Did you hear the one about the lawyer who traveled overseas and taught a bunch of U.S. military families how to better serve women facing unexpected pregnancies?
Fair enough, there’s not much promise for a joke in that question, but you have to admit, the latest Heartbeat International international training does sound a bit peculiar when you first hear about it.
The story took place October 25, when Ellen Foell, Heartbeat’s legal counsel, taught a day-long session of The LOVE Approach™ to a group of 28 staff, volunteers, and potential volunteers at Heartbeat Crisis Pregnancy Center in Ramstein, Germany.
The center, under the direction of Carrie Beliles, primarily serves U.S. military personnel and their families stationed at Ramstein Air Base, home of the 86th Airlift Wing and headquarters of U.S. Air Forces Europe.
“It was the first time teaching this material, so I really didn’t quite know what to expect,” Foell, who has been with Heartbeat International since 2012, said. “God really put two things on my heart that I tried to express to the group: The first was to encourage them to embrace their unique, God-given giftedness, and the second was to allow themselves to be released to really exercise that giftedness as they sought to serve women coming to the center.”
“It really was great to watch this group wrestle through how to apply The LOVE Approach to the real situations involving real human beings they are dealing with every day.”
While the majority of attendees were Americans connected to the military community in Ramstein, one participant came from another part of Germany with the hope to launch a pregnancy help organization in another part of Germany.
According to Heartbeat International’s Worldwide Directory, there are currently 114 pregnancy help organizations in Germany, although Heartbeat Crisis Pregnancy Center is the only Heartbeat International affiliate.
“These servants learned how to handle a great tool, and that was encouraging to see,” Foell said. “I was really impressed by the cross-section of ages and generations, and thrilled to see the seeds of more pregnancy help organizations being planted in Germany.”
Foell was joined by Heartbeat International Vice President Jor-El Godsey, who keynoted the center’s annual banquet and facilitated a meeting with European pro-life leaders during a three-day span Oct. 24-26 in Ramstein.
Though the weather has been anything but welcoming, the 17 attendees to Heartbeat's Institute for Center Effectiveness are gaining invaluable insight from the shelter of the great indoors this week in Columbus, Ohio. Top-notch training from long-time pregnancy help leader Kirk Walden and leadership expert/executive coach Kitty Allen have comprised the week-long event, which has drawn participants from as far away as Southern California and South Carolina--home of Heartbeat's 2014 Annual Conference March 24-27. The week-long training event includes a tour of Heartbeat International's central operating facilities, including the headquarters for Option Line, Heartbeat's 24/7 pregnancy helpline.
By Connie Ambrecht RDMS, CMB
It was very exciting when your Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) changed to a Pregnancy Medical Clinic (PMC). I am certain you can recall the enthusiastic atmosphere that filled the center as you reached your goal of changing from having a focus on material assistance to focusing on being able to answer the question; “Am I pregnant?” through medical imaging. Providing confirmation of pregnancy was finally a goal actualized!
Looking back at the steps that were taken, everyone on the team participated in training that was a necessary component to adding medical services. From the Board of Directors, the Executive Director and the Clinic or Nurse Manager, every aspect of the PRC was educated about the change. Our team at Sonography Now participated in the change at over 500 PRC to PMC transitions and our responsibility to you remains. Our role as an education company is to keep ourselves educated and pass that along to you. Our team attends approximately 6-8 conferences per year to keep abreast of trends that impact your clinical setting.
For many of you, that initial investment in getting to know what was needed for a PRC to become a PMC was the start and the finish to your education as it relates to being a clinic. Let’s review what is necessary for the medical personnel in particular to remain strong for the PMC. Then let’s consider: What does each member of the team need to do to remain strong for the PMC we serve?
For those such as NARAL Pro-Choice America who would like to see our doors close, they state things like: “CPCs are a growing threat to women's health. They often lie to women about abortion and birth control. They'll do anything to scare a woman away from choosing legal abortion.” They consider this a challenge to address.
We don’t believe there is a need to feel a panic in addressing such accusations, instead we feel it is wiser to be methodical about how you keep your entire organization educated. We want you to be empowered to discuss how and why you stay strong. In considering a methodical approach to your team’s education, there are a few things to ask… Who needs to be educated? How would we get such education? Where do we get the funding? Where can we go? Do we have to go anywhere? Who decides who needs what? There are so many legitimate things to consider.
This article is to assist you in building a plan for continuing education as it relates to your team, as well as providing talking points to aid in community relations.
As we begin, I’d like to outline a few facts: you provide medical services, sonography and maybe SDI testing, so that’s what makes you a clinic…embrace it. As a clinic, the public has certain expectations…be aware of those expectations. With those expectations comes the responsibility to provide your medical services at a level that meets standards as established by professional organizations.
