In 2004, a young woman named Vianney found herself on the wrong bus home. She was 15 years old and her life was filled with challenges. Vianney was a wife and a mother of an eight-month-old. She had to navigate a complex daily routine. Two buses took her to school each day with her son, diaper bag and stroller in tow. Her destination was a high school that was complete with a daycare for young mothers like herself. After school, she would drop off her son back at the house and go to work at a food court. She would arrive home well past midnight. “I only had two or three hours, four at the most, to sleep and get ready for the day and then I would leave for school again,” Vianney shares.
One day, an unexpected event led Vianney down a different path. Without realizing it, she climbed in an incorrect bus which brought her to Alvernon Way. She glimpsed a sign that read, “Free pregnancy tests.” The next day Vianney retraced her steps, determined to find the sign again. That’s how she discovered New Life Pregnancy Center, a ministry of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries.
At the pregnancy center, Vianney was surprised by the staff’s warmth and compassion. They asked about her needs and offered essential items like diapers, wipes and clothing for her son. It was all free of charge. “The way they prayed, the way they asked me, ‘How can we help you, what do you need?’ I felt the peace that I had been searching for, for years…” Suspecting that she might be pregnant, Vianney requested a pregnancy test. She was shown into a private counseling room where she shared about her life with the staff. When her test result came back positive, she began to cry.
Her life had been marked by hardship. Vianney was forced into an unwanted marriage with a much older man while living in Sonora, Mexico. Their move to Arizona was quick and the challenges she faced were overwhelming. Financial struggles, the daily trials of parenting and domestic abuse were among them. “My marriage was so violent… I was so scared of him,” she recounts. She had nowhere to turn, but the pregnancy center changed that.
The staff’s kind and supportive responses left an impression on Vianney. She felt a sense of safety she hadn’t experienced in a long time. “They were so caring. I told them how difficult my life was and they began to tell me so many beautiful things… One of the volunteers offered to watch my son and I vented. As I was talking about my problems I felt supported…” Vianney began coming to the pregnancy center regularly. The love and guidance she felt when visiting the center gave her courage and hope. “That’s why it’s such an amazing place. They don’t just give you materials. They provide peace and spiritual renewal that your life needs. You walk in feeling so bad, and leave feeling different, positive, wonderful and you leave with the motivation to keep moving forward. That’s what they do.” she says.
Vianney stayed in high school and got straight A’s despite the growing challenges of her pregnancy symptoms. Her teachers loved her and were amazed by her determination. They secured scholarships and other opportunities for her. Vianney’s accomplishments frightened her husband at the time. “He said that I would leave him if I continued getting the teacher’s advocacy,” Vianney shared. “So, one night he told me, ‘Let’s go, let’s go! Just grab what you need,’ and he took us back to Mexico. Both of my sons were so young. Three months and two years old.” As a result of leaving the country, she lost contact with the pregnancy center.
Years passed and life took her on various twists and turns. She got divorced, went back to school and graduated with an engineering degree all while parenting her three young children. She returned to Arizona in 2017, a different person. The following year, she set out to reconnect with the pregnancy center. She didn’t have the address and only vaguely remembered what street it was on. After driving around searching for it, Vianney spotted a familiar sign. It was surreal walking into the center and being greeted by the same front desk assistant that she had first met 13 years ago. She was relieved to once again receive the center’s unwavering support.
Parenting classes, Bible studies and material assistance at the center became a regular part of her life. “They have taught me how to be a mom. Every time I leave, I feel renewed.” Vianney says. “You can start to think, ‘I have so many kids, what could [parenting classes] possibly teach me?’ I have fallen into thinking that way, but that’s not reality! Maybe you know how to feed your kids and change their diaper, but you don’t know the details of how to raise them if you haven’t been taught them!”
Bible studies at the center have also taught her to see God’s goodness in the challenges she has faced. “[The other mothers and I at class] can feel low many times. But [the staff] tell us that God is working on our behalf and the battles He gives us are given for a reason… [The staff] have taught us to see how amazing God is despite the storms. It’s because God is preparing something very good for us. Every problem can be solved by drawing near to God… That is what they have taught me, the unconditional love of God. We get so lost in all our difficult situations we don’t see that God is with us… All the love that [the staff] shows us, God gives to them. He uses them as instruments of His love… They fight for us, for all the moms in difficult situations.”
A year after returning to Arizona, Vianney met her current husband, Israel. “He is a sweet man, a good man. Very caring. We were married on February 3, 2021. [I was hesitant] but he was like, ‘I’m not letting you get away!’” They have six children in total and cherish all of them. “We are so happy,” she shares. “Children are such a blessing from the Lord.”
A New Chapter
Vianney continues to attend Bible studies and receive mentorship from New Life Pregnancy Center. She says, “[They] made me feel like the daily sacrifices of motherhood are worth it. If I could go every day to talk with them, I would, they’re that wonderful. I feel at home with them, like they are my family.” Vianney often prays for the continued strength and wisdom of the ministry. She envisions a future where more mothers facing difficult situations can receive the same hope and care that transformed her life.
A common thread in Vianney’s journey is God’s redemption in her darkest hours. Through her love of learning, God brought her to find His light and a supportive community. Psalm 97 rings true throughout her story, “He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” New Life Pregnancy Center’s goal is to provide hope and care to those facing a planned or unplanned pregnancy, and strengthen families through Christ-centered ministries. Together with your support we can make a difference for mothers like Vianney in our communities. The heart of the seven ministries of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services is to walk alongside people who are hurting with the hope that can only be found in Christ. Would you consider a year-end gift to New Life Pregnancy Center or any of our ministries? Learn more about how to give your gift by visiting abcs.org/year-end.