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Ministry Moments Blog
Lori Palmer, a newly retired New Life Pregnancy Center Director, shares her reflections on her time working with the pregnancy centers. Lori helped open four of the six New Life Pregnancy Center locations in Phoenix and provided training to countless volunteers throughout her time with NLPC.The years have flown by! I guess this is what happens when you are in the midst of trying to do ministry. Yes, I said, “trying” because sometimes it was easy, however other times it was very difficult – but always worth it! I can’t believe how much the New Life Pregnancy Centers have grown. It sort of reminds me of what happens to a woman’s belly during pregnancy – ha!
I clearly remember October 27, 2010, the opening day of the Central Phoenix NLPC, which was the second of the Phoenix-area centers. Heather Tidball and I, as co-directors, were just praying we would have a few people show up needing diapers or a pregnancy test. We served six women that first day, representing three different countries. I realized right away this was going to be an international mission field. The first three months, a total of 67 people came for diapers, and a few additional women came for pregnancy tests. Once January of 2011 rolled around, we served as many people in 1 month, as we did in the previous 3 months, and we really felt the need of this ministry in our community. Now, this center often sees more than 67 people in one day, and we think nothing of it.
I had no idea how much this pregnancy center ride would change, grow and stretch me – as a Christian, as a woman, as a wife/mother/grandmother, as a missionary. Only God knew! I have had the opportunity over these last five and a half years to tell many about the love of God and his son, Jesus. I’ve had the privilege of praying with hundreds of people; serving thousands of folks from many different nations with basic baby needs, like diapers, clothing and formula, and experiencing the highs of happily letting a woman know she is expecting a baby or the test was negative and that was exactly what she needed to hear. But, I’ve also experienced the lows of hearing a woman who just heard me say, “Yes, the test is positive,” and she feels her only option is to not continue with her pregnancy.
I have been humbled by the men and women that walked through our doors and the stories they shared with me. They have blessed me by allowing me, for a fraction of a time, to glimpse their daily lives, the good and the bad. I’ve seen an increasing trend of grandparents raising their grandchildren. I’ve heard from a lot of men they didn’t have an example of what a “good” father should look like, but they know they want to be one. I’ve seen drug addicts and alcoholics who are doing everything they can just to say no so they can get their children back. Homeless women and men have come into our centers, not needing the services we offer, but just asking for prayer. I have heard some of our clients say they don’t feel they are deserving of prayer, and I’ve seen others express how they now know God really does exist because they have seen Him work in their lives through prayer. I’ve seen a few people just expect our help, while many others wished they didn’t have to ask for help but are grateful it is there for them. I’ve had the honor of attending the actual births of a few babies, and I’ve seen some babies I thought would never have the opportunity to be born.
There are so many more memories and reflections that I could go on for days, but this is enough for now. I have been blessed, in more ways than I can count, by being a director in this ministry. I’ve had the opportunity to live out a time in my life as a “Titus Woman” to help train up the younger women. Finally, as this chapter ends, I look forward to the next one which, for me, will start with the words “I was wondering if I could volunteer here!” I hope and pray you will join me in this journey!
(originally posted 2/16/16)
There are currently over 17,000 children in the Arizona foster care system. The Children’s Heart Gallery features children in the system currently available for adoption. Pictured are Abrianna and Serenity, who are waiting for their forever family.Abrianna and Serenity are two social butterflies!Both girls love animals and plan on being zoo keepers when they grow up. Serenity loves horses and has a fish named Dori, and Abrianna loves dogs and cats. These sweet siblings love to go shopping, attend church, walk their current foster family’s dog, ride their bikes and scooters, be around other people, help to cook and go to movies.
Both Abrianna and Serenity especially love to dance, sing and have books read to them. They also enjoy going to the park and museums.
Abrianna loves being an older sister. She is enthusiastic and competitive. Abrianna is also fun and quirky and loves to tell jokes. Serenity calls Abrianna her “superhero”. She is funny and excitable. Serenity loves giving big hugs and loves to cuddle during movie time. She tends to be a little slower to warm up in social situation until she gets used to her surroundings.
