NOTE: This story provides information about “The Invitation Stands,” new resources for crisis pregnancy ministry including a downloadable video from the North American Mission Board available for use on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Jan. 17, online at www.nambforlife.net.
OSCEOLA, Fla. (BP)–At the age of 17, Dawn was in crisis.
She was pregnant and alone. She couldn’t tell her friends — the gossip and humiliation at school would be unbearable. She couldn’t tell her parents — they would be so hurt and disappointed. She was a teen facing an adult decision all alone. Is it any wonder she made the wrong choice?
Fortunately, Dawn wrestled with her decision a little too long and when she visited a Florida abortion clinic, it was too late to end her pregnancy. “The abortionist told me I was going to be a mother whether I liked it or not,” Dawn recalled.
Dawn gave birth to a baby girl whom she loved very much. But two years later, her lifestyle hadn’t changed and at age 19, she became pregnant again. Already a struggling single mother, Dawn chose not to delay the decision. She walked into an abortion clinic, ended her pregnancy and walked out vowing never to speak about it again.
Where was the hope for Dawn? Where was the voice of reason saying there is help and another option? Perhaps if there had been a pregnancy resource center in Dawn’s community, her second baby would have been saved.
Some 6.3 million women face a crisis pregnancy in the United States each year, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. More than 1.3 million of those pregnancies end in abortion. Pregnancy resource centers exist nationwide to tell these women there is hope and a future for them and their babies in Jesus Christ.
The North American Mission Board partners with 270 pregnancy resource centers. Because of NAMB centers, more than 3,600 babies were saved from abortion in 2009. Additionally, some 1,700 women accepted Christ because pregnancy center staff members shared the Gospel with them.
On Jan. 17, 2010, Southern Baptists again will observe “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday,” marking the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
Elaine Ham, pregnancy care ministries associate at NAMB, wants Jan. 17 to be not only a day of remembrance for babies who have been lost to abortion, but also a day of hope for the babies and mothers who can be saved if Southern Baptist churches and pregnancy resource centers will work together to reach them.
“As I began thinking about Sanctity of Human Life Sunday 2010, I knew God was going to do something special,” Ham said. “I didn’t want to do just a promotional campaign. I wanted to put in place a strategy that would focus on evangelism and promote cooperation between pregnancy care centers and local churches.”
While attending a meeting of pregnancy resource center directors at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, Ham met a young woman with a similar vision, Osceola Pregnancy Center director Dawn Pate.
Pate had just completed a three-minute video and a CD of six original songs called “The Invitation Stands.”
“This was a message God was compelling my heart to speak,” Pate said, “to bring more awareness to pregnancy resource center ministry. We are struggling ministries up against a multi-billion-dollar abortion industry. We need the support and prayers of the body of Christ.”
Pate knows firsthand the need for Christ to be the hope in the midst of a crisis pregnancy. She was that girl who had faced two crisis pregnancies and an abortion by the time she was 19.
“It’s amazing how God works,” Pate said. “The very things we don’t want to talk about are the things He uses to bring about healing and to minister to other people.”
“God is using Dawn in an amazing way,” Ham said. “I knew when I met her that The Invitation Stands would be an integral part of our strategy to build and strengthen partnerships between Southern Baptist churches and pregnancy resource centers.”
Churches across the country are invited, join in The Invitation Stands by going to www.nambforlife.net to download free resources and order the video. Hard copies of these resources can be ordered for a small fee by calling 1-866-407-NAMB.
Pate and Ham also have joined together to make a variety of resources available for churches to encourage their members to take action toward supporting the life-saving work of pregnancy resource centers through a two-year Sanctity of Human Life project, also called “The Invitation Stands.”
In the weeks leading up to Sanctity of Human Life Sunday 2010, several churches will take part in a pilot project praying for and visiting pregnancy resource centers in their communities. They will ask God for safety, wisdom and boldness on behalf of the staff and volunteers who share Christ with women in crisis every day. Additionally, church members will bring packages of diapers to help meet the needs of new mothers. Churches interested in participated in this event in January 2010 can contact Elaine Ham via e-mail at email@example.com.
“I hope this project will result in a coordinated message between churches and pregnancy care centers,” Ham said, “thus enabling them to reach the thousands of women who have suffered from abortion or are currently facing a crisis pregnancy who never would have gone directly to a church for help.”
For more ideas on how churches can connect with a pregnancy resource center or start a center in their communities, visit www.namb.net/pregnancy.
Jami Becher is a writer for the North American Mission Board.