Finding Healing from Abortion—Part 1: Crossroads Clinic: A Mission Field Ripe for the Gospel
Story by Barb Maher
Photos courtesy of Crossroads Clinic
This is Part 1 of a three-part series about abortion recovery, through the Gospel, at pro-life Crossroads Clinic in Oklahoma City, OK. Tonya Schuster is the clinic director and a longtime member of Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.
Sheila was tormented by dreams and memories of long-term abuse. From a very early age she had experienced the trauma of physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse that left her calling out desperately for help. “I was literally hated from the day that I was born. My dad hated women, and he hated me. I don’t remember how, but at a very early age I came to believe that the only person who could save me was Jesus, … but my dad would tell me that Jesus was not strong enough to save me.” In her teen years and throughout her young adult life, Sheila’s traumatic experiences led to promiscuity and substance abuse as she looked for a way out of what she believed was a hopeless situation.
“He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6b, NLT
Linda Stewart, executive director of Crossroads Clinic in Oklahoma City, OK, and its sister clinic in Guthrie, OK, receives flowers from young Kayson. Kayson is the son of Shakayla, who went to Crossroads after she learned of her unplanned pregnancy. “Thank you for helping my mommy six years ago,” Kayson told Linda with child-like gratitude as he gave her the flowers.
Today, Sheila Fullbright is the director of an abortion recovery program called Passages, a ministry of Crossroads Clinic in Oklahoma City, OK. Tonya Schuster, director of Crossroads and longtime member of Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City, points to Sheila’s story as a testimony of the Gospel—with its impact on abortion-minded women and those who have suffered the silent wounds of abortion. Tonya shared, “Sheila was a mess when she came to Crossroads for post-abortive counseling, having experienced a slew of abortions, even some that had been forced upon her. She ultimately went through post-abortive counseling with us and received healing through forgiveness that could only be found in Christ, eventually becoming a lead counselor for our post-abortive program.”
Tonya Schuster makes and receives many phone calls in her position as director of Crossroads Clinic, a pro-life clinic in Oklahoma City. Tonya, who had three abortions before she was saved, has attended various Calvary Chapels over the past 40 years, drawn by founder Chuck Smith’s compassion for women who had experienced abortion.
Ministering to Abortion-Minded Women
Crossroads, located in the heart of Oklahoma City, primarily ministers to abortion- minded women seeking an abortion. As the clinic director, Tonya believes that each appointment for a free ultrasound, to check for the baby’s viability, represents a divine appointment from God. Counselors share the truth about abortion with all clients and discuss the far-reaching consequences that affect women and men physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Tonya enthused, “Most importantly, we share the Gospel, and this is where it gets real. The fruit of the Gospel is absolutely miraculous. In 2020, 107 babies were saved, including three sets of twins. We shared the Gospel 383 times, resulting in 98 women and men trusting in Christ as their Savior. I’ve never been a part of a ministry with such fruit.”
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. Romans 6:22
Tonya has attended Calvary Chapel affiliates for over 40 years and remembers Chuck Smith’s compassionate response to women who had experienced abortions.
“I would listen to Chuck on K-Wave on the talk shows, and the topic of abortion would often come up. He was significantly pro-life and very compassionate toward women who had experienced abortions or were in a predicament of having an abortion.” Tonya described her own past, “I had three abortions as the product of a worldly and atheistic upbringing. I was heavily into drugs and void of any morals. After my third suicide attempt at the age of 21, the Lord revealed Himself to me in a miraculous way, and I responded to Him by seeking after Him.” Tonya is now eager to share her testimony of salvation.
Shakayla and baby Kayson at her high school graduation. Kayson is now 10. Despite her early teen pregnancy and choosing to raise Kayson, she graduated early from high school.
Tonya continued, “Looking back on my life—remembering the pain and heartache, just how miserable I was and how much I hated myself—to be able now to be on the other side of my experiences with abortion and to have freedom in my life is why I am here. I am able to share with these women that the way they are feeling about themselves can be changed … because if God can come in and transform me, He can come in and transform them. He can give them that perfect peace that passes all understanding, to guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. He can come in and do a mighty work in their heart.”
A Life-Changing Work
Tonya said that she had no idea when she volunteered to work at Crossroads Clinic that it was going to be so life changing. “When we share the love of Christ with our clients, their walls come down—they become vulnerable and transparent. Eventually, they recognize they are helpless and admit that they need help. So, to be able to offer them hope where they didn’t have hope, and to be able to offer them God’s love where they have never known His love, is absolutely amazing.”
Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? … And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? Proverbs 24:11-12
Ken Merrihew, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City, described Crossroads as a Christ-centered clinic with a two-fold mission: trying to save babies from abortion and leading mothers and father to Christ, as much as possible. “I often say that with every abortion there are at least three victims—the child, the mother, and the father, especially in our culture today where we have been taught to believe it is only the woman’s right to choose to keep or to abort her baby. As pastor, I have explained the healing that comes through Jesus Christ, but I think that the healing process often comes through someone who has gone through the process themselves.
Raelynn excitedly plays with dirt, blowing it out of her hand. Lisa and Jesse chose to keep baby Raelynn after an ultrasound at Crossroads Clinic. The couple already had two sons and had contemplated abortion because they didn’t feel that they could afford another baby. Keeping their daughter was “the best decision we ever made,” they agreed.
“When women like Tonya and Sheila share their testimonies, they bring understanding to the great sorrow and pain that some women experience, and while there is uniqueness to each woman’s story, it is all covered under the cross. I believe there are a lot of women in the church who have similar stories who can be used by the Lord … not necessarily in an organized, official way but by being open to helping other women who have had that experience or are considering it.”
Tonya confirmed that Crossroads Clinic ministers to women of all ages and places in life. “We get very young teens, drug addicts, executives, the homeless, police officers, a lot of Christians. Yes, even church people come in. When they come to our clinic, they hear the truth. They hear what the abortion process is about, and they are educated in every way so that their decision is based on knowledge about abortion. We are always praying for them and hoping they choose life. A lot of times … because the Holy Spirit is in the room, they make that choice [for life] based on the education they receive about their baby.”
To read part 2 of this series, Click Here.
A technician at Crossroads Clinic performs an ultrasound. Statistics show that when abortion-minded women get ultrasounds, 80% choose life.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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