Tiffany and her son, Jonathen, in 2016.
by Carrie Beliles, International Program Specialist
Last week, I received a Facebook message in the middle of the night. Most Facebook messages in the middle of the night are no big deal, but for me, this specific message was.
Why? Because God knew this message was exactly what I needed to hear at that specific moment.
I needed to wake up, to be shaken out of where I was mentally and reminded of a principle God taught me four years ago.
It is not about me. It is all about Him.
Let’s go back to four years ago, when I found myself the newly appointed executive director of a pregnancy help center in Germany. While I didn’t speak German, the center actually served a unique, English-speaking clientele. Our abortion-vulnerable clients consisted entirely of women connected to the largest U.S. military base outside of the United States.
And, I took on this role by accident. No kidding, by “accident.” Totally under-qualified, I had never worked in the pro-life world. I’d never been trained or even so much as volunteered at a pregnancy center.
I did however, have a background in the fight against human trafficking, where I worked directly with victims, so I understood there are hurting people all over the world who needed to be shown compassion. My only real qualification was God had been teaching me to love others and meet them where they were.
More importantly, I was also hurting. Having just walked through a recent trial in my own life, my marriage had weathered several years as a military wife, complete with constant separations that are part of the job description. Add to that, I was pregnant with my fourth of now five children.
Because of these—what I considered—disqualifying factors, I assumed I wasn’t ready to minister to others. After all, shouldn’t I fix myself first, then move on to help others? That’s how I was thinking, but of course, I was wrong.
Learning to Handle the “Tough Questions”
As the newly installed executive director, my board sent me to the 2012 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Los Angeles, hopeful that a one-week training would help start me on the right foot.
In a city famous for its movie stars, dreams and miracles, I was slightly overwhelmed with the actual size of the conference. Heartbeat, I learned, is an international organization uniting over 2,000 affiliates working toward a common life-saving goal. Just walking the halls and meeting others who were doing this amazing work all over the world was an inspiration.
Though I was encouraged, I felt out of my league. Every one else at the conference seemed to be a much better director, board member or volunteer than I could hope to be. All week long, I kept thinking they all must know what they are doing. It was a humbling experience, to say the least.
The last day of conference, I attended a session titled “Answering Tough Calls” with Bri Laycock, the director of Heartbeat’s 24-7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line. Having served with Option Line since shortly after its formation in 2003, Bri was confident and it seemed she was able to answer everything thrown her way. She was professional, ready and prepared—everything I felt I wasn’t.
At the end of the workshop, there was a Q-and-A session. An attendee raised her hand and posed a situation she recently faced. I sat back and listened, thinking, “I have no clue what I would do in that situation.”
The client, it turned out, was pregnant in the midst of a marriage that was falling apart due to infidelity. Multiple families were involved, and the baby this woman was carrying would be of a different race from the client’s husband and her other children. There was no hiding the breech of trust.
I was overwhelmed just picturing the scenario. The consensus approach from the class, and from Bri, was, “Keep her on the phone, keep the connection open, and take it one day at a time.” I remember thinking how glad I was to not be dealing with that situation.
Two weeks later. Tiffany called the hotline.
I had just closed up the center, picked up my daughter from kindergarten and was on the autobahn heading home after a long day when the phone rang.
One Day at a Time
Tiffany’s first question was whether we perform abortions and, if so, when could she make the earliest appointment. As I listened, mother-to-mother to someone desperate with fear, I offered to meet up and talk. When someone, like Tiffany, needs to talk, they just need someone to listen. I could do that.
A mother of three young boys, a married family friend had taken advantage of Tiffany while her husband was deployed in the Middle East. Now, she was pregnant. My heart sank as I realized I knew the wife whose husband was the father of Tiffany’s baby.
My thoughts went back to that session at the Heartbeat International Annual Conference. I’d only been back a couple of weeks, so the conversation—and that fleeting sense of relief that, at least I wasn’t dealing with this situation—was still fresh in my mind.
I asked myself, “What would Bri do in this situation? How would she handle this ‘Tough Question?” How on earth could I help to “fix” this?
That’s when Bri’s answer at the workshop crystalized in my mind: Keep her on the phone. Keep the connection open. Take it one day at a time.
