Ever since celebrating our 25-year anniversary, our staff and board of directors have wondered, “What’s next? How can we remain relevant to those in our community we seek to serve? Without retreating from offering our signature care, compassion, and comprehensive resources, should we be offering something more?”
The Need: What Our Community Asked from Us
The “something more” became clear when we received a series of phone calls for help.
The first caller told me Choices Pregnancy Center was the closest center to one of the expectant moms she was assisting with an adoption plan. She asked me, “Can you provide an ultrasound for the mother?”
I had to answer, “No. Unfortunately, our center does not have an ultrasound machine. I’m sorry we aren’t able to help you at this time.”
The caller responded, “Okay, that’s all right. Well, could you provide confirmation of a positive pregnancy test for the mother?”
Again, I had to reply, “No. Without a nurse on staff, our self-administered pregnancy tests are best confirmed by a woman’s doctor.”
The caller listened graciously as I referred her to another pregnancy center located an additional hour away from her client. Then she said, “That’s okay. Maybe in the future you’ll be able to offer those services.”
As I hung up the phone, I sensed a vision emerging.
Another phone call came from a medical professional at our local Redwood clinic. A nurse practitioner called our office and asked, “Do you provide testing for sexually transmitted infections?”
We had to reply, “No. We are not a medical clinic, so this isn’t a service that we are currently able to offer.”
The medical professional replied, “Oh, that’s too bad. There are young people in this community, 16- and 17-year-olds who could definitely benefit from being able to come to you for testing.”
Then came the most heartbreaking call of all—from the friend of an expectant teen. In tears, the young woman said, “My friend is thinking of getting an abortion. She said she will keep her baby only if she can see the heartbeat. Can you give her an ultrasound?” Once again, the painful answer was “no.”
Calls like these have made our hearts very heavy.
We never want to say no to those needs again.
The Resources: Help is Available
Once we recognized the need, we knew we could not make this journey into offering medical services on our own. So we went hunting for the necessary resources: training, legal counsel, support, and education. We knew we’d need guidance from those who have made this journey before.
In short order, those resources emerged.
- We affiliated with Elevate Life, a regional network to provide support and education along the way.
- Next, we enrolled in The Life Choice project through NIFLA, the National Institute for Family and Life Advocates. With their track record of successfully training and assisting centers like ours through this transition, NIFLA’s partnership will be invaluable on this journey.
- Our affiliation with Heartbeat International continues to provide us with the encouragement and support we’ve come to depend on.
Closer to home, additional resources soon came our way:
- In addition, our landlord, Redwood Alliance Church, agreed to let us rent an additional room for this expansion.
- Further, the MN Positive Alternatives to Abortion grant recently awarded us additional funding to cover some of our initial expenses.
- And to top it off, the Knights of Columbus have promised to work with us to raise funds for a brand-new ultrasound machine.
Friends, the journey toward meeting our neighbors’ bigger needs has begun! We hope to offer free, limited obstetrical ultrasound within the next twelve months!
But the road before us stretches long. Let me share a very personal, literal journey that will illustrate what it will take for us to see our vision become reality.
The Trek: A Journey You Can Join
On September 14th, I heard a story on the radio that inspired me. A man once began walking 3 miles every day on his doctor’s orders. After 30 years, he had walked 24,901 miles, the equivalent of circling the earth! I wondered, “Could I walk across the state of Minnesota?”
The distance across our great state is 181 miles, from St. Paul to the South Dakota border. I had 55 days from that day until our scheduled fundraising banquet, to meet that mileage goal. Could I do it? I decided to walk all 181 miles in Redwood and Renville counties, the two primary counties that our pregnancy center serves. From Walnut Grove to Wabasso, from Redwood Falls to Revere, and from Milroy to Morgan… I have walked in each community, praying for two specific things along the way:
- First, that God would make our center visible to those who need the services that we offer.
- Second, that God would raise up new supporters and partners from each community to be a part of this important work.
Did I make it all 181 miles? Yes, I did! But I didn’t make it alone. If not for members of those different communities who joined me on my walks, I might either have chickened out when it got cold or stayed home when life got busy. Instead, with support at my side, I kept going. Because of those walking partners, I finished my journey. Here’s a look at where my partners and I went:
Now it’s Choices Pregnancy Center that is starting a journey. We trek toward serving those in our community whose pregnancy needs surpass what we can currently offer. We have a clear picture of the need and we can see the practical resources are at hand. Now all we need is partners willing to “go the distance” with us. Will you be one of those partners?
You can join in the journey toward Choices Pregnancy Center’s vision for bringing our community the type of medical services our neighbors are asking for. Consider making a one-time investment to help launch these services. And if you’re ready to go the distance with us, sign up to become one of our life-saving monthly donors. Simply go to our Make a Donation page and designate your gifts for “20/20 Vision for Life.”
Thank you for sharing our vision, and for loving your neighbors enough to answer their call for help.
Executive Director Carrie Meyers originally planned to share this message at our
20/20 Vision for Life Fundraising Banquet.
To see the video event we created when the banquet moved online, check out our short YouTube video here.