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Just Outside the Center Door

July 2012
By: Sherry Camelleri
On Tuesday morning the back of my car was filled with supplies that needed to be taken into the center. So, I parked around the corner from the center and called into the office to ask the volunteer for her help. After unloading the items, I parked in the back parking lot. Walking to the office, I stopped and exchanged general conversation with the barber who was standing in front of his shop. I then proceeded on my way to Mercy CCPC.

The front door was locked. Putting down my lunch bag, I searched for my key. On the steps of the building next door, a young man asked me how my day was going. I said fine and asked him the same question. He proceeded to question me about the services Mercy provides because someone told him that we help people.


The young man smiled as I shared a general overview of the services we offer. "Wow, my girlfriend is out to here pregnant — eight months. Would you help her?" Quickly I answered, "Yes, we would also help you — we offer parenting education for the dads as well. We would like to have you come with your girlfriend. Parenting is wonderful and challenging. Is this your first?"

"No, actually I have two other children. This is her first, but since I don't see my other kids, it's like my first. Today, for some reason, I'm really, really missing my kids. It hurts, right here (he put his fist to his chest). It hurts real bad because I love them so much. Their mom took them out of state and I don't see them much." With his head down, he rubbed his eyes.

"You hurt, your heart is broken. The way you miss your kids is how God misses you and me when we are not with Him. He loves us, Jesus died for us. He loves you. He hurts just like you hurt over not having your kids with you. Think about it."

With tears rolling down his face, he said, "Wow, I never heard that before. Today is Tuesday, right? Tonight is church. I just started going. Wow, thank you for telling me that. And, I'll tell my girlfriend about your place."

On Thursday, after doing a presentation at a ladies meeting, I parked my car in the parking lot and walked to the center. There he was, sitting on the steps with another young man. I asked him if his girlfriend had come into the center yet. He told me they had several other appointments but they would come in to receive the help they so desperately needed. I asked him to wait because I had something for him. I went inside the office to get a Gospel of John and a Daily Bread. I handed both to the young man and he thanked me. I asked the other young man if he would like something to read. He informed me that he was good. The first young man looked at me and winked.

After lunch, the young man and his girlfriend came into the center to schedule an appointment — so both of them will be in on Monday. Divine appointments — yes. Sometimes they happen in the center and sometimes they take place just outside our door. As I thought about what took place on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I realized that the groundwork for Monday's appointment occurred and both were divine appointments.

Sherry Camelleri is the Executive Director of Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center, Reading, Pennsylvania. She says, "Serving at Mercy is the most wonderful, challenging, and rewarding opportunity that I have been blessed to encounter." She can be reached by email at

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