Chanting carried across the four-lane street. “Abortion! God’s Word says murder!” Stacey glanced nervously across Michigan Ave. at Planned Parenthood. Marchers, carrying hand-written signs, waved their messages at the 5:00 rush hour traffic. Motorists responded with honks and hand gestures: some supportive, some crude and offensive.
Controversy made her stomach churn. Although she hated abortion, she could not imagine herself joining that parade of protesters. They took their mission quite seriously, but Stacey wondered how effective their efforts really were. She hoped this new ministry she’d joined earlier this fall would be a better alternative. Praying eagerly, she swung the door open to meet her new opportunity for service.
“Hi, Stace,” the receptionist greeted her cheerfully. Judy held the phone while she thumbed through a file folder. “Yes, Miss, you’ve been in this month for diapers already. Uh, huh, you’ll have to wait till the end of the week.” Nodding sympathetically, she listened to a litany of problems. “Hmm, yes…I understand; it’s hard. The check doesn’t come till…the 15th? Let me talk with the director and see what we can do. I’m putting you on hold.”
“Yikes, it seems like there’s always more need than we can fill.” Stacey shook her head in agreement, as she hung her coat and purse in the closet. A few minutes later, she smiled with relief as she heard Judy reassuring the frantic caller, “We can give you a few to get through the week-end. Yes, open until 8:00 tonight. God bless you.”
The kindness in the receptionist’s voice filled Stacey’s heart with warmth. Judy came once a week to answer calls and help clients at Pregnancy Care Center. Even though she walked in and out with a limp and a cane, she was eager to do her part in protecting the unborn and their scared, often young, inexperienced mothers-to-be. Stacey hoped to learn from this seasoned saint.
“Many clients today?” Stacey straightened the brochures and videos on the table near the desk. “What to Do With an Unplanned Pregnancy”, “How to Say No”, and “Condoms Don’t Protect against STD’s.” She had read these materials several times while waiting for girls to come for pregnancy tests. Sometimes it seemed futile stressing abstinence to those who had become sexually active in their early teens.
Still, that is the message she kept sharing. Thankfully, she also proclaimed the love of Christ and the plan of salvation. God’s redemptive grace was able to change dismal, unplanned pregnancies into bundles of joy for adoptive moms who had waited years for babies. He could also rebuild the lives of these biological moms who gave their newborn gifts up to families with more resources and stable homes.
“An abortion minded gal counseled with Bonnie earlier this afternoon. I think she signed up for a free ultrasound. I hope seeing the picture of her baby will soften her heart.” She whooped enthusiastically. “That’s why I love this job. Nothing boring about storming the throne of God with prayers for these dear, confused girls; they’re babies themselves. Babies having babies. Still, we have to keep these little pumpkins alive. That’s what it’s all about…” Judy broke off when the front door opened.
“Welcome to Pregnancy Care Center,” she welcomed the straggly haired teen and her sullen, tattooed friend. “May I help you?”
“Need a pregnancy test,” the withdrawn girl mumbled nervously. “Missed my last two periods. Bobby said I’d better not come home pregnant.” Tears slid down freckled cheeks as she reached for a wadded Kleenex from her canvas bag. She scribbled her name on the appropriate form and waited in silence.
Stacey slid an arm around her shoulder, glanced at her name, and headed her for the restroom. “Here’s a cup for your urine, Angie. Just fill it to the line and we’ll get that test going. I want to ask you a few questions and we’ll hash this thing over. Don’t worry; we’re here to help.”
Angie nodded absently while her friend flopped into the nearest chair in the waiting room. Stacey prayed silently as she picked up her clipboard and moved towards the counseling room. It was God’s work, she reminded herself. It was her job to sow the seed; the Holy Spirit would convict. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”* she reassured herself. Volunteering for LIFE was both challenging and rewarding. What a pleasure to give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name!
*Philippians 3:16 NKJ
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