God's Plan for the Unplanned
God's Plan for the Unplanned

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God's Plan for the Unplanned—Part 2: Calvary Chapel Old Bridge is Rethinking Pro-life Ministry in the Church

Story by Barb Maher
Photos by Christian Rodriguez and Stan Berger

This is Part 2 of a two-part series describing the pro-life outreach of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ. The fellowship actively supports women with unplanned pregnancies before and after their babies are born, with the goal that every woman they serve would accept and walk with Jesus Christ as Savior. This story first ran in the Spring 2020 issue of Calvary Chapel Magazine.

Love in Action

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

The Bridge Women’s Center, a ministry of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge (CCOB), NJ, supports women, children, and families by providing daycare, adoption and foster care, housing advocacy, baby showers, encouragement, and prayer. “If we’re going to say ‘Choose life,’ then we’re going to walk that life with them. Ultimately, the goal is their salvation,” explained Lisa Doyle, one of many ministry volunteers.

Priscilla, now 28, had two abortions as a teenager before being saved in 2015. Before the first abortion at age 16, she admitted, “I wanted to be a mom, but everything around me told me I couldn’t. And I believed that.”

Lloyd Pulley speaking

Pastor Lloyd Pulley of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge (CCOB), NJ, shares his vision.

Pregnant again in 2017, she wondered how she could take care of a baby when she couldn’t take care of herself. Women from the center reached out to her.

“I made a decision I knew wouldn’t be easy, but this time someone said, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ What’s so awesome is that someone is always there for me. They threw me the most amazing baby shower,” she said, laughing. Her son is now 15 months old.

When Joumelle was 29 and unwed, she learned she was going to have twins; the father made it clear that he would be no help. Where am I supposed to go? I have nobody, she thought. Then she met Lisa, who stepped in to help. During her baby shower, Joumelle was overwhelmed by the number of women attending. “There was nothing I needed that wasn’t there,” she remembered. A single mother of a twin girl and boy, she was pregnant again several years later—and the father told her to “get rid of it.” Ashamed and wanting to keep the baby, she worried that the church might not help this time. Lisa reassured her, “Don’t worry. We’re still going to stay with you.” That baby boy, now 13 months old, was born nine weeks early; Lisa and other volunteers have remained by her side.

Family looking inside van

CCOB has blazed a trail for pro-life churches by purchasing a mobile pregnancy unit from Save the Storks; it will be used for ministry throughout New Jersey.

A Testimony of Redemption

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. Psalm 18:28b

Debbie Biskey, executive director of Bridge Women’s Center (BWC), identifies with these women. Early on she lived a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and failed marriages, with several abortions and miscarriages. She also had two children, son Stephen and daughter Angel. Finding success in her career, Debbie was five months into a pregnancy when she experienced premature labor. “I realized how very much alive he was as he struggled to survive for six weeks, … but my son died,” she recalled, “I had no relationship with God and at that point, I really thought that because of all the abortions I had, that this was His payback … His punishment for me.” Her anger led her back to the old lifestyle. “I lost my kids and my house,” she said. “I went from a six-figure salaried New York City girl, who was so full of herself, to in the gutter.” A friend gave her a Bible. “I got saved alone in my room through reading that Bible—I realized that He knew and loved me in my darkness.”

Mobile Pregnancy Center Brings Hope

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Save the Storks was founded in 2012 to enable pregnancy resource centers to provide free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds through mobile medical units. The team of pro-life advocates at CCOB realized that this would be a powerful way to reach their community. “That glimpse into the womb changes everything—ultrasound is the key,” said Lloyd Pulley, senior pastor of CCOB. “As far as we know, we are the first Calvary Chapel to have our own mobile medical unit. It was a long, difficult process that required us as a church to have a dedicated team of pro-life advocates—but it was worth the fight, because unless a pregnancy center can offer true medical services, it won’t be effective.”

Inside van

The inside of the unit, named “Hannah,” is welcoming, clean, and comfortable.

Lloyd pointed out that while the ultrasound is critical for women to make informed decisions, the impact on men seeing their unborn children is also important. “If a husband or boyfriend is supportive, every woman who gets on the mobile unit will choose to keep her baby,” remarked Lloyd. “Men can be the real problem and the root cause of abortion. Without support, a woman is alone, afraid, and vulnerable—an easy target for abortion clinics.”

The mobile pregnancy center arrived at the Bridge Women’s Center on October 1, 2019.  Like the center, the mobile unit provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasound, the Gospel, and life skills counseling for mothers and fathers. It requires a licensed medical doctor, an executive director, an ultrasound technician, an intake counselor, and a driver.

Outside van at night

The van will provide free resources to help men and women facing unplanned pregnancies make informed decisions for life.

CCOB member Dr. John Lundberg, the medical director for the mobile unit, shared the powerful impact of a woman seeing her unborn child. “In one moment, in one beautiful second ... through the ultrasound, she will see a heartbeat and limbs moving,” he explained, “Tears usually follow the first time a mother sees and understands the reality of her baby; four out of five times she will make a decision to keep the baby … it is powerful.”

All staff members are trained to approach women experiencing unplanned pregnancy with sensitivity and to demonstrate the love of Christ to them. “We remember not to pass judgment and to pay attention to the tone in our voices,” explained Jenna Creasy-Kahn, Client Services Director for BWC. “Recognizing that Jesus meets us where we are, we will strive to meet women here in this mobile refuge, to model the Gospel in a place where they might not otherwise go.”

Ccob.org

Bridgewomenscenter.com

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. 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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