A People Yet Unborn
 A People Yet Unborn

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A People Yet Unborn—Calvary Chapels are Helping Women Choose Life for their Unborn Children

Story by Christmas Beeler
Photos by David Ducane

Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ, is actively involved in compassionate pro-life ministry for men and women before and after their babies are born. Since this story first ran in Calvary Chapel Magazine in Fall 2016, Issue 69, the ministry has expanded to include a mobile unit named “Hannah.” Hannah, manned by medical professionals, has travelled throughout New Jersey, providing free ultrasounds.

It was a chilly New Jersey day in late November—so much colder than her native Haiti. Micheline put her head down and headed toward the clinic in Trenton. She never thought she would consider abortion. She loved her husband and their three children, but they were barely making it in their little one-bedroom apartment. The landlord said no more children or they would be kicked out. They had been on the waiting list for a larger, low-income apartment for more than two years. On top of that, now their car had broken down; how could they handle another child?

Hopeless and sad, she neared the clinic. A petite Hispanic woman on the street approached and discreetly asked, “Hello, are you going there to have an abortion?” Micheline stopped and shook her head; she was so confused.

Elsy came to the clinic with Calvary Chapel Old Bridge’s (NJ) Pro-Life Ministry every Saturday to talk to women—always with love, never harshly. She told Micheline, “God is the Creator of life. It is a blessing that He has given you a baby; not every woman can have this blessing. Do you understand that?”

Micheline cuddles her son David

Micheline cuddles her son David. In 2013, threats of eviction and difficult living conditions prompted her family to consider abortion. Encouraged by Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ, believers, she decided to choose life.

Micheline nodded, thinking about two women she knew who couldn’t conceive. She’s right, she thought. God doesn’t give children to everyone. They are a gift. Tears began to fall as Micheline told Elsy about their tiny apartment. “They are going to kick us out; they don’t allow so many people to live there.”

Elsy said, “I believe that if you choose to keep this baby and live God’s way, God will honor you and open doors for your family.” She read part of Psalm 139: For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. … Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (verses 13 & 16). “This means that God knit your baby together inside you, that He already knows the days of your child.” Micheline thought seriously about the life inside of her and believed God’s Word.

To Micheline’s surprise, Elsy lowered her voice and said, “When I was 17, I had an abortion. It ruined my life until God saved me. He showed me that He would forgive me. I don’t want you to go through that. You can choose to give your child life.” As they talked, Micheline decided to keep the child and trust God. Elsy brought gifts from believers at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge (CCOB)—Bibles and baby things, even a crib at Christmastime. Stuart Migdon, a CCOB elder who also had met Micheline that day at the clinic, stopped by her house to pray with her, and a baby shower was later held for her in his home. Elsy and Stuart kept in touch with her and encouraged her to give her life to Jesus. They urged Micheline to read the Bible and share it with her children. Miraculously, just before Micheline’s son was born, a larger apartment opened up for her family. She knew God had honored her, as Elsy had said. Micheline thanked God by naming the baby David. Three years later, the family is expecting their fifth child.

David wearing a suit with a bowtie

David, almost 3 years old in 2016, was rescued from abortion after believers from Calvary Chapel Old Bridge reached out to his mother.

Recently, Micheline visited CCOB on a Sunday in May. Elsy had invited her many times, but she always had to work. That morning, Pastor Lloyd Pulley explained how anyone who believes in Christ through faith may have God’s forgiveness and eternal life. Elsy looked at her and said, “If the Lord is calling you today, then wake up and listen to him. You’ll never regret it.” Micheline felt God tugging on her heart. She went forward and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. Micheline is one of several women who have chosen life over abortion because someone from CCOB shared the hope of Christ with them in a loving way.

Loving Support

Pastor Lloyd Pulley of CC Old Bridge believes that the church must encourage these mothers to choose life in a loving and supportive way. “The irony of the pro-choice platform is that, according to Care Net, 86% of women who abort do so because they feel they have no choice. Planned Parenthood is using the fear: ‘How will you raise that child for the next 18 years? Your life is over.’ The church should be there to say, ‘We’re here to help you raise your child,’” he explained. “That’s another aspect of the pro-life ministry—coming alongside families to show them there is a better choice, and standing by them after they make it.”

