Heartbeat International joined the Center for Family and Human Rights, Asociacion La Familia Importa, The Global Center for Human Rights, and The Institute for Women’s Health in a panel at the United Nations during the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women on “How Embracing the Geneva Consensus Declaration Advances the Well-being of Families, Women and Girls.”
International Program Specialist, Ellen Foell, had the opportunity to speak at the #CSW67 side event on March 10, 2023, at the United Nations to support the Geneva Consensus Declaration and share how pregnancy help worldwide provides women with care and support, helping them and their families thrive so that no woman feels abortion is her only option. Heartbeat joined life-affirming organizations in support of the GCD.
Video property of UN Web TV. To view the meeting in its entirety, go to: media.un.org/en/asset/k18/k18b3n6zwb
by Ellen Foell, International Program SpecialistHeartbeat International
If there is one word to describe the world today it might be divided. Actually, we might even be divided about that! Some people might use the words fractured, broken, or disintegrating. The reality is, we see evidence of division all around us, politically, racially, nationally, even within individuals.
None of that sounds like good news.
But in the midst of the bad news, and the division, we see good news.
The night before Jesus was betrayed, he had a meal and a very long conversation with the disciples. The meal was familiar and traditional, a Passover meal. A meal that each of the disciples had eaten many times in their lives, filled with history, song, and prayer.
But the conversation was not so familiar. Jesus did things that disrupted the evening with hard sayings about leaving, about vines and branches, betrayal. He even said one of the friends sitting at the Passover meal would betray him. He washed everyone’s feet which shocked them and then said they would learn to wash one another’s feet as well.
In the middle of that last conversation and meal Jesus shared with his disciples, he stopped to enter into a conversation with the Father. He did not preface the interruption with “everyone please bow your heads.” No dramatic pause for effect. He simply started praying to the Father as if the Father was a participant in the rest of the conversation, had been there all along. And, of course, He was. But the prayer Jesus prayed was not the overthrow of the Roman oppressors, nor was it for the disciples’ prosperity, or for methods to spread the message.
His prayer was pointed and focused: the unity of the disciples, both the ones present in the room, and the ones who would one day also believe because of the message carried by the ones in the room. He asked the Father, in the presence of the disciples:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)
This was the last major discourse with the disciples, and the last major prayer time between the Father and the Son to which they would be witnesses. Because, as we know, they slept through the next prayer time on the Mount of Olives. In this little passage, the disciples overheard Jesus talk to the Father about the who, what, how, and why of unity. We need to pay attention to the matters of unity because unity matters.
When Jesus talked to the Father about unity for the disciples, he was inclusive. He prayed beyond the eleven disciples present in the room (Judas had already left). It was a prayer for those who would believe in Jesus through the testimony and witness of the ones in the room. And any single one of us reading this as well as the billions who follow Jesus around the world, are part of the “those who will believe in me through their message.” Jesus’ prayer to the Father reached down through generations and across the globe. He prayed across time and space.
Jesus interceded to the Father that all of them, all of us may be one: “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” He wanted more than all of us being in the same room, more than gathering around the worldwide campfire and singing the same song. He prayed for oneness.
Oneness goes beyond togetherness, friendship, partnership, or collaboration. Oneness carries with it the same meaning as used in marriage-that the two become one. Total intimacy of two still distinct individuals. As the Father and the Son and Spirit are one, Jesus asked God to make us, as Jesus followers, one, in the same way that the Father and the Son are one. The concept is already beyond our human comprehension, so he gave us an example of oneness and intimacy in relationship: just as you are in me and I am in you.
The Father and Son are so united that Jesus told Philip, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Jesus wanted for us the unity the Son and the Father enjoy. That seems like an impossibility. How can we, as flawed human beings, from different races, ethnicities, geopolitical borders, with individual interests, needs, levels of income and desires enter into that kind of oneness?
How on earth could Jesus pray for the impossible? As he said in another time to the disciples, with men and women, in the flesh, this is impossible, but all things are possible with God (MT 19:26). We cannot strive for unity as the world strives for it. Our unity is in the Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus asked the Father, “may they also be in us.” Our unity as Christians, and by extension, as the pregnancy help movement, must be found in, and founded in, the way of Jesus.
Thousands of years earlier, there was another great movement toward unity. It was a monumental effort of the entire world that was united by speech. In Genesis 11, people came together as one and determined to build a name for themselves by building a tower that reached to heaven. The effort failed because of pride and arrogance against God. But in that same passage we see that there is no limit to what could happen if people are united.
The problem was not that the people were united with one another. The problem was that the people were not united with God. Their unity was for the purpose of being like God (sounds like the Garden all over again).
