My Story “What happens when God shows up at a Planned Parenthood Clinic Training”

By Gary Brown

“This man kills teens!”

These are the words I heard coming from an office while I was standing in the hall of a community center in Macon, Georgia.  I was there to lead the state’s first-ever Abstinence Education training event for Planned Parenthood teen clinic workers.

“I know I am not excited either.  But if we do not conduct this training today we lose our state funding.”

I was waiting to see the District Director of the Georgia Department of Health; the emcee of the training event.  The Georgia legislature made it a law that Planned Parenthood sponsored teen clinics must receive Abstinence education training in order to continue to receive state funding.

Obviously the two ladies talking in the office had no idea that I was able to hear their conversation about me and the training I was about to lead.  I knocked on the door and was instructed to enter.

(I apologize for the use of language in the next paragraph.  I debated whether I should write it as it was said.  I decided I should.  We must understand the extreme spiritual nature of the battle ahead.)

After introducing myself there was no handshake; not even a smile.  Only this greeting, “What the hell are you doing here?!”  My answer was pretty cut and dried.  “Well, your office called and asked me to conduct an Abstinence Education training event.”

I was told that in no way were they glad to see me and that this was a complete waste of time and tax-payer’s money.  The training was to be one day by law, but the leadership in the room encouraged me to stop right after lunch.  I discovered after the training that around 50 clinic workers had made plans to make my day miserable with cat calls, frequent interruptions and threats.

As the crowd of 300 began to arrive, not everyone was rude.  Some had even expressed their appreciation to me for stepping into this “the den of lions.”  Several even stated they were going to be praying for me as I spoke.

I set up my computer, screen and power point program and the time to begin arrived.  The director of the health district stood, welcomed everyone and introduced me.

“I would like to introduce to you this morning, Gary Brown.  Before he stands to deliver what I am sure will be a wonderful religious speech, I want to extend my deepest apologies to each and every one of you for having to endure this so-called training today.  As we all know Abstinence Education is dangerous for women and girls.  Unfortunately our state legislature has been hijacked by right-wing, religious zealots; but they do hold the purse strings.  We asked Mr. Brown to make his comments short.”  Then looking at me she said, “Mr. Brown, the floor is yours.”

Among a few claps; but many more jeers and boos I stood to begin my training.

God’s strength and peace filled my heart as I started my program.  Before I stood to speak Bible verses began to go through my mind.  “Love those who persecute you and say vile things about you.”  “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”  “Speak the truth in love.”

I have been sharing what happened that day with audiences for many years now.  Often I have been asked how I survived.  My answer; trust, love and truth.  As I “spoke the truth in love” the cat-calls and jeers lessened to the point that threats became questions and questions became serious discussion.

Although I didn’t exactly quote scripture, I just told the facts; the truth.  Truth like condoms do not protect teens against most sexually transmitted diseases like, HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis.  I shared truth, like condoms must be used correctly every time to reduce the chance of a young girl from pregnancy.  I shared the truth that it is a scientific fact that condoms do not protect teens from anything; that the absolute best result a teen can expect from condom use is that it might reduce the chance of contracting an STD or getting pregnant.

Here I shared the ultimate fact.  If a teen waits until they are married to have sex; if they marry someone who waited and if they stay faithful to each other; and if they stay away from IV drug usage, they have reduced the probability of contracting HIV to practically ZERO!

Then I went one step further.  If everyone on earth would wait until marriage for sex; if everyone would stay faithful to each other and if everyone stayed away from IV drug usage, AIDS would be wiped off this planet in ONE GENERATION!

The auditorium of 300 clinic workers was silent!  Some began to cry.  Others walked out.  Many more came forward; this Abstinence Education Training event began to look like a Billy Graham tent meeting.

After we were dismissed dozens of Teen Clinic workers made their way to me, weeping over the way they had been counseling young teens.  They confessed to directing young girls to have abortions; some actually drove the girls to the clinics.  Many who came forward were Christians who honestly had no idea what they were doing was wrong.

I honored the District Director’s request; I wrapped it up by lunch.  But I was there for several more hours; comforting those in pain and encouraging them to follow God’s plan in counseling.

Something happened that day that took me and everyone there by surprise; God showed up at a Planned Parenthood Training event.   This miracle would be repeated to some degree in each city, each time I stood to talk.

When people arrived no one really knew what to expect.  And the last thing we expected was for God to show up.  But I discovered that when we take the truth into the public square “Speaking the truth in love” that’s what happens; God shows up.

Scores of Teen Clinic workers in Georgia changed forever how they would counsel young ladies.  Many more quit their job altogether.

Remember the District Director who cursed at me in the office and gave me that glorious introduction in the first training?  She actually introduced me at all 10 trainings!

I am going to close out this edition of “My Story” with the introduction the Director gave me at the 10th and final training event.

“I want to introduce to you a man that has changed my life.  Today you are in for the greatest training experience we have ever provided you.  I want you to listen; for everything you believe about teen sex and how you have counseled teens concerning sex is going to be challenged.  If you take to heart what Mr. Brown shares with you today, you will never be the same.  I am proud to introduce to you my friend Gary Brown.”

One more time I hid behind God’s Word; one more time hearts were changed; one more time God showed up.


Self-Educated American, Contributing Editor, Gary Brown, is the President of the Idaho Values Alliance, and Founder and Executive Director of Reach America