This is it!
This is why I founded Survivors and
it is happening right now!
Kristina Garza has left Survivors.
There were tears in our office when she broke the news. We love Kristina and she is a wonderful person, a great leader and absolutely sold out for Christ and the preborn babies.
Kristina is officially on sabbatical, seeking God's direction for her life and I am praying also for God's leading.
Were Kristina simply looking for a job, offers would flood in. She is a talented, spirited, tireless, effective leader.
But she is not just looking for a job; she is waiting on God and seeking His will.
I should be crying, too! What a loss to the Survivors!! But I'm not. Why?
I am not crying because: This is it!!!
This is the very purpose Survivors was founded to accomplish 16 years ago.
In fact, I am excited!
Oh I will miss Kristina, and the loss of her presence in the office makes me sad - but even so, I am rejoicing.
For the story of Kristina, before, during, and even as she is leaving, is the perfect picture of the mission of Survivors.
Kristina has led the Survivors for nearly five years. But she wasn't always planning on being one of the most energetic and sought after pro-life leaders in the nation.
Her story is a story of God using the Survivors to raise up the next generation.
While she was in college the Survivors visited her campus every year. As she passed by the Survivors' display she was offered some literature. She brushed off the Survivor by saying, "No thank you, I'm pro-life."
But the Survivor on campus that day pushed her to take a piece of literature "because" she was pro-life. Kristina obliged, mainly out of courtesy.
The seed was planted!
Kristina read the literature and was moved by God. She volunteered for 40 Days for Life and eventually organized her own campaign. She planned an opening rally and a closing rally and she sought out speakers.
Kristina asked me to be one of those speakers and I happily agreed. That closing rally brought her once again into the orbit of Survivors.
I spoke, but as I sat and watched the rally I was impressed by the young lady, Kristina.Having organized many rallies, I noticed little things she did like making changes on the fly to keep the momentum going and even cutting down the program midstream to keep it timely.
I was impressed. Cheryl Conrad was impressed. We both said almost simultaneously, "We should recruit her to work for us!" Kristina meanwhile, was thinking how much she would like to work for a group like Survivors.
The match was made and God sent Kristina to us.
Again I say, "This is it!" This is why I founded Survivors: To recruit, train and equip young people to lead the pro-life movement. Kristina went from receiving a flyer on campus to leading that same Campus Outreach Team.
Now, as Kristina prepares to move on to the next phase of her life serving God, many would be devastated by the gaping leadership hole her departure would bring, but not Survivors!
This is who we are! This is what we do! We were founded for just this purpose!
Kristina and Survivors have been busy, continuing to recruit, train and equip new leaders and as Kristina steps out two more have risen to take her place!
Yes, as Kristina leaves to seek God's direction; two young people she has mentored for the last several years are stepping up into her former leadership role.
Please allow me to introduce to you the great young people who are stepping up!
If you follow the work of Survivors, you will probably recognize these young people who have been with the team for several years.
One of them first participated with Survivors when she was only 9 years old.
The two new leaders are Mary Rose Short and Bobby Bullock!
Mary Rose is the daughter of Life Legal Defense Foundation attorney, Katie Short, and the sister of Thrin and Joan Short, the two young women featured on Fox news after their assault by the UC Santa Barbara professor.
I asked Mary Rose and Bobby to give me a brief history of how they got involved with Survivors and I want to share their stories with you.
I gave them no time to prepare for these stories and in fact I asked them to write them less than 24 hours before I needed them and on a Sunday morning!
Here are the two emails I received.
Right from the email of Mary Rose:
Here are some snippets of how I came to Survivors. If it's not what you were looking for, or you have questions about any of it, I'll be on the train from 6:45 to 8:00 AM and can make changes. ~Mary Rose
(I love her dedication and willingness to work even as she travels the next morning! She continues:)
Some of my earliest memories are of learning about great injustices. I remember listening to my dad read about Herod's slaughter of the boy children, the slavery of the Israelites, and the Crucifixion and wishing I had been there to stop it, somehow. I remember every detail of watching federal agents on TV snatch a terrified Elian Gonzalez from his aunt's arms to return him to Cuba. I knew that they tortured people in Cuba and that his mom had risked - and lost - her life to give her son a free life in America.