Unity is not the end goal. Unity with the triune God has a beauty, joy and wonder all its own. But unity also has a purpose. “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” We work for unity so that the whole rest of the world will know that the Father sent the Son out of love. It is so that all those generations since the eleven in the room with Jesus would know the lifesaving truth that Christ came into the world for sinners, to restore relationship, and for unity with the Father, even as the Father and the Son are one.
Psalm 131 says that where the brothers dwell together in unity, it is good and pleasant. Even more than that, God commands a blessing (Psalm 131:1-4). I have four children and honestly, when I see our children getting along, dwelling together in unity, I want to bless them because their unity blesses me. We want to bless our heavenly Father with our unity in the same way.
The pregnancy help movement is spread across the globe. Heartbeat International is currently serving affiliates in 90 nations. We do so in partnership and collaboration with nine different networks. Yet, approximately 30% of Heartbeat's international affiliates are not in networks. They labor sometimes as the only pregnancy help center in the nation. Some centers may be the only place for a woman in an unexpected pregnancy in a radius encompassing 2 or 3 or 4 million people.
Each center looks different. The languages are different. Some centers are urban, some rural, some are Catholic, some evangelical, some Orthodox. Pregnancy help centers hold out the word of life in peace and in war, in famine and in feasting, in sickness, through the pandemic, and in health. We are united with one another, and with the triune God.
Unity is hard. The culture of individualism and personal rights can stand against unity. Our “me” gets in the way of “we.” But if we can pray toward, work toward, and move toward unity, as the pregnancy help movement, the world will know, even as it sees us as a movement, that the Father sent the Son, that the Father loves them, even as He loves the Son. And then, the world might believe.
April 25-28 Louisville, Kentucky (closest airport SDF). For those traveling overnight, we strongly recommend that you plan arriving at least the day before to accommodate for time differences and jet lag. If you receive a scholarship, we expect that you participate from the beginning of the Conference through the close of the Conference, i.e. from In-Depth Day through the closing banquet and keynote session.
Heartbeat International’s Annual Conference, Breakthrough, is coming! Heartbeat International strives to assist individuals in other countries that seek to serve in pregnancy help ministry. Our annual conference provides the greatest opportunity for diverse training, broad networking, and inspirational encouragement to our international affiliates.
WHEN: April 25-28 (LIVE) and April 26-28 (VIRTUAL)
WHERE: IN-PERSON in Louisville, Kentucky and ONLINE, All Nations
BREAKTHROUGH IN-PERSON: $699.00
Note: the IN-DEPTH DAY trainings will be held April 25. Your In-Person Conference Experience registration includes 21 days access to workshops being presented in the virtual conference. Closer to the Conference, you will receive detailed instructions on how to access the virtual platform at the EMAIL ADDRESS you use to register. We encourage you to please check your spam/junk folder as well. Register here for attendance at the conference, live in Louisville, Kentucky.
BREAKTHROUGH VIRTUAL: $199.00 per person from the convenience of your home or office!
Closer to conference date, we will send you a link for your individual use with the name and address you used to registered. This year we are offering for international affiliates only a virtual conference scholarship of one team member for every person registered and paid for. You will have to register the first person and pay for the first person and then register the second person.
This year, by God’s grace, we are privileged and happy to offer scholarships for the Live Conference as well as for the Virtual Conference. Those seeking a scholarship for the Live Conference can find the application here. No application is required for a scholarship to the Virtual Conference.
You can apply for a scholarship by clicking here.
Level of Scholarship: (1) for the LIVE conference, one person per organization may apply. Application does not guarantee acceptance. Heartbeat does not pay for any visa applications, transportation or accommodations. The registration scholarship covers the conference itself and all hotel meals associated with the conference. Scholarship application deadline for the live conference is January 30, 2023. (2) For the virtual conference, any currently affiliated organization may register one team member at $199.00 and may register a second team member for free.
Each scholarship is granted with the expectation that the recipient will use either the live or the virtual conference experience to strengthen their ministry or to lay the groundwork for a new ministry. Scholarship recipients are therefore expected to attend all keynote sessions and workshops. International scholarship applicants should be somewhat fluent in English. Heartbeat conferences are presented in English and translation is generally not available. For access to the scholarship application, please click here.
We invite individuals such as the key leader/executive director, staff member, volunteer, counselor, and/or board member that is currently serving in an international pregnancy help organization to apply. Eligible pregnancy help organizations are life affirming non-governmental organizations (pregnancy resource center, medical help clinics, maternity housing, non-profit adoption agencies) that hold values consistent with Heartbeat International. We also invite individuals demonstrating a strong and verifiable desire to open a new pregnancy help effort in their country/region and learn more about pregnancy help ministry to apply. All scholarship applicants for either the live or virtual conference must be affiliated with Heartbeat International, either directly or through a joint affiliation partner.
