Looking back on 25 years of Sav-A-Life ministry...
When I recall the birth of the Sav-A-Life ministry, I remember how a small group of Christians from various denominations came together for one purpose - to share Jesus and to save lives. As for me, I had always believed that life began at conception. But...I had never taken action on what I believed. It took learning the facts about abortion and reading a book called Tilly by Frank Peretti for me to realize I could no longer be silent.
I learned that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Roe vs. Wade, made abortion-on-demand legal during the entire nine months of pregnancy. I learned the staggering numbers of abortions in America - between a million and a million and a half each year!. The past 43 years, the total number surpasses 57 million - more than all of our war dead from the Revolutionary War until the War on Terror.
I knew God's Word says that He knows us before we are born (Jeremiah 1:5) and that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). But I did not know that 19 days after conception your eyes begin to develop. By the time a woman finds out she is pregnant (about two months in), the unborn baby has a heartbeat.
In 1991, some of us met with our state legislators to encourage pro-life laws; but to no avail. So we knew God was leading us to open a Crisis Pregnancy Ministry to minister to women facing the difficult situation of an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. We believed if a woman knew all the facts about her choices she would choose life. We would provide a compassionate, confidential outreach to women, offering free pregnancy tests and wise, Biblical truth; we were going to be there to help women in crisis pregnancies with maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, and many other necessary items.
As a non-profit Christian ministry, we realized many of our clients needed to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate answer to our needs. We believed and still believe we are first and foremost a prayer ministry. Prayer helped us launch and has sustained Sav-A-Life these past 25 years.
After much prayer and planning, we formed a board of directors, prepared a Constitution and By-laws, obtained our tax exempt status for contributions, started speaking in area churches, hired a director, located a building, collected diapers and baby clothes and held volunteer training. Sav-A-Life of Covington County opened its doors on Mother's Day, 1992, with a reception for people to tour our small facility. We were only open three days a week for the first year or so. Clients began coming, and in September of 1992, we held our first banquet.
Opening the ministry of Sav-A-Life opened my eyes to what women with an abortion in their past often struggle with the rest of their lives. When we would speak in churches, women would share with us privately the anguish of their irreversible choice from many, many years ago. Some had never told anyone!
Though God forgives all of us for anything we have done, they struggled to forgive themselves. Many of those women felt like they were on an assembly line at the abortion clinic, that i was about the money - not them. We eventually began a post-abortion outreach of Sav-A-Life to help women find hope and healing - compassionately and confidentially.
God has never failed to provide for Sav-A-Life through people supporting us with their prayers, finances, and time. Volunteers are the backbone of our ministry. About the book, Tilly, you must read it for yourself. I promise you will not forget her story.