I remember hoping Bill Clinton would be impeached because he lied and because he thought abortion was good. I remember watching videos of Survivors teams being arrested for talking to people about abortion.
Witnessing these injustices always made me desperate to work for justice.
I don't remember first learning what abortion was. It seems that I've always known that some people think it's okay to kill babies and that the law permits it, as long as the baby hasn't been born yet. And, as long as I can remember, I've known that my parents were working to end it.
We attended Life Chains, pickets, and city council meetings. Once we protested outside a Hillary Clinton fundraiser and I knew that we had reached her because I saw her sour face glaring at me as her SUV whisked into the driveway.
When I was nine years old, Survivors stayed at my house. I went out with them to Show the Truth at busy intersections of the next town over. They were testing whether the city would enforce its sign ordinance, but I didn't know that - I wanted to show as many people as possible what abortion was and how bad it was. An angry pro-abort tried to run Ken Reed over and almost succeeded.
Counter-protesters came out. I still remember the crude words sharpied onto one of their cardboard signs, but it wasn't until years afterward that I understood what they meant.I was glad to show the truth to others, but the images of the aborted babies appeared in my nightmares for years. They portrayed the most evil, vile act I knew.
I attended Survivors camp with my brother when I was seventeen. I was desperately shy, but after seeing that I could change people's minds, just by talking to them, it didn't seem right just to finish school. Babies were being ripped apart and I was capable of helping to end it - I couldn't sit on the sidelines. I asked my mom if I could skip part of my last year of high school and join the Survivors team. She thought that I was crazy, but said yes.
The team consisted of Jason Conrad, Kortney Blythe, and me. (Note by JW: Kortney was another young woman raised up by Survivors to a leadership role and who later moved on to help lead at Students for Life. She was killed, while pregnant, as she returned from a pro-life training session by a drunk driver -a devastating loss to her husband and all who knew and loved her.) Mary Rose continues:
We drove to DC and back. On our first campus, a college in Denver, I held a sign while Kortney and Jason distributed literature. A man strode up and screamed in my face, spit flying all over and around me. I don't remember what he or I said, but I remember being completely calm and actually feeling compassion for him. After the guy left and I was wiping the spit off my face, Kortney asked if I was ok. I was surprised to find that he hadn't shaken my composure at all. I realized that he was angry because he was wrong and that having the truth exposed made it impossible for him to justify his position to himself. He was angry with himself, not me. I only hoped his anger drove him to change.
I quit my part-time job and joined the team again the following semester. At one campus we went to, the police and administration were waiting for us in the parking lot. We had called to say we were coming and they were ready.
Kortney told us to unload, set up, and start talking to students. She would talk to the officials. If she wasn't able to get them to back down, she might at least be able to stall long enough for us to talk to a few students. Joey and I opened up the back of the van and started pulling signs out. They arrested Joey before the sign was all the way out of the car. Kortney called a tactical retreat and I pushed the sign back into the van. I realized that I had been a half-step away from being arrested. That month that I was with the team that spring, there were probably 6 - 8 (unlawful jw) arrests.
The struggle between good and evil is highly visible while doing campus outreach. For the next four years, while I was in college, I felt wasteful and selfish. Occasionally I'd drive half an hour to the closest abortion clinic, stand with a sign for an hour and drive back just in time to catch my next class. College felt like a waste of time. People - my equals - were being ripped apart. Why was I spending time on anything else?
I joined the team again after college.
Mary Rose has now been with the team for three straight years. Indeed she has been Kristina's right hand go-to person.
Mary Rose has been made the new Outreach director!
We are excited to see her rise to the occasion and accept the challenge God has put in her life. I have great confidence in Mary Rose.
Now Bobby. This is the tale of two emails. Bobby is strong but quiet. He is a man of few words, dependable, talented and a hard worker. Bobby is a veteran of many Survivors training camps and a leader for the last few years at camp.
He has been on the road with Survivors for several semesters and will be the new Campus Outreach Captain!
