The final tally is in. The total raised at Tuesday night’s annual fundraising banquet for the clients of the Women’s Pregnancy Center in Grand Forks is: $122,229.
“This is the most money we have ever raised at a single event,” Michelle Walters said, “the most in 26 years. We are elated knowing we can continue to operate our ministry and make plans for the future. Praise the Lord! And what a huge thank you we owe our generous community members for stretching their giving. We are so thankful.”
As vice president of the Center’s board of directors, Michelle was an outstanding, welcoming emcee at the dinner held at the Alerus Center. I was among the 800 people who attended.
Wednesday afternoon, Michelle remained elated by the banquet’s outcome and about the work of the Center which also is a medical clinic.
“While we did spend a little time this morning celebrating,” Michelle said, “our nursing staff was busy this afternoon counseling two couples considering abortion. A team of us were praying in the other room while the counseling session and ultrasound were taking place. Whatever the outcome, we know Our Father is in control. And we are just so honored and humbled to be a part of His work.”
The Women’s Pregnancy Center is a non-profit Christian agency serving women and men in the Greater Grand Forks and surrounding areas. It’s been in operation for more than 25 years.
Over the last year, the center saw 859 clients ranging in age from 14 to 35 years old. There were 277 pregnancy tests conducted and after seeing their baby on an ultra sound, 85 women changed their minds and chose life for their baby.
Among other services the center offers are: Options counseling education on the physical, spiritual and emotional effects of abortion, adoption and parenting, STