Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Working Wednesday: Overseas partnerships

We've been talking about our partnerships with pregnancy care centers the past two Working Wednesdays (here and here). The focus has been our U.S. partnerships, but we also have them overseas.

When we began back in 1984, we never imagined we'd become an international ministry, but when the Internet put us on the "world wide web," people in other countries began emailing pleas for help.

Some of those requests involved sponsoring their visits to the U.S. so they could attend a Summit. In 1997, we hosted people from Romania, South Africa, and South Korea. Later that year, we made our first trip outside the country to help a group of centers in Romania open. These experiences opened our eyes to the great needs abroad and to the potential for expanded ministry.

A few years later we met Evelyn Stone, a missionary in Peru who had started a PCC. New Life Prenatal Center in Lima was staffed by people from local churches and, as they witnessed to clients, new believers were added to church membership roles and new churches started. The PCC was proving to be an effective church planting tool.

Evelyn eventually became our International Training Consultant and has traveled to India, Liberia, Kenya, and the Philippines representing us. She has also seen the Lima center sprout several satellites, and hosts regular "summits" for South American pro-life ministries. Recently, we worked with her to publish training materials in Spanish.

Over time, we've learned together that pro-life ministries in other countries can differ greatly from those in the U.S. The physical needs are often much greater, and sometimes cultures are missing a historical respect for human life. Often, even Christians need to be taught that abortion is wrong -- what it is, how human life begins, and what the Bible says about the sanctity of human life.

Our primary model for international ministry is to work with missionaries going out from the U.S. We encourage them to consider using pro-life ministry their church planting efforts -- whether through pregnancy care centers or LIFT -- in because it's an effective way to meet people and offers openings for sharing the Gospel. While they're still in the U.S., we train or help them find training in a local PCC. We'll also provide our materials at no charge.

Sometimes we'll visit their fields of service to help them share the vision of pro-life ministry with other missionaries and nationals, or to help them troubleshoot difficulties. At times we'll help them financially with a special project, such as the purchase of ultrasound equipment.

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