May 2011 - Paola Rios
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Meet Paola Rios!

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Name: Paola Rios

Age: 24
Previous/Current Occupation: Associate Engineer at GEA of Texas in Houston, TX
Church: St. Cecilia – Houston, TX
Major and classification: Former Student ’09 – Industrial Engineering
Any passions/interests?: Aside from my values, family, and work, I consider music at any stage of development a passion of mine. From a very early age, music in my life can best be described as the place I call home. From singing with Texas A&M’s Women’s Chorus to playing the piccolo in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, music has led me to discover a world of opportunities I never would have known otherwise. I also enjoy outdoor activities with friends, running, my dogs, Fightin’ Texas Aggie everything, two-stepping, learning about my faith, making sure I’m always reading something new, and dark chocolate.
How did you become a volunteer/why are you involved? I drove by Planned Parenthood one time and there were two nurses yelling at a couple of volunteers. These volunteers didn’t seem like ‘protestors’, rather they seemed like the epitome of a loving Christian. I immediately felt convicted. I didn’t understand the technicalities of human development, nor would I have been able to defend a pro-life argument. But if you can be honest with yourself, it is obvious that a life is being ended in that place. I also had a unique grasp on the gravity of the temptation the women faced, the type of lifestyle that led to these consequences, and the reality of God’s redemption. If God had done amazing things for me, I knew that there was hope to be shared with these women too. It was an opportunity for evangelization, just as our priest had preached that prior Sunday.
The first time I volunteered was on an abortion day and I was immediately discouraged. However, the staff of the Coalition for Life fostered an environment that I was convinced that my presence on the sidewalk made a difference even though I was not sidewalk counseling at the time.  This, along with the patience, concern, and encouragement of another sidewalk counselor inspired me to stay involved – until abortion ends.

Why you are pro life (is there a story here?): I have been involved with the pro-life movement for a year and I have a much different perspective now than I did when I first began. The more I got involved, the bigger the spiritual battle became. Over time, abortion became very real to me after two experiences. I saw a friend of mine walking in for an abortion and I learned that I have victims of abortion in my own family. That ‘1 in 3’ statistic became very real to me and I personally understood how abortion affects our friends and family. In fact, most people whether they know it or not, have been affected by abortion.

Any additional thoughts (comments): Sidewalk counseling has transformed my Christian faith. I began my journey with the Coalition for Life as a ‘Sunday-only type Christian’ and I slowly learned to become a ‘pick-up-your-cross-daily type Christian’. The first thing I learned as a sidewalk counselor was the meaning of courage. I came to realize that courage was a byproduct of love overcoming fear. G.K. Chesterton says it best when he explains that a true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. The courage to speak up, literally, is true charity and little by little I got away from being comfortable. Sidewalk counseling has never gotten comfortable, and neither should our faith because Christ never did. Being a Christian is dying daily, so that we can live. After all, Jesus Christ died so that we may have life.
Furthermore, sidewalk counseling has helped me develop profitable conversations, patience, perseverance, turning a debate to an actual dialogue, learning how to teach others, a grasp of hope in the midst of rejection, and most importantly I have a better understanding of what true love really looks like. I’ve seen what the Gospel looks like in action, and it’s not exactly something most people are willing to do aside from Sunday.
Living for God is the wildest and most beautiful adventure that keeps getting better; all He asks is for our trust.  So if you can do that, I challenge you to accept the call to become a soldier for Christ because we are the chosen and surviving generation of abortion. And after all, our God is in the business of miracles.
I’d like to thank the Coalition for Life staff for your continual receptivity to God because through you God has worked in my life for His Glory.

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