As I got to know Tiffany and listened to her story, God began to teach me to take one step at a time, one day at a time. I wasn’t going to “fix” Tiffany’s situation. There was no formula. There were very few words of wisdom I could offer.
I only had the love of Christ, which I have seen and experienced in my own life, and which I could draw upon to share with someone who was hurting, alone and scared. Extending love was all Tiffany needed at that moment. Looking back, I’m sure that, had I tried to impart counseling methods or a fixed scenario, I may have missed an opportunity to actually love her.
The Miracle of Love
This life of love starts right where we are. I didn’t have years of training or relevant experience; it was a core principle that came to light in the “Tough Questions” workshop that set me on course. Stay on the line. Keep the connection open. Take it a day at a time.
Often, we count ourselves out even before we give ourselves the chance to see how God works through us. Whether it’s our perceived gap in our qualifications, preparation or “life-togetherness,” we need to remember that it’s God who works through us, and He’s the one who qualifies the unqualified.
Hitting my Facebook message folder four years after we first met, Tiffany’s note jarred me out of the same thought pattern to which I—and I’m guessing, you—tend to default.
Tiffany is now a homeschooling mother of five young boys. She’s going back to school to pursue a degree in crisis counseling. She reached out to let me know that, because of the way God worked through our relationship, she wants to do the same for others.
What a powerful reminder of the God who supplies our every need “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I know He has supplied mine. What a blessing to know He’s done the same for Tiffany.
You can read Tiffany’s story here.
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.
by Carrie Beliles, International Relations Specialist
Kristijan Aufiero is a breath of fresh air and quickly becoming one of the most powerful communicators and effective organizers for the pro-life movement in Europe. Based out of Heidelberg, the pro-life organization he leads is called Pro Femina ("For the Woman") and has been in existence since 1986.
However, it has grown exponentially under Kristijan's leaderhip in the last five years. It was named Pro Femina in response to the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Germany which is called Pro Familia ("For the Family"). Aufiero says "If they are for the family, then we are for the woman!"
An affiliate of Heartbeat International, Pro Femina is an uncompromising grassroots organization that now runs 320 baby bottle drives at churches across Germany with grassroots volunteers and collected 15,000 bottles last year. They grew this drive from only 28 baby bottle drives in 2010.
Mr. Aufiero's excellence in google analytics and fundraising has caused the organization to grow tremendously through its own organic fundraising, and its websites draw in German speakers in Germany, Austria, and Swizterland and elsewhere around the world who type in keywords related to abortion and unplanned pregnancy. When German speakers type in these terms, Pro Femina's subtle but excellent website is often first or second on the google hits. They receive 30,000 views a month on their webpage from German speakers, 360,000 approximately per year and growing.
This website leads abortion-vulnerable women to often chat about these issues in a forum, and email or speak on the phone with one of the 16 full-time, professionally trained, pro-life counselors based out of the Pro Femina Heidelberg office. They also see clients face-to-face in that office, although since they counsel clients across Germany and the German-speaking world, the phone is their primary method of communication. They counseled 2,200 women last year alone.
Since they are growing by leaps and bounds, they are expanding by opening a new pregnancy help center this September in Munich, one of the largest cities in Germany, and also where Aufiero was born and raised by Italian and Croatian parents.
As a German with Italian and Croatian parents, Aufiero is particularly well-suited to speaking to this issue to Europeans of all kinds. An unapologetic pro-lifer, his counselors do not provide the documentation that would enables their clients to go to obtain abortion in Germany.
In Germany, counseling before an abortion is still mandatory and has been ever since abortion was formally legalized in the first trimester in 1991 when Germany was reunified. Prior to 1991, abortion had technically been illegal for all trimesters, although a doctor's note that the woman was undergoing undue stress or psychological problems from the pregnancy would allow a woman to receive an abortion in the first trimester. When West Germany reunified with East Germany in 1991, East Germany had typically liberal Soviet bloc laws on abortion and the current framework was a compromise between the two systems.
Aufiero's counselors do not provide this document of counseling to their clients because they feel they would then be participating in or facilitating in an abortion and thus participants in this act.
When my husband, Ben, and I visited Aufiero in his Heidelberg office this April, he explained that he feared that the laws in Germany were moving toward an even more pro-choice and anti-life position in the near future. But he also affirmed that they would keep fighting for every unborn child's life in the meantime.