Do you have an awareness of who those organizations are? Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), American Nurses Association (ANA), and the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS)? Each of these organizations has guidelines and/or recommendations for continuing education. Let’s look at each one, create a talking point and build a plan to implement.
• According to AWHONN, the RN who performs sonography “should demonstrate educational and clinical expertise in obstetrics….”
• In the new Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, the ANA clearly states in Provision 5 that “the nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.” Provision 7 states that “the nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.”
• The SDMS clearly requires all sonographers, registered or unregistered, under Section II, to “maintain continued competence through lifelong learning, which includes continuing education, acquisition of specialty specific credentials and re-credentialing.”
If you take the three professional organizations above and build a talking point you might be ready to state; “As a clinic we find it is a priority to maintain competency, build skills and knowledge, because we value keeping up with medical standards.”
Your approach to building an education plan will vary from clinic to clinic. Annual Conferences such as the Heartbeat International Conference can build your medical team as well as others who attend. As education organizations, Sonography Now and Equip Leaders Now are committed to maintaining a large library of courses for the Pregnancy Medical Clinic that can grow your entire team. We recognize the importance of keeping up on trends, building the team's knowledge base and providing quality care and focus on that aspect of your services.
To quote Maya Angelou, “If we know better we do better”. We know you need continuing education in order to do better. Our obligation to you is to stay informed and pass it along. We look forward to serving you this year in regards to your education needs.
Connie Ambrecht RDMS CMB and her husband Dan founded Sonography Now in 2002. Connie has been published in professional journals, has spoken at national conferences. Sonography Now has provided training to physicians, nurses, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, radiologic technologists, as well as cross-training other sonography specialists.
Argentina is known for the tango, amazing beef, quality leather goods, and delicious chocolate.
Most recently, it’s also famous for providing the first pope from Latin America, Pope Francis.
In October, Argentina served as host country for the 5th Conference of the Red Latinoamericana Centro de Ayuda para Mujer (CAMs), where more than 200 pregnancy help leaders and volunteers from 10 different countries joined together for information and inspiration.
The conference featured keynotes by a representative from Human Life International, along with Heartbeat International Vice-President Jor-El Godsey, complimented by a list of break-out sessions including Heartbeat’s The LOVE Approach™ (La Propuesta de la Amor) and reaching the abortion-minded client.
CAM centers are growing across Latin America, more than doubling their number to over 130 centers in the past four years! We are blessed to partner with CAM, as—together—we advance the pregnancy help movement worldwide.
Grace Chanda Swala was on the verge of giving up.
Having become executive director for Mansa Silent Voices in Zambia just a year ago, Grace and her family had laid the comfort of living in their own home on the altar, hoping to raise support for the fledgling center by renting out their home.
But by the time late July rolled around, and the Africa Cares for Life conference along with it, Grace was on the brink of losing heart.
Her heart burdened for the women and children in her community, and her spirit all but crushed under the weight of financial stress and worry, the five-day bus ride from Zambia to Durbin, South Africa, seemed like an eternity.
Would her center ever reach and rescue the women she passed by on the street every day? Could her ministry thrive under such tight constraints and seemingly insurmountable obstacles?
Would Grace and her family face financial ruin because of their selfless sacrifice on behalf of women and babies in Mansa?
Meanwhile, as Grace traveled the five days from Mansa to Durbin, grace was traveling halfway across the world to meet her, as Heartbeat International’s Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell arrived for a full week of speaking and teaching at the conference.
Betty’s week started with a visit to Pregnancy Resource Centre, a maternity home in Durbin, and followed up with an in-depth day on fundraising all day Monday and into Tuesday morning.
While teaching two sessions on Heartbeat’s Sexual Integrity™ Program early in the week, Betty delivered two keynotes to the 80-plus person conference, which included representatives from three African nations.
“Vision came through as a major theme at this conference,” Betty said. “These friends face so many hardships we don’t here in the U.S., or even most parts in the west. It blew me away to hear from each organization about the problems they deal with: HIV, high crime rates, and even personal safety at risk on a day-to-day basis, and yet they keep at their work in spite of all these obstacles.”
“Africa Cares for Life did a superb job with this conference, and so much of the credit goes to Shanno Enoch, who was running her first conference as Executive Director,” Betty said. “That group is such an encouraging example of what true learners and servant-leaders look like.”
As the conference, “New Beginnings… Bountiful Harvest,” progressed, leaders like Grace were refreshed, encouraged and better equipped to hold fast to the Gospel of Life in spite of the daunting challenges they face every day.
For Grace, the conference truly proved to be a new beginning. As she boarded the bus back to Mansa, prepared for five days en route home, Grace reveled in the encouragement, instruction, and fellowship that had left her rejuvenated, and freshly ready to pursue her God-given call.
