HOBBS, N.M. (BP) – For more than a decade, Legacy Pregnancy Resource Center has not had a permanent location for its ministry. That was until First Baptist Church voted last fall to donate an unused building on its property to serve as the center’s future home.
Lori Bova, chair of Legacy’s trustee board as well as trustee chair for Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Commission, said the building as it will provide exactly what the center needs.
“As soon as walked in the building I just thought, ‘Oh my goodness,’” Bova said. “A lot of transformation stories have happened in our center, and this building provides us with just an amazing space. I envision expanding our services where we can offer more things for the community.
“We could never have had the budget to buy a piece of property like this, and it will serve to continuing a legacy of life in Hobbs.”
A little more than 10 years ago, some women from Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in Hobbs, where Bova is a member, partnered to found Legacy Resource Pregnancy Center. Since then, it has moved to different temporary locations five or six times, according to Bova.
Legacy’s most recent location was simply a rented house in a residential neighborhood, which Bova said sometimes would cause potential visitors to feel unsure or uncomfortable about entering.
“We’ve never had a very stable presence in the community because we’ve had to move, and we’ve been in places that didn’t really look like a professional establishment,” she said. “I think with this future home, clients can be more confident in the services we provide being a permanent fixture in the community.”
First Baptist will allow Legacy to use part of its education wing as the center’s new temporary space, while the donated building across the street undergoes renovations for about a year.
Legacy provides resources to women such as pregnancy tests, classes on various subjects, baby supplies and the opportunity for prayer and relationship building. The new space will allow the center to expand its offerings.
But Bova said true transformation is the ultimate goal.
“I’ve learned being pro-life is sometimes just meeting needs,” she said. “But what I love about Legacy is we know ultimately meeting their needs is not what is going to solve their problems like hopeless or loneliness. We are able to pray with these women and share the love of Christ and the Gospel with them.”
State of play
The need for the center is great in this particular area of New Mexico, as Hobbs is close to the Texas border.
Bova said because of Texas’ abortion restrictions, there has been an influx of women from Texas seeking abortions in New Mexico. Hobbs does not have an abortion clinic; most of them are located in the northern part of the state.
The city has been the subject of some controversy regarding abortion law. In November, the city commission unanimously passed an ordinance intended to establish the city as a sanctuary city for unborn children.
The ordinance draws upon a federal law still on the books which prohibits drugs or supplies necessary for abortions from being sent in the mail, which essentially renders it impossible to open an abortion clinic in the city.
On Monday (Jan. 23), New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez asked the state’s Supreme Court to nullify the abortion-related ordinance passed in Hobbs as well as one in Clovis, N.M.
Unlike in Texas, abortion is legal in New Mexico until the day of delivery. Some pro-life advocates are viewing the legal battles in New Mexico as test cases for how pro-life advocacy and work will be done in states with Democratic-controlled governments.
The connection between First Baptist and Taylor Memorial is a long one. The latter church was planted by First Baptist in the 1950s.
Jim Fry is First Baptist’s church administrator.
“We saw the vision in our offices, but we wanted to do a good job communicating it to the church body,” Fry said.
“We felt like this would be a good location where [Legacy] wouldn’t have to move and own their own building. The church decided they wanted to be a part of that ministry in a big way. It’s hugely important that churches work together for a common goal and this was quite exciting for us.”
After several business meetings, the congregation voted unanimously last fall to hand over the deed to the building to Legacy.
Then Taylor Memorial voted to donate its $50,000 budget surplus to the building’s renovation project.
Additionally, First Baptist’s new pastor is from Texas and helped connect Legacy with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Plans are underway for the BGCT to help Legacy acquire ultrasound machines and other equipment.
“Texas is not battling on the abortion front right now to the degree that we are,” Bova said, “so they’re wanting to come across the state line and help. It’s just a really neat picture of the cooperative spirit of Southern Baptists.”
Before First Baptist owned the building, it was a part of a hospital in the 1930s and ‘40s, and served as the location where babies were born.
The building is referred to in the community as the Stone Building because Stone was the last name of the doctor who often delivered the babies. Stone’s grandson has reached out to Legacy and pledged financial support, so once again the building and the Stone family will play a part in bringing life into the world.
For Bova, Legacy is not only about saving the lives of the unborn children, but the lives of their mothers as well.
“We’ve seen dozens of women come to know the Lord through their interactions in our center,” Bova said. “That’s the ultimate goal. We want babies saved from abortion, but ultimately we want her to come to a saving relationship with the Lord.”