Note from Randy: I just love this story my friend Larry Gadbaugh, CEO of First Image (which oversees Portland’s Pregnancy Resource Centers) tells in one of his recent letters.
If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of unborn children and their mothers in your community, I encourage you to financially support and considering volunteering at your local pregnancy resource center. You can also start by reading my book ProChoice or ProLife? (available as a free download).
By Larry Gadbaugh
When life already seems too much to bear, someone who comes alongside to support us can give us the strength and support that we need to face the future with courage and love.
We see this happen for our clients in the centers all the time.
Pregnancy tests are a common service provided at our centers. One particular day, Shanna came in for a pregnancy test with her 4-year-old son, Ethan. Ethan is a very precocious little guy who kindly drew pictures for all the center staff. When Ethan understood that his mother would be coming back, he gave strict instructions to keep his pictures posted on the wall until he returned. Soon after, Shanna returned for her next appointment. Tagging along of course was Ethan, as well as the father of the baby, who was currently living with another woman. Tearfully, Shanna said she didn’t think she could manage another child besides her son.
However, in the exam room, everything changed.
As soon as the ultrasound screen displayed, life flickered across the screen. Ethan began to wave and exclaim, “Hi baby! Hi baby! I’m so glad to see you! I’m gonna be your big brother and I’m gonna take care of you and teach you everything!” The little boy then took some raisins from his pocket, handed them to his smiling mother and said, “Don’t worry, Mommy. Eat these for your energy. I’m going to take care of you and the baby. We’re gonna be fine.”
For many of the women who come to our centers, the dominant voices in their lives are not supportive of her pregnancy. That’s why I’m so thankful for our center staff, our nurses, and our volunteers (who are beginning to return and serve at the centers after a year of COVID restrictions). These are the life-affirming faces and voices of support for our clients.
We know that the majority of women facing unsupported pregnancy will decide to birth their babies when they come to us instead of aborting them—when they experience the caring people in our centers, receive accurate medical information, and catch a glimpse of their baby through the ultrasound. And, when they find out that we can offer them resources and referrals through the first two years of their baby’s life, we see them become strengthened with the courage and love they need to embrace their little one and plan to either parent or make an adoption plan.
So many people in our community are facing the responsibilities and pressures of life without the hope of God’s love through a relationship with Jesus.
When I started as CEO here 20 years ago, the majority of women who came into our centers had some experience in a church. Yet today, we are among the first connections that most of these women will have with someone who represents the love and truth of Jesus.
More than ever, women, men, and their babies need an encounter with the living God, who is extending His love and life through us, His children and His representatives.