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Students celebrate the value of life during Convocation

January 27, 2014 : By Melissa Skinner/Liberty University News Service

In Monday’s Convocation, Liberty University students were encouraged to become involved in defending the unborn and supporting mothers facing unplanned pregnancies.

Liberty University alumnus Zach Duke
Former Liberty Flames Football player Zach Duke (’12) speaks in Convocation on Monday, Jan. 27.

Former Liberty Flames Football player Zach Duke (’12) encouraged students to become active in fighting for the rights of the unborn. Duke is a representative of The Rose Initiative and The Liberty Godparent Home. Duke promoted “Reclaim Life” bracelets, printed with the name of a mother who has chosen life, along with her due date. All proceeds go to the Liberty Godparent Home.

“The Rose Initiative is a movement on a mission to unite, reclaim, and celebrate life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Duke said. “We want to recognize the girls in the Godparent Home today and applaud them for choosing life.”

The keynote address was given by visually impaired pro-life activist and motivational speaker Gail McWilliams.

When McWilliams and her husband were first married, they were told they would never have children, but by the grace of God, they were eventually able to conceive and have five children. However, during each of her pregnancies, McWilliams’ eyes would hemorrhage, causing her vision to deteriorate.

Gail McWilliams speaks at Liberty University Convocation.
Visually impaired pro-life activist Gail McWilliams speaks in Liberty's Convocation on Monday, Jan. 27.

When McWilliams was carrying her second daughter, the doctor told her he was noticing a pattern and that she would either have to choose her eyes or her baby.

“I said to the doctor: ‘The choice is made, and I choose my baby.’ The doctor told me I was making a foolish decision and left the room. After he left, I sat alone, and I knew I made a major decision, but I knew I had made the right decision in choosing life,” McWilliams said.

She also stressed the importance of having another type of vision — a dream for future generations.

“I find that living in a culture where life seems to be disposable … that our eyes need to see life as a treasured commodity that will impact generations to come,” McWilliams said.

She told students that life will have problems and difficulties, however is it still a gift.

“When you have a vision, you can see in the darkest places of life,” she said. “If you live on only what you can see, it is disappointing and discouraging. Live with a vision and always make your decisions anchored in the word of God.”

McWilliams received a standing ovation for her speech.