Each year over eight hundred thousand teens become pregnant, which amounts to ten percent of women aged 15-19. Nineteen percent of women who are sexually active between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant each year with nearly 40% ending in abortion.
Government agencies develop programs aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy but in direct competition to this the whole culture, including TV programming, Hollywood movies, the music industry and the media in general advocate freestyle sexuality targeted at the teenage audience. Is it any wonder teenagers today feel like they are getting a mixed message.
Probably, little can be done to change all of this and make our culture more youth-friendly. The archenemy of our soul is determined to fight this all the way.
What can be done, however, is help girls pick up the battered pieces of their life and put it all back together again. It would be wonderful if this need did not exist, but it does exist and the need represents, to the Christian, an opportunity to serve Jesus Christ.
After several years of planning and praying, the Family of God Fellowship (Ocala, FL) received permission from the Marion County Commissioners to build a girl's home for pregnant teens. The plan calls for the construction of one administration building and six homes (each at 3,500 s/f) along with a 10,000 s/f gym to minister to up to 48 girls.
This new ministry, House of Onesiphorus, is based upon 2 Timothy 1:16 (KJV), "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:"
The House of Onesiphorus will be a place of refuge and restoration for girls between the ages of 10 and 17. The primary focus will center on pregnant teens particularly those who need to give their babies up for adoption.
Taking a holistic approach, the ministry will include physical, educational, emotional and spiritual. These young girls have been abused and potentially carry the scars of this abuse the rest of their lives. If left on their own they face a difficult if not impossible road to walk. Most pregnant girls will never graduate from high school and hence will not have the education needed to acquire jobs to sufficiently support them. Without some kind of intervention, these girls will go from one pregnancy to another or perhaps worst yet, one abortion after abortion.
Our goal is to reach out to these girls and help change their lives significantly to the point that they become productive members of our community. God's grace is sufficient to counter the damage of these scars and set these girls free.
This ministry, not supported by government funds, will rely on people moved of God in answer to simple prayer.
The focus will be one of restoration consisting of four primary components.
First, these pregnant teens need a safe and healthy environment. Many young girls live in an environment that mitigates against a healthy lifestyle. A pregnant teenager is by all accounts, an abused girl, from a variety of sources. The younger the girl the more likely the abuse is from someone related to her.
With the disintegration of the traditional family home, many young girls are damaged in the chaos of contemporary family value crisis. To best help these young girls a safe harbor must be established.
Society is against them. Contemporary culture is crushing them. A dysfunctional family environment is destroying them. Long gone is the time when children were a priority in our culture. Today children are the target of the worst kind of abuse.
The foundation of our ministry to these young girls is to establish a home environment, not only shielded from the world but also conducive to growth and development as God intended.
Another ministry aspect will focus on the oversight of these young girls, which includes the physical, emotional and educational aspects of their life. Somewhere along the line, somebody failed these young girls in this area of oversight. Our intention is patiently and persistently undo the pain this neglect has caused.
Statistics indicate when a young girl gets pregnant she will have a second child within the next two years. Consequently, these young girls rarely finish high school. And in today’s society, it is difficult securing a good paying job to support a family without a high school diploma. College for these girls is not even in their thinking range.
This area represents the most difficult because we will be dealing with the spiritual aspects of these young girls. Any ministry to these girls must be fully prepared to engage in spiritual warfare.
Many streams feed into a young girl's pregnancy. According to recent studies, teenage girls are out stripping boys when it comes to alcohol abuse, drug addiction and even criminal activity. Surely, we can say this generation is seeing our girls going wild. This activity is encouraged by a wide variety of elements in our society and the message these young girls are getting is activity without consequence.
Being spurred on by the icons of the teenage generation, many girls buy in to this devastating philosophy. Consequently, the girls of our generation face the greatest crisis of any generation prior.
While helping the young girl make the proper decisions concerning an existing pregnancy is one aspect of ministry, the biggest is dealing with the spiritual dynamics working against that girl. It is spiritual warfare at its ugliest.
This spiritual conflict also includes overwhelming physical problems. There is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) epidemic among the young people of our generation. According to health officials, there are literally hundreds of STDs to contend with today. The majority of these are incurable and present a lifetime affliction.
We believe Jesus Christ can not only set them free from the spiritual dynamics enslaving them but also heal them of these diseases beyond the reach of medical science today. After all, He is the Great Physician.
Another important ministry component centers on the area of personal encouragement. The Bible clearly challenges the older women to teach the younger women. "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:4-5 KJV).
Statistics suggest this is not being done.
It is our belief that the past is no indication of the future. Secular psychology believes the best way to predict future behavior is past behavior. Our encouragement will center on the truth expounded in God's Word of the power of the gospel is of such a nature that he can set the prisoner free. This freedom is both spiritual and physical. But it is also emotional.
The primary need is for godly housemothers to oversee the girls on a day-to-day basis. Our goal is to reach abused girls with an uncertain future and by the power of Jesus Christ see them leave our ministry as well-adjusted, confident and godly women that will be a blessing to the community.
For more information on this new Ministry, please contact:
Rev. James L. Snyder
Family of God Fellowship
P.O. Box 831313
Ocala, FL 34483