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This is Sam from the Masking Journey Podcast. Welcome to Lantern Rescue, a ministry program dedicated to bringing light into the darkness of human trafficking. It's time to light the way to freedom. This is Lantern Rescue. We tell the stories, we talk about rescues, and we empower you to do something about it.
William Wilberforce once said, Let it not be said I was silent when they needed me. This is Lantern Rescue. She's got a new book coming out, Cheers to Mercy, and so you've got some questions that you wanted to share? Yes, we are so excited to have Abby Johnson with us today, and Sam, this has been a great opportunity, so thank you for taking the time today to be with us.
Of course. I'd really love to give you an opportunity. I know most of our listeners probably know who you are, but I'd love for you to introduce yourself, and really, let's chat about this new book you've got that just came out, and tell them about that element of mercy. Well, for people who don't know, I worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years of my life, and started out as a volunteer, and eventually worked my way up to run the clinic where I started volunteering. I got involved as a college kid, believed I was doing the right thing, believed I was helping women, and things started to change, I guess, my last year of working there. I think the higher I rose up in the organization, the more I started to see what was really going on. That we were really selling abortion, that abortion wasn't something that we were trying to keep safe, legal, and rare, as everybody was saying in the media.
That was sort of the talking point at the time. I was feeling more and more uncomfortable that last year I was there. Eventually, though, I got called in to participate in a live, ultrasound-guided abortion, and it was then that I witnessed a 13-week-old baby fighting and struggling for his life. I knew then that there was life in the womb, there was humanity in the womb, and if those two things were true, then I knew that I was on the wrong side of this debate. So I ended up leading Planned Parenthood and sort of unintentionally joining the pro-life movement, and ever since then I've just been speaking out. I run two nonprofit organizations in the pro-life movement, and it's just really been, I mean, it's God's story.
Amen. I always tell people God loves a good conversion story, and you see that all over the Bible. And so it's been a real blessing, and that was one of the reasons that I wanted to write my new book, Fearless Mercy, was just to really, you know, when I worked at Planned Parenthood, I helped to facilitate over 22,000 abortions. I've had two abortions of my own, and there's people all the time, I mean, Christians, well-meaning Christians, that say to me, how do you live with something like that? How do you live with that kind of sin?
How do you find forgiveness for that kind of sin? And I always tell them, well, because God is so big. And so when I think about how big God is, when I think about how big His mercy is, really, my sin, once I repent, once I ask for forgiveness, it's so small. And there are so many people out there in the world who are really, really struggling to understand, to accept God's forgiveness, to accept His mercy, and then to translate that into their own life. And I feel like my whole life has been just one exercise after another of experiencing God's mercy, and so I thought, you know, I want to talk about that. And I really wanted to showcase just how good God is.
Absolutely. And so that was really why I wrote the book. Man, that book, you know, the idea of mercy, and you're so right, in the time we live in, we're all struggling to not identify with the things that we've done wrong, you know? And so creating that identity in Christ, it does require an element of mercy, and I think it's so important. And in the industry we're in specifically, with the human trafficking and counter-human trafficking, you know, we see that. We see that on the front lines. These kids and women are coming out of these situations. They're struggling with that identity, you know, and so how do you kind of see, or what do you see the impact of, or correlation between, you know, even human trafficking, sex trafficking specifically, and abortion?
How do you see that kind of parallel together, and do you see the commonality there between the two? It's really shameful what happens inside of the abortion industry, and really the harboring of abusers. And it's done under the guise of non-judgment, or, you know, privacy. I remember watching an undercover video one time, and it was a woman going into a Planned Parenthood facility, and she was posing as a 13-year-old. And she was going in, and I believe in this video she was with an actor who was posing as her pimp or trafficker, and he was supposedly 31. And she says this out loud, you know, to the clinic worker, and she says, well, you know, I'm 13 and he's 31. And the worker says, oh, look, there's no judgment here. She admits that, you know, she's a sex worker.
And, you know, I'll never forget it. I mean, the worker is leaning up against the exam table, and she just puts her hands up, and she says, oh, there's no judgment here. I don't need to know.
