By, Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Each year, a group of college students embarks on a journey to save lives and to change hearts.
Their trek is known as Crossroads, a cross-country walk designed to raise awareness about the pro-life cause.
“America is truly pro-life,” said Matt Maes, one of the leaders of this year’s walk.
“People have housed us, fed us, and helped us every step of the way from California as we make our way to D.C.,” Maes said. “Step by step, we are making a difference, and if we have saved one life or changed one heart this summer then we have accomplished our mission.”
And each year, walkers find remarkable instances of courage, conviction, and the triumph of life over death, optimism over despair, along America’s roadways.
Take the case of the $280 check.
During a stop in Las Vegas, a woman handed the students a check for $280 — the amount of money she had loaned to a friend seeking an abortion 30 years before.
The friend had returned the money only a week before. Rather than keeping the check, her benefactor chose to give it to Crossroads. Walkers remarked that the money that had been used to destroy life was now preserving life.
And in Denver, a man decided to take the gold chain around his neck and hand it to the walkers, impressed by their willingness to sacrifice on behalf of unborn children.
Also in Denver, a homeless woman, carrying her sleeping bag on her back, gave the walkers 14 cents, prompting one Crossroads leader to write, “Abortion affects everyone and everyone has a right to hear the message and do what they can to help build a Culture of Life.”
Walkers also heard from some of the victims of abortion — women who were wounded by the experience.
In Salt Lake City, walker Dean DeSilva noticed a woman leaving church shortly after a member of Crossroads had begun speaking.
“I have seen that reaction before and assumed it was yet another Catholic who disagreed with the Church’s teaching on abortion,” DeSilva explained. “I braced myself as this same woman approached me a few moments later. The tears she shed stunned me as I waited for the anger and hatred, which I have experienced from so many others refusing to hear our message of life and hope.”
“It turned out that this poor woman had an abortion 35 years ago, and to this day she cannot bear even hearing about babies or abortion,” DeSilva added.
” In the conversation that followed, she gave me her number to use at any time if some young mother needs to hear from a victim of abortion and we were able to assist her in seeking help. How much pain, suffering and misery walk hand in hand with aborting one’s child,” DeSilva said.
The conversations were many as the walkers made their way from the West coast to Washington, D.C.
“We were able to sponsor two walks this summer: one from San Francisco, one from Los Angeles, both converging on our nation’s Capital,” said Martha Nolan, director of Crossroads. “And while this is no small undertaking, we hope to expand the scope of our walks next summer to include a walk from Seattle to Boston and down the East Coast, as well as a walk through Europe to World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.”
Nolan added, “Three thousand miles in three months. Though we have had successful walks every summer since 1995, this is an outstanding achievement.”
Crossroads began on the campus of Franciscan University, a Catholic college in Steubenville, Ohio, ten years ago. Walkers say they are following Pope John Paul II’s call to the youth of American to “preach the Gospel of Life from the rooftops.” Leaders of the walk say the event enables them to “witness to the dignity and sanctity of every human life, from conception until natural death.”
As one observer of the walk remarked, “Crossroads has restored my faith in humanity.”
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