Mission Lab 2018

Churches affirm life through pregnancy resource centers

January 15th, 2018 / By: Erin Roach | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

Churches affirm life through pregnancy resource centers

Volunteer nurses at the Pregnancy Resource Center at Grand Prairie pose after training with an ultrasound machine.

GRAND PRAIRIE Pregnancy resource centers are a good way for Southern Baptist churches to affirm life by providing a pro-life answer for women who think ending a pregnancy is the way to solve their problems, Joe Rivera, a board member of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Grand Prairie, told the TEXAN. 

Such centers provide answers that—while contrary to worldly logic—are the best choice for all involved, including the unborn child, Rivera, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Grand Prairie, said.

“Pregnancy resource centers not only provide pregnancy testing and sonograms to verify a pregnancy but also options that the young lady or couple may have not known to be available,” Rivera said. “A Christian pregnancy resource center provides a group of people that are ready to lend support and prayer when a pregnant mother seems the most helpless. 

“When the client agrees, the center will also share the good news of forgiveness, hope and salvation through Jesus Christ in order to begin or renew a lifelong relationship with their Savior,” he said.

Rivera began serving as a volunteer at Pregnancy Resource Center of Grand Prairie in 2011, working with young men who would accompany their girlfriends or wives. 

It became evident there was a need “not only for the young ladies but also for these young men because they needed to also open up in conversation and find someone that would listen to their situation, answer their questions and pray with them,” he said.

The most important way a church can get involved with their local pregnancy resource center is to pray for them, Rivera said.  

“Pray for the volunteers, that they may always show Christ’s compassion from the first welcome all the way to celebrating the birth of a beautiful child.  After praying for the current volunteers, pray that the Lord would provide more volunteers with a heart for service,” he said.

Churches also can get involved by supporting the centers financially. PRCGP has several opportunities for churches to help, including the annual Baby Bottle Campaign and the Applauding Life Banquet, which saw 370 people attend in October and raised more than $70,000 in donations and pledges toward the 2018 budget. 

Another way churches can help their local pregnancy resource center is by having baby showers to collect needed supplies, clothing or food items, Rivera said, adding, “I would encourage churches to reach out to their local centers for specific needs.”

It’s always a blessing to see the report of activity for the center, Rivera said, noting the report lists the number of clients who enter the door of the center, the number of tests performed, the number of positive tests, the number of abortion-minded clients and the number of those who changed their minds and decided to carry their children to full term.  

“But the most exciting is the number of clients that make a decision for Christ,” he said.

“Many of the young ladies and women enter the resource center with their minds made up to abort the pregnancy. Whether it is to avoid embarrassment due to an unplanned pregnancy, financial issues or just because it interferes with plans laid out for their lives, they feel that to be the best course of action,” Rivera said. “However, because of the prayers and support for the resource center, volunteers step in to intervene with compassion and love for that child’s life.  

“When that mother is convinced that the child she carries is a living being and changes her mind, that makes a success story to me.”

—Joe Rivera, a board member of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Grand Prairie

“When that mother is convinced that the child she carries is a living being and changes her mind, that makes a success story to me.”

An example of such a story is a young woman who was new to Grand Prairie, felt alone and did not want to be pregnant. She was reluctant to share anything except that she wanted to have an abortion, until a volunteer carefully reached out to her, the center said in a newsletter. 

“Our volunteer actively and compassionately listened and began to understand why this young woman was so fearful of being pregnant,” the newsletter said. “We were then able to discuss with her the life-affirming options available and the resources and support we can provide her.”

The woman knew of God, but she had never accepted Christ as her Savior. She was willing to hear about God’s love for her and for her unborn child, and by the end of her time at the center—on her lunch break—she was opening her mind to carrying her child, the newsletter said. 

Grand Prairie churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention that support the Pregnancy Resource Center are Bowles Baptist, Fairview Baptist, First Baptist, Indian Hills Baptist, Inglewood Baptist, Lakeview Baptist, Primera Iglesia Bautista, The Oaks Baptist and South Park Baptist. In 1993, South Park Baptist was instrumental in launching plans for the center when John Yeats was pastor.