I don't need to know his age. And I, in that moment as I was watching that video, it was like I was almost seeing myself in that moment, because that's really, that is the culture of the abortion industry. It's like, don't ask the question. Because if you ask the question, then you really have a responsibility to do something about it, and we don't want that responsibility. So, don't ask the question. If you don't ask, you don't have to do anything. And we don't want the culpability.
We don't want the responsibility. And so, I remember, I mean, I remember, and I've told this story before, I've written about it. I remember a woman who came in to our facility repeatedly, repeatedly, every few months. She came in, and she was definitely a victim trafficking, and I still remember her name. I remember everything about her.
If I saw her on the street, I would remember what she looked like. And she would come in beaten up. Every time she came in, she had a new sexually transmitted infection. And she, I remember one time she came in with her trafficker, and I remember being so appalled that he had the nerve to come in with her. And so, I said something to my boss at the time, and I said, my gosh, he's here.
Don't we need to call the police or something? I mean, we cannot send her back out to him. And my boss said, oh, you know what, she's a big girl. If she wanted to leave, she would. And she said, even if we called, and even if they separated them today, she would just go back. And there was no help for her.
We never helped her. And it's just such a lie that the abortion industry, that Planned Parenthood, that these facilities are there to help women. They are not there to help women. They are there to exploit them. They are there to manipulate them. They are there to manipulate them at their most vulnerable time and take advantage of vulnerable women. These victims are really some of the most vulnerable women that walk through these facilities, and they don't care. They don't care. They don't try to protect them.
They 100% protect their abusers, and they will protect their abusers every single time. That's unreal. I mean, it's just, it is so hard to fathom that you see it right in front of you, and there's nothing that's done about it. You know, I mean, in that industry, and it's so, it happens. Well, and then what's really frustrating is that you've got all these celebrities who do all of this work, right? And they, whether they're really doing the work or not, but they, you know, they donate money, they, you know, whatever, which is great. Absolutely.
I mean, donate the money. Do the thing, right, that you're going to do, but they do all of this to, you know, oh, we're going to end sex trafficking. We're going to do this big talk, and then in one breath, and then the next breath, they're giving money to Planned Parenthood.
Yes. And I'm like, no, you are supporting sex trafficking if you are supporting Planned Parenthood. Wow, now that is a statement to be made right there. And they don't even, they're not even willing to recognize it. They're not even willing to recognize it. And, you know, if they really want to get serious about this, if they really want to get serious about ending sex trafficking, they will completely stop their support of the abortion industry. And you know what I think that funding should go to instead is the aftercare of taking care of these girls that are struggling with this, because it's not an easy decision to be made in those situations. And when you have someone there sitting beside you, in this case particularly, the trafficker himself, I mean, there's not a, no matter where that girl felt or stood within her own self, within her heart, she had no voice. You know, in that moment, her voice was taken from her by someone saying, oh, it's okay, I don't care, and then him sitting right there, I can only imagine.
You know, so how much better would it be to have the opportunity to sit in and, you know, step in and say, you know what, there's an opportunity for grace here, there's an opportunity for mercy, and I think that that is such a big part of it. And when you see these girls in this industry, you know, so many of them don't feel like they have a voice, they don't feel like they have the opportunity to change their situation. So I think that empowerment of women could help alter this from being an ongoing situation that continues to happen, a repetitive behavior, in fact.
How do you view the empowerment of those girls? I hate to jump in, but I have to. Yeah, sure, no, go ahead. Go ahead. Because you've got to go to a break. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, a break, we'll take it, I guess. So, yeah, I'm sure you want to stay tuned because we've got more of Abby Johnson coming right up.
Stay tuned. Lantern Rescue is a USA-based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. To combat ongoing security problems such as genocide, terrorism, and human trafficking.
As a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations. Human trafficking has grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated $150 billion in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery, and facilitates holistic aftercare services.
