But God, with God and only God - message of faith kicks off first-ever virtual annual conference during pandemic

But God, with God and only God - message of faith kicks off first-ever virtual annual conference during pandemicHeartbeat International Vice President of Mission Advancement Cindi Boston-Bilotta

God has a plan, He always know what’s best, and we must always keep Him at the forefront, especially now. This was the message for the pregnancy help community delivered at the start of Heartbeat’s 2020 Annual Conference by Heartbeat’s Vice President of Mission Advancement Cindi Boston-Bilotta.

Her keynote presentation, Refocusing Vision, Perspective and Faith, was the inaugural address Tuesday of Heartbeat’s first-ever virtual conference.

The conference, a foundational event and the largest gathering in the pregnancy help movement, converted from an on-site experience to a completely virtual format in recent weeks as civic leaders nationwide issued stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Heartbeat’s Annual Conference is presented for ministry leaders, staff, board members and volunteers of life-affirming pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes and non-profit adoption agencies, as well as professionals in the areas of medicine, counseling, social work and education.

Pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) are facing unique challenges along with the rest of the world during the pandemic, making the 2020 Annual Conference even more crucial for the movement.

Boston-Bilotta recalled fond memories of her early time at a pregnancy center for the Conference audience, seeing the first baby born who’d been saved from abortion, seeing the lightbulb go on when previously “pro-choice” people realized the value of an unborn child. 

Offering a salute to PHO’s, Boston-Bilotta said that when she saw people in the pregnancy center waiting room, she knew they were in a safe place, that they would be given love and acceptance, and resources to support a happier life.

2020 isn’t exactly what she thought it would be, she said, her plans for the year didn’t involve social distancing or the rest that’s come with the pandemic.

“We have a unique set of circumstances,” said Boston-Bilotta. “We’re not the first people in life to have that.”

St. Paul had warned that difficult times would come, she said, adding, “But God gives us what we need.” 

She cited Joshua 3:4, when God was giving instructions to Joshua during the journey of the Israelites across the Jordan: 

“I will show you the way. Then you will know which way to go, since you have not been this way before.”

“God was giving marching orders to proceed into the promised land,” said Boston-Bilotta. “It was a new territory for them. They had to re-imagine life without the desert. They had to believe in a new leader, they had to go into a new land, and they had to have new rules to the game of life.”

“But God almighty had a plan for every step that they took,” she said.

“When we think of 2020 Vision, we often think of seeing things clearly,” Boston-Bilotta told conference attendees, referencing the event theme. “And I think God often uses things like what we have happening right now to refocus our vision, both personally and as an organization.”

“No matter what role you have,” she said, “as a leader, or a worker, a board member, somebody who’s volunteering … God has some things that He wants to teach us all during this time.”

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“If we dare to trust and believe that God’s ways are higher, we can see Him do extraordinary things in and through us, through our organizations,” Boston-Bilotta continued. 

God intervenes for us, she added, and sometimes we see it, but sometimes it’s not in focus.  

Heartbeat President Jor-El Godsey prays with Boston-Billotta before her keynote

Boston-Bilotta recalled her start in the pregnancy help movement, leaving a well-paying job to become a center director. She recounted struggles with starting and operating the center, with her personal life, and tests of faith.

“As we know - But God - He intervenes and shows us things that often don’t make sense,” said Boston-Bilotta.

“We’ve ‘gotta stick with it, guys,” she urged.

With all that’s going on, there might be times when we look around and feel tempted to quit, Boston-Bilotta explained.

However, she said, “The more we see God face, the less intimidated we feel.”

Boston-Bilotta offered the reminder for the pregnancy help community that the message of “Do not fear” appears 365 times in the Bible.

“I see my fear recede when I focus on God,” she said.

God has a plan for each of us and He knows what we need, said Boston-Bilotta, and God must remain our first love.

“God has you here for a reason,” she said. “You are not in this position by chance.”

“We’re with you in heart and spirit” Boston-Bilotta concluded, “and we pray for you regularly.”

Heartbeat’s Virtual Conference is incorporating much of the originally planned program, with a restyled schedule that includes more than 90 workshops, PEG Talks, live keynote addresses, prayer, live Q&A, and even a virtual exhibit hall.

The conference continues through Thursday.

Editor's note: Pregnancy Help News is a project of Heartbeat International

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