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Dear Vital Signs LifeSharers,                                      April/May 2010

            My apologies for not getting an April LifeSharer letter out but many things conspired to delay my writing it until the month was almost over.  And even this “double month” edition is being sent out later than I wanted.  Time has always been in short supply around here.  But in these last few years, the new duties of daily blogging, studying for and writing a sermon every week plus the extra hours needed to help take care of Mom – well, it’s made for a really tight and frequently stressful schedule.

            Add to all these things three visits from family (Sherry from Wichita, Linda & Jon from San Jose, and last weekend's adventure with James and Tenna from Daytona Beach and Ric and Ellen from Denver) and viola --  you get a missed month for the LifeSharer letter!

            Let me begin with a quick recap of the last several weeks. 1) The Omaha World Herald published a pro-life op/ed piece of mine which drew a lot of attention. Historically, the newspaper has been anything but positive to my entries but there has been a few changes at the top there. This was the second op/ed of mine they published in the last couple of years.  

            2) Several posts from Vital Signs Blog have been picked up by “big blogs” like Lucianne.com, Blogs Lucianne Loves, The Point and others which have not only driven our daily average to over 400 page loads but have created extra “spikes” in traffic that have gone as high as 1900 in one day! Wow.

            3) We have begun a new series of P.A.L. Nights where we take advantage of the special punches that a handwritten letter creates.  Always fun, always encouraging, and always helpful, these P.A.L. Nights really do make a difference.  The next one will be Monday, May 24th at 7:00 P.M. at our place.  Please consider joining us.

            4) The sidewalk counseling on Monday mornings now involves two shifts: one from  7:30 to 9:15 and the other from 9 to 10:30.  That usually allows 4 of us to be present at any time.  However, in the summer, we lose two of our regulars. Therefore, any additions to the team would be most welcome.

            5) The latest Book It! discussion covered Amity Schlaes’ The Forgotten Man and it was (both the book and the conversation) superb!  Next in line is Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions and Eternity with the evening discussion scheduled for Monday, June 28th. Give us a call if you’re interested.

            6) Our ministry of one-on-one and small group discipleship goes on as usual.  For example, since the last LifeSharer, we have hosted nearly a dozen lunches or dinner meetings. And that doesn't count those involving visiting family, the Board meeting, the literary club, etc.

            7) As I’ve mentioned before, we have seen a revitalization of our Mercy Ministries with our frequent visits to the nursing home where my Mom lives.  We’ve made many friends with both residents and staff and we’ve really enjoyed developing those relationships.  Whenever I’m there, I  “work the rooms” a while which seems to be warmly appreciated by all though not as much, I must confess, as Claire’s frequent donation of cookies are! Other Vital Signs team members engaged in regular nursing home visits (that we know of) are Keith and Carol Moran, Quint Coppi, and Ruth Denzler. 

            8) I was honored to fill in for a friend when he needed a “substitute teacher” for a couple of his Old Testament classes at Grace University.  But I had to hit the books for a few hours to be ready for whatever they might throw at me.  It went very well.

            9) We’ve had some intriguing correspondence in recent weeks from all over the country and from a few more far-flung places like Norway, Belarus, England and the Philippines.

            10) Steve Young is nearing completion of his renovations of the official Vital Signs Ministries web site.  It looks cool now but it will be even better when he launches the new one.  Moreover, the site will also be more comprehensive (incorporating much of what is now on individual blogs), more interactive, more user-friendly and, probably most important of all, more Claire-friendly! That last bit means that Claire will be better able to add, subtract and otherwise regularly maintain the site.

            And now, in reply to several requests from LifeSharers who don't make it to Vital Signs Blog as often as they'd like, I finish off this “double-month” LifeSharer by printing off a few recent examples – I usually put on 25-30 posts every week – of what has become such a key part of the Vital Signs outreach.

----- Govt Workers Take 16-Year Old Across State Lines for Late-Term Abortion -----

You don't mess with the government. It will bite back -- and hard.

That's the lesson now being learned by a Philadelphia foster mom who blew the whistle on a Department of Human Services bureaucrat who talked a 16-year old girl into a late term abortion and then drove her into another state to have the inhumane operation performed. But it's not the social worker who got in trouble. Certainly not. Government workers are the experts who can do no wrong. But they can get even.

