A week of early mornings, adjusting to the time difference, and endless walking, made for one of the most rewarding weeks for a select few of our student leaders. I had the joy and honor of leading SFLA’s first international mission trip to Ireland last week during the referendum. There was no better way to kick off SFLA’s international program than to be in Ireland during a very historic time, and a no better place for the Pro-Life Generation to be.
We were told to stay quiet about our trip so that we didn’t cause an upset with the groups we were partnering with or cause drama with the media. Before we left, the group of 10 students that were chosen participated in several trainings in preparation for the trip. I wanted to be sure that the group knew what to do in certain hostile situations and how to communicate in difficult environments. Not to mention, what to say at customs since there were many Americans getting turned away at immigration prior to our trip.
Most of our days were spent walking all over Dublin..It was a great way to see the city, however equally as tiring. But we knew the cause we were fighting for and that kept us motivated. It was amazing to experience how gracious the people of Ireland were as well. It seemed like everyone that we came in contact with, supporters or protesters, had a way of grace about them. We didn’t fall short of hostile words, however. It became evident that American presence was not supported during this time. Our time was spent in the heart of Dublin, handing out pamphlets and brochures about what repealing the 8th Amendment in Ireland would do. We explained what abortion would do to the country, and held conversations about how this was not what the women of Ireland deserve. We were challenged, we were fought, we were ridiculed but the students and the pro-life community never lost hope or sight of the goal.
I saw our group of students fight relentlessly for a week without ever losing their smiles. We learned just how hard the groups we partnered with had been fighting for months, some almost a year, to protect the 8th. On Saturday May 26, 2018, we learned that Constitutional protections for the preborn had been repealed. That the preborn were no longer protected against the devastation of abortion and that women and men were going to suffer and legacies of families were going to be lost. We were sitting in a park as a group when I read the statement from Save the 8th as tears filled our eyes. Hours prior, we were hopeful that truth would win. We hoped that Ireland would remain the beacon of hope for Americans.
Though the outcome of the vote did not turn out the way we had hoped, it was encouraging to hear that the pro-life movement in Ireland is not backing down. They are rising up stronger, and ready to fight. I know that SFLA is ready to join this battle with our fellow communities in Ireland to abolish abortion. The pro-life leaders in Ireland know it is going to be an uphill climb to reshape the culture in their country, and it will begin with education. It is time to shine the light on the violence and devastation of abortion and bring it to the front lines.
It was an honor and a joy to lead this group. Each student holds a special place in my heart and I was so fortunate to see how the trip impacted each of them and the lessons they were able to bring home. The students participated in video interviews describing their trip and these will be shared on our social media platforms.
It is evident that Students for Life of America is looked to as a driving force in the pro-life movement and our guidance and strategies are heavily requested from not only Ireland, but many other countries. I am privileged to be SFLA’s International Programs Director and lead future missions to educate more pro-life leaders overseas and together abolish abortion. I truly believe that it will take us linking arms all over the globe to make abortion unthinkable and illegal. We are proud to be the force that other countries look to and we are ready to stand with our international partners.
With that said, I am excited to announce that we will be heading to Australia in March 2019 for our next International Mission Trip. The dates have not been set, but we are eager to start the recruiting process for the next round of students to come along. If you are interested in getting updates as the details unfold, please fill out the form here. You will receive information as we continue the planning process and will be the first to have the opportunity to apply. You can contact me at [email protected]