The voice of God and Baby Nathaniel

The voice of God and Baby NathanielBaby Nathaniel, saved because pregnancy help prayer warriors did not give up on his mom (Beyond the Pews for Life)

When the Lord speaks, it’s important to listen. This is the story of John Lewis and a woman named Elen.

John Lewis is the founder of Beyond the Pews for Life, a pro-life ministry. It has been said that the best alternative to abortion is another person, and there are statistics that say 78% of post-abortion mothers said if they had encouragement, they would have chosen life. Lewis’s approach to his life-saving ministry is a testament to these thoughts.

John Lewis at the Memphis Planned Parenthood
Beyond the Pews for Life

He spends a lot of time at the Planned Parenthood facility in Memphis, Tenn., working to convince women heading inside the abortion facility to rethink their decision. It turns out client traffic to this Planned Parenthood had slowed because of the Dobbs decision in 2022. 

And so, Lewis found himself in Denver to continue his mission of working to save lives.

"I was stunned at how large the Planned Parenthood complex was," he said of the Denver abortion center. "It was one of the largest in the nation. The only way we were able to be effective at reaching out to the moms was either when they entered or exited the parking lot, or we could call out to them from a distance using a ladder to look over the fenced lot as they were entering the building.”

After spending several hours on the sidewalk trying to reach various women, he spotted a black car around the corner, but he could tell it was headed to Planned Parenthood.

"As it got closer, it slowed, and seemed that the woman inside was going to stop and speak with us," Lewis said.

Lewis approached as she rolled down her window and smiled. A conversation broke out, and the woman identified herself as Elen, adding that she would be getting an abortion. Unfortunately, the conversation was cut short.

"The security guard came out and told her to drive on in, which she did," he said. "I immediately ran down to the ladder, which allowed us to speak to the moms going in."

Lewis had a gut feeling Elen was conflicted over terminating her pregnancy, and he called out to her to listen to the voice inside her. Elen, in response, turned around and yelled back that she would be back in a few minutes.

Lewis was unsure of what would happen next, but Elen was true to her word. She exited the building and climbed back into her car. After she pulled up, Lewis asked her if she was willing to make a different choice.

She was.

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Lewis asked her to follow him to the pregnancy center around the corner. But as he approached his rental car, he discovered he was blocked in. This pumped stress into the situation, as Lewis knew from experience that time was a major player in a woman's decision-making in these scenarios.

"I did not know what else to do but simply run to the pregnancy center and tell her to follow me," he said. "So, that's what I did."

Hoofing it 350 yards (about three-and-a-half times the length of a football field), he led the way, with her driving behind him.

"I have often wondered what people may have thought seeing this," Lewis mused.

Once they walked through the doors of the pregnancy center, Lewis introduced Elen to the staff inside, who took the expectant mother to a counseling session and the opportunity for an ultrasound.

Meanwhile Lewis waited outside. But a sudden thought struck: He hadn't gotten her contact information and didn't want to lose her afterward.

Two hours later, she got in her car and left, not seeing him as he waved to her.

"I knew if I did not get her contact information, the chances of hearing back from her were very slim,” said Lewis, “and her chances of having an abortion were very high.”

Feeling painted into a corner and not willing to risk the life of the unborn baby, he rushed back to his car at Planned Parenthood, and by now he was able to drive it. And now, he quickly hit the road and caught up with her — honking his horn and waving his arm outside the door.

He didn't care what other people thought; he just knew experience had taught him that he needed to do whatever it took.

"After a mile or so on a very busy road, we came to a traffic light and I prayed that it would turn red," he said. "When it did, I sighed a very temporary feeling of relief, but I knew I had another decision to make, and I had to make it very quickly."

He shook his head, wondering to himself how he got into such situations. 

Leaping out of his car, Lewis ran up to the woman’s car and tapped on the window.

She rolled down her window and responding in broken English (she was Egyptian), agreed to pull over into a nearby convenience store parking lot so they could talk.

As they spoke, cars angrily honked at Lewis. He ignored them, focused on Elen. Once she had agreed to meet with him in the parking lot, he shot back into his car and soon the two were set to talk.

The conversation lasted quite a while, and Elen happily shared her contact information. Because the pregnancy center had not been able to perform the ultrasound, they agreed to meet at the center the following day so she could get one.

