The Community Pregnancy Centers of NW Ohio has been a much needed asset within our community, and the ministry has been serving since 1986. This year, they hosted the 28th spring benefit at Founder’s Hall in Archbold, Ohio on April 12th. The welcome was given by Bill Priest and Lynne Ford from WBCL Radio Network in Fort Wayne, IN offered a warm welcome to those in attendance. The new CPC Executive Director Mark Pitman took time to acknowledge those who helped make the evening possible as well as those who have been an ongoing support to the ministry. Helen Leu, a CPC board member shared words of appreciation for the former CPC Director Judy Van Wagner who has given over 26 years of service to the CPC. Ms. Leu also introduced a video that was a special tribute to Ms. Van Wagner and her supportive husband Kent, from Dr. Bruce Wilkinson from Atlanta, GA. His video messaged shared how Mrs. Van Wagner has stayed true to the call that “God has placed on her life.” In her time with the CPC over “4000 babies have been born and countless others have made a commitment to Christ”. Mrs. Van Wagner will still be a part of CPC, taking on the role of Development Director.
Prior to the guest speaker, two other guests shared their personal stories. Susan St. Peter shared her testimony on God’s grace in her life and how He has led her to help women who have suffered with post-abortion syndrome. The CPC offers the H.E.A.R.T. Post Abortion Support Group that is led by facilitators who have also had abortions. This support group offers women a small confidential setting to assist them him letting go of the emotions that have been carrying and surround themselves with support. The second guest was Salena Norris, who shared her amazing adoption story. Ms. Norris was 20 when she found out she was pregnant. With the support of her mother they went to the CPC together. She remembers feeling “peace” as she walked into the CPC. The CPC worker was able to go over all of her options for her pregnancy and even though it was very difficult for her to decide, she chose adoption. Ms. Norris’ story is so profound that she “knew that is was led by God”. She was able to deliver her baby girl, name her and spend the first three days of her life with her in the hospital. She asked the adoptive family to send her a picture every year with a letter updating her on how her daughter was. What happened was so much more. The adoptive parents, Dave and Val Krueger opened their lives and hearts to both Salena and her daughter Michaela. The CPC made it possible for Ms. Norris to have the support she needed during a difficult time in her life and allowed her story of adoption to have a happy ending.
The guest speaker for the evening was Gianna Jessen. Gianna has been publically speaking since she was a teen about her survival story and on her “gift” of Cerebral Palsy. Gianna believes she has been called to “live the impossible” and that is exactly what she does. When Gianna’s biological mother was 17 she decided she wanted to have an abortion, she opted to have a saline abortion in her third trimester. In a saline abortion, the Doctor would remove amniotic fluid from the mother and replace it with the saline solution through injecting a needle into the abdomen. The baby swallows the solution and is poisoned and the skin is burned, and usually after several hours the baby’s heartbeat stops. The corrosive effect of the salt solution burns the lungs and strips away the outer layer of the baby’s skin. The mother goes through labor and soon delivers a burned, shriveled and dead baby. In Gianna’s case, her birthmother delivered her after 18 hours of being exposed to this solution. Gianna said, “that was the first sign from God, I was born in an abortion clinic.” The second was the nurse who called for her transport to a hospital. Otherwise, the Doctor would have probably finished the procedure, but because of the time of day he was not in the clinic. Gianna said that “God is so amazing though, because He had the abortionist sign my birth certificate. He will never be able to forget that day, that I am alive, because He is the Lord.” She compares her time in her mother’s womb to the Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “God instilled a fire within me that can never be vanquished, it is eternal. I am His and He is mine.” The procedure left her with cerebral palsy, which led doctors to believe that she would never be able to hold up her head, sit up, crawl or walk. After being in several foster homes, Gianna was finally placed with Penny at 17 months old. Penny heard what the professionals said, but she ignored them. By 3 ½ she was walking with the assistance of leg braces and a walker. Today, Gianna walks with a limp but that has not stopped this determined young woman who has ran on the tips of her toes in two marathons. Needless to say, Gianna’s story is nothing short of amazing. Gianna has been able to go all over the world. Her life has been covered by many major news media outlets. She has been in the BBC News and World Radio, Sky News, and The Good Morning Show in England, reaching many people with a message of hope and conviction. She has spoken in Ireland at many colleges, and the House of Commons in London. She was in England speaking in several parochial and public high schools. She also was able to have her testimony read before the Supreme Court in Carhart v. Gonzales. Currently, she has been working in Italy and believes that “God has so much more in store for her life.” Gianna is definitely living the “impossible”.
Prior to the night ending Pastor Benaiah Harris from the House of Prayer in Montpelier, OH closed the evening in prayer. The CPC’s mission is to share the Gospel of Christ, provide free assistance for unplanned pregnancies, help to heal and restore those experiencing post abortion trauma, and advocate sexual abstinence until marriage through education. The night’s speakers exemplified that mission holds true. In 2013 the CPC had 6,312 office visits, 992 Distinct Clients, 5,658 phone calls, 226 individuals who chose life, 116 decisions for Christ, provided 79,173 units of services provided, 5,751 volunteer hours, 6,488 youth affected by abstinence education, 67 after school presentations and 988 presentations in schools, churches and other organizations. The CPC offers client services free of charge for anyone in need. In 2013 they spent approximately 81% of their budget on client services and education, 12% on management, and 7% on fundraising costs. Actual expenditures were $463, 716. In 2013, the donations received totaled $494,489. These donations came from families and individuals, business owners, foundation, United Way grants, organizations, and churches. The projected expenses for 2014 is $449,150.
The services the CPC offers abound. They have centers in Bryan, Defiance, Wauseon and Napoleon. These centers offer pregnancy testing, early fetal ultrasound scanning, complete fetal development information, abortion procedure information, spiritual counsel, Earn While You Learn Classes, Material assistance, STD testing and education. The Project Respect Program is provided in the local schools and for after school programs for children in grades 6-12. The H.E.A.R.T. post abortion support group, and a Hispanic Ministry for those clients who converse only in Spanish. For anyone who would like to get involved with this ministry, they have an upcoming volunteer training in May, contact Gina at 419-636-5692. You can also check out what is going on at http://www.cpcnwo.org.