the situation while explaining the risks of an abortion and other information that the doctor and nurses in the abortion mill will not tell them.
The counselor looks for clues while talking, such as an empty car seat in the back of the car, a Rosary hanging from the mirror, or the facial expressions of the woman and her boyfriend/husband. The car seat tells the counselor that the woman has already been a mother, and she knows the bond between a mother and her child. This is often the key to a woman’s heart. The Rosary tells the counselor that the woman may be open to the love of God, who is the source of all life. The facial expressions reveal the inner emotions taking place for both the woman and her companion while the counselor is talking. They reveal where the counselor is making progress and help determine what direction the counselor should take in reaching the heart of the woman. Above all,the counselor needs to show compassion and understanding. Behind all of this are the prayers of those on the sidewalk.
The sidewalk counselor’s number one goal is to get the women to leave the abortion mill. For those who have enough doubt to leave, but are still undecided or not firm in their choice for life, the sidewalk counselor needs a place to send them, and it’s almost always Culture of Life Family Services. COLFS is where all their fears will be addressed, where they can be examined and reassured by a qualified doctor, and where they can actually see the growing life within their womb.
For the vast majority of women, once they see their baby on an ultrasound, confusion gives way to joy and relief, and the battle for life has been won. COLFS is the only pregnancy resource center with a doctor who will see abortion-intent woman on Saturday mornings—just minutes after being intercepted by a sidewalk counselor in front of the abortion mill. COLFS is a vital part of the teamwork approach to saving lives: prayer in front of the abortion mill, sidewalk counseling, and the doctor and resources needed to help a woman choose life. For dedicated prayer warriors, sidewalk counselors, and the people on call at COLFS, saving lives is not a part-time effort.
To find out more about Helpers of God’s Precious Infants San Diego, visit www.helpersSD.org.