Thursday, 30 June 2022
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Harriet Walcott and Kamille Martindale of Unborn Justice/Lisa Bourne Harriet Walcott and Kamille Martindale of Unborn Justice/Lisa Bourne

“One family with one voice” – Beloved parade honors worldwide community of pregnancy help

The Parade of Nations is a moving part of Heartbeat International’s Annual Pregnancy Help Conference each year. 

The world’s largest network of pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) honors the international element of its mission at the Annual Conference by gathering attendees to carry their countries' flags in a parade the first evening of the event. The parade illustrates the international reach of Heartbeat, along with uniting affiliates from across the world, in particular, recognizing the internationals.

Heartbeat's International Specialist Ellen Foell said the Parade of Nations symbolizes and ideal of unity among people of different countries.

"I love the parade of nations mainly because the sea of color of the flags as that sea flows from the back of the hall to the front of the hall represents what I think we all long for: a day when every language, nation, people group is gathered not before a stage but before the throne," she said. "That sea of flags moving in unity toward one destination."

Serving international affiliates is a joy, she said, as they work within the one pregnancy help movement.

"My joy is to collaborate with our international affiliates to further their mission and vision as we together advance the pregnancy help movement across the globe," she said.

 

The Parade of Nations/Lisa Bourne


Heartbeat’s Annual Conference is the largest pregnancy help gathering in the world, offering valuable education, and networking available for attendees, something for which international affiliates are especially grateful.

The Parade of Nations was particularly poignant this year, as more international affiliates were able to travel to Jacksonville, Fla. for the Conference, following last year when many virus restrictions were still in place, impacting the number of attendees from overseas, and the year prior when the Conference was entirely virtual.

But the 2022 celebration was also special as Heartbeat reached a new milestone in international affiliation.

Heartbeat supports more than 3,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations worldwide. Last year’s Parade of Nations honored 78 countries. This year Heartbeat has affiliates in more than 80 countries – a new record.

The Parade of Nations/Lisa Bourne


“It is a privilege to serve in a worldwide movement where people from 80+ nations unite to serve women and support families,” said Andrea Trudden, Heartbeat International vice president of Communications and Marketing. “We are blessed to have several countries represented here at the Heartbeat Conference.” 

International affiliates taking part in the Annual Conference in Jacksonville carried their countries’ flags in the parade and volunteers carried flags for any countries not in attendance. Some affiliates sent recorded messages to the Conference, expressing solidarity and fellowship.

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The parade was moving for the internationals present.

Svetlana_Jovanova/Lisa Bourne


“I love the Parade of Nations,” said Svetlana Jovanova, of Lydia-A Beating Heart in Macedonia. “We are the only center in Macedonia. But on that stage, I’m not alone.”

Tweet This: “I love the Parade of Nations. We are the only center in Macedonia. But on that stage, I’m not alone” - Svetlana Jovanova

   
Iness Simwawa, at right Simwawa with Barbra Mwansa/Lisa Bourne

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Iness Simwawa, director and founder for Khumi Life Resource Center in Kitwe, Zambia, told Pregnancy Help News, “I’m always happy to be here at the Heartbeat International Conference.” 

“Because of being able to connect to other centers across the nations,” she said. “And also, to be equipped with the knowledge and resources to take back and apply back home.”

"It is a true honor and humbling experience to participate in the parade of nations," Kamille Martindale of Unborn Justice told Pregnancy Help News. "To me it represents those obedient servants who have answered the call to save the lives of unborn babies all around the world. We represent one call manifested in diverse ways. It's always an emotional experience for me."

Ana Elena Cantú And Rossana Soto/Lisa Bourne


“I feel very honored to represent my country, Mexico and the Latin American Cams network,” said Rossana Soto, of Dirección CAM Mexico. “I thank Heartbeat for his constant help, like older brothers.”

Coming to Heartbeat’s Conference is a chance for personnel from Movimento per la Vita (MpV) in Italy to "breathe," said Andrea Tosato, head of marketing and fundraising for MpV.

“But it also gives the motivation to go farther,” Tosato said. “We return all the time with a thousand inspirations to go forward.” 

       
      Dr. Giuseppe Grande and Andrea Tosato
       of Movimento per la Vita/Lisa Bourne

While Tosato has attended the Annual Conference several times, this year was the first year for him to carry the flag for Italy. He considers it to be retaking of connection that has been missing for the last few years when people have been separated with restrictions and lockdowns.

“It is a good way to be back in contact with people,” he told Pregnancy Help News. “To return, to have that connection with people.”

“I think the pro-life movement doesn’t work without connection,” Tosato said. “It has to be in person.”

Thoughts, prayers and congratulations came from those remaining at home with their centers as well.

Kat Weir, project manager for Pregnancy Resource Centre of Jamaica (PRCJ), lives in Virginia Beach, Va., and attended the Conference, carrying Jamaica’s flag. 

Christina Milford, founding director of PRCJ sent thoughts along, saying she was, “So proud for Jamaica to represented.”

“We exist with and through friends and partners around the world!” Milford said. “Heartbeat Intl. and PRCJ are one family with one voice!”

Editor's note: This article has been updated.

Lisa Bourne

Lisa Bourne is Managing Editor of Pregnancy Help News and Content Writer for Heartbeat International. She has worked in journalism and communication for the pro-life community, the Catholic Church, other Christian denominations and secular media for several years. She is married to Chris, and is the mother of three children here on earth, along with their two siblings in heaven. Lisa writes and manages Pregnancy Help News from Central Iowa. 

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