They're gearing up for operations right now, and you can go to lanternrescue.org to see how you can support them financially. The following program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. Welcome back. Oh, my goodness, what an episode we've got. I'm so blessed, really blessed to have Abby Johnson with us and our friend Whitney, who volunteers with Lantern Rescue, having a discussion about what, I mean, the role between, and who would have thought it, I really wouldn't have. And again, I kind of do this show, but I would not have seen the connection between abortion clinics and sex trafficking like, oh, my goodness, but I guess when you've actually been there, you get a chance to see that, Whitney.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, and I think it's important for us to capitalize on the fact that, like your book says, fierce mercy, that mercy and grace abounds, right? And so can you tell us, tell our listeners even, that are sitting on the side of maybe they have been to that clinic, maybe they have been in that situation where they've made those choices, and they're not proud of them, and they are struggling with their identity. How do you recover from that, and how do you truly engage and walk into the mercy and grace that God's given? You know, I feel like in life, there are all of these crossroads that we come to, and we make decisions every time we come to one. You know, we either choose a path of righteousness, we choose the path of Christ, or we choose sin. And for me, I had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of those crossroads in my life, and even leading up to working in the abortion clinic.
You know, I didn't go to sleep one night and then wake up working in the abortion clinic, right? I mean, it was a lot that led to lifestyle changes and things that led to that decision, right? And every time we choose that path of sin, every time we go down that fork in the road of sin, our heart becomes a little more hardened. And, you know, the Bible talks about how God can turn our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, but only He can do that.
Absolutely. And so, you know, I had to ask Him to do that. I had this moment where I saw this truth in front of me and I was like, oh my gosh, what do I do?
You know, what do I do with this, right? And then here I was at another fork in the road, right? And I could have very easily said, you know what, maybe that wasn't what I saw. Maybe, you know what, maybe it was something else. Maybe it was just a reflex. Maybe it didn't really feel that abortion is true.
Maybe it wasn't pain. I could have justified what I had seen. I could have chosen that fork of sin again, but I didn't. In that moment, I chose to follow God's path. And because of that, because I cried out to Him, He then did the work. So, He's the one that turned my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. And it was hard.
My heart was very hardened after working there for eight years, after participating in all of those abortions. I mean, my heart was very, very hardened. And then it took time. I mean, honestly, people are like, how do you heal from something like that? How do you accept God's forgiveness?
How do you forgive yourself? Well, it took time. I had to practice.
And what do you mean? Well, you know, I just had to come to a decision. I had to come to a knowledge that every day that I wake up is a gift from God. And I could make two different decisions when I woke up in the morning. I could choose to live in my past, the place that Satan controls, the place that I cannot change. And I can't change. I mean, I really can't control the future either. I can't control the past and I can't control the future.
The only thing that I can control is right now. And that's why God wants us to live right here in the present. He wants us to live right here with Him in the present. And He can use our past for His glory.
That's what He wants to do. He doesn't want us to live and identify as our sin. He wants us to live and identify with what He's done with our sin. And so I had to practice. I had to consciously wake up every morning and say, all right, how am I going to live today? Am I going to live in my past? Am I going to wallow around and feel sorry for myself and say, oh, my sin's too big and God can never forgive me and drink a bottle of wine and soak in the tub all day and feel terrible for myself? Or am I going to get up and say, God, use this day.
No matter what comes, I'm here for it and I'm here for you. And if I'm honest, some days I did drink that bottle of wine in the beginning. Some days I just wallowed around and felt really bad for myself, especially in the beginning. Some days it wasn't a good day. But eventually, after making that decision for so many days, it didn't even have to become a decision anymore.
It wasn't even a decision. I just would wake up in the morning and I would say, of course I want to live in God's grace. Of course I want to live in His mercy. Of course I don't want Satan to control my life. Of course I don't want him to remind me of my past. Of course I don't want that. Of course I want to live for Jesus right here and right now.
And it just became really natural. And so that's not my identity. My identity is in Christ.
My identity is in what He has done for me. And that's really what He wants. He wants us to be free of regrets. He wants us to be free of any bondage of our past. And He doesn't want us to be called by our sin.
