Cal Zastrow writes about the “Spring of life” that took place in Buffalo, New York, during the Spring in April 1992. It was here that God did a great work with several thousand gentle Christian warriors laying their lives and freedoms down that their little baby brothers and sister in the womb might have life. One hundred and ninety-seven men were arrested and it was there, in jail, that the best “Christian Retreat Ever” took place.
Enjoy! ~ Flip
The Best Christian Retreat Ever (for the 197 men present).
by Cal Zastrow on Thursday, April 19, 2012
I’ve been to lots of Christian retreats, meetings, and Bible college chapels. Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the the best one I’ve ever been to. Others who were there have said likewise, that it was the best. It was the beginning of the Spring of Life ministry event in Buffalo, New York. Several thousand pro-life Christians gathered to pray and obey the commands of King Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. We didn’t just talk or pray about babies being murdered by butchers, we went and stopped them. We Rescued.
The historic Christian doctrine of interposition is to protect innocent people from harm by nonviolently placing ourselves between the intended harm and those people. We didn’t just write position papers against child-sacrifice, we went and peacefully sat in front of the doors of the killing centers and prevented them from slaughtering children. I’ve never felt more like a follower of Christ in my life than when actually acting like Him, interposing and preventing the murder of babies who were scheduled to die. Other Rescuers have expressed similar experiences.
In April of 1992, there were six surgical abortuaries in Buffalo killing thousands of preborn babies yearly. Plus, the big babies got murdered weekly in Children’s Hospital. The number of surgical abortuaries in Buffalo is down to one, and Children’s Hospital stopped killing many years ago.
The baby-murderers were upset by their lack of “business.” They had the police arrest us and throw us in jail. I never did find out how many women Rescuers were arrested, but 197 men were arrested together. A few of the police beat , stepped on, dragged, or choked some of us. Most of us spent the next twenty-four days incarcerated together. Before farming us out to multiple jails and prisons, we all spent the first nine days in the aesbestos-filled dungeon of the Niagara Street Armory.
It wasn’t the fancy food, professional program, or ample accomodations that made our retreat together so memorable. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that strengthened us while we suffered together. When the sadistic policeman, Captain Vaughan, locked us out of the bathrooms for hours, we worshipped Jesus. When the guards taunted and threatened, we worshipped Jesus. Through the lack of sleep, abundance of dust, and other bad conditions, we praised our glorious King. Singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” in the face of demonic tyrants does something powerful for men.
None will forget the foot-washing service, Johnny Hunter’s sermon, Chet Gallagher’s testimony, or the styrofoam-cup-cross. THe move of the Spirt of God, the Revival that happened in Buffalo, changed me, changed others. There was no turning back to only safe church activities while the slaughtering of babies continued. One of the meekest among us was old Frank Sync. My cot was next to his for the first eight days. After landing in Normandy and defeating the Nazis through Europe, he rescued Jews from death camps while in the U.S. Army. I was honored to be in his presence. Young and old, we bore our imprisonment. We were Rescue brothers, jail brothers. I never saw one act of selfishness the entire time from any of the men. We shared the few Bibles we had smuggled in (until the Gideons were allowed in later). We shared our lousy food, limited water, and our lives. Some men suffered also by losing jobs, having family members turn against them, and churches disown them for carrying the Cross. We encouraged one another. All we had was Jesus. We found out, He was all we needed. Being “pro-life” is socially and religiously acceptable, but actually stopping baby-murder through peaceful interposition, that was misunderstood by many. The “many” who think that this American holocaust will end from their comfortable offices and church buildings are woefully mistaken. The killing will stop when the Church of Jesus Christ comes out to the streets and stops it. The question is not, “What will this cost me?” The question is: “What will it cost me to disobey Christ’s command to love my neighbor as myself?
None of my four children were born before I Rescued in Buffalo, but they all have memorized the two new verses to an old hymn that were written and sung in jail there:
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of Rescue
Abortion murders babies, and sometimes women too
Ye that believe in Jesus, interpose in the babies’ place
And if He finds you faithful, then you will see His face.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye prisoners of Rescue
Let us look unto our Savior, His trial was unjust too
May we reflect your glory while we’re behind these bars
We worship You King Jesus, the One who bears our scars.
When the peaceful Rescue movement started, there were over 2,000 surgical abortuaries in America. Today, there are less than 700. Yes, we should pray that they close, but we should also go close them down.