EDMOND – After months of preparation, training and prayer, the doors of Edmond Pregnancy Resources (EPR), a Hope Pregnancy Center (HPC), opened its doors to clients for the first time Dec. 5.
“This is an exclamation mark on the 30 year anniversary of crisis pregnancy ministries,” exclaimed Anthony L. Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
“To go back and think of where we humbly began and see this now, it’s beautiful.”
EPR is a ministry of volunteers that helps Oklahomans facing unplanned pregnancies. The professional staff offers medical, practical and spiritual advice as mothers and fathers make decisions for their future. Services are free and confidential.
Gayla White, who has been involved with Hope Pregnancy Ministries since 2006, and now director for the past three years, said the team of decision makers in this process decided on Edmond after looking at the effectiveness of different locations.
They noticed 65 percent of their clients at other locations were college age, and 10 percent were currently in college.
This began the process of the new Hope Pregnancy Center location, Edmond Pregnancy Resources, in a town that hosts two large universities.
“We want Edmond Pregnancy Resources and other Hope Pregnancy Centers to be the first choice people think of when experiencing unplanned parenthood,” explained White.
EPR Director Lyn Smith talked about the intentional location choice of EPR, “To have two schools miles apart from each other down the road from our center with all those young women who could
potentially need our services is really no coincidence, God doesn’t do anything by mistake.”
Smith then went on to speak about the process of getting ready to open EPR, “We’ve walked through the building and stood and prayed in every room over what will be happening in those rooms because each room was strategically designed for specific purposes. We are just confident that God will bring those prayers into fruition.”
Before each shift starts or any volunteer enters a room with a client, they pray over that visit for the mother and father specifically.
Some of the services Edmond Pregnancy Resources offers include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, pregnancy option education, empowered parenting classes and an abortion recovery Bible study called “Forgiven and Set Free.”
“It is a 12-week Bible study that we can see the countenance in the mothers change. Many have held their abortion in for years without telling anyone. So they get to bring their pain and shame into the light of God’s Word where there are light and forgiveness,” said White.
Smith further explained the unique nature of “Forgiven and Free,” “It really is life changing. The women who go through that Bible study are delivered and freed from years of fear and insecurity and just lack of forgiveness. They can’t forgive themselves. They feel guilty; they feel shame.”
Rose Day, an event each year at the state Capitol where hundreds gather to promote the sanctity of the unborn, is just around the corner in Oklahoma, “The pro-life movement is essential because life is from God, so protecting and nurturing life is our mandate as Christ followers,” said Smith, “Secondly, when life is harmed, the consequences are painful and devastating that the young women and men facing these decisions don’t always understand the consequences of the choice to abort.”
EPR presents mothers and fathers with the facts, not trying to sway their decisions either way, “It’s really important that we aren’t only showing them love, but we’re being up front and honest with them about what is happening,” said Development Representative Brittany Taylor.
Another resource to families who visit Edmond Pregnancy Resources is a boutique where mothers can go through the first year of their child’s life to buy clothing, formula, diapers and other essentials.
Points and money can be earned towards the boutique by completing different courses offered by EPR to help equip parents with the necessary tools to effectively care for and parent their child.
Through the time spent learning and nurturing women and men who come into Hope Pregnancy Centers, trust is built.
“That’s one thing that is really a hallmark of the Hope Pregnancy Centers. Our clients do trust us because we don’t hide anything. We are very upfront when we give them their options, and they know when they leave here, regardless of what they choose, they are welcome to come back, and we will love them and help them,” said Smith.
Another unique feature of EPR is the encouraged involvement of the father in the process. EPR offers specific classes on parenting and becoming a Christ-like example for their family.
“We treat them with respect and we treat them as though they have value as the dad, as opposed to the pregnancy and the decisions that come with it being just the woman’s choices, and a lot of the fathers really step up” explained Smith.
EPR employs a trained medical staff certified to conduct pregnancy tests and ultra sounds in a professional, medical manner, “Some pregnancy centers aren’t thought of as medical clinics, but we are. Our nurse managers are trained medically and legally, so it’s exciting to know that we can offer that free of charge if they have nowhere else to go,” exclaimed Smith.
One of the main goals of Edmond Pregnancy Resources, and all Hope Pregnancy Centers, is to encourage the mother and father to find a place to be involved and around other young couples.
After a year and the completion of all training and classes, EPR encourages couples to first transfer their dependency to God and engage in a church family that can help them raise their children and help support their family.
The generosity of the Rick and Lisa Thompson and their family made the dream of an Edmond location possible for HPC. The Thompsons not only donated the facility, but the furnishings and artwork inside as well, making for a most comfortable environment for all who enter.