Berlin, Germany March for Life Attracts 1,800; Pro-Life Message Goes to Belgium
by Bryan Kemper
September 24, 2010
LifeNews.com Note: Bryan Kemper is the president of Stand True Ministries, a pro-life group that reaches out to youth and young adults. He is the author of a new book, Social Justice Begins In The Womb.
I woke at 5:00 AM on Saturday, September 18 in Berlin, Germany; I could not sleep because I was so excited to see what this city had in store for our team. I had traveled to Berlin the day before with our team from Belgium, the Netherlands and the US: some of the greatest pro-life youth I have ever met.
I got up before any of the others and headed into the city center to have some private prayer time and reflect on how powerful this day was going to be. I sat down for a cup of coffee in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a very famous monument in Berlin.
I was staring at the gate trying to picture some of the most pivotal moments in history that took place right where I was sitting. In the year 1806 Napoleon marched through the gate signifying his defeat of the Prussians. On January 30, 1933 Adolph Hitler marched through the gate signifying his rise to power and what was supposed to be the start of the Nazi’s Thousand Year Reich.
I watched the clouds traveling over the gate wondering what the sky looked like the day Hitler marched through? I wondered if there may have been a German man sitting somewhere near where I was sitting, trying to figure out what he thought about the importance of that day?
I knew I was just a few hours from marching very near to this gate through the center of Berlin to signify another battle being waged in Berlin and throughout Europe. I was going to be joining the youth of Europe as they raised their voices in defiance of the powerful European Union, crying out for justice for the most innocent of all Europeans who are being systematically slaughtered every day.
I was about to stand in unity with young people from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, America and many other countries, standing together as one people united for the rights of the children in the womb.
Many of you may have been to a March for Life in America where there are hundreds of thousands of people, and you probably feel safe and powerful with so many people on our side. This year in Berlin the organizers were ecstatic that they had 1,800 people show up to march; this was 500 more than last year.
Besides the 1,800 pro-lifers in attendance; there were hundreds of riot police to protect us from the over 500 pro-abortion protesters who came to interrupt and attempt to attack us.
Our team went early to the site of the march to witness to the pro-abortion protestors and share the Gospel with them. We stood right in the middle of their gathering and just began talking to many of the young people there who seemed to hate us so much.
As the time for the march came closer we made our way to the stage to get prepared for Michel and me to give our talks. I was getting so excited as I was meeting young people from all over the world gathered there to jump start a youth pro-life revolution in Europe.
I was so impressed by the resolve of the pro-lifers as the pro-abortion protesters started to mix into our crowd and begin screaming vulgarities at us. Two lesbians walked to the front of the stage and began to make out in an attempt to shock us; they were just ignored as we kept on with the program.
When I got up to speak the pro-abortion protesters were enraged as they announced an American coming up to speak. When they saw that I looked more like them then the rest of the pro-lifers I think it made them angrier. I shared my testimony about coming to Christ and then an encouraging pro-life message. I fired up the young people, challenging them to make sure that we always have the courage to stand up for Christ and for life.
As the organizers began to pass out white crosses to the pro-life marchers, many on the other side began to steal crosses so they could hold them upside down. As we took formation in the street, the pro-aborts were lining up beside us screaming the most foul and sexual things at the pro-lifers. They were holding the crosses upside down, waiving rubber sexual organs and throwing condoms filled with water at us.
I was up in the front of the March with some of the other speakers and a group of youth and we just kept in an attitude of prayer as we ignored what was being yelled at us. I had an easier time ignoring them as I don’t speak German, but I was told later what was being said.
The German police did an amazing job keeping the pro-aborts away from us as we marched through Berlin; I must credit the police there with being some of the best I have ever seen. When we arrived at the church for the end of the march, the pro-aborts tried to break through the police lines and were very unsuccessful. One lone man got into the church service but was carried out when he rushed for the microphone.
This march was so significant because Europe has been in a post-Christian culture for many years and this was a renewal of young Christians taking a stand and shining the light of Christ in the streets. Just as I experienced last year in Belgium, many of the older people came to me in tears thanking me for my testimony. They have been hungry for that kind of passion and fire for Christ for a long time.
This reminds me so much of the early days of Rock for Life, as we saw a whole new generation starting to get bold and stand up for life. I am seeing some of that same passion, courage, boldness and love for Christ in the youth of Europe.
We would be riding the metro around Germany and Belgium and almost every trip we took we talked to several people about pro-life and about God. We would just start asking each other out loud if we loved Jesus or why we were pro-life; so many people would just listen to our conversations.
After the youth party that followed the march, Michel and I rode the metro back to our hostel late that night. We started to talk to a couple about the march and they got up and ran off the train. A minute later they returned with many of the pro-abort protesters from that day. We ended up staying on the metro past our stop and had a great conversation with some of them.
Along with my experience at the march in Berlin, I traveled all over Belgium talking to groups of students about the importance of taking a stand for life and living for Christ. We saw two new student pro-life groups start from these talks and also the birth of Stand True Belgium.
Over the next few months some of the students will be translating all of the Stand True materials so they can begin to distribute them throughout Belgium. In March of 2011, I will be returning to Belgium to help lead a pro-life training week and street activism leading up to the March for Life there.
They have opened a pro-life youth house in Brussels where several of the young guys are living and where they are basing much of the organizing work efforts. I was so blessed to see how much these young people sacrifice. They have three guys and only two mattresses, no refrigerator, a table whose leg keeps falling off and not much else there. I would not have traded one night in that small apartment for the best hotel in Belgium; it was such an honor to stay with them.
I believe this was one of the most fruitful trips I have ever been on and I am so blessed to be part of a pro-life and Christian awakening in Europe. I pray that many of you can join me one day for one of our outreaches over there; I know you would be blown away.
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