FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLE
On May 12 the Brent Society honored two women with many years experience running crisis pregnancy centers (CPC): Edel Finnigan, former director of A Woman’s Choice in Falls Church and Pat Lohman, director of AAA Women for Choice in Manassas. As one of Pat’s volunteers, I had the great privilege of introducing her at the dinner. I’m repeating some of what I said that night, because Pat’s someone you’d love to know!
I have one word for Pat Lohman. Hero! I met Pat almost eight years ago when I began volunteering at AAA. Let me give you a few quick snapshots of Pat.
When the major media decided to do an expose claiming CPCs deceive women they turned up at AAA to investigate. Arriving with cameras they faced the wrath of a young woman who told them to leave Pat alone, because she was the only one who had been willing to really help her in the midst of her crisis. The expose fizzled.
Most abortion mills don’t want to be anywhere near a CPC. The abortionist in Manassas, Harman Vanderwoude (who also operates a mill in Alexandria), must have hated having Pat next door in the early years. He was probably happy when AAA moved to the other end of the parking lot to get away from the noise of the suction machines. But a few years later when the building next door to us became vacant, Harman bought it and moved in. He was apparently losing too much business from women coming into our place “by mistake.” What he doesn’t know is that Pat made friends with the workmen remodeling the office and planted blessed medals in the walls during construction.
Then the battle of the signs began. Harman put up huge blue and white signs with an arrow pointing to his door. So Pat called in a sign maker and put up matching blue and white signs with an arrow to our door. We often draw in clients who ask if they’re “in the right place?” And of course they are and we tell them so. It’s no accident that God leads them to us. It’s Providence. We save many babies in the 11th hour.
But what I find most amazing is Pat’s relationship with Harman and his wife Elizabeth. One day when I was at the front desk, Elizabeth brought a girl over who was too far along for them to do an abortion. Pat spoke to Elizabeth for a few minutes very cordially. Elizabeth is a fallen away Catholic. The abortionist is an atheist. But it’s clear Pat’s getting to them because he sends Pat clippings and notes trying to defend what he’s doing. Pat keeps patiently pricking their consciences. One day Pat and Elizabeth got into a conversation in the parking lot about grandchildren. Elizabeth doesn’t have any, but she’d like to. She asked if Pat could find a good wife for her son. We keep praying that Harman and Elizabeth will be the next Barnard Nathanson and Norma McCorvey.
Let me sum up by going back to that word HERO. Each letter stands for qualities of a hero. H is for humble, heart, and hope. Pat is a humble instrument of the Lord with a heart for His babies and their mothers. But she’s most concerned about saving souls and she never gives up on anyone no matter how many times the message of chastity seems to be falling on deaf ears. Pat makes AAA a place of hope. E is for enthusiasm and energy. The only people I know with more energy than Pat are my grandkids. And while, like all of us, Pat sometimes gets discouraged she recharges her batteries with the Lord and retains her enthusiasm for this difficult ministry. R is for Resurrection. I’ve seen women physically change at the center. They come in slumped over with dead eyes and leave two hours later standing tall and smiling. O is for on-going optimism. No matter how many “failures” we experience, no matter how many women choose abortion despite our best efforts, Pat puts her hope in the Lord and reminds us this isn’t our work, but ultimately God’s. We’re just his poor instruments and we do the best we can.
I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned at the feet of this apostle for the unborn. I want to publicly thank Pat for myself and all the counselors at AAA for having the courage to persevere in one of the hardest ministries on earth. Thanks, Pat, I love you! (To support AAA Women for Choice, mail your check to 9380A Forestwood Ln., Manassas, VA 20110.)