We are excited to share with you that today January 17, 2017, Hope Women’s Centers turns 30 years old!
We have been faithfully serving women and men in Broward County for the past 30 years, offering free and confidential services including pregnancy tests, limited obstetrical ultrasounds, options counseling, and referrals for women and men who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies.
We hope you will celebrate this special anniversary with us by attending our 30th Annual Fundraising Banquet on Monday, March 27th at the Signature Grand. This is a ticket-only event. Get more information HERE.
We want to share with you three different perspectives of Hope. We hope their words encourage AND inspire you.
A Founding Board Member
I remember sitting through the merger meetings when (A Woman’s Pregnancy Center) Ft. Lauderdale and (CPC of Davie) Davie were uniting. Care Net sent a representative to warn us and give us a map to walk us through the process. We were told we needed to let go of directly doing ministry ourselves and no longer be a “hands-on” board but an overseeing board, meaning overseeing what others (staff and volunteers) would do. We were told that the majority of crisis pregnancy centers (CPC’s) nationwide usually crash and burn because the board couldn’t let go of being “hands-on.” We did it seamlessly because from my perspective we had enough visionaries on the board that allowed us to see the long-term bigger picture of having multiple centers around Broward County, and we didn’t want to limit our growth by being selfish and not merging. We had a very mature board at the time and God used us in a great way. Even as a board member I was impressed by the quality people God sent us at that time, both board members, staff and volunteers. By God’s grace we became a model for the country! – Bill Perry, Founding Boarding Member
Executive Director of A Woman’s Medical Center
In 1987, Margy Richardson took a step of faith and left her position as Pay Master at the Hollywood Medical Center to work for A Woman’s Pregnancy Center as the first Executive Director prior to merging with what would late become Hope Women’s Centers.
Burdened to share the Word of God with others on a regular basis, Margy prayed for one year without telling anyone that she was asking God for clear direction regarding next steps in her life.
His answer was a pro-life ministry. It caught me by surprise because I wasn’t sure I wanted to work for a “cause.” Through a portion of scripture God led me to His call: “Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the causes to God” (Exodus 18:19) and “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice… you will be a spiritual treasure to me” (Exodus 19:5) Tearfully I prayed: “ Lord I will.”
Over the next 28 years I witnessed God changing hearts and minds on the issue of life as I served with Hope Women’s Centers. Not only on choosing life for the baby, but choosing eternal life through faith in Christ. I am still running into women who were thankful Hope Women’s Centers was there when they needed to hear the truth. Their positive response to the message of God’s Truth changed their lives. I praise the Lord He gave me those precious times with young women needing encouragement to do the right thing.
As one of the first pro-life counselors in Broward County, Margy has touched thousands of lives, leading approximately 200 individuals to the Lord and she has seen in her time at Hope over 2700 babies born to her patients, approximately 540 of them to abortion minded moms.
A Previous Patient
When I found out I was pregnant, I was in the gynecologist office for my yearly exam. I wasn’t expecting the doctor to tell me I was pregnant. I was totally taken aback. I remember sitting on the edge of the table and immediately covering my face in my hands. I couldn’t stop crying. I was 22 years old, not married and scared to death. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I hadn’t been dating by boyfriend very long at that point. I started to scrutinize everything about him, about us, about myself, trying to determine what a future with a baby held.
What pressures did you face as you thought about having a baby?
A lot of my friends offered advice. Most advised abortion. I was always against abortion but was now against it because I was afraid of giving up my plans for college and everything else. I tried to rationalize abortion. I didn’t feel a connection to the baby yet. When I was trying to get information on abortions, I ran across an ad for Hope Women’s Centers in the phone book. I called and the woman who answered the phone asked me to come in right away. I met Margy that day. She talked to me about all the other options I had. She tried to break through my fear but it was impenetrable.
Later that week I made an appointment with a counselor at an abortion clinic. I asked the counselor if it was a baby yet. She told me it was just cells. “It looks like a booger,” she said. Deep in my heart, I knew that wasn’t true but I tried to push all that away and believe her. The day of my abortion appointment, my best friend took me. There were people across the street holding signs and calling out to me to change my mind. I told my best friend I couldn’t do have the abortion and started to get back in the car but she grabbed me by the arm and told me to start thinking about what will happen if I don’t do this. She thought she was helping me. I’m still ashamed that I was swayed so easily by fear.
How did your decision influence your life going forward?
After the abortion, I had instant regret and everything spiraled downward. I would fall apart in inappropriate places like work or the grocery store. I would have uncontrollable crying spells at night. I started drinking a lot. I hated myself for what I’d done. In the first few months afterwards, I tried several times to commit suicide by slitting my wrists. Each time I failed, I hated myself even more. I thought I was a coward because I couldn’t face the same fate I’d given my baby.
Over the next two years I began to have panic attacks. Eventually it got to the point where I was afraid to leave the house some days. I lost my faith in God and was terrified to die. I’d missed so many days of work I was on the verge of getting fired. One morning I was driving to work. I realized that I needed help. I didn’t know where or who to turn to. I found myself in the parking lot of the Fort Lauderdale Hope Women’s Center again. I went inside and asked for Margy. I thank God she was there. She took me into a room and listened to me as I broke down. She was gentle and understanding. I didn’t feel judged or condemned. I gave my life to Christ that day. Before I left, Margy told me that my name was now written in the Lambs Book of Life and nothing could ever erase it. I never forgot that. She also told me that I would develop a hunger to know God and she was right. After that, I carried my bible with me everywhere. She really saved my life.
What kind of advice would you give other women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy?
Don’t have an abortion. It’s the worst possible outcome for you and your baby. I had been convinced that abortion was the easiest solution when in truth, it was the hardest. Don’t buy into the notion that you have to choose between your dreams and your baby. You can have both. When I was pregnant, I thought I wasn’t ready to become a mother. What I didn’t realize was that I was already a mother. After the abortion, I was a mother without a child. It was hell. I still think about my baby every day.
Also, Hope has help for women and men like me who are struggling with an abortion in their past. I was part of a bible study at Hope called Forgiven and Set Free. I learned so much about myself and God in that study. My relationship with God came to life. I was able to name my baby. It was the gateway that helped me purge the difficult emotions that were keeping me from living the life God had intended for me.
Michelle is now back at Hope serving in one of our medical centers as a volunteer, encouraging other women with her story. She was recently able to reconnect with Margy again (picture above) and hopes her story can help other women.
We are so thankful for our Partners in Hope. Without you, we would not have the stories above. We could not have served the many patients we have were it not for your prayers, gifts, and the ways you have served as volunteers. Thank you for investing to help encourage and equip women and men to make informed decisions regarding their unplanned pregnancies. Babies are being born and their parents born again!
In honor of our 30th anniversary, we are asking our Friends of Hope to commit to a $30/month pledge which would help us as we prepare for the years of service ahead. Join us and help us invest in the next 30+ years of ministry.