I was recently asked to provide a brief history of the Alpha Women’s Resource Center. That is not an easy task when the ministry is twenty-nine years old! As I was reviewing center records, I was overwhelmed by God’s provision for the ministry and the people served.
1992 – 2012 The ministry began with a vision by Dr. Sid Crosby and his wife, Kay. They met in Dr. Crosby’s office with Bob Foust, who was involved with Sav-a-Life ministries in Birmingham, AL. After praying together, five hundred dollars was given to start Alpha Pregnancy Testing Center, Sav-a-Life. The first board of directors met at the Crosby’s home for breakfast and a board meeting each month. The center was located next to Visitation Catholic Church behind the Jackson Middle School in a small house and opened its doors in January of 1992. Twenty-four volunteers were trained in crisis pregnancy ministry and offered free pregnancy tests, counseling, a few baby items, and prayer. A golf tournament was held as a fundraiser and the proceeds from it paid the center’s bills that first year. In 2003, the center relocated to a leased building on the corner of Carrol Street in downtown Jackson. During that time, the abstinence program, S.A.f.E. (Sex and Family Education) was presented in the local schools, headed up by a volunteer coordinator. Clients had the option to participate in a Bible study during their pregnancy and those who successfully completed the study earned a layette for their baby. Donations from individuals and churches covered the cost of the baby items.
2012 – 2021 The center changed its name to Alpha Women’s Resource Center, hired a registered nurse and became a medical pregnancy resource center. A Walk for Life, a 5kRun, Change for Life baby bottle campaign, and an annual banquet were held to raise awareness of the ministry and to provide the finances needed to purchase an ultrasound machine. Through divine provision, a building was donated to the Alpha center and a move was made to Highway 43. The ministry is thriving, women are coming to the center and enjoy being able to see their baby via ultrasound. Many who are initially abortion minded or vulnerable to abortion change their minds and choose life.
In 2016, the center completed a campaign to purchase a mobile medical unit from ICU Mobile. The RV is equipped with a medical exam room, a portable ultrasound machine and can broadcast the ultrasound image to a monitor in the front of the unit for the women’s family to view. The mobile unit travels once a week to sites in Coffeeville, Calvert, and Monroeville.
The center’s parenting program, Earn While You Learn, is now available online. With a few clicks, we can send links to a mom’s cell phone, she can view the videos and complete the homework when it is convenient for her. She then follows up at the center to receive the “mommy money” she has earned and can shop in our Baby Store. Diapers, wipes, clothing, baby equipment is available to those participating in our prenatal and parenting program. Baby items are also carried on the mobile unit and moms can participate in the online classes.
Christian counseling is available at the center for women dealing with non-pregnancy related issues. The center has two certified Christian counselors and a certified life coach available by appointment.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Part of the vision for the future of the Alpha Women’s Resource Center include expanding the mobile unit ministry to Choctaw county, adding STI testing services, and continuing to reach more abortion minded women with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Please keep praying for this ministry. We need prayer partners, volunteers, and additional medical staff. May God find each of us faithful.
Serving Him, Diane
Medical pregnancy resource centers require basic, yet costly, ultrasound machines. The Alpha Women’s Resource Center has been blessed with two of these machines and the oldest one now needs to be replaced.
In the past, we received partial grants and God miraculously provided the rest of the finances. Presently we are still about two years away from paying off the mobile medical unit so looking at a replacement ultrasound machine had been relegated to the “wish list”.
But God – He proved once again that His timing is not ours. What started out as an email to an ultrasound sales representative, ended up with the unexpected gift of a brand-new ultrasound machine at NO COST to the Alpha Women’s Resource Center! Mission Pre-Born, now known as Pre-Born! is a ministry that provides free ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy resource centers. They also train staff, volunteers, and board members in effective ways to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, through their program called “The Invitation.”
Amid so much negative news, it is so encouraging to know that God has not stopped being merciful and gracious. As we extend the invitation to our clients to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I invite you all to celebrate God’s goodness. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Endurance. It is the word that described the year 2020 and now continues into 2021. We have all been affected by the drastic changes going on in our country and around the world. Businesses, churches, people – we are all searching for something that is “normal”, but we do not know where to even begin to look.
We too have had to find ways to endure at the Alpha Women’s Resource Center. Is it safe to be open? How do we provide services? How many clients can we see at a time? The women we serve have had to endure a barrage of questions concerning their exposure to the Corona virus prior to and at the time of their appointment. We used to have the capability of opening our doors to anyone and now everything is under lock and key. New moms cannot have their loved ones with them when they have an ultrasound and see their new baby for the first time. In times of crisis, it is comforting to have someone go with you when you go for a doctor’s visit or visit the center for the first time and that is not possible right now.
We were created for community and instead we find ourselves isolated and alone. So, what are we to do? In Romans 15:5, the apostle Paul calls our Lord, “the God of endurance.” It is in Him that we find perfect endurance. “ It is the grace of endurance granted to you by the God of endurance that provides you with everything you need to continue to be what he calls you to be and do what he call you to do between this moment and the moment when you cross over to the other side. “ (quoted from New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp)
God has been so faithful to meet the needs of this ministry through the generosity and faithfulness of His people. As difficult as the year 2020 was, 31 babies were born to moms who came to the center and 175 times moms saw their babies on an ultrasound. Spiritual discussions took place 587 times and 788 units of service were provided. Despite having to close the center for several weeks and even longer before we were able to take the mobile medical unit out, lives were touched, changed, and saved. We are ever grateful for God’s endurance. May you continue to endure as well!
