By: Michele D. Shoun
Pregnancy care centers in the United States know the value of collaboration. They find strength and encouragement in joining regional, state, or national coalitions. Such partnerships solve problems together and share best practices. They serve to unify the movement as a whole and provide a source of encouragement for individual directors.
Imagine, then, running the only PCC in a developing-world country. To whom would you turn when a problem arises that is peculiar to pro-life ministry, or unique to the culture?
The challenges faced by pro-life leaders abroad are exponentially greater than those faced by counterparts in this country. In America, there’s a general love of justice, even if it doesn’t extend to every unborn human being. Women, for the most part, are seen as valued members of society. The pro-life movement here enjoys widespread (if not complete) support and can take advantage of abundant resources.
Think, then, about what it would be like to run a PCC without these basic building-blocks of society, or without other things we take for granted, such as consistent electrical power or access to the Internet. What if the country you lived in was so poor people couldn’t afford to volunteer their time? Or had no concept of giving but instead expected people in the West to support a ministry?
In 1997, when God led guests from Romania, South Africa, and South Korea to our annual Summit, He began raising our eyes from the conflicts and concerns facing PCCs in the U.S. to what was going on in other parts of the world. We’ve had international partners ever since.
It’s become our tradition to highlight the work of pro-life ministries during our two-day conference. This past Summit we featured Evelyn Stone, who is our International Training Consultant. She and her husband are missionaries in Lima, Peru, and in the course of planting churches, she and local church members have established seven PCCs. Here’s a video describing what’s going on in the Lima centers:
We hope that, as they learn about various international pro-life ministries, PCCs in the U.S. will gain perspective on their own problems. More importantly, we want them to catch the vision of partnering with similar centers in other countries.
WHAT MIGHT SUCH A PARTNERSHIP LOOK LIKE? It could take many forms, among them:
• Learning – a “pen pal” relationship in which each party shares what it’s like to do pro-life ministry in your country
• Praying – share requests and praises with each other
• Mentoring – offer advice and resources (electronic files) over the Internet (when possible)
• Visiting – take a group over to work on a project or provide training, or sponsor someone from their center to "intern" at your center
• Supporting – financial support should not be the focus of the relationship, but sometimes the U.S. center may want to send a Christmas gift, or fund a special project. Since shipping can be cost-prohibitive, goods or materials can be sent with people traveling to that country.
HOW TO CONNECT
• Life Matters Worldwide
• Beautiful Feet International
• Heartbeat International
• LIFE International
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
It’s sad but true: America’s abortion-on-demand model has been copied by many emerging nations. They mistakenly equate “freedom of choice” with liberty. Without lifting a finger we’ve exported one of the worst aspects of our society.
On top of that, depending upon the administration in power, our government’s policies often force countries to liberalize their abortion laws in order to receive foreign aid. Therefore, Americans owe a debt to Christians in other countries. One thing we can do to repair some of that damage is by helping them fight abortion, and one way we can do that is by partnering with them in pro-life ministry.
Michele D. Shoun is Life Matters Worldwide's Director of Ministry Outreach.