Albuquerque, New Mexico. The unfortunately but aptly termed “late term abortion capital” of the nation. In case you didn’t know, New Mexico has very few laws regulating abortion, and in the state, abortion is legal up until the day of birth.

I will forever recognize Albuquerque for something quite different, though, after speaking there in support of CareNet of Albuquerque earlier this year.

The love.

The hope.

The faith.

The joy.

The commitment.

I’m blessed to meet amazing people around the world who have much in common with these pregnancy center ministry supporters in Albuquerque, but there’s something particularly powerful about encountering the light that these nearly 800 people who turned out in support of their CareNet Center shine in a very dark part of our country.

When confronted with evil, with sad realities and difficult circumstances, it’s tempting to be mired in it, to be overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, to be overcome with disappointment about the state of the world, of your community.

When I looked out that large crowd, though, and when I met people individually, there was not a  touch of despair in sight. People radiated such intense love and joy that it was palpable. It was inescapable.

Of course, these individuals were not without their own experiences of struggle and suffering.

I will never get the women who shared their abortion stories with me, and the one, in particular, who reminded me through her tears that they (women who have had abortions and regret it)  need me to keep giving their experiences a voice.

I will never forget a Vietnam veteran tearfully sharing his own struggles with forgiving himself for the things he did during the war.

I will never forget the mother who now works to educate the public about post-partum depression after her own daughter lost her life through that struggle.

I will never forget the young man who shared with me that his mother was also an abortion survivor, and his sweet wife who echoed sentiments similar  to mine as she stated, “I wouldn’t have him if that abortion would have succeeded in ending his mom’s life.”

The stories of the people of Albuquerque are both unique to each individual, yet at the same time, stories that are reflected throughout lives around the world.

No matter their similarities to your story or another’s, there are lessons to be learned through the wonderful people that I met in Albuquerque:

Keeping love.

Keeping hope.

Keeping faith.

Keeping joy.

Cultivating and acting upon commitment.

Our pro-life community, our church communities, our relationships nurture these lessons, but it’s up to us to not only allow them to be nurtured, but then nurture them in other people, in our churches, movement and communities in return.

Are you like Albuquerque? What’s one thing you could do today to be more like the people there that I was so blessed to meet?