Citing the breaking of a confidentiality agreement, the government quickly moved in to take away the other children in the foster mom's care. Her home has already been designated as unfit as a foster facility.

And that's just the beginning. The woman has been threatened by a government worker who told her "that trouble was in her future." She was further informed she would be sued. "Find yourself lots of money because you're not going to come out from this one very well."

Note too that this ugly bullying isn't just a matter of a single bullying bureaucrat. It goes all the way up to the Philadelphia mayor's office. A spokesman of that office said, "It's now become clear that the foster mother has violated Pennsylvania state law regarding confidentiality, therefore potentially compromising the safety and well-being of the children in her care."

Wow. Government workers have, in this sad case, cooperated with an abortionist to kill a late-term unborn child and yet they shamelessly talk about a child's "safety and well-being?"

I think I'm gonna' be sick.

----- Russian Tourists "Nostalgic" for Cuba -----

Regarding the expectation of some 45,000 Russian tourists this year, Agence France-Presse reports "Havana's secret weapon for Russian tourists is nostalgia, officials said, playing off a 30-year relationship between the countries due to a once strong political and economic alliance between them."

Ah, yes. Remember the good old days when both our countries tortured and imprisoned innocents, when we both enacted severe controls on information, when we both held on to the corrosive creeds of Communism? Well, come to Cuba, comrades, where we still have these things! Bask on our beaches and dream of the good old days of tyranny, show trials and the Gulag...the days before things went sour on the great Soviet schemes of world domination...the days before you lost the Space Race and the Arms Race and Eastern Europe...the days before Solzhenitsyn and Walesa and, especially, Ronald Reagan.

No, come to the worker's paradise in the Caribbean where the Wall still hasn't come down, where a corrupt dictatorship still enslaves its people. You who yearn for the old ways, be assured you are among friends. So, by all means, relax here. Reminisce here. And, above all, please run through your rubles here!

Because (most unfortunately for the cause) that hasn't changed either. Cuba's economy is still a complete disaster and the old man desperately needs your cash. Please come soon.

----- Push Button Abortion -----

At least a dozen Planned Parenthood offices in Iowa have been "administering" to women who believe they are pregnant the extremely dangerous abortion drug RU-486 -- without the physician even seeing the woman! That's right. You watch a teleconferencing screen and hear from abortionist Susan Haskell up in Des Moines. Then you push a button and and whoosh! A drawer opens up with the RU-486 inside.

Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma'am. And good luck with that abortion because you'll need it. After all, even FDA figures show mifepristone had seriously injured over 1,000 women by 2006 alone. And that includes women dying.

You say you can't believe it, that such a powerful abortifacient could be given to women without a doctor even checking them out? Well then, you don't understand the motives (both ideological and greed-driven) of Planned Parenthood.

And yet this wicked organization just keeps getting protection from local officials, huge donations from corporations and charitable groups like the United Way, and big chunks of your tax payer dollars as well.

Lord have mercy.

----- American Idol Gives Big Bucks to Abortion Groups -----

Of course, the American Idol TV program doesn't let it's viewers know about this, but it has once again decided to funnel large amounts of money to organizations that aggressively promote abortion.

Indeed, one of the organizations that will receive money from the annual "Idol Gives Back" fund raising campaign is Save the Children which partners with Planned Parenthood. And Planned Parenthood not only promotes abortion but is, by far, the largest abortion provider in America.

The program, which aired last night, sent viewer donations to, among others, Save the Children and the United Nations Foundation. But the fact that both of these organizations support abortion was withheld from the public. Why? Because the producers of American Idol well knew that the money gathered would be dramatically less if viewers were aware, for instance, that Save the Children partners with the Center for Reproductive Rights legal group, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Action International, and the U.S. Committee for UNICEF.

Pass the word. Contact Fox and let them know your opinions about this matter. And carefully consider doing something else with your time when American Idol is on.

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            Well, that's it for this catch-up LifeSharer letter and I do so appreciate you cutting me a bit of slack for missing April. Like I said, things can get a bit chaotic around here but it is because we're trying to get as much done as possible. Thank you so much for your  understanding and your ongoing support. Whereas so many pro-life agencies have gone the way of history, your generous backing has kept Vital Signs Ministries alive, kicking and making a difference: on the streets, in cyberspace, in the public square, and in the heavenlies. Thank you.