One of the joys of working in the pro-life movement is the amazing people I meet or become acquainted with along the way. For many years I’ve referred to them as the cream of the crop of humanity.
People who persist, sacrifice and give of themselves over and over and over again.
John Barros is one such individual.
John is a Floridian, where it gets unmercifully hot and sticky in the summertime. Even so, he is in front of an Orlando abortion mill nine hours a day, six days a week, all year long. Even when his battle-weary body – repercussions of past serious ailments – shout for relief and demand the cool comfort of home, John remains at his post.
By today’s standards, John isn’t striking in his appearance, and he employs a message that is often met with outright mocking and derision. None of that matters because he’s effective at saving babies from abortion and sparing their parents the emotional trauma that so often follows the intentional death of an unborn baby.
Each day John arrives with a servant’s heart and a strong yet loving voice emboldened from above. “I just show up here and watch Him [the Holy Spirit] show off.”
This sidewalk warrior also comes equipped with courage. Many of the fathers of these vulnerable babies initially respond with anger, but that doesn’t deter John’s message. He asks them to step up and be the men God wants them to be. He urges these fathers to go into the abortion mill to save their babies and spouses/partners from the horrors and anguish of abortion. Sometimes a couple retreats to their car to talk, and John is over-the-moon happy when they tell him they’ve chosen life for their baby.
Standing on the sidewalk, John “preaches” to the women inside – women who often hear and respond to his message by leaving the abortion mill. Greeting them outside, he assures the women that they are loved by God and him.
During one such incident, Laura came out and told John she wanted to talk. She had been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic and was taking medication. Her psychiatrist advised her to have an abortion. John encouraged her to utilize the alternative resources of medical staff at a nearby pro-life women’s center to help make that determination.
What happened next can’t be expressed any better than John’s own words:
“She still kept saying she had to do it [have an abortion] and got up to go inside. Halfway there she stopped, turned around, came over and hugged me. She began crying and thanking me and told me she loved me. She said she was going to not do this and go home to her mother. When she left she was honking waving and saying she loved me. I sat there in tears for quite a while.”
Always eager to give God the glory, he added, “It was just amazing to see how God moved in that poor girl’s heart.”
John’s pilgrimage can get lonely. In spite of the faithful volunteers who also labor in this mission field, he sometimes finds himself the last man standing in front of that abortion mill. But it doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm to act on the passion God has placed on his heart. If you want an almost daily serving of encouragement, follow John’s Facebook page.
I believe when John meets the Creator of Life, he will hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Not because of the number of babies he saved, but because he was faithful to his calling.
For the babies and their parents,