Although believers should not condone sex outside of marriage, Pastor Lloyd said it’s important to love the women and girls who make these mistakes. “We need to get away from the anger and hatred and making people feel ashamed. We want to teach our children to be pure, but the reality is that we’re sinners—teen pregnancy can happen. If I see a pregnant teen walking down the hallway in our Christian high school, I will give her a hug and say ‘Thank you.’ Do I condone the sin? Of course not. But she’s making a tough decision to have the child, and we’re there to help her.”

Parents often feel guilty when their daughter gets pregnant. Lloyd added, “We need to be a safe place for these parents to go—not to make them feel like they did something horribly wrong because their daughter is pregnant. Not promoting the guilt, shame, fear—the urge to hide it, to put her away for six to eight months, or to get an abortion.”

Abortion in the Church?

Historically, Christians have opposed abortion. The Bible clearly states that children are a blessing given by God: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Also, the Bible teaches that God knows every person before they are born: As Paul wrote, “[God] separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace” (Galatians 1:15b).

Women talk holding umbrellas

Women from Calvary Chapel Old Bridge’s Pro-Life Ministry share God’s Word with a woman considering abortion outside a clinic in New Jersey.

Sadly, many women in the church are choosing to abort. In fact, more than four in ten women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they ended a pregnancy, LifeWay Research reported in a 2015 survey sponsored by Care Net. Sometimes it’s a fear of gossip and judgment that drive churchwomen to make this tragic decision in secret. The survey found that women “expected or experienced” judgment and condemnation from a church far more than caring or helpfulness.

“Nearly half of the abortions that occur are in the church,” said Pastor Lloyd. “Sometimes girls in the church are naïve—they make one mistake or have one drink. That’s how sin is.” Lloyd speaks from a perspective of compassion. When he met his wife Karen, a young woman on fire for Jesus, he learned as they got closer that she had an abortion at age 17.

Pastor Lloyd emphasized the importance of grace—not only from the church family but from the girl’s family when they discover she is pregnant. “What do you do after sin happens? You forgive, restore, and encourage. Don’t try to cover the sin by taking a life.”

God’s Grace After Abortion

Clearly, women in the church are hesitant to discuss abortion with a fellow sister in Christ. Even years later, after being born again and experiencing God’s grace and forgiveness, many still feel ashamed and guilty. Karen Pulley, Pastor Lloyd’s wife, shared her experience publicly for the first time at the Calvary Chapel East Coast Pastors’ Wives Retreat—more than three decades after it happened. Many women thanked her for her transparency and sharing the hope of God’s restorative grace. Recently, she told her story again to a gathering of high school and college-age young women at a conference at CCOB.

Karen Pulley talks on stage

Karen Pulley, from CC Old Bridge, candidly shares how she was pressured into having an abortion at 17.

Karen had a life-changing encounter with Jesus as a junior higher and sought to be a strong witness for God in high school. One boy pursued her for a year, and Karen finally agreed to go out with him. One night at a party, she had a drink. “Girls, don’t ever go to a party and drink; you lose all of your resolve. No one is smarter than alcohol; it will ruin you,” she said. She found herself pregnant at 17. “I was devastated, so scared—I could not tell my parents. I knew they would be horrified,” she recalled. The boy’s parents said both teens’ lives would be ruined and took her to a clinic. Pressed by the clinic workers and the boy’s parents, Karen ended the pregnancy. With tears welling in her eyes, Karen told the girls, “They tell you lie after lie. … I wish they would tell you that you’ll be haunted for the rest of your life. That was the most painful day of my life. Afterward, I had severe depression and thoughts of suicide. I thought God would never want to talk to me again.” Karen stopped eating and sleeping; she lost 20 pounds. Her anxious father urged her to talk to a psychiatrist.

Finally, Christian neighbors took Karen to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA. She recalled Pastor Chuck Smith’s message about forgiveness and grace: “He said, ‘I don’t care what you’ve done. God loves you still.’ He said someone there that night had ‘a big black burden on your back, and God wants to take it off of you.’ He said we have to repent, so I did. And I felt the Lord just cut all of the chains and ropes off of me. He put me back together again; I was forgiven.”

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).

