Saving Babies in Oklahoma City—Part 2

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Saving Babies at Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City & Crossroads Clinic—Part 2

Story by Kathy Symborski and Barb Maher
Photos by Christian Traina and Brandi Traina

This is Part 2 of our story about the life-saving ministry of Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City, OK, and Crossroads Clinic. Click to read Part 1, which describes how Crossroads uses advanced marketing techniques and capitalizes on current social media resources to reach abortion-minded women. You can also read real-life stories of babies saved for life—and mothers saved for eternal life.
                  

Despair into Hope
Panicked, feeling she had nowhere else to turn, Emily googled abortion clinics in Oklahoma City, terrified she might be pregnant. Raised in a Christian home, homeschooled her entire life, and brought up in church, she had kept her life of alcohol, drugs, and sex from her family, convinced they would not forgive her and would ultimately reject her.

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Emily McKamie (left) talks with Sheila Fullbright, director of Passages/Peer Counseling at Crossroads Clinic in Oklahoma City, OK. A college student, Emily dealt with assault and depression but is now interning with the clinic.

Emily McKamie, a 20-year-old sophomore at Mid-American Christian University, was a nationally recognized volleyball player during high school. After being scouted by several colleges in her senior year, she finally decided on Mid-American. Then she suffered a season-ending skiing injury that sent her spiraling into despair and two-and-a-half years of alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity. “I just felt I lost it all, so I tried to bury all those feelings with partying—smoking, drinking alcohol, and eventually doing every drug imaginable, which led to many toxic relationships,” she admitted.

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
1 Timothy 1:16

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Emily and Sheila embrace. Sheila compassionately brought Emily back to the Gospel after reliving the trauma she faced.

A glimmer of hope arose for Emily in September 2020. After being sexually and brutally assaulted at a frat party, she thought she was pregnant. Thinking abortion was the only answer, she found Crossroads Clinic from an internet search. “After Sheila [Fullbright, director of Passages/Peer Counseling] poured the Gospel message into me, I decided that even if I was pregnant, I was going to keep the baby.” Although not pregnant, she was diagnosed with and successfully treated for an STD at the clinic.

In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me. Psalm 120:1

Unable to pull herself out of a destructive lifestyle, she continued immersing herself in drugs and alcohol. Experiencing multiple sexual assaults and abusive relationships, she struggled to overcome—only to find herself repeating the cycle. As a Christian, she knew there was a God but wondered if she deserved His help at this point.

Driving home from a party one night, she found herself in the path of an oncoming car on a narrow road, ditches on either side. “I was driving right for [the car], and finally cried out to God, ‘If You are real, show me!’ Just then I looked over, and there was a pull-off that came out of nowhere; God helped me steer to that and avoid the oncoming car,” Emily recalled. “From that day forward, I knew I had a purpose but just couldn’t break free from those destructive relationships.”

One night, as she despaired in self-hate, Emily cried out to God. “At that moment, I felt Him telling me to go back to that clinic. I just knew they were something special.” She realized she needed therapy first and, most importantly, her parents’ support. On July 17, 2021, Emily prayed, asking God to help her tell her parents everything. “They were very supportive [after] everything I told them, but my dad was angry with the guys who did this to me. The biggest thing I am learning [in Christian therapy] is how to forgive without forgetting.”

                  

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Crossroads Clinic Director Tonya Schuster observed, “God was working on her heart over the last year. She eventually repented, confessing it all to her parents—and they forgave her.” 

Emily responded to God’s urging to return to the clinic. As of November 2021, she was interning at Crossroads Clinic and wants to counsel other victims of abuse. “I want to use my experiences, my life, to help others find hope and healing,” she concluded. Emily expects to graduate in 2024 with a focus on trauma psychology.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Tonya’s Story
Director Tonya Schuster has attended Calvary Chapel affiliates for more than 40 years and remembers Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith’s compassionate response to women who had experienced abortions.

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Tonya Schuster, director of Crossroads Clinic, enjoys playing with baby Braxtyn, son of Madison and Payton, who came to the clinic during an unplanned pregnancy. The young couple found the clinic after searching online, had an ultrasound, and learned they were expecting twins. They chose life. Sadly, Braxton’s twin brother died, but Madison became a believer in Christ and is raising Braxtyn in the goodness of God’s love.

“I would listen to Chuck on KWAVE [radio station] 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.

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.”

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. 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.”

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Clinic Director Tonya Schuster (left) and Executive Director Linda Stewart (right) play with baby Izzy and his mother, Nadia. Nadia, a college student, came to Crossroads for help when she found herself pregnant, ultimately choosing life. Here, she returns to the clinic to proudly show off her son.

Counseling for women suffering from the silent wounds of abortion is another avenue of ministry that Crossroads provides. Sheila Fullbright, now the director of the clinic’s post-abortion recovery program, Passages, went through that counseling herself when she first came to the clinic. After receiving healing through Christ’s forgiveness, she now uses her testimony and healing to help others experience the redemptive love of Jesus.

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 fathers to Christ. “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.”

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Rachel receives an ultrasound by RN sonographer April at Crossroads Clinic. The test confirmed that her baby was still alive after a failed chemical abortion—Rachel was joyful for a second chance for her baby. The staff led her to an abortion reversal hotline, allowing life for her baby girl, Dior.

Ken continued, “When women like Tonya share their testimonies, they bring understanding to the great sorrow and pain that some women experience; 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.”
                  

Click to read Part 1 of this series, which includes real-life stories of babies saved for life—and mothers saved for eternal life. It also describes how Crossroads uses advanced marketing techniques and capitalizes on current social media resources to reach abortion-minded women.
                  

Learn more about Crossroads & CC Oklahoma City at:
Crossroads Clinic: friendsofcrossroads.org or call 405-609-6674
Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City: calvaryokc.com
                  

This story first appeared in Issue 90 (Winter 2022) of  Calvary Chapel Magazine.

                  

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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