Preference is given to (1) direct affiliates in good standing with Heartbeat International; (2) organizations affiliated with our international partners (Pregnancy Help Network, Pregnancy Care Canada, Pregnancy Help Australia, Centro de Ayuda para la Mujer Latinomericana, Association for Life of Africa, Movimento per la Vita, ProVida, Be’Ad Chaim, and Pregnancy Support Services Asia). If you are affiliated with one of the above referenced networks, please verify affiliation, good standing, and attendance at trainings with these organizations prior to submitting the application. Applicants that have not done and do not meet the criteria will be rejected.
For organizations not affiliated with Heartbeat or a joint affiliation partner, please verify that you’ve attended available local/regional training, especially those provided by our joint affiliation partners, to be considered.
Click here for frequently asked questions about applying for a scholarship.
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.
Heartbeat International invites you to the long-awaited and much-anticipated European Pregnancy Help Leaders Summit.
You are invited to Bucharest, Romania, September 15-17, 2022 for in-person networking, training, learning, and encouragement with like-minded leaders from the pregnancy help movement across Europe.
Heartbeat is offering registration and accommodations (including breakfast and hotel meals) for two persons per affiliated organization. (This offer has limited availability and registration will be first come, first served.) We look forward to hosting you.Registration includes:
The Summit registration is FREE for two team members of an affiliate. When you are filling out the registration form, at the bottom of the form, click on Affiliate Double Occupancy and the cost reflected underneath should be 0.00. Then you register your second participant. Before you hit submit, double check to make sure that the total cost is still 0.00. Your credit card will not be charged so long as you click on "Affiliate Double Occupancy" (see screenshot below).
If you want to register more than two people from your organization, at your cost, you will need to fill out a new form, registering with appropriate information and then just click on single or double occupancy. The cost reflected is per person.
Hearing the devastating news of war in Ukraine, we've been reaching out to our affiliates and friends in the pregnancy help movement in the midst of the fighting. Olena Batina of Kharkov Pregnancy Assistance Center, was visiting our offices last week with a meeting of pregnancy help leaders. We are grateful to be able to share her prayer requests directly with you in the video below. Others we've talked to have also shared specific prayer requests below. Please join us in prayer for the pregnancy help movement around the world, especially the requests below.
Prayer requests from those with boots on the ground, actively working to protect lives of women and their children:
We will continue to update this page as additional prayer requests come in. If you wish to submit your own prayer request, click here.
Pictures from a friend in Ukraine:
If you're looking for a way to support the pregnancy help movement in Eastern Europe in this time, consider making a donation to Heartbeat's HALO Fund (Helping Affiliated Life-affirming Organizations).
To all our international affiliates and international pregnancy help leaders: Registration for Heartbeat's 2022 Annual Conference is open.
The Conference, with the theme "Onward," will be held from March 30-April 1, 2022 in Jacksonville, FL. You can register today here.
What: Heartbeat International's 2022 Annual Conference
When: March 30-April 1, 2022
In-Person: Jacksonville, Florida for the in-person experience
This year is a bit unusual as Heartbeat will not be offering any scholarships for the in-person annual conference.
Note: Any international guest attending the in-person conference is financially responsible for registration, accommodations, and transportation costs. Heartbeat is not able to pay for, or arrange for accommodations for international attendees arriving without secured accommodations.
We look forward to having you attend in-person, if that is your choice.
We understand, however, that this may not be possible for all of our international friends. We are so grateful to live in a time where we can provide an alternative option as well!
Our Heartbeat scholarships this year are available for international guests attending the virtual conference. International organizations may register two (2) persons for the cost of one registration, saving $199. Click here to register your two attendees. Each must have a unique email address, and each will receive additional conference details after registering.
Non-affiliates are welcome to attend at the same low price! However, if your organization is affiliated, you will receive an exclusive gift after the conference.
We are honored to partner with you in your essential work of reaching and rescuing women in unexpected pregnancies and we look forward to your attendance at Annual Conference, in person or virtually.
Thank you for your interest in affiliating with Heartbeat International. By joining Heartbeat, you join the largest pregnancy help network in the world with more than 2,800 organizations in over 60 countries.
Affiliation for international organizations is just $70.00, and we are happy to offer you a complimentary affiliation for the first year. Whether you are a first time affiliate, or a second or fifth time affiliate you may email email@example.com for a code.
Upon affiliating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain your username and password - this unlocks access to many additional benefits.
Your affiliation provides you with a 20% discount on all resources found in the Store as well as online courses offered in the Heartbeat Academy.
We offer leadership and development resources, in addition to a variety of other key training materials pertinent to your work. We also help to fund the regional organizations that offer direct training and assistance to individual life-affirming organizations.
>> Click here to Affiliate <<
Thank you again for your heart to serve, to reach and rescue women and their children. It is my pleasure to serve you.
Recommended Affiliate Resources Recommended to All Pregnancy Help Organizations
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