I've been involved with the Terre Haute, Indiana Crisis Pregnancy Center for many years. In fact, I used to play at the center when I was a little girl while my mom volunteered. I remember the old building vividly, the posters of the stages of a developing baby on the walls, the play room of toys for clients who had children, the small office in the back where my brother and I used to hang out while mom volunteered. Now, as a grown woman, I am seeing just how much the center has grown since I was a little girl. It's wonderful to see the positive changes that have happened over the years.
Last night was the Annual CPC Pro-life Banquet and Executive Director and life-long friend, Sharon Carey shared just what the center has accomplished over the past year and some of their goals and plans for the future. It's exciting to be a part of something you KNOW is making a difference in lives. It's so rewarding to know that you've even touched one life.
I have been involved in countless numbers of their Walk For Life campaigns and this past year I took professional photographs of the event -- it was rewarding to see those photos were used as part of the presentation last night. I got a little teary eyed seeing those photos flash up on the giant screen in front of an audience of over 800 people. I was able to use my passion for life and for photography for a great cause and felt overwhelmed by the blessing of it.
I was also encouraged to hear from the CPR program staff last night that they are now using my Healthy Relationships presentation that I did at a local high school last month as part of their program. For me this is personally HUGE! I went through a lot of struggles as a young teen and I know a lot of our young people are going through those same struggles and to be able to speak to them on a real level and possibly help them make positive life choices, particularly when it comes to relationships means that all of those struggles and all of the pain was not in vain. I am now using my past experiences to help people which turned a time in my life that was terrible into something good! SO AWESOME!
One volunteer named Sarah shared her testimony last night of how her heart has been rewarded by volunteering. An abortion-minded young mother came into the clinic and when that woman left she was still set on getting an abortion. Sarah prayed for this young girl and even sent her a card saying she wanted to be there for her no matter what her decision was but never heard back from the young woman. Sarah's profession is a delivery nurse so she knows very well about the miracle of life because she welcomes babies into the world everyday. 9 months after her interaction with this abortion-minded mother, she found herself in the delivery room with that young mother as the nurse who would deliver that very baby! It was so inspiring to hear her say "When I heard that baby cry for the first time, it was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard and I've heard a lot of babies cry, but this cry was special." The mother then told Sarah that her card was the reason she kept her baby. She said she would hold it and say to herself "I can do this." More often than not, all these young women need is hope and encouragement. They need loving support and that is exactly why places like the CPC exist.
Abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen was the guest speaker and she is a lively young thing despite all she's been through. I was able to meet her and she signed her self-entitled book that I plan to do a review on once I have the chance to read it.
It was an all-around positive event. Because pregnancy centers like the CPC are NOT government funded and ALL of their services are FREE, they rely on generous donations from the community. They had hoped to raise $70,000 last night and they actually were able to raise over $96,000! This is HUGE for the ministry, so that no young woman will ever be turned away, and more lives can be saved.
I encourage all of you to get involved with your local life-affirming pregnancy center. Volunteer your time, talent and yes, your money to help these young women and men who so desperately need our love and support. I'm certain you will be glad you did!