When people ask how I got involved in the pregnancy help community, they’re surprised when I tell them I’d never thought about the life issue until about a half-hour before jumping into the pro-life community with both feet.
In fact, my pro-life decision came before I understood the science behind the development of a child. And, before I knew much of anything about abortion procedures. I don’t think I knew anything about Planned Parenthood.
Sounds weird, right? But, it’s true.
It was October of 1980. I was 18 years old, a brand-new Christian of just a few months, visiting a church some of my friends attended (Spoiler alert: It would become my church home for the next 17 years and is one of my “must see” fellowships whenever I’m back in that city).
Slipping in a pew toward the back (a safe place), the pastor was in the middle of a series of messages regarding a Christian worldview on the key issues of the day. On this day, he tackled the sanctity of life.
For the life of me, I can’t remember any specifics. Not one. He may have talked about fetal development, abortion procedures. I don’t know. I do remember ordering a cassette tape of the message (yes, this was 1980 all right), so I could listen as I cruised the city in my stylish 1976 Mercury Monarch.
Walking out of that service however, the thought struck me: I’ve got to do something.
This travesty couldn’t stand. We had no pregnancy help ministry in our area—I didn’t know any existed—so for me, that wasn’t an option.
I got involved in local politics, volunteering for any pro-life candidate I could find. Before I knew it, I was creating talking points and materials for these candidates, attending weekly party meetings, putting up signs and even running a campaign or two.
When a pregnancy help center opened in our city three years later, I didn’t know much about it. But the executive director—Bob Foust—was my Sunday school teacher. As I got to know him, I asked Bob about ways to get more involved in life-affirming work. I supported the ministry financially—it was the only ministry where I gave monthly, a stretch at that time because finances were always tight.
It was in 1991 that Bob moved to another center in a larger city, leaving an opening at our small center. When Bob asked me—and others—to consider applying, I tossed my name in. The funny thing is, while I was interested, I didn’t sense an immediate calling. It just seemed like a pro-life thing to do.
First, I didn’t think I’d get the job. I had no experience in that area (I was selling office products and furniture at the time), and I was only 28. They needed someone with more seasoning.
Second, I saw the job as a stopover to something big, something important. I could dip my foot into a pregnancy center, see what it was like, then use the experience for a future in the political realm.
I had no idea this would become my life for the next 29 years and counting.
For me then, this journey began with one message from one pastor. He had no idea the impact it would have on one life.
There’s an interesting back story on this pastor. He was still new to the church, in just his second year on the job. Of the congregation he inherited, almost half left in his first year. When he shared this message, the fellowship was beginning to grow. Yet, talking about social issues was an incredible risk. He took a chance, which changed my life and that of so many others I know.
Sometimes, it’s good to go back and remember where we came from. When we do, we discover what—and who—lit the passion which still burns in each of us today.
If you have a moment today, stop, if only for a few minutes. Remember the who’s, the what’s and the why’s of how you got started in this crazy, frustrating, exciting, challenging, unrewarding . . . and incredibly rewarding, work.
From so many different backgrounds and experiences, we’re in this thing together. And one of the best ways to stay connected is to remember where we’ve come from—and to share our “What got you started?” stories with each other.