Saturday, March 22, 2014

APC Banquet: Crossing the Threshold

Last night I got to go to the Alpha Pregnancy Center's annual fundraising banquet. I will spare you the details of my somewhat stressful afternoon of trying to get ready to go in time, but I am so glad I went.

Not only was it an enjoyable evening out with good friends and a great meal, but I got to hear two amazing stories and catch up with how Alpha is doing. As you know, this ministry is close to my heart and we've been trying to support Alpha in anyway we can for a number of years. I've attended their banquets in the past but this one was, in my opinion, outstanding.

My friend Lauren and I. This is the second banquet we've attended together.

2013 was an exciting year for Alpha. And "Crossing the Threshold"was the perfect theme. They've been working so hard to raise funds to be able to offer ultrasounds to their clients and this last year it happened! They purchased the equipment, hired an RN and a doctor to oversee the program. And since they've been able to offer the service, every woman who has opted for the ultrasound has chosen life for her baby. Prior to offering ultrasounds, they had an 85% success rate* of women choosing to keep their babies. Now, it's 100%. That just gives me goosebumps! Talk about life saving work - this is it!

The first story we heard was from a woman who had found Alpha in her time of need. When she found out she was pregnant, her life was a in a very rough spot. Living in a rough part of town, without work or permanent housing she attempted to abort her baby twice, but both times something got in the way. First it was the protesters outside the clinic; the second time it was being put on hold for too long to make the appointment. Eventually she found Alpha and they offered an ultrasound. She decided to keep the baby when she saw how much help she could get from Alpha. In her interview she shares that  Alpha gave her hope and her baby gave her life.  She also shared that she found a real relationship with God! She was in a bad place when she got pregnant but she said her life was better because of her son and she couldn't imagine life without him now. Her little boy was the first baby born from the clients who received an ultrasound.

The second story was from the main speaker, the Director of APC. Chastidy and her husband Matthew have been friends of ours since we met them shortly after moving to the city. They are a part of the church we belong to and Chris actually works Matthew.  I had heard bits and peaces of her story before but never in the detail she shared with us last night. Throughout her life she has experienced hurt, tragedy, and betrayal from those who should have protected and loved her more than anyone. As she shared each account, I could see that God really did protect her and preserve her life so she could do what she does today. He had and still has a purpose for her life. She came out of those events a strong, compassionate, and courageous woman. (Read this account for more proof.)

She has a strong conviction that every cry for help should be answered, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable that may be. I would agree in theory but often find myself being a coward to stand up for those in need. She is no coward. I sat there listening to my friend share things I have never known or experienced and was in awe of who she is.

I can't remember her scripture reference, but the call to help and save those being led to the slaughter is a call extended to every one of us.

Abortion is a real issue nationwide and worldwide. And the city of San Francisco is no exception. Across the nation, 1 in 3 women have an abortion during their lifetime*, but in San Francisco, the rate is 1 in 2. Half of the women in this city experience this.  Last year, there were 16,000 babies born in San Francisco, my son was one of them! But there were 18,000 that were not allowed to live.* I feel like I see babies everywhere I go, but to think that I should be seeing twice as many is very troubling.

I am so thankful that Alpha does what they do and that we can come along side them in prayer and support. Alpha is one of two pregnancy resource centers that offer alternatives to abortion in the city. They don't receive any government funding and operate on donations alone. They can't reach 18,000 women without more help! If you'd like to support Alpha Pregnancy Center, please donate online here.

* The statistics mentioned here are from my memory of what was shared during the banquet. If I have gotten the numbers wrong, I apologize. But really, it's the life behind the numbers that matter, not the numbers!

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