By Guest Columnist Cathy Griffith
Today is Sanctity of Human Life Day, a day of remembrance—a day of thankfulness as we honor life. When I think about the ministry of the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center where I work, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the needs we see. But I am always amazed at the ways God shows up.
God Shows Up at School
Like most pregnancy centers, we deal with the tragedy of abortion. However, the serious issue in our county is teen pregnancy. Thankfully God has shown up and opened doors of ministry.
In 2007 we hired an abstinence educator who made contacts in the five county school systems. The program began slowly and grew by reputation. In 2012 over 2,000 students were taught about abstinence. Our educator can’t mention the name of God in the schools, but God shows up every day. In 2007 we ranked 4th in the state for teen pregnancy. We now rank 11th. Abstinence education works.
Sadly, it’s not just teen pregnancy. The lives of teens are being destroyed by sexually transmitted diseases—8,000 teenagers a day contract an STD. We have to tell teens the truth. The more we share the abstinence message and the message of life, the better equipped they will be.
God Shows Up as Clients Grow
We offer classes for first-time parents. After completing 16 hours of classes, participants receive a Moses Basket filled with baby items. God shows up during classes, during Bible study, and as clients return to the center to introduce us to their babies. We also offer refresher courses for parents who already have kids and are pregnant again. They earn items as they learn.
Our client base has increased because the economic needs in our county continue to grow. We work closely with other agencies to help meet these growing needs. In 2007 we served 294 clients. In October, 2013 we went over the 1,000 mark. God continues to show up as we minister to our clients.
God Shows Up as We Raise Funds
God has provided funds through:
our annual banquet
our annual Celebration of Life event for walkers, trikers, and bikers
a grocery rewards program
our Baby Bottle Blessings Project where people collect change to donate
When a child hands me a baby bottle filled with coins—a child whose parents have completed classes as clients of our center—and says, “Miss Cathy, this is for your babies,” I know God shows up.
God Shows Up Through the Storms
God has blessed the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center since we opened in 1991. In 1999 we purchased our present location. In 2001 we had a fire. We were devastated. But the God of restoration showed up. God took a very difficult situation and brought about something better. That’s what we hope for the lives of those who come to the center.
We’ve diapered thousands of bottoms, clothed thousands of babies, administered thousands of pregnancy tests, taught hundreds of moms- and dads-to-be about how to be good parents, and taught thousands of young people about abstinence.
Praise God. He always shows up.
Guest columnist Cathy G. Griffith is the Executive Director of the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center in Hillsboro, Ohio.