By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, MN On a cold Sunday afternoon in Howard Lake, 33 people held signs along Highway 12 to convey a simple, yet poignant message about the sanctity of life.
“Life is precious,” said Jeff Schoess, organizer of Howard Lake’s pro-life event. “From the beginning of life to the end of life.”
“It doesn’t matter if that human life is a young man attending an elite university, an elderly man in a nursing home, a mentally-handicapped woman in a group home, or a few-days-old baby in the womb,” added Pastor Tom Starkjohn of Harvest Community Church in Winsted. “Human life is valuable precisely because God has created that person.”
Starkjohn and his family were a few of the people who participated in the Life Chain event Oct. 4 from 3 to 4 p.m. They held signs for people to read as they drove by, such as, “Abortion hurts women,” “Lord, forgive us and our nation,” and “Pray to end abortion.”
“The idea is to hold the sign and pray for the people as they drive by,” Schoess said. “We hope they’ll understand what we’re trying to say.”
Schoess and his wife have participated in similar events near their home in Buffalo. Schoess has ties to Howard Lake because of his engineering research business, Korosensor, which is located on 6th Street.
“I was inspired to do the same thing in Howard Lake, since I spend a fair amount of my time here,” Schoess said.
Schoess also attends the March for Life rally at the state capitol each January.
“That is the largest pro-life event in Minnesota,” he said, adding that he hopes to have a vanload of people from the Howard Lake area to take to the 2010 rally.
Schoess said he hopes his efforts will help people realize the devastating impact of abortions.
“There are 45 to 50 million babies who are not here because of the Roe. vs. Wade,” he said. “The concept of murder, to take a defenseless life in the womb, is hard to grasp.”
If a pregnant woman is considering abortion, Schoess said he hopes she will have an ultrasound to see the life in her womb.
“If the mother doesn’t want the baby, just adopt. It’s that simple,” he said. “There are so many people who want babies, and they have to go to foreign countries.”
Adoption is also a better choice for the mother, he added.
“The girls who go through abortions, it’s something that never leaves you,” he said. “You can be forgiven and healed, but the loss of life can never be replaced.”
Schoess said his Christian faith has made him passionate about preserving and protecting unborn life.
“Christ values life,” Schoess said. “He is the one who created us and gave us that life.”
Starkjohn said the Life Chain event was an opportunity to teach his children to stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves. He also hopes to encourage people in his church to show love for others.
“My hope is that God would use our actions and prayers to change even one person’s heart so that the precious life of a child might be kept from death,” he said.
Schoess said he plans to have the event in Howard Lake every year from now on.
Thousands of people throughout the US and Canada have participated in Life Chain events each October since 1987.
To learn more about Life Chain, go to www.lifechain.net.
For more information about the Howard Lake life chain, contact Schoess at (320) 543-2333.