Coast-to-Coast Witness for Life
Anna Strasburg crossed our entire continent running and cycling to get the word out that abortion kills human beings.
IFA has covered people like Janet Porter, the architect of the Heartbeat Bill, who has worked to protect the pre-born through legislature, and people like Tracy Robinson, who used her gifts as a filmmaker to create The Matter of Life. Anna Strasburg adds a very different color to the palette of the pro-life movement, proving the Lord can use any gift we might have to express the full humanity of the pre-born!
While on tour with The Hiding Place, I learned about Anna through her husband, and my cast mate, James Strasburg. I was overjoyed she made time to tell me what inspired her to accomplish such a gigantic feat. You can watch our interview below.
A seed was planted in a young heart
At IFA we pray a lot about education, and Anna’s story is another example of why we must continue making that a focus. Anna’s fifth grade teacher at a private Christian school birthed and nurtured Anna’s heart for the pre-born. Though few of her other teachers brought up the subject, Anna said about this one teacher, “Every Bible verse we memorized, every art project we did, was all about protecting the pre-born and how we should care for them and how they’re people, too…. Something in that just stuck in my heart.” As she grew and learned more about abortion, Anna said, “I understood why she planted that seed so young…. She had so much influence.” Throughout schooling, Anna began looking for a way to “live out” her passion to protect the pre-born.
Anna ran cross-country in high school and half-marathons at Pensacola Christian College. While training for her first half-marathon her sophomore year at Pensacola, she was out on a 10-mile training run. She said:
I could not kick caring about the pre-born no matter how I tried…. That time of running is always my prayer time…. I said, ‘God, You have something for me. You’ve given me this burden…. As I was running I just kept seeking God and seeking God…. Finally I just got fed up and (prayed), ‘You know what, God? If You don’t give me a way to live this out, then take it from me. I don’t want to care anymore. I don’t want to have this burden. I don’t want to talk to people about it and do nothing. I want to do something.” … During… the finishing sprint, this climax of my run, God laid it on my heart, ‘Run across America.’ And I… was shocked and scared and… all those emotions, but so excited to finally have something tangible I could do to end abortion.
One Mile at a Time
Though she felt the Lord was calling her to finish college before making the trek, she started fundraising and planning for the trip that very year.
Anna planned to start at San Francisco, but after two years of fundraising they only had $200. So she went home to Kansas. She said:
For an entire month I sat in my parents’ house praying and feeling so ashamed that I had told everyone about this calling and then God wasn’t providing. At the end of that month I said, ‘You know what, God, You’re the One who gave me this call. You’re the One who asked me to run across America, and I give it back. If You don’t provide for me, I know it’s a closed door… until You provide…. The second I gave it back to God, was when God gave it back to me again, and then in that moment God laid on my heart, ‘Let’s do a launch party.’
Anna invited everyone she knew, and they raised $2,000. A donor gave them a converted van, allowing them to sleep in the back whenever they couldn’t secure housing.
They decided to start in Kansas City and run to the West Coast, hoping to raise more funds along the way. Anna pulled together her team: Her sister kept their social media presence going, and their friend Megan Maier managed the trip, trying to find places to speak and sleep. Anna ran ten to twenty miles a day, five days a week. The three of them and a 100-pound German shepherd lived out of the back of the van, bathing when a host offered a shower… or dipping into a lake when necessary.
They learned to trust the Lord for provision. Anna said:
As long as God provided we knew this was what we were supposed to be doing, and if the money stopped coming in, we would go home… but… every time that we ran out of money, we’d pray, ‘God, would You bring in more money,’ and then someone would pull over on the side of the road and give us money, or we stopped at this random hole in the wall cafe. They found out our cause and they gave us all their tips. That was literally what was fueling our van, keeping us going.
Anna and her team had counted on speaking engagements and host families from the churches along the planned route, but commitments were slow in coming. She said:
It was so silent, but it was just this journey at first of ‘put your feet to the ground and keep going and praying, and you’re breaking the bonds of Satan when you pray, when you fight for the pre-born, even if no one sees you…. You don’t have to be seen to change the world. Do what you’re called to do, and God will open doors.
Though the speaking engagements (and housing) started coming in, once they crossed the border into California there wasn’t a single open door. Anna picked up the pace to finish that leg as soon as she could. When she jumped in the ocean at Santa Monica Beach she sensed the Lord saying, “I didn’t give you this money up front, I didn’t answer your prayers all at once, but you trusted me through this all. Keep trusting.”
The Second Leg
Unfortunately, after about 1,700 miles, Anna’s knees were wearing down, and she added, “Everything hurt.” They drove back to her home in Kansas where her doctor told her if she kept running this trek she’d never run again. So, after seeking godly counsel, she chose to cover the eastern half of her journey on bike. This meant she covered a whole week’s worth of running in a day. She dropped to three days a week, opening up more time for speaking engagements and interviews. Anna said, “By trusting God that cycling was actually what He had for me, what He had planned all along, He was able to multiply the fruit of what we were doing.” The eastern leg of their journey they had housing every night except one.
Anna used her time on the road for intense prayer. Some of it was for provision, but she said she was praying “with every step: Break the bondage on America. Break what’s going on with Satan and his grip with these children. I sought God, asking Him, ‘Please save these children.’”
In the end, it took 15 months to traverse the nation. The journey ended with a triple triumph! At Washington, DC,she spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, she got to jump in the Atlantic Ocean, and James, who’d been writing to her through her hosts along the way, proposed! They now have four children.
People across the country who had helped her and her team along the way showed up at the end of her journey to celebrate her achievement and to thank God. Anna said to those gathered, “Thank you for fulfilling your call for the pro-life message so that I could fulfill what God called me to.” They prayed and sang, attracting many passersby. She said, “It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. It was just glorifying God that He was the One who gets the credit.”
Moving Forward at a Brisk Pace
Anna continues to speak for the pre-born. On June 23 Anna spoke at Young America’s Foundation Conference. The title of her talk was, “Why Roe Must Go,” and… within 24 hours Roe was gone. During our interview Anna prayed abortion “would end, and that it will be part of a history book that we teach why we can never leave You, God. Why we can’t leave what You teach us because we end up with things like 62 million children who have died.”
Find out more about Anna’s ongoing ministry at www.If-Life.org.
Here’s a promotional video Anna and her team used before the journey began:
Here’s our interview with clips from the journey:
Post your prayer for Anna’s book and speaking engagements to continue to amplify the message across America and around the world that a person is fully human at every stage of development. Also consider sharing how the Lord has been using the gifts and talents He’s given you to speak up for the voiceless.
Rich Swingle has taught and performed in 39 nations on six continents, mostly with his own one-man plays and in several musicals. He’s used his gifts to help women who realize what abortion really is after they’ve had one though the short film “This Is My Child.” He and his bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer for IFA, now have 37 screen children. The Swingles live in New York City. www.RichDrama.com. Photo Credit: Anna Strasburg.
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