If you have ever wondered if you have had a positive effect on someone’s life, you are not alone. Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World, explains that in the midst of chaotic times we basically have two choices – we either take care of ourselves and our families and “keep our wallets hidden under our pillows”, ignoring the struggles of others, or we reach out in spite of our circumstances and challenges and continue to offer compassion and hope.
Being part of a Christian ministry team like the Alpha Women’s Resource Center, offers many opportunities to create a “ripple effect”. We share the Gospel with the women and men who come seeking pregnancy resources and we also offer practical application through counseling with a trained client advocate, parenting classes, material assistance, and more. We may see a person one time and never know if we have had a positive effect or we may have the privilege of establishing a relationship that continues long after the pregnancy is completed. Many times, those who have been to the center tell their friends and family members about the benefits of coming to the Alpha center. One of our former Alpha clients had this to say about her experience:
“If it wasn’t for you all, my daughter would have ended up in somebody’s trash can. I never would have known how to take care of my baby without the Alpha Center.”
Each of us has a choice – we can choose to believe everyone is doing okay on their own or we can reach out and offer our time, resources, and the gifts God has given us to help others whether they are deserving or not. Now, more than ever, our world needs to experience the love of Christ, not condemnation or judgment. In his book, Onward, Russell Moore writes, “We’re prophetically engaged, in that we see the connection between gospel and justice, just as our forebears in the abolitionist and civil rights and pro-life activist communities did. The priority of the gospel doesn’t mean that we shrug off injustice or unrighteousness but it means we fight a different way. But behind all of that, and above all of that, we do what prophets are always called to do: we bear witness.”
Ask yourself how many lives can I touch? Through your financial support, volunteering at the center as a client advocate, abstinence presenter, volunteer receptionist, bookkeeper or as a board member, you too can be part of the ripple effect. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8
The new year has started off with a flurry of activity at the Alpha Women’s Resource Center. Clients are steadily coming in, center volunteers continue to minister in amazing ways and the community’s awareness of the scope of the ministry is steadily growing. Here is just a glimpse of some of the prayers God has answered:
- Our nurse, Crystal, delivered a baby girl in December, several months premature but, by God’s grace, baby and mommy are healthy and already home from the hospital.
- Resources for ultrasound training were provided by a generous donor at last year’s banquet and this month, training has been completed resulting in two more nurses who are now trained to perform ultrasounds at the center.
- Plans for the first major fundraising event designated solely for the mobile ultrasound unit are now underway and the Chocolate for Life event is set for Feb. 13th. Vendors are coming from several different areas, and the day promises to be full of fun, food, and family friendly activities. There will be an actual mobile ultrasound unit on site, thanks to the generosity of the pregnancy center in Huntsville and the unit will be available for touring all throughout the weekend. The center has been in prayer for many months concerning the mobile unit and God is listening and responding!
- The board of directors has met and agreed on a strategic plan for the ministry that will encompass the next 3-5 years. Goals include:
- Raising the funds needed to purchase a mobile ultrasound unit in 2016 by enlisting the support of area churches, businesses, foundations, and individuals.
- Acquiring staffing and volunteers for the mobile ultrasound unit.
- Hiring staff to take the place of the center’s abstinence coordinator, who also serves as the computer coordinator and fatherhood program coordinator.
- Updating the” Earn While You Learn Program”
- Having a volunteer Certified Professional Counselor on site.
- Expanding the center’s abstinence program to include Monroe County.
- Expanding medical services to include STD testing.
Through much prayer and hard work, the ministry is bearing much fruit as seen in the lives saved both physically and spiritually each year. God has many wonderful plans for the Alpha Women’s Resource Center and we ask our supporters to be in intentional prayer for this local mission. Ask Him to provide the disciples needed to carry on this legacy of life and in the words of Fanny Crosby, “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 14:11
Spring is here and summer is not too far behind. The center continues to be a place where various scenarios are experienced: new life being seen on an ultrasound, moms coming to learn how to navigate through their pregnancy, women being consoled after having a miscarriage, families being counseled as a result of a teen pregnancy, joy shared over a newborn baby, and the ultimate celebration – a life changed through the sharing of the Gospel. Through it all, God’s presence is apparent and without Him there is no hope or peace.
We rejoice as God’s work continues. In the last newsletter, there were several goals mentioned which have already been reached:
- The center now has three nurses trained to do ultrasounds.
- The “Earn While You Learn” program has been updated.
- A volunteer certified professional counselor is now on site one day a week.
Also, approximately 75% of the total needed to purchase the mobile ultrasound unit has been raised and we are not even half way through the year! How we praise God for all that He has done and continues to do! Of course, working with a Christian nonprofit is not without challenges and heartaches. Days may go by where clients repeatedly fail to keep their appointments, a fundraising event does not go as well as expected, or the need for additional volunteers goes unmet. But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the perseverance of those committed to standing for life and the prayers of the faithful, victory will come. God’s Word says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6