by Andrea Trudden, Vice President of Communications & MarketingHeartbeat International
Walking through busy streets. Sleeping at a hotel with music playing in the hall. The 2022 European Pregnancy Help Leaders Summit was a very different environment from the sirens and chaos the Save a Life pregnancy help team left in Ukraine.
Alina was 39 weeks pregnant when the war started. Now, her very life was at risk and the reality that her husband could be sent to fight in the war increased the stress.
A pregnancy center director of the Zaporizhzhia Save a Life location, she knows the pressures when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Add a war to the typical pressures a woman has in that delicate moment of her life, and Alina knew that pregnancy centers in Ukraine would be needed during wartime. And so, her work continued after being displaced from her home in Zaporizhzhia.
In the midst of the war sirens and vibrations from the blasts, Alina gave birth to her son, Mark, in a make-shift bomb shelter. It was humbling, and a great reminder of the beauty of life. This little baby boy brought a light of joy in a moment of darkness.
With her new baby, her two-year-old daughter, and husband, Alina moved West toward safety. Here, she sought out a pregnancy center to continue serving women who sought pregnancy help. Her newborn baby by her side, Alina started meeting with women — some local, some displaced from the southeastern and eastern parts of the country — to provide compassionate care and a listening ear as they discussed their futures.
She humbly told us, “Please don’t think I’m a hero. I’m not a hero. And I’m not brave because I wanted to leave. I wanted to run for the sake of my children, but I would rather die than to disobey what God has called me to, which is to stay.”
Similarly, Alla, the national director, manages seven pregnancy centers throughout Ukraine. A widow with a sixteen year old and an eleven year old at home, Alla channels her hope and energy into the centers. Under her leadership, Save a Life centers have expanded across the nation.
She acknowledges that the loss of her husband to cancer when her children were young helped motivate her to get involved with pregnancy centers to be a pillar of support for women. Today, her children help by volunteering their time at the pregnancy centers as well, bringing them together in the work to save lives.
Nadia travels between Ukraine and the United States to help raise awareness for Save a Life. In August, they hosted their annual conference in spite of the war. With more than 100 in attendance, this was an encouragement that God is at work in Ukraine through pregnancy help.
Understanding the risk of travel at this time in Ukraine, these three women joined 17 other countries at Heartbeat International’s European Pregnancy Help Summit in Bucharest, Romania. At the summit, they were able to share their experience both in living in a war zone and in serving in a war zone. As many of the European nations are serving Ukrainian refugee women, the insight Nadia, Alla, and Alina provided was timely and meaningful.
This team of women was an example of courage and strength, once again showing the world that women are capable of being mothers and accomplishing the work they are called to.
by Ellen Foell, Esq., International Program Specialist
It is always a privilege to travel on behalf of Heartbeat International, whether it is to Arkansas or, in the most recent case, to Serbia, for the 2018 European Pregnancy Help Leaders’ Summit. A small Heartbeat team, which included as an honorary Heartbeat member, Mike Spencer from Life Training Institute, met with representatives from 16 organizations and 14 countries—from Romania to Ireland to France—to network, fellowship and share challenges, victories and current issues facing the pregnancy help movement. Topics covered in breakout sessions included a range from self-care to engaging the church and digitally reaching donors and clients.
In that kind of setting, one sees the hand of God working behind the scenes in so many instances (perhaps because one is actively looking for the intervention of God in the context of 14 languages, different alphabets and cultures, and a good dose of jetlag). Maybe one instance that this writer found most dear was the presence at the Summit of four women from Ireland, still reeling from the recent vote abolishing the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution banning abortion just four months before.
As they face legalized abortion for the first time in their country, their attendance at the Summit was truly due to the providence of God. They needed to connect with other European pregnancy help leaders, to be encouraged and to reevaluate pregnancy help in a country committed to a path of abortion. In addition, they needed to connect with an attorney who might be able to help their centers in Ireland deal with some specific new legal challenges. They wanted to know if Heartbeat knew anyone who might be able to help.
Imagine their delight and praise to God to be told that one of the plenary speakers was an Irish barrister working with Alliance Defending Freedom who would make time during the Summit to speak with them.