A devout Catholic, Aufiero's organization has both Catholic and Protestant employees and is a wonderful example of Catholics and Protestants working together in the name of Christ to end abortion.
Tweet this! Pro Femina is an example of Catholics and Protestants working together in the name of Christ to end abortion.
Aufiero has also created a wonderful communication method for spreading the positive message of life. He calls it "German words" and it consists of postcards printed by Pro Femina which have pictures of beautiful little newborns in entertaining outfits with catchy, positive messages of children on them such as "World Cup Champions 2034," "The Future Chancellor of Germany 2067," and other cute messages that highlight that children are the future and must be preserved and appreciated.
This is all the more important in a country such as Germany where the birth rate is 1.3 children per woman, well below replacement rate.
Over a million of these pithy postcards have been mailed throughout Germany by supporters of the organization - and others who just find them charming. In so doing, the pro-life message has been spread throughout Germany without spending a cent. Supporters buy these postcards for small donations and use them as stationery for their messages. It is a brilliant, low-cost method of propagating the pro-life message that has quickly become well-known throughout the English-speaking world and needs to be utilized in other languages and countries.
We are confident Aufiero will soon be crafting new and better ways of communicating the pro-life message.
Aufiero is willing to use the newest technologies and strategies to mold a pro-life message that will shape the next generation in Europe, a place without many strong pro-life voices and where most pro-life messages are marginalized and labeled extreme. Aufiero is a leader and Pro Femina is an organization that is growing and needs our support to answer the problems of abortion in Germany and Europe in the 21st Century.
Heartbeat International welcomes Carrie Beliles as our new part-time International Program Specialist. Carrie will now be the primary liaison and consultant for Heartbeat'sInternational Program outreach.
Originally from the U.S.A., Carrie's travels and interests have taken her far and wide. From running a pregnancy help center in Rammstein, Germany to advocating against sex-trafficking in Asia, Carrie's passion for life-affirming ministry is evident. She has 5 kids (all under the age of 8) and now makes her home in Virginia with her husband, Ben.
Carrie joins the Ministry Services Team and takes over the role from Molly Hoepfner, who will now be more focused as Heartbeat's Event Planner, especially our Annual Conference.
We are so excited to have Carrie on the team that we decided to do a quick interview so you could get to know her too.
Heartbeat International congratulates CAM (Centro de Ayuda para la Mujer Latinoamericana, A. C.) on reaching 25 years of lifesaving ministry.
Heartbeat President, Peggy Hartshorn, was honored to celebrate this great achievement with CAM representative in Mexico City, Mexico, saying:
"Congratulations on this very important occasion of the 25th Anniversary of CAM. God certainly laid it on the hearts of your founders, Jorge and Magdalena, that it was essential that every woman with a difficult pregnancy, finding herself perhaps alone and afraid, could find help and hope and the courage she needed to carry her pregnancy to term. This is because every person is made in the image and likeness of God, both the mother and the child!
Let us continue to lock arms around the world, pray for each other, strengthen and encourage each other, and recommit to the task ahead. Our strength and power comes from the Lord. We are responding to his call, Come follow Me. We are running the race and fighting and good fight and we look forward to our reward in heaven where, like St. Paul, we hope to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
As spring turned to summer, it was time for the annual Pan-African Conference, hosted by Association for Life of Africa (AFLA). This year's event was held in Livingstone, Zambia—a fitting place for trail-blazing missionaries to meet.
Heartbeat International was on site, standing alongside our brothers and sisters for life in every corner of the globe.
This year's conference, "Breaking New Grounds in the Kingdom of God," included missionaries for life from 12 countries and was keynoted by former Heartbeat International board member, Rev. John Tabor.
The represented countries were Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana, Ecuador, Brazil, and the U.S.
"It's an exciting time for AFLA as we continue to grow and adapt," AFLA President Barbra Nalavwe Mwanza said to open the five-day conference. "We must remain always adaptable, motivated, responsive, and client-focused."
Topics of focus for the conference included, "Where is the Church and the Theology of Life?", "Abortion in Africa," "Counseling Toolbox," "Healing the Wounds," "The Boardmanship," "How to Start a Centre," Natural Family Planning, Sexual Integrity, and Fundraising. But Africa, as Barbra pointed out to lead off the conference, could not hope to solve these problems without addressing the underlying life-and-death issue of the sanctity of human life.
