April 2011 - Elizabeth McClung
About Us / Sidewalk Counselor Profiles / Sidewalk Counselor Archives / April 2011 - Elizabeth McClung
Where are they now?
Meet Elizabeth McClung!
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Name: Elizabeth McClung
Previous/Current Occupation: Executive Director of the Austin Coalition for Life
Church: St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Austin TX
Major and classification: Double major in Spanish and Speech Communication
Any passions/interests?: Photography, speaking Spanish
How did you become a volunteer/why are you involved? When I was a freshman at Texas A&M, one of my friends asked me to go stand and pray in the fall of 2004. It was the first ever 40 Days for Life, and this campaign was a 24 hour prayer vigil. It was 3 in the morning when we went to go pray and I will never forget walking up to that sidewalk for the first time. It was the middle of the night, everywhere around was dark and black, the iron fence around the building seemed appropriate for such a secretive place, and the silence was heavy as I stood there praying. The reality of what I was doing and the dire necessity of doing it more hit me like a ton of bricks while I stood there praying for the first time. I remember praying "oh my dear God, this is the place that kills children and hurts women." From that point on, I was hooked.
I had grown up in a pro-life family and was involved in pro-life activities from a very young age. But from all the speeches at speech and debate tournaments, to the articles in the newspapers, to the radio call-ins and prayer groups at my church, I had never actually stood in front of the very building where children were being aborted and women were being hurt. So the first time that I went to go stand and pray, it was sobering. To realize that the very issue I had been so passionate about for year was not only happening, but it was happening in my own neighborhood…that filled my veins and convicted me like nothing I have ever experienced.
So I continued to go stand and pray. In my heart I knew it was needed, I knew it was effective, and I knew that if I didn't do it, I wouldn't be at peace. But it took me a couple of years to build up the courage to actually become trained as a Sidewalk Counselor. The only reason why I was trained as a Sidewalk Counselor was because I wanted to work at the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life…and all employees had to be Sidewalk Counselors. I remember thinking to myself "I'll just sit through the training, but I won't actually put it into practice." But boy did God have other plans for me! That first time that I was on the sidewalk to reach out to women and men as they were about to abort their children and even afterwards to share with them support groups to help them find healing…that first time is was made the fire of conviction in my heart into a bonfire. I couldn't get my fill of reaching out to women. I would spend hours on the sidewalk. And to this day, I have lost count of the number of women I have been blessed to help turn around and choose life.
Why you are pro life (is there a story here?): I am pro-life because my mother chose to not abort me. I am pro-life because my friends who have had abortions have suffered greatly and I don't want another woman to suffer like that. I am pro-life because I have held babies who were scheduled to be aborted but weren't (because people were praying outside) and that is an indescribable joy. I am pro-life because Jesus told us "Amen, amen I say to you, whatever you did to these least brothers of mine, you did to me," and I take that seriously.
Any additional thoughts (comments): Many people have an initial fear and hesitation to going to stand and pray. That is normal! Don't let that keep you from saying 'yes' to the call that Christ has put on your heart to bring him and his love out to the sidewalks at abortion clinics. If he is calling you to do it, he will give you through the Holy Spirit the strength and courage to carry it out. I was a bit scared the first time I went out to reach out to men and women entering and leaving the abortion facility…until I remember what the first letter of John says: "perfect love overcomes fear." And upon recalling that, I realized that I DO love these women I want so desperately to help. "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power, and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7. Take courage and know that when you finally do bring your prayer to the abortion clinic, your prayers are having a huge impact on the women, men and children entering that clinic…you are being part of something that is saving lives.