Grace also reflected on God’s faithfulness to provide a harvest. Even after a hard year of working the Zambian soil.
by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant
"I had no idea what to expect. I have never taken a course on-line before and from the experience of this one, would definitely do it again... It was wonderful to share with so many like-minded individuals who live their faith each day and see God's hand at work. I was uplifted by this experience." - ConCERT Graduate
ConCERT is an advanced distance learning course created by Heartbeat International. ConCERT is appropriate for any individual currently involved in a pregnancy help ministry who wants to gain confidence and take their current skills and knowledge to an even higher level. The next session of ConCERT will cover consulting considerations, fertility, conception, fetal development, sexual integrity, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion risks, and much more. By the end of this training, you will earn enough CEU's to apply for or renew your Life Affirming Specialist Designation.
To participate, you must meet the following requirements:
Please note, participants of this training will be able to communicate with the instructors via e-mail and phone. A downloadable student manual is also provided to help students prepare for assessments.
Next Session: The next session of ConCERT begins January 17, 2022.
Walking the Novi Sad streets, Molly Hoepfner and Betty McDowell pass row after row of square, grey buildings—standing monuments that remain 20 years after the breakup of Communist Yugoslavia.
Yet, even amid the seemingly unvaried landscape of drab, graffiti-covered structures that line the busy streets of Serbia’s second-largest city, an occasional flash of color bursts through a new, freshly painted edifice.
Little by little, life is returning to Serbia.
On behalf of Heartbeat International, Molly and Betty were there to see to it that even as life returns, the long-forgotten value of human dignity and life would truly take root.
Molly and Betty led a four-day volunteer training conference Oct. 4-7, hosted by Serbian pregnancy help organization executive director Vesna Radeka, who is one of more than 300 non-U.S. Heartbeat affiliates.
The conference included training on The LOVE Approach™ and Talking About Abortion™, two of Heartbeat’s signature programs, and welcomed a total of 50 attendees from five nations that were part of Yugoslavia as recent as the early 1990s—Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia and Croatia.
“They got The LOVE Approach, they really got it,” Betty, Heartbeat’s director of ministry services, said. “Vesna had written scenarios that fit the culture, and that was really exciting. It was exciting to see The LOVE Approach really translate, and to see that it works in any language, any setting. It’s truly ‘Love in every language.’”
The conference is believed to be the first of its kind in the region, which has undergone constant political upheaval and deadly clashes between ethnic groups throughout the last century.
The fledgling growth of unity in the Eastern European pro-life movement was one of the highlights for the Heartbeat mini-envoy, particularly considering the deep entrenchment of the culture of death in the post-Communist region.
“We kept promoting the message that, ‘We’re better together,’” Molly, Heartbeat’s international coordinator said. “They really embraced that, even though that’s not how they tend to think.”
With a population of just over 7 million, Serbia reports an average 23,000 abortions every year. However, unofficial data, reported by The Southeastern European Times, estimates the annual average at 150,000 abortions—twice the number of live births—giving Serbia the highest abortion rate in Europe.
As Molly related, one woman who attended the conference said her mother had undergone 10 abortions after giving birth to her older brother and before giving birth to her, which was a tragically common story among the conference’s attendees.
“I’ve read about survivor’s guilt, but to see it so blatant and prevalent in that room was just so painful,” Betty said.
“This is generational,” Molly said. “Woman after woman after woman at this conference—whose average age was 35-40, stood up and said that they were either an unwanted child or that they grew up with abortion as a way of life.”
Abortion on-demand was legalized in its current form in Yugoslavia in 1977, but has been prevalent in the culture since just after World War II, when abortion was legalized in cases citing socio-medical grounds.
The conference’s attendees, many of whom are actively involved in bringing the sanctity of life message to their local public school systems, welcomed further training on how to speak the message of life into culture that has systematically devalued human life for several decades.
In addition to training related to The LOVE Approach and Talking About Abortion, another Heartbeat resource, the Sexual Integrity™ Program, played a major role in the conference training.
“These women are really stepping out in faith because it’s still so opposite of what their culture is saying,” Molly said. “They’re really going into uncharted waters because they’re in the infancy of pregnancy help centers even though their culture is much more entrenched in death than ours was by the time these centers began.”
by Rindy Brooks, Heartbeats of Licking County, Newark, Ohio
Our staff retreat in late July focused around 2 Timothy 4:1 – 8 and the need to fulfill our ministry. It is the last recorded letter of Paul as he knew his time of departure was near and he needed to share certain things with Timothy as he passed the torch of ministry.
The study was so timely and personal for us. We had just lost the “Paul” of our pregnancy center. A special lady named Merridy Hoover. She is the reason I and so many are here at Heartbeats of Licking County today. She rescued the center from demise in 1989 and built a solid foundation of faith that we firmly stand on today. Her vision and servant leadership even serves you in Heartbeat affiliates around the world every day.