Lewis felt relief wash over him when Elen seemed like she'd reconsidered and would keep the baby at this point.

Two weeks later, Lewis was back at the Denver Planned Parenthood. When he first met Elen, he learned she'd made an appointment at the abortion facility for two weeks later, and that day had now arrived.

A bit nervous, he kept his eyes peeled to make sure she hadn't changed her mind and decided to attend the abortion appointment anyway. He never saw her, and another woman performing sidewalk advocacy he had befriended named Pam said she never saw Elen either. But…

"When I was at the Denver airport waiting on my flight back to Nashville, I received a call from Pam telling me that she had finally heard from Elen and she had gone into Planned Parenthood after I left,” Lewis said. “She had gone in with the intent of obtaining an abortion."

Acting quickly, Pam was able to get Elen onto the phone with Lewis, and the three of them spoke on a conference call.

"All three of us wept,” Lewis recalled, “with Pam and me pleading with her to realize that Jesus had a plan for her and her baby and not to throw that away by killing her child. Elen kept saying she did not know what else to do."

Pam then said, "Elen, if I drive to the front door will you come out to me?'"

Elen agreed, and Pam said she was headed to the front door of Planned Parenthood. But this came with a serious risk of her being arrested because the guards and escorts all knew the pro-lifers who served there.

"With more admiration than I can explain, I told Pam to go," Lewis recounted. "In three or four minutes she called me as she was sitting literally in front of the front door of the abortion clinic."

And, as if by a miracle, no one was paying attention. No one appeared to recognize Pam or her vehicle. They didn't even glance in her direction.

Lewis waited. Time was passing slowly. It felt like an eternity.

Baby Nathaniel/Beyond the Pews for Life

But Elen eventually came out, climbed into Pam's car, and the three left: Pam, Elen, and her still-living unborn baby.

"I learned this just as I was boarding the plane in Denver," he said. "Needless to say, the trip home was spent thanking God for a still-living baby. I also knew that, although Elen's baby was still alive, there would be another fight for its tiny life very soon."

And he was right. Elen had buckled and made another appointment with Planned Parenthood a couple of weeks later. Lewis doggedly got back on a plane and returned to Denver for another opportunity to get Elen to reconsider before her abortion appointment.

"Except for five minutes when I walked across the streets to the pregnancy center to deliver some baby blankets, I never left the clinic entrance," he said.

But Elen never showed up, and Lewis ended up flying back.

"When I woke up the next day, I received a call from Pam who had just spoken to Elen,” Lewis said. “What she told me made my blood run cold, but also left me in amazement at what God had just done."

During the five minutes Lewis had made the quick trip to the pregnancy center, Elen had appeared at Planned Parenthood and walked inside. It turned out Elen had arrived, checked in, and was on the table where the abortion would be performed.

"The instruments that would be used were spread out on a small table next to her, and within the next few minutes the abortionist would enter to prepare to dismember her child," Lewis said.

Elen would later tell Pam she saw those instruments and sensed a voice speaking to her that said, "Do you not understand yet with all the people you've seen that love you and this baby that I have a purpose for you both?'"

Beginning to cry, Elen got up, changed her clothes, and left the Planned Parenthood facility.

And in December 2022, she gave birth to little Nathaniel.

Beyond the Pews for Life

For his part, Lewis is humbled by what God was able to do.

"Had I not listened to the voice inside— telling me to do something totally crazy and run to the pregnancy center and later, get out and walk in traffic up to Elen's window at a traffic light— that baby would not have survived," he said.

Tweet This: Had I not listened to the voice inside that baby would not have survived-John Lewis, Beyond the Pews for Life, re: reaching an at-risk mom.

Lewis then realized how many times he had previously ignored a seemingly crazy idea that had come from God. It was a powerful lesson.

"What would have happened had Pam not agreed to risk arrest and drive to the front door of Planned Parenthood and pick up Elen?" he said. "Questions like these are ones I ask myself when in front of clinics and pondering whether I would risk insult or assault by talking to someone about their intent to have an abortion or provide for one."

Today, he prays that everyone would be willing to take a risk to serve Christ.

"In this ideological war especially, lives are at stake at every turn," he said.

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