Here is Bobby's email in its entirety:
My family was already actively pro-life when I was born. My whole life I remember we'd go to clinics weekly, do life chain and stuff like that.
I heard about Survivors through an email my mom had gotten. She asked me if
I wanted to go spend two weeks in California doing pro-life work and I said heck yeah!
Hahaha - Thank you Bobby for that exhaustive recollection! But that's Bobby in two words: Heck Yeah!!!
I love it.
This is it! This is why I founded Survivors. We are seeing the fruit of your support of the work of Survivors right now!
Kortney's team hands a flyer to Kristina, Kortney moves on to SFLA. Kristina rises up and leads the team for over 4 years, and now she moves on to leadership elsewhere. As she leaves, Bobby and Mary Rose both graduates of Survivors camp and active team members riseup to take her place!!!
We are not losing Kristina, for Kristina will continue to lead wherever God places her for many years to come - we are gaining two new leaders in Bobby and Mary Rose!
I am so thankful to you and your support of Survivors. It is precisely in moments like these that all our efforts and sacrifice pay off.
You believed right along with me that it was a good investment of our time and resources to pour ourselves into these young people, to raise up the next generation of pro-life leaders!
And together we have done just that!!!
I am proud of the work of Survivors, the list of leaders around the country that trace their training and encouragement to Survivors continues to grow and grow!
We have reason to be proud of our work, our sacrifice and our faith in these young people!!!
But our work is not finished.
Bobby and Mary Rose begin their leadership of the team on February 1st.
They will need our help again, for there is no rest in this fight for justice and life.
They will be leading the team on a cross country tour running headlong into a fight in Jackson, Mississippi where local pro-life leaders have been suffering under continual police harassment as the local abortion mill, the only one in the state, works to stay open.
This is the same police department that illegally arrested Kristina and Brianna a couple years back and held them in a men's jail to endure the jeers, taunts and heckling of the male prisoners before being moved to a filthy women's jail.
Mary Rose was there, she knows what she is facing as she and Bobby head east.
Bobby and Mary Rose are going to need our support, our prayers and our guidance. Please keep these two in your prayers as they begin the new leadership roles.
Please pray for Kristina that God will use her mightily and clearly direct her path.
And please continue to support the work of our young people with a generous gift today. They need your support. Without your faithful giving there is no Survivors team.
Without you there are no Survivors camps, no Campus Outreach and no new leaders rising up and the chain of new leaders will be broken.
Please show your support right now with a welcome gift of support for Mary Rose and Bobby. Let them know you are as excited as I am to welcome them to their new roles and that they can run full steam without having to worry if there will be support enough to continue their work.
Yes, this is it! This is why we started the work of Survivors and your gift of $35, $50, $75, $100 or more if you can will not only keep Mary Rose, Bobby and the team on the road this semester - it will be planting the seed for the next leaders God is raising up through your faithfulness.
I can tell you that right now our funding is very tight but the Survivors continue to push on and work hard at being good stewards of the gifts you give.
So I want to ask you, if it is possible, would you consider an extra special gift to start this new year off with sufficient finances? I appreciate every gift, but if God has especially blessed you this past year we really could use a few gifts of $1000, $5000, $10,000 or more. These large gifts give us room to breathe as the day to day sacrificial gifts keep us going and on the road.
Thank you so much.
I am excited as I watch this new era begin. I am excited for Survivors, for Kristina, for Bobby and Mary Rose and for the new team under their leadership!
Thank you for helping our young people at Survivors fight the good fight for life.
May God bless you for all you do to rescue those babies unjustly sentenced to death and for making the work of their rescue possible. Thank you!
Your friend for life,
Jeff White, Founder
Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust
P.S. Kristina Garza is leaving but Mary Rose and Bobby are stepping up into the leadership role. This is it! This is why we founded Survivors. Kortney, Kristina, Mary Rose and Bobby, a chain linked together by God and made possible by your generosity and sacrifice. This fight will be won by these young people. They will usher in the end to abortion in America. Thank you for making their work possible and for continuing to support them. Please give the best gift you can today so this new team can run headlong and boldly into battle against the evil of their day!