The prototype for the manual “Talking About Abortion” was written by her – she called it the “10-Point Health and Safety Check List”. She tested it, we trained and used it in our center and found out this “women-centered” approach worked to engage abortion-minded women on the phone to help and care for them. So she called Heartbeat's president, Peggy Hartshorn, and told her this method was working and that it needed to be published by Heartbeat International and distributed.
It was published and still is distributed by Heartbeat. Option Line actually uses this format 24/7 to reach women in crisis. The list of impactful projects Merridy shepherded could continue, but more insightful is to share how she lived up to the end to encourage us to carry on the torch of ministry.
A greeting card came to the center a week after her funeral. It was from her.
We tearfully opened it together at the retreat and what we received from her was our charge. A miracle to us from God, it was the perfect object lesson to illustrate these verses. Merridy “Our Paul” had retired 12 years prior but her prayers and encouragement were steadfast, especially to me, her “Timothy”. I have ably served 12 years as Executive Director and yet for the first time, I felt strangely on my own. And now, in her own hand, written 2 months prior to her passing she says to me, to the staff, and now to you in ministry every day:
“To my beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, His work in you is so beautiful- keep shining with the light of His presence! Keep shining. I am so proud of you all. God’s hand is on your ministry and service to Him.
Love and Blessings, Merridy.”
So let us remember to encourage and teach those “Timothys” in our midst. To clearly charge them and remind them of the suffering and sacrifice in serving Jesus and yet the gladness and joy found in fulfilling our work received from the Lord. I want to be able to pass the torch of ministry and say as in 2 Tim 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Until then, we must carry our torches high and keep shining.
(Staff Retreat material part of Beth Moore’s 3-part DVD series with listening guide “Fulfill Your Ministry!” available from Living Proof Ministries)
Heartbeat International has developed a professional designation for those working in Life-Affirming Ministries. Having the Life-Affirming Specialist (LAS) designation will provide you with credibility when working with clients. Its purpose is to show that you have studied and are aware of the latest research and findings surrounding life affirming information and training.
A Life Affirming Specialist (LAS) has up-to-date training on information surrounding pregnancy, abortion, abortion recovery, client programs, sexual integrity and other related life affirming issues.
You can receive and maintain your LAS designation through the application process, signing the LAS agreement, and fulfilling the on-going continuing education requirements.
LAS is a professional designation developed specifically for those serving faithfully in the pregnancy help movement. The LAS designation indicates that the holder has participated in on-going training on the latest information surrounding pregnancy, abortion, abortion recovery, client programs, sexual integrity and related, life-affirming issues.
The LAS designation behind your name provides you with professional credibility when working with clients. The designation shows that you have studied and are aware of the latest research and findings surrounding life-affirming information and training. Example: Sarah Smith, LAS
Heartbeat International has developed this professional designation for people working in life-affirming ministries.
Those eligible must have completed the requirements as stated by Heartbeat International.
The initial $99.00 fee is paid upon application. A Designation Certificate of Completion is mailed to those who meet the qualifications. The bi-annual membership remains in effect for two years from the original date of earned designation. The bi-annual renewal fee is $99.00.
Apply to become a Life Affirming Specialist today or renew your Life Affirming Specialist designation now!
Enter Academy | Upcoming Webinars | Featured Courses
Heartbeat International Academy offers life-affirming leaders, staff members, volunteers, and supporters with access to online webinars and courses on a wide variety of topics. In the Academy, you'll find trainings on our core foundational materials, as well as on topics on everything from the history of abortion in the United States to fundraising basics, and from prenatal diagnostic tests to implementing STI testing in your center.
Use the links below to explore the different ways you can use the Academy to enhance the knowledge and skills of you and your organization.
January 25, 2022 at 12pm EST Presented by Andrea Trudden and Jessica Warner
In this one hour webinar, Heartbeat's Communications and Marketing Team walks you through how to prepare your client to tell her story in front of an audience. *Each registration gives you access to the live presentation AND an access for 1 additional person on your staff to access the recording through Heartbeat Academy!
January 26, 2022 at 12pm ESTPresented by Sue Baumgarten
Sue Baumgarten, Board Member of LifeHouse of Houston, introduces us to Emotionally Healthy Leadership and an emotionally healthy organization. Sue will explore the questions -. Are we emotionally and spiritually healthy? What are warning signs we're not? She will provide resources and strategies to build an emotionally healthy culture for everyone involved. *Each registration gives you access to the live presentation AND an access for 1 additional person on your staff to access the recording through Heartbeat Academy!
And remember, you can always access our recorded webinar archives by clicking here.
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