NATHHAN and CHASK Locally Reaching Out to Pregnant Women and Teens
By Sherry Bushnell
A Blessed Beginning Pregnancy Center is NATHHAN and CHASK’s local outreach, ministering to pregnant moms and babies. It is managed by Tanya Currie.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about working with women in our own town, is that we get to see them face to face.
This has been an invaluable experience for us, helping us to truly understand and minister over the phone to birth moms facing a difficult pregnancy. Each mom that we work with has her own set of heart-rending fears and sorrows. It is easy to transfer our concern over the phone, as we have worked with pregnant women of all ages face to face.
We wanted to share with you our August 2009 experience at the local fair. I know that many of you have attended your local fair and perhaps even visited the local crisis pregnancy center booth. It was very interesting to be on the booth side of things, instead of the spectator this year. We were blessed beyond explanation, although pretty tired, by the time the 4 days were done.
We made 230 fresh apple pies and over 800 peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. It was a lot of fun… and a lot of work! Our goal was 75 pies a day and we met that each day with happy success.
We want to give a huge thank-you to all the volunteers that came to slice apples, mix filling (by far the messiest job), roll crust and bake….pie after pie… after pie. Each day Wed, Thurs and Friday before the fair, 2 exuberant crews arrived. The morning crew spent most of the time slicing transparent apples. The afternoon crew rolled pie crust and mixed and filled pies.
We used a special crust recipe that was guaranteed to work. I was having nightmares about someone breaking a tooth on my previous crust recipe that was supposedly “no-fail”. After putting the pies together, we froze them solid in a big borrowed chest freezer. Several different women came to pick up the frozen pies the day before needed, to bake them in their home ovens and then deliver them to the fair booth the next morning.
Our booth was actually 40 feet long, by 12 feet wide, with 4 sections. We built a Swiss style “pie hut” that we backed our 8 ft utility trailer up against that has shelves along one side. We stored our baked pies, cookies, paper products in here away from the sun.
We had 3 canopies all strung with carnival lights for the night time. Under one canopy we set up a couple tables and chairs, an outdoor wooden, swinging chair for two (complete with a quilt for padding) and an old-fashioned rocking chair.
The second canopy had all the tables with literature, books, all the pro-life buttons, life-is-precious stickers, helium balloons we filled (about 400 of them!) with pro-life messages and the fetal models nested in a real, live baby buggy.
We also purchased 150 little 12-week-size models to give away appropriately. These were a big hit with the children and younger teens.
The third canopy had all the baby clothes that we had left over from the summer, to share with women in need. It was very touching to see women come and linger over the fetal models and then look at the baby clothes. Moms with many and young teen moms alike rubbed shoulders as they found items that they could use. All were VERY thankful.
I would have to say that the response to our Blessed Beginning booth was outstanding. I was very taken aback by how much the teens and young adults were interested in the fetal models. I spent the busy part of each of the 4 days just seated beside the baby buggy that held life-like fetal models from 7 weeks to 30 weeks. I sat there filling balloons and talking, and as girls came up, I sort of came up with a set way of presenting the fetal models. It went something like this:
As a group of girls standing over the fetal models were oooing and ahhing over them I state with big enthusiasm…….“Wow, isn’t that amazing….?
I would then pick up the box with the tiniest fetal models and point to the 7-week-old baby and say, “This is just a tiny baby… take a close look.” Their heads would bend way down… “See the itty-bitty fingers, toes, nose, eyes, ears and little mouth?”
The girls would all nod and continue to stare. “This is not just a piece of tissue, is it?”
They would agree that these are cute babies and I would point out different models at 7..8..9. .10.. weeks.
Then picking up the largest model, which is a 30-week baby, weighted with the approximate weight of a real baby, I would hand it to one of the girls.
At this point she would gasp in surprise at how real the baby felt and would often cradle the baby and even rock it. They would then pass the baby carefully to each of their friends (all gasping in surprise, in turn.)
I would look one of the girls in the eyes, and point to the 7 - 10 week models and say… “These babies turn into big babies pretty quick, don’t they?
They would all exclaim at how fast babies grew.. Then I would share with them about how some folks would like you to believe that a baby is just a blob of tissue. Picking up the 12-week model and handing it to them, I would say, “Isn’t this a sweet baby and not a blob?”
The girls would all say…”I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) ever kill my baby!” I would then tell them that they can keep that little 12-week baby to show a friend. They were all truly thankful.
The pre-teens carried them half sticking out of their pockets (so baby could “see”), coming back to me to tell me the name of “their baby” and to have more looks at the larger models. Some of the girls would go find other girls to bring over and share, verbatim, my spiel, just as I had just presented it to them an hour ago. Amazing!
This incredible opportunity to share with the teens and young women in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, I will never forget. I am thinking that most of our young people had never seen anything like those fetal models. A huge thank-you to the churches and all the others for funding us. It made all the difference. We were able to just share with the girls, and sell pie and cookies, relaxing about “making money to cover expenses.”
Other wonderful things happened at the fair too. Making new friends and connections with the community, ministering to a woman that had an abortion and was hurting. One woman carried the 20-week-old model around for about 15 minutes with tears in her eyes. My heart ached for her. Pregnant women and new mommies came and got new or almost new baby clothes. We were just about cleaned out of everything. Over and over we heard from them… “What a blessing…We have no money right now” or “Why are you doing this?” or “This is incredible that you would offer this.”
Truth is, we were the ones blessed.
Check out our website! www.blessedbeginning.org