That's right. That transparency is so vital because we do have so many survivors and so many people that I'm sure are listening that really our lives are controlled sometimes by the things that we've done in our past, by those sins that we feel are too big for God to take a hold of and do something with. But He's a big God. And your life is evident of that. And man, it is such an honor to have you even say that and be that transparent with our listeners because I know there's someone listening in that needed to hear they are not defined by their past. They are not defined by their failures and by their sins.
In fact, they are defined by a holy, good Father that has work for them to be accomplished. Absolutely. And that's just part of the story. Yeah. Yeah.
And I mean I think that we as Christians sometimes, we do a pretty bang up job of defining people by their sin. Absolutely. And we've got to stop doing that.
Amen. Yeah. You know, I don't walk up to people and go, Hi, my name is Abby Johnson.
I used to run an abortion clinic. That's not my identity. Yes. But, you know, sometimes Christians, we hem each other in by our past instead of really identifying each other and who we are in Christ.
And we really need to be elevating each other. Absolutely. In that way, not bringing up what Satan did.
Mm-hmm. But giving God the glory. But giving God the glory, yeah. Amen.
So actually, as you live in your future, and you've given us all a lot of hope with what you just said, but now I'm curious, what is Abby Johnson hoping for now as you're moving forward in the identity now that he's given you? Certainly, we are looking forward to the Supreme Court decision that should be coming out any time between now and July. We are hoping and feeling optimistic that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, which means that about half of the states in the U.S., abortion will become illegal. But that also creates a battleground in every single state.
And so it's going to be even more of a fight than what we have ever seen. And, you know, abortion is really a sacrament to the left. It's not just a procedure. It's not just about women's rights. I mean, abortion is child sacrifice, just like we see in the Old Testament, right? We just call it something more palatable today. We call it women's rights or reproductive justice or whatever. But we're talking about the same thing that they were doing with Molech and Baal, right?
It's the same thing. And so when we start removing that sacrament from them, I've been telling people it's going to get real biblical in here. We're going to start seeing spiritual warfare unlike we have ever seen before. And so, you know, people of faith need to get ready. They need to start arming themselves now. People need to start praying prayers against spiritual warfare. They need to start praying prayers against the enemy. Because if you are pro-life, if you are a person of faith, the enemy will come after your family.
That's where the enemy attacks the most is our family, our children. So, you know, we need to be prepared as Christians, as pro-lifers. And then, you know, now is the time for us to get involved.
What can we do? How can we get involved in the pro-life movement? Know where your local pregnancy center is. Go take a tour of your pregnancy center. How can you get involved? How can you donate?
What supplies do they need? Can you be a monthly donor? You know, where's your local abortion clinic? Can you go pray out in front of your abortion clinic right now for 30 minutes?
30 minutes once a month. It's weird. It's awkward. Do it anyway.
It had an effect on you, didn't it? That's right. God doesn't call us to do things that are comfortable, right? God calls us to do things that are very uncomfortable. So go do it. It makes a huge difference. I can tell you affirmatively. I would not be here today, sitting with you here today, at NRB today, if it had not been for people standing outside of my clinic praying. Wow. That, wow. I hate we're running out of time, but I got to know. You know, so I get to sit there. There they were, they were praying. Like from your own mouth, what did that feel like?
Annoying. However, it was very effective. I realized that once I knew I've got to get out of here, I realized how perseverant they were because they had been there for eight years and they had not come and gone. They had never given up.
And no matter how rude I was, I was not the friendly abortion clinic director. I can assure you of that. No matter how many times I had yelled at them or, you know, cursed at them or whatever, they continued to show up in love and they continued to reach out. And I realize now just how thankful I am for their perseverance. And we have to be perseverant because there's an urgency. You know, life, literal life is on the line. Wow.
What a way to stop. Thank you. Whitney, thank you. Amazing. Like, oh my goodness. Abby Johnson's book, A Fierce Mercy, probably not hard to find.
Fierce Mercy, Abby Johnson. Thank you. God bless. Thank you. Thank you guys so much. At the website, you can also learn about previous programs. You can listen to this program in its entirety and forward it to a friend. Thank you for listening. Join us next time right here for Lantern Rescue.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-20 15:53:50 / 2023-05-20 16:04:22 / 11