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On Friday, January 27th the three third grade classes from Northwest Christian School spent the morning volunteering at the Central Phoenix New Life Pregnancy Center. About 80 kids, parents and teachers bundled diapers, packaged wipes, made Bible verse tags and created beautiful “Congratulations” cards for new moms. They even brought donations of baby clothes, diapers and other baby items to support the center. All of the kids were given a tour of the center and learned about the ministry taking place in the community. It was a fast paced, loud morning and the center was abundantly blessed by the service of these kids! Thank you Northwest Christian School third graders!
In December the Tempe New Life Pregnancy Center held its 4th annual Christmas gift give-away for clients’ children. Fourteen volunteers gave their time that day, covering five separate rooms offering material assistance, childcare, picking out toys and wrapping toys. Many of these were first time volunteers and it was a blessing to have them! Throughout the event 157 children received new or like new Christmas presents. However, in the midst of all of the Christmas excitement of the day there were two unexpected appointments at the center – both of which were obviously God ordained.
The phone rang and it was a young woman, Annie*, calling the pregnancy center looking for information on abortion procedures. The director stepped into the office to talk with her as volunteers continued serving those in the center. But Annie said she was calling from work and couldn’t say everything she wanted to say. “I guess I can’t really talk now,” she said. “I’ll call you some other time.”
The director knew how critical every minute is for a woman considering abortion. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to counsel Annie to choose life for her unborn child, the director offered to ask a few questions that would only require simple, discreet answers. Annie agreed and through this process, she admitted she felt completely alone and said, “I’m not in a good place in my life to have a baby.”
Asking more questions, the director learned that Annie had a very loving mother – a mother who was not angry about her daughter’s situation but who wanted this grandchild. The director gently explained to Annie about life in the womb and how small she was when her heart began to beat. She reminded her that she has eight months to consider plans for how to care for her baby, but an abortion decision made now would be irreversible. Annie listened intently and seemed to understand how the center could be additional support to her if she chose to parent her baby. After a few minutes she said, “I have to go now. Maybe I will call your clinic later.”
The call ended and the director prayed that God would use her words to touch Annie’s heart and spare the life of her little one. A little while later as the director helped a young family leaving the center, a young man approached her and asked, “Is this the church office? I have some questions about this church.”
The director told him no, but offered to answer any questions he had. He explained he was writing a paper for a class at the university about comparative religions and had many questions about Christianity. He asked to see the worship center, and as they toured it together he said, “This is much larger than the mosque.” The director replied, “Oh, so you are a man of deep faith!” He looked surprised but said, “Yes, I am a Muslim. May I ask questions without offending you?” The director smiled and said, “You may ask me any question that you like and I will not be offended. You are a seeker of truth just like myself.”
As they talked, the director told him the worship center was decorated for Christmas and that Christians believe God the Son was conceived by God the Holy Spirit in the body of a young woman named Mary. She said, “God made a plan before the creation of the heavens and the earth because he knew the humans he would create would fall out of relationship with Him because they chose to disobey His Word. This is what our Holy Book, the Bible, calls sin. I understand that Muslims know Jesus by the name ‘Isa Mesih’ which means ‘Jesus Messiah’. ”
“Yes, this is true,” he said.
She continued, “Part of God’s plan was that He would require a blood sacrifice to remove the sin that separated people from Himself. His plan meant God the Son would need a body of flesh that could bleed in order to be that sacrifice. God the Son would then be 100% man and 100% God at the same time, so His blood would have the supernatural power that the blood of animals cannot equal.”
“Yes!” he exclaimed, “Do you remember Abraham on the mountain? He was going to sacrifice his son, but then there was a sheep in the bushes.”
“Yes, I know the story of Isaac very well. God provided a blood sacrifice so that Isaac would not be killed. When Jesus became a blood sacrifice when he was crucified, God was providing the perfect blood sacrifice that has the ability to give eternal life to every person who chooses Jesus as their Savior, their Messiah.”
He looked very serious and said, “Muslims do not believe in forcing anyone to accept our religion.”
The director smiled and replied, “No, a Christian who is obeying God’s Word does not force our religion on anyone, either. When I was 17 years old, I first understood the story of the sacrifice of Jesus and I decided to become a follower of Him. You are a seeker of truth. I am a seeker of truth. If you walk beside me for a while, learning about Jesus, then we can walk together in our search.”
He smiled warmly and asked if he could attend a service at the church. What a joy it was for the director to invite him to church that Sunday and assure him he would be welcome!
God’s timing and His plans are perfect! His plans were much greater for this special day than anyone at the center could have anticipated. Knowing these two young people in search of truth would call and visit on a busy day, He provided the many volunteers needed to help those receiving Christmas gifts and other services that day so the director could dedicate time to helping both of these. They were different in every way! But in the loving eyes of Jesus their hearts are exactly the same – they are seeking answers to the most profound questions of life.
Earlier this year, the New Life Pregnancy Center in Ciudad Morelos, Mexico began working with a halfway house in San Luis Colorado, Sonora. Mothers at this halfway house are able to keep their babies with them until they reach toddler age. Many of these women experience grief and anxiety at the thought of having their children taken from their care. During their time at the halfway house they are not able to leave, but are still responsible for providing diapers and other necessities for their children.
Working with this halfway house, Maria, the center director at the NLPC in Mexico, has been able to meet with these mothers once a month to encourage them, pray with them, and help them learn the skills they need as mothers. The center has also been able to provide diapers, wipes, clothes and food for the babies. Since beginning this ministry, other local believers have started meeting with these mothers on a weekly basis to continue ministering to their needs.
This unique ministry opportunity has been exciting! Mothers are experiencing Jesus’ hope and care in the midst of their difficult circumstances. They are learning that God is good and provides exactly what is needed at the right time. What a blessing to be part of God’s kingdom work in Mexico.
Each Tuesday, the Tempe New Life Pregnancy Center offers a Bible study immediately after the group parenting class at the center. Many parents stay and participate in the Bible study and have come to look forward to this specific time of the week. Several of these clients come from different countries and speak different languages. The Tempe NLPC is blessed to have volunteers who come and translate the lesson for these clients so they are able to fully participate and hear the truth of God’s word.
In September one Bible study lesson was on Matthew 15:21-28 about the woman whose great faith moved the heart of Jesus to heal her daughter. Immediately after the lesson finished, Jody*and one of the volunteer translators approached the center director. The volunteer translator told the director, “She wants to make a confession of faith now.” The three ladies sat together in the center’s office and carefully reviewed what it means to make a confession of faith in Christ and how it is a permanent, eternal decision. The director and translator asked Jody if she understood what it meant and she replied, “Yes, yes!”
First the director prayed in English. Then the volunteer repeated her prayer in Jody’s native language. Then, Jody prayed and confessed her sin and admitted her need for Jesus’ salvation. When she finished praying, the director and volunteer gave her a new believer’s Bible and study book and rejoiced together.
“I have so much more peace now than when I first came here,” Jody said. “I have had many worries but now I have more peace. I know that this baby (touching her pregnant stomach) is a miracle from God.” She also explained that her husband and older child had been studying the Bible and she was going to encourage them to follow Christ as well. Together the three ladies prayed that God would continually draw her family and her extended family into a saving relationship with Him.
Jody is from a country that is closed to the gospel. Next year, this new sister in Christ is scheduled to return to her homeland. Pray for her, that like the woman in the Bible study lesson she will always be a woman of bold faith.