That is what God is up to. That is the way God works. He is still working his purposes out day by day and year by year such that one day abortion will be unwanted throughout Europe—and the world—and unthinkable in the generations to come.
Heartbeat International has kept you apprised when it comes to the incredible work that is being accomplished by our friends in Romania, and we are overjoyed to share that a new counseling and support center has opened in Bucharest! Here is an excerpt from the center's first newsletter:
"Dear pro-life friends, You have just opened the first newsletter sent by the Counseling and Support Center for Parents and Children “Saint Alexandra the Empress”. What seemed impossible a few years ago could be accomplished this year and happened at the beginning of this month: the inauguration in Bucharest of the Counseling and Support Center for Parents and Children “Saint Alexandra the Empress”. The center offers counseling and social services to women in pregnancy crisis, to young and teenage mothers, to families in need and to parents who prepare to give birth to a child or wish to prepare for that. Among many other services, the center offers: free psychological counseling, free pregnancy tests, baby-boxes with all the necessary baby products for women who are about to give birth or who have just done so, emergency social assistance (clothes, food, diapers according to possibilities), references to social services within the community (legal consulting, gynecologists to monitor pregnancy, breastfeeding courses, vocational counseling, professional training), support groups for mothers and for post-abortive women. The center is staffed with one psychologist and a social worker who offer confidential professional help to those who ask for support. The inauguration of this center has been a great joy for me, since on a daily basis I meet women who lack support and are under great pressure from their partners, their families or their jobs. I know women in pregnancy crisis need to know there is a center where they can ask for help and which can meet their needs. I wish to thank all who have been supportive in the opening of this center. With joy for life, Alexandra Nadane Executive Director Asociația pentru sprijinirea femeii însărcinate și a familiei (The Association for Supporting Pregnant Women and Families)"
(Text and photo taken from Romania newsletter)
Check out the Kharkiv Pregnancy Assistance Center has been up to in Ukraine! Read the newsletter by clicking on the attachment below.
Headed by President Alicia Latorre, ProVida (Spanish Federation of Pro Life Associations) originated from the first Pro Life Association of Spain in 1977. It has been a recognized and registered organization since 1981. ProVida promotes respect for all human life from conception until natural death through its services, which include: personalized assistance to single mothers, free medical and psychological care for women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, food and housing aid, educational courses, organization of conferences, seminars, and congresses, and collaboration in socio-cultural, scientific and public awareness events to promote a culture of life.
Click here to visit ProVida's website.
by Carrie Beliles, International Program Specialist
You know abortion is a worldwide epidemic that must be addressed by life-affirming pregnancy help wherever it exists. But, what can you and your center do to help advance life-affirming help on the other side of the world?
The answer may be simpler than you’d think. In fact, with Heartbeat International’s Life Reach Global, it’s only a couple of clicks away.
Connecting U.S.-based pregnancy help people with global friends, Life Reach Global is one way Heartbeat International’s network can push ahead in our shared hope of making abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations all over the world.
At Heartbeat International, we have long encouraged local organizations to connect with one another for ongoing partnerships during our Annual Conference, pairing U.S. organizations with their sister outreaches outside the States for mutual support and encouragement.
One example of this was at our 2014 Annual Conference, where attendees from all over the world pitched together to present our friend, “Lilli”, with a check to cover the first year’s operations at China’s first-ever Heartbeat affiliate. Now, partnering with life-saving efforts like Lilli’s is simpler than ever through Life Reach Global.
How Does Life Reach Global Work?
You start by selecting an life-saving affiliate of Heartbeat International, each of which Heartbeat has reviewed and approved to received funds through Life Reach Global.
After you give through Life Reach Global, Heartbeat International transfers your donation to the recipient organization. In most cases, your gift (less transaction fees) will reach the recipient organization in full, though in some cases, Heartbeat International will deduct no more than 1 percent for an affiliation or administration fee.
The recipient organization will receive the funds on at least a quarterly basis.
As a giver, your donation through Life Reach Global is tax-deductible because of Heartbeat International’s worldwide mission.
How Can We Receive Funds through Life Reach Global?
If your non-U.S. pregnancy help organization has been a Heartbeat International affiliate in good standing for at least the past 12 months, you can apply to receive funds through Life Reach Global.
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