Heartbeat International Director of Marketing and Communications Debora R. Myles brought her expertise to the conference, presenting a keynote entitled, "The ABCs of Marketing with Emphasis on Websites," and a workshop called "Fundraising Essentials."
In addition to Myles and Rev. Tabor, Lorraine Gariboldi, author and founding member of Heartbeat International affiliate Life Center of Long Island, spoke at the event, drawing from her leadership experience in a three-location setting.
Find out more about Heartbeat's International partners here.
Led by Barbra Mwanza, a long-time friend of Heartbeat International, Association For Life of Africa (AFLA) grew out of a ministry known as Silent Voices Zambia, and formed a partnership with Heartbeat in 2013. AFLA's vision includes the following: (1) Bring together the independent and autonomous Life Affirming/ Giving Organizations/Centres in Africa through Affiliation. (2) ALFA connects its Affiliates to local and overseas mentors and also matching the local and overseas resource to where they can be mostly utilized. (3) Equip and Coach new Directors & church leaders in Africa. (4) Spearhead the Bi-Annual Pan African For Life Equipping Conference.
Click here to visit Association For Life of Africa's website.
I just returned from two weeks in Ethiopia, one of my many trips to that ancient, fascinating country. My time was spent working in the maternity home my husband and I founded five years ago.
The Ethiopian culture is made up of over 80 different ethnic groups and languages. It is diverse both in geography and culture. But there is a common thread ... it is the belief that abortion is wrong. In fact, in nearly all of these groups, abortion is anathema. There is an instinctive understanding that when a woman’s body swells with pregnancy, she has a life inside of her that is not to be cut short. They know this without the visual impact of ultrasound clearly showing a baby sucking his/her thumb, yawning, playing with his/her umbilical cord or sleeping. In their culture, they believe that abortion is a shameful thing.
The current pro-abortion leadership in America gives lip service to multiculturalism. Yet they are forcing abortion on this culture. In partnership with the U.N. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they are using money, dangling at the end of a stick like a carrot, to “buy” the Ethiopian government’s acquiescence.
In October, the Third Global International Council on Family Planning was held in Addis Ababa. Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the underwriters of this event. Their goal is to make abortion available to every woman in Ethiopia. They want clinics across the landscape, in every city and town. They cannot get enough doctors to perform abortions so they plan to train nurses and midwives.
This is appalling. Nurses there are not like their American counterparts in schooling and ability. Midwives are even less qualified. Already many of the clinics are primitive. I can’t imagine the carnage on the women, much less the unborn babies, when this goes into effect. But to abortion peddlers, the women are simply collateral damage in their war on the unborn.
Dr. Seyoum and his wife, both Ethiopians, speak all over Africa. He quit his practice and together they have dedicated their lives and resources to educating people on the humanity of the unborn and the reality of abortion, hoping to stop this evil. We sat in on one of his speeches. Part of his PowerPoint presentation was photos of aborted babies and baby parts from dumpsters and waste buckets from American abortion clinics. I have seen these pictures many times here in the states, but they always shake me. That day in Ethiopia, I saw them through Ethiopian eyes. The horror, the recoil and then the tears. There is something horrific about tearing a baby limb from limb and wrenching it out of the mother’s womb. Or partially delivering a third trimester baby, who with one push could be born and live, and killing it in the most unspeakable way. Isn’t it ironic? America is forcing the most barbaric practice on Africa and Africans are recoiling in the face of it!
Millions are being poured into this bloody business. Imagine if that money was used instead to help better mothers’ lives in Third World countries. Train them. Educate them. Help them set up small businesses. It would revolutionize this continent! These women don’t want to kill their babies. They don’t want to go against their culture and their conscience. They don’t even want a handout. They want a hand up.
Obianuju Edeocha, an African woman, penned this statement in response to the ICFP Conference: “We are thirsty and they give us condoms! We are hungry and they offer us contraceptive pills! We are sick and they offer us the most modern techniques of abortion! We are naked and they lead us into the arms of sexual hedonism! We are imprisoned by poverty and they offer us sexual liberation! Silent tears roll down for Africa in a modern world that can neither see our pain nor hear our cry for help. We mourn deeply for the destructive seeds of sexual revolution which were sown last week in Addis Ababa.”
