WATERVILLE, ME. - Scott Michaud tears up while speaking of one of his greatest triumphs through God.
Michaud, whose single-minded mission is to "end child killing," happened to be at the local Wal-Mart last November. A little girl came running over to him. "She came up to me in the grocery department," Michaud recalled, "and she said, 'my mom wants to say something to you.' The mother said, 'never stop, because you saved my granddaughter.'
"Now I can never stop. There is no greater joy, there is nothing I can do that can bring greater joy. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I'm going to be an emotional wreck because of that."
Michaud, 49, spoke from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, where he had been praying. Beginning on Feb. 14, he will spend four hours a day, five days a week in the chilling morning cold outside Family Planning Association Maine on Gabriel Drive in Augusta, for the "40 Days for Life" campaign that coincides with Lent.
It was there, last autumn, when Michaud made this great encounter. The grandmother he saw later at Wal-Mart and her daughter were there for an abortion. That's when he and God saved the life of a little girl who is now six months old.
"The grandmother saw me later on Channel 13," she told me. "She was bringing her daughter there, and she changed her mind."
Michaud, who suffers from Lyme disease, has saved the lives of at least three unborn children. He doesn't know their names - the mothers simply told him. The other little girls are 18 and nine months old.
They have lives ahead of them.
Michaud, who lives a short distance from Waterville in Hinckley, is disabled with severe arthritis and suffers from confusion caused by Lyme disease. He believes he was tending to a cemetery when he suffered the first tick bite three years ago. It went untreated for several months, then he was bitten again.
"That's the one that showed," Michaud said. "There were low-grade flu symptoms, then I got 'brain fog.' I was confused a lot. I couldn't do work as a mechanic anymore. You hesitate as a mechanic, and that's dangerous."
So Michaud does his great work for God instead.
I'm barely 49," he said, "but I've been blessed with wisdom." He carries a business card that reads "Employing our First Amendment rights to end child killing." Michaud just developed the web site www.operationrescueme.net.
Michaud will join a remarkable group of Catholics and Protestants alike for 40 Days for Life.
Janet LeBlanc, a Catholic, puts together the 40 Days volunteer program in Augusta. Catholics Judy Icenogle of Winslow and Lorraine Gregory of Waterville - classmates from the Winslow High School class of 1960 - are among the many others who spearhead this wondrous effort. Heather Poulin of Benton, an Evangelical, is prayer coordinator.
Leslie Sneddon of Richmond, who has a remarkable story of her own to tell, also will be there, praying and holding signs. Sneddon, who ended four pregnancies, knows that Christ has forgiven her. She is now a prominent leader within the state's pro-life movement.
LeBlanc and Sneddon were in Washington, D.C., this week for a national 40 Days for Life training session with national director David Bereit.
Bereit said that at least 2,168 children have been saved worldwide since 40 Days for Life began in 2007, and at least 27 abortion clinic workers have quit their jobs. More than 300,000 dedicated people have participated.
"We've seen a tremendous amount of fruit," Bereit said. About 175 people from across the state have gathered to sing and pray on Gabriel Drive in Augusta.
To help prepare God's soldiers, LeBlanc and the others are organizing a sidewalk counseling workshop for Feb. 6. It will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at Riverrock Christian Fellowship located on 65 River Road in Chelsea, Maine. For more information, call Sneddon at 737-8972 or cell: 207-607-3488. The directions are at Forty Days for Life.
"We'll be training people in the pro-life movment what to say everywhere to a woman considering an abortion, and what not to say," LeBlanc said.
Maine Right to Life also has started a Pro-Life University. "It's a way for pro-life people to become aware of what it means to be pro-life," LeBlanc said. "Participating in 40 Days For Life is an elective toward their diploma.
On Feb. 13, volunteers will sell chocolate treats and precious life feet at the 17th Annual Chocolate Festival in Fairfield, Maine. The Chocolate Festival is in the Fairfield Community Center on 67 Water Street Fairfield, Maine. Help is needed to bake and to be at the table.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to help promote 40 Days For Life can send a check to 40 Days For Life, Augusta, Maine, c/o Lorraine Gregory, 39 Oak St., Waterville, ME 04901.
Other important dates:
Feb. 14, kickoff event at 2 p.m. in front of Family Planning.
Feb. 15, (President's Day): community outreach. The community outreach campaign is a door-to-door visit to people in Augusta. The visit is to make them aware that an abortion center is in their neighborhood. Volunteers will ask them to sign a petition agreeing to pray and fast for an end to abortion for 40 Days.
Feb. 17, 40 Days For Life begins. Contact Judy Icenogle to sign up, or sign up on-line at Forty Days for Life.
Larry Grard, League Correspondent
Christian Civic League of Maine
Maine Family Policy Council com