Abrianna and Serenity have a strong sense of family and enjoy doing activities together. They need a family with a strong foundation of love, consistency and patience. They just want to be loved and are open to sharing that love as well.
Abrianna was born in 2006 and Serenity was born in 2008. For more information about Abrianna and Serenity, visit the Children’s Heart Gallery.
Becky* came into the Buckeye New Life Pregnancy Center for a free pregnancy test. During conversation with the peer counselor, she shared a small piece of her background, including difficult pregnancies and family changes. Becky explained she had grown up occasionally attending Jehovah’s Witness services and had wanted to be baptized into the group, but saw some inconsistencies and had questions about what was right. The peer counselor was able to share the gospel and talk with Becky about what she knew about Jesus. Becky was interested but changed the subject after a short while. The conversation returned to the pregnancy test until Becky suddenly looked up and asked, “What’s that?”
The peer counselor followed her gaze and saw she was looking at the Believe Bags on a shelf. Before the peer counselor could explain, Becky began to cry. She explained how she and her sister were experiencing some tension and her sister wasn’t talking to her. Her sister had always been a source of support to her and would continually remind Becky that she believed in her. Becky said seeing the words We believe in you! on the bag made her realize how much she missed her sister and needed that encouragement.
The peer counselor pulled down the bag and handed it to Becky, letting her know it was filled with beauty products from Believe Ministries and was meant to let her know how loved she is by Jesus and cared for even through the most difficult of times. The Believe Bag allowed the peer counselor to return to the gospel and present it to Becky in a new light. Becky was extremely grateful for such a sweet gift and left the center that day encouraged, supported and reminded that there is a God who loves her and wants her to know Him personally.
(originally posted 2/10/16)
A few months ago, a young lady named Grace* and her boyfriend, Matthew* visited the Tucson New Life Pregnancy Center to receive a free pregnancy test. The pregnancy test was positive, and Grace said she did not want to be pregnant and would most likely have an abortion. The peer counselor spent time talking with both Grace and Matthew, encouraging them to consider options like parenting and adoption to give life to their unborn baby. Matthew was very supportive and continually encouraged Grace to not have an abortion.
Grace finally agreed to schedule an ultrasound at the center but failed to show up on the day of her appointment. The center staff called her to reschedule for the following day. Again Grace did not show up, and the staff was unable to reach her by phone. Matthew returned to the center alone, worried about Grace and asked what he could do to influence her to choose life for their baby. The staff prayed with him and encouraged him to continue talking with Grace, supporting her and encouraging her to reconsider her options.
Months passed without any word from either Grace or Matthew until one day Grace called the center. She informed the staff she was attending her first prenatal appointment that day and had decided to keep her baby! Praise the Lord!
There are currently over 18,000 children in the Arizona foster care system. The Children’s Heart Gallery features children in the system currently available for adoption. Pictured is David, who is waiting for his forever family.David is an affectionate, playful and kind-hearted boy who approaches life with enthusiasm, wonder and curiosity. As soon as his bright blue eyes and vibrant smile greet you, you just know you will never be the same.
David will keep you on your toes! Although he enjoys his “tablet” and cartoon time, he loves to be active even more. When it’s time to head outdoors, David snaps on his helmet and takes off on his scooter, and the world is his playground. He loves to play at the park – soccer, swings, teeter-totter, monkey bars, slides, digging in the dirt for bugs and treasures, playing with other kids, writing his name in the sand – you name it, he’s up for it!
David would love to learn how to ride a skateboard, and thinks his “perfect day” would begin with a plane ride to Los Angeles where he would go to a carnival, ride rides and eat a hamburger, chili cheese fries and all kinds of ice cream. Of course, if that isn’t possible, David says he would be content doing “fun stuff” like watching cartoons, playing and eating at McDonalds.
David likes school, and loves to help the teacher. He thrives when adults offer structure and consistency, kindness and affection, rewards and praise.
David was born in 2008.
For more information about David, or to learn more about Arizona children in need of forever families, visit The Children’s Heart Gallery.
(originally posted 1/19/16)