How tragic that America, once the exporter of progress and hope to Third World countries, is now the exporter of death.
Dinah Monahan is the founder and former executive director of Living Hope Women’s Centers in the White Mountains and a national pro-life speaker and author. She is currently involved in Living Hope Maternity Home in Adama, Ethiopia, in Africa, which she and her husband founded.
Originally published January 31, 2014 in the White Mountain Independent. Reprinted with permission.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
Yes, you read that right. The President signed his very first pro-life law just last month. The administration actually said that the law is aimed at “protecting the health of the woman” from dangers associated with abortion. The President went so far as to make it illegal to promote abortion as a safe procedure.
And more than that, the New York Times reported the President’s wife taking an even bolder stand in this brand new pro-life effort. She’s gone so far as to launch a nationwide campaign called “Give Me Life!” as a “week against abortion.” How amazing that the First Couple has taken such unprecedented steps for the cause of life!
Now if only other leaders of nations besides Russia would gain the realization that they are allowing their future to be aborted. But for now, we take heart that Scripture tells us, “The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1, NIV).
Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International, was a keynote speaker at the recent Moscow Demographic Summit, hosted by World Congress of Families. Political and spiritual leaders alike aligned their interests to address the devastation that abortion has wrought on the future generations of Russians and thus Russia itself.
What were once statistical predictions of demographic trends have become a bleak, stark reality for countries such as Russia, Japan, and nearly all of Western Europe. We salute Mr. Dmitri A. Medvedev, President of Russia, and his wife, Svetlana, for this valiant redirection of law, public influence, and resources in the former Communist nation. Their actions and those of other leaders like them reveal a broader movement of the Holy Spirit in changing the hearts of leaders and laymen alike to renew a culture of life. We truly take heart in the Giver of Life and the Gift of Life.
You can read more about Peggy’s visit to Russia in the coming issue of Pulse. Watch for Pulse in your inbox later this month.
When Mike and Dinah Monahan left for a Mission trip to Ethiopia, little did they know that God was starting them on an unimaginable journey.
Mike, who runs the family pro-life business, Heritage House 76, and Dinah, who had recently retired from her role of founding and leading Living Hope Women’s Centers and Hope House Maternity Home in Arizona, were headed to Ethiopia to visit orphanages and street children’s homes run by YWAM (Youth With a Mission.) They even questioned why they were going. But God knew.
After a difficult 15 hour journey through the interior of Ethiopia, their hearts were moved by the precious orphans they met, but they were shaken by the stories they heard of unwed mothers, many of whom were working as domestic servants and were raped by a stranger or their employer. In that culture, if a girl has a baby outside of marriage most likely no man will ever marry her.
Regardless of whether they are victims of rape or incest, they are often cast out of their homes and livelihood to survive on their own. Young women rarely attend school since schooling is neither free nor mandatory,
“There is a razor thin line between survival and starvation in this country,” says Dinah.
Confronted with all this misery, Dinah and Mike were convinced that God was calling them to action. But what? How? Then God began to open unexpected doors. By walking through them, in faith, they eventually realized they were called to open a maternity home in Ethiopia. Through the YWAM staff, they were introduced to Meseret Seyoum, a college educated Ethiopian Christian woman with years of experience Non-Government Organizations.
Two years earlier, Meseret began feeling called by God to start helping the women and children in her country. And now He provided this connection to the Monahans. Other key connections followed, Ebise Berri as accountant and Muluwork Tefera as nurse. Barbara Mwansa, Heartbeat affiliate in Zambia (Silent Voices), provided the training needed to start the home.
Just eight months later, Living Hope Ministries in Adama, Ethiopia opened as the first maternity home in Ethiopia. It offers security, shelter, love, education, healthy food, and training in job skills that the twenty residents will need to survive. Each woman learns jewelry making, sewing, and other skills that make it possible for her to start a small business and provide for herself and her child.
Says Dinah, “I am in awe of what God is doing here. We couldn’t have kicked the doors down that God has so graciously opened. This isn’t what I expected from retirement…it’s way better!”
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