I have had the privilege of volunteering at Birth Choice for the past 8 1⁄2 years, first as a client advocate and most recently as a prenatal/ parenting class teacher. Every day that I meet with clients is a blessing for me. It’s always exciting to see how God is working in every single aspect of our ministry. Some of my most gratifying experiences have been with young women who walk in without appointments. A couple of those were abortion-minded women, but each one changed her mind when she learned that her baby had a heartbeat as early as three to five weeks. These women were also given the opportunity to see their babies on untra-sound. The young ladies might not have been on my schedule, but they most certainly were on God’s!
Birth Choice’s stated mission is “to extend Christ-like love in a compassionate and responsive manner that values the family and empowers women and their partners to choose life.” Further, it is “an outreach ministry of Jesus Christ, through his Church...committed to presenting the gospel of our Lord, both in word and deed to women in crisis pregnancies.” Our ministry goes beyond just offering free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. We offer every pregnant woman the opportunity to attend classes designed to help her throughout her pregnancy and beyond. Also, we have programs designed to help post-abortive women deal with the repercussions of abortion, a men’s mentoring ministry which helps them to be godly fathers, and a fact-based abstinence program for teenagers.
In addition to teaching prenatal/parenting classes, I coordinate our E.S.T.H.E.R. ministry at Birth Choice, an earn-while-you-learn program that offers women incentives for attending prenatal/parenting, childbirth, and abstinence classes. Clients earn Mommy Money by coming to class and completing required assignments. The prenatal/parenting classes meet twice a month for four months. Each class includes a short devotion and prayer, a DVD about pregnancy and/or parenting, a Bible study based on a woman of the Bible, and homework review. Homework deals with basic decision making activities and assignments that require clients to review materials about pregnancy and parenting, along with optional Bible lessons that they can do for extra Mommy Money.
The Mommy Money clients earn can be used for all kinds of baby items, including clothing, diapers, formula, toiletries and linens, and even baby furniture which we keep in our resource room. Occasionally we have guest speakers who give our clients information about resources available to them, such as TENNderCare. Next month we have a group of nursing students from Union University coming to teach an infant CPR class. Fathers in our men’s mentoring class can also earn Daddy Dollars to use in the resource room. After a client has her baby, she is invited to bring her baby to Birth Choice for us to get a picture for our baby picture portfolio, which is constantly streaming over the flat-screen tv in our resource room. At that time we give her a handmade diaper bag filled with things for her baby and a gift bag for her. Our resource room has baby clothes up to size 2T, so our clients don’t really leave us once they have their babies; they come in often to shop for baby supplies.
We also partner with City Fellowship Church through a program called Baby U(niversity), which was developed by one of our E.S.T.H.E.R. teachers as a continuation of the classes we offer at Birth Choice. Though Birth Choice does not actually finance this program, we do allow clients to use the Mommy Money they earn through Baby U to purchase things from our resource room. Baby U meets on Saturday mornings and helps moms with parenting tips for babies and toddlers. City Fellowship offers free childcare, a real plus, since many of our clients are single moms and often have problems finding someone to watch their children while they attend classes.
Birth Choice does not receive funding nor any other assistance from any government agencies and relies entirely upon the donations of individuals, churches, and other faith-based organizations. Our ministry could not function without people in the community who give their money, material possessions, and their services to Birth Choice. We are always in need of volunteers, and there are many ways to do this, as (1) a client advocate or teacher, (2) a support nurse, (3) a Samaritan (office aide), and as (4) a Junior Samaritan (boys and girls ages 13 -17) or Senior Samaritan (men and women ages 18 and over) who provides clerical office help, resource room help, help with maintenance, and help with fundraising. If you would like more information about any of these opportunities for service, please contact me at here.
I am blessed abundantly with opportunities to get to know my clients throughout the course of their pregnancies and to see how the spiritual and material resources Birth Choice provides make a real difference in their lives and in the lives of their babies. It is a privilege to be a part of such a loving Christian community, and I can promise you that volunteering at Birth Choice can richly bless your life.