Rural Route Church Hero: Part V

To introduce my next hero, I must first tell you the story of a fictional girl who represents very real women with very real pain and fear.  Let’s call our fictional girl “Lucy”.  Lucy is 19 years old.  She is bright, beautiful, and is the apple of her daddy’s eye.  She was raised in church and knows the scripture very well.  She, like many girls here in Henry county, is going to college locally and is working to pay for school.  Lucy has big dreams.  She knows she wants to help people so working in the medical field is her goal.  Her family brags on her all the time because she is the first person from her family to go to college.  Her pastor and church rely on Lucy to help with the youth group because she is such a fine example of what everyone prays their children turn out to be.

Lucy could be your daughter.  Lucy could be your sister.  Lucy could be sitting next to you in church.  She could even be your best friend.  She could be hiding a terrible secret that her daddy, her pastor, and even her best friend could never know.  No one ever knew that Lucy was pregnant just last year.  She knows what she did was sin because she grew up in church.  Lucy knows that her daddy would be devastated by the public humiliation that would follow with the announcement of an unwed pregnancy.  Lucy didn’t want to disappoint her church and she didn’t want to wear the scarlet “A” that is associated with what she did.  She can’t, or won’t, go to her daddy, her pastor, or her friends.   She couldn’t bear the thought of making her pregnancy public.  She traveled to Memphis where she was promised a clean clinical solution to her problem.  Lucy felt cornered and out of options  so she aborted her baby.

Clean and clinical turned into a gut wrenching battle with guilt.  Not only does she feel guilty about being pregnant but also over the abortion.  She feels alone and she feels like she  failed God.  There are days when all she can think about is the baby she never knew.  Was her baby a girl or a boy?  Did the child have her eyes and her freckles?  She wonders what kind of mother she would have been.  She lives with daily sorrow and regret.  She also lives with anger.  She is often angry with her family, friends, and church because she didn’t feel like they would forgive her if she divulged her secret.  Lucy needs someone to tell her how much God loves her and how much he wants to forgive her.  Lucy needs an advocate to help her come out of the shadows of secrecy.  Lucy vaguely remembers seeing an ad in the yellow pages when she was seeking an abortion.  The ad promised post abortion support.  Lucy picks up the phone and finds the help she needs at Tomorrow’s Hope Pregnancy Help Center.

Six years ago God called Cheryl Conner to be the executive director of Tomorrows Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center.  She couldn’t have imagined then how many times she would hear Lucy’s story replayed in the lives of the women who come through the doors of Tomorrow’s Hope.  She couldn’t imagine then how many lives would be touched through her obedience and the hard work of her volunteer staff.  She couldn’t have imagined the horrible stories that present themselves to the Tomorrow’s Hope staff everyday nor could she envision the victory that God brings over that horror.

Tomorrow’s Hope stands with, and often out in front, of our churches by ministering to women and men who find themselves in very difficult circumstances.  Tomorrow’s Hope leads the way in our community in the culture war over a baby’s right to be born.  Tomorrow’s Hope doesn’t just stand against abortion. . . they also stand with the woman in a crisis pregnancy.  Cheryl often finds herself teaching church folks, who should know better, that abortion is murder.   Cheryl was appointed by the North American Mission Board as a Service Corps Volunteer but receives no monetary support from them.  Every ministry dollar is raised and every dollar is precious.  Many churches in our community contribute to the ministry. . . as they should.  Every church is served by Tomorrow’s Hope whether they recognize that fact or not.  Tomorrow’s Hope helped 18 young women from our little community alone in the past couple of years.  Cheryl is an asset to Cottage Grove Baptist Church.  She is like an unpaid staff member of our church ministering in a way that I can not.

Tomorrow’s Hope has continued to grow and expand because the needs have grown and expanded.  Tomorrow’s Hope counsels women in Crisis Pregnancy situations, provides material goods for mother and baby, provides adoption information, and even provides free ultra sound pictures of the baby.  Many women who show up at the door are very abortion minded.  Of the women who are bent on abortion 85% of them change their mind after seeing their baby on the ultra sound machine.

Every day Cheryl faces heartbreak and victory.  On a bad day she goes home with the knowledge that an 11 year old girl became one of their clients.  On a good day she goes home in the knowledge that another woman was gloriously saved through Christ (44 saved in 2008 and 11 in 2009 so far).  Cheryl is a hero because she remains faithful.  Discouragement knocks at her door every day in various forms.  It would be easy to allow lack of funds, lack of people, and lack of energy to win the day.  Cheryl is one of those people that seems to understand that God still multiplies loaves and fish.  Her heroism is found in her dependence on God to make much of little.

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006How would you like to be a hero to Cheryl?  The ultrasound machine that is so vital to their ministry broke down.  They must purchase a new one.  They still lack $11,440.00.  If you can help with this great monetary need contact Cheryl at 731-642-0600.

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Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 10:33 pm  Comments (5)  

5 Comments

  1. Hi, just found your blog. Good stuff. I am going to feature you over at http://ruralrealities.blogspot.com about rural church planting (and the need in rural churches). Thanks for your post.

    Bob

    • Hey there seedspreader,

      Thanks for stopping by and for featuring rural route church on your blog. Can’t wait to visit your blog and look around.

  2. […] He has a passion for the rural church and great sense of humor.  Make sure to check out both his uplifting post about a volunteer in the local abortion counseling clinic and his desire to form a union for […]

  3. No problem brother, I’ve got a couple of people who are in the process of writing articles for the site too. So… the offer is always open if you want to “guest feature”.

  4. Mike:

    As usual, very well said. There are people like this all throughout our communities whose deeds go unnoticed. Thanks so much for highlight this incredible ministry.

    Jack


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