Soon after, Karen went to Bible college and received a vision for her life from God: Her husband would be in ministry. She got involved in her church and got to know Lloyd on a mission trip. She thanks God that His plan for her life did not end the day she made a wrong choice. She encourages other women who have made a mistake, “God will take your mess and give you a message.”

Healing in Christ

More than 57 million babies have been aborted in the U.S. since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, according to National Right to Life. Currently, 21 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion (Operation Rescue). This means that millions of women in the U.S. have had abortions and need to hear the good news of God’s forgiving grace. Some may even be believers.

Karen Pulley talks with women

During a recent conference for high school and college-age young women, Karen engages attendees who heard how she was suicidal after an abortion.

“As Christians, we are not supposed to dig up the past,” Karen said, “but sometimes, if we have just stuffed something down, God may show us that we need to deal with it.” If believers are living in defeat or lacking joy or struggling with depression, then they may need to get alone with God and ask Him to restore their souls. Karen testified that God’s Word renewed her mind, adding, “Get in the Word of God; that alone heals and changes you and keeps you moving forward.”

She cited 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. For believers who struggle with condemnation, Karen encouraged, “Rejoice that you are His, and that you are cleansed and set free.” She urged believers, “Don’t let the enemy lie to you or condemn you.” As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

Reaching Young People

Karen added, “Don’t forget to share your testimony with people—where you were and what God did in your life.” Many of the young women who heard Karen’s story came up afterward to thank her. Some were encouraged to stay pure until marriage; others were glad to hear of God’s forgiveness. “Ask God for wisdom, to show you when to share it; ask Him what your ministry is.”

Elsy related that, when she feels God lead her to share her own story at the clinic, it often touches people. One mother and daughter team came with their pro-choice signs week after week to a clinic in Montclair. Elsy recalled, “I thought, ‘Oh Lord, please send them away.’ But then He reminded me that they didn’t know Him and they needed to hear the Gospel.” After being kind to them for several weeks, Elsy talked to the daughter. She gently reminded her, “It could have been you that your mother aborted, but by the grace of God, He allowed you to live.” She shared the Gospel with the young woman; the young woman replied that she hoped God would forgive her for encouraging women to abort. The pair never returned with their pro-choice signs.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Romans 1:16a

If a woman has no money or feels alone in her pregnancy, believers can offer to support her by hosting a baby shower beforehand and then helping throughout the pregnancy, birth, and afterward. CC Old Bridge believers have seen more than seven girls who came to the clinic change their minds—even one girl who was told her baby was abnormal but chose to trust God.

Women pray

Women from the CCOB Pro-Life Ministry pray with a woman after sharing the love of Christ with her. They were close to an abortion clinic.

Choosing Life

Mikki Fischer has a burden to reach out to young people; she will never forget having an abortion when she was 21. Despite anesthetic, she felt every step of the procedure. “It was horrific; it haunted me,” she recalled. “They say you won’t feel anything, like it will be a breeze. But it was awful. I could actually feel them taking the baby out of me.”

After the abortion, she joined a Christian sports ministry but soon discovered she was pregnant again. When a Christian woman called her the day before Mother’s Day, they ended up talking about the woman’s past experience with having an abortion. Mikki realized that it was God guiding her to keep her child. Soon after, she gave her life to Jesus. Today, her son Joseph is serving as a pastoral intern at CCOB.

JosephJoseph, 20, didn’t know that he was almost aborted until two years ago. “It was a sobering reality. At first I thought, Why did I live and not the other child? It gave me a greater appreciation for how fragile and valuable our lives are.” In college, he gave a speech about his perspective on abortion. He made a comparison: “If you were hunting and saw something moving—but you weren’t sure if it was a deer or your partner—you wouldn’t shoot it. Likewise, if you’re not sure if the fetus is indeed a child, the same logic should apply. My professor said it was the most convincing argument he had heard.”

To a woman considering an abortion, Joseph would share two things. First, he would want to meet them and share his life: Now he wants to be a pastor and help others. Second, he added, “I would want them to know that they’re not alone. I can’t imagine the pressure that a lot of these women and teens feel—whether from a boyfriend or parents—and I would point them to groups that can help them to withstand that pressure.” CCOB supports several local pregnancy centers, including the Solutions Pregnancy & Health Center.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” For Mikki and several other women touched by CCOB, knowing that God loves them and the church is there for them has helped them make the decision to choose life.

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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