The theme of the annual Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) Women’s Health Resource benefit program, ‘Hope Restored’, did more than just raise funds for this essential Northwest Ohio ministry. The April 20 event, staged in the auditorium of the Archbold High School brought forth a range of emotions more diverse than the colors of the rainbow from the guests. The program evoked tears of sorrow, tears of compassion and tears of joy, and that was all just from the guest speaker, Camille Cates, the Youth Division Director of Healing Hearts Ministries International. Prior to that, there was another gamut of emotional stories, including a lot of gasps of amazement.
Bill Priest emceed the event, marking the 31st anniversary of the ministry. He welcomed to the stage Ms. PeggySue Wells, the Mid-Morning Producer at WBCL, who opened the event with prayer.
Mr. Mark Pitman, the Executive Director of CPC Women’s Health Resource, came forward to present the annual report, and update the guests on the activities of the ministry. His report contained the standard categories of crunched numbers, but it also contained news which clearly showed the hand of God directing activities.
In 2016, the CPC Women’s Health Resource had 5,489 office visits, and screened 3,753 phone calls. 38 clients elected to accept Christ as their personal savior, and a major milestone was passed. There were 148 births that were assisted by and through the CPC Women’s Health Resource. Along the way to that 148, the 31-year cumulative total of the CPC Women’s Health Resource surpassed the 5,000 mark, the report of which drew silent expressions of amazement from the guests. A video presentation of actual clients was shown, giving a more human spin to the numbers.
Mr. Pitman noted that two very important land transactions took place during 2016. He was notified that the owners of the land adjacent to the Defiance clinic had decided to sell their property, and offered it to the CPC. Not expecting anything to come from the call, he asked how much was being asked. He was told that the seller was offering the land at a ‘severely discounted’ rate, a statement which proved to be true. With one transaction, the land owned by the Defiance clinic doubled in size.
The other land transaction involved the Napoleon clinic, a property not owned, but leased by the CPC Women’s Health Resource. The lease reached its termination date, but before a renegotiation could be reached or a new facility, a new tenant was secured, leaving the ministry without a home. A 1.5 acre plot was located, but it would be pricey as transactional trends for property in that area ranged from between $30,000 to nearly $70,000 per acre. Mr. Pitman inquired about the property, and the owners offered it up to the CPC Women’s Health Resource for $8,500, a discount of 81 percent over the minimum going rate. The land was purchased, and construction is scheduled to begin soon. Mr. Pitman reported that parking lots in Bryan and Defiance were repaired in 2016, and the conference rooms of the Bryan clinic were remodeled. Two land purchases, facility upgrades, and many other improvements were made in 2016, and it was all done using funds allotted under the annual budget. Mr. Pitman was quick to remind the amazed attendees that despite the positive news, it was not about the buildings or the land, it was and remains all about the ministry.
Ms. Gina Sutton, RN and CPC Women’s Health Resource Staff Nurse, came to the podium to tell a couple stories as to how their counseling system works. Both stories shared something in common…ultrasound imaging. It is with that the attendees bore witness to something seldom, if ever seen…a live ultrasound imaging session. Client and technician were both on stage behind a framed, backlit scrim to insure confidentiality. With only silhouettes appearing upon the scrim, the voices were amplified via microphone into the auditorium sound system, while the image output generated by the ultrasound was projected upon a screen. Several ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ could be heard from the audience as the procedure began. Once the probe arrived over the uterus, the baby could clearly be seen, head to the left, feet to the right, and a small area of oscillating pixilation in the upper chest area…the beating heart of a healthy, unborn human being. As the technician pointed these features out to the client, the baby began to move, first slowly…then with more pronounced effort. The baby went from lying on its left side, to lying on its back, exposing well developed arms and legs in the process.
The audience was now abuzz and talking quietly amongst themselves at the sight they were seeing. Nothing was pre-recorded. Nothing was overdubbed. Nothing was added for dramatic effect. This was all happening live, and in real time. This unborn child, all of 12 weeks old, was putting on quite the show for an amazed and astonished audience while the client felt no motion whatsoever. The technician closed out the session by quoting the words of King David in Psalm 139, “…You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Mr. Priest introduced guest speaker, Camille Cates. Where there had been laughter and amazement to this point of the event, Ms. Cates’ story brought gravity to the auditorium as she pointed out the desperate need for ministries like the CPC Women’s Health Resource, using her own background as a painful example. Her story brought tears as she recounted a past where she was brought up with the knowledge of Christ, but she turned away.
Ms. Cates recalled a promiscuous past which resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. With the option for abortion available, she chose to keep her baby, and gave birth to a daughter that she held dear. She never departed from her prior lifestyle though, and returned home one day to discover that her live-in boyfriend had sexually assaulted and murdered her daughter. The tragedy overloaded her mind, and instead of turning to Christ, she became more distant, revisiting her prior lifestyle, getting pregnant again, and getting an abortion. It was then that she met Troy, the man who would eventually become her husband, who led her back to Christ. They served full time together in youth ministries from 1995 to 2010, and today have three daughters.
As the guests departed the auditorium at the end of the event, they were somewhat subdued compared to how they were when they first filed in. They were emotionally drained. They had seen amazing things and heard stories of God’s providence. They had also heard of why ministries like the CPC Women’s Health Resource are so desperately needed in today’s society. The emotional exhaustion did not prevent them from contributing to the fundraising effort though, ensuring that the ministry known as the CPC Women’s Health Resource will continue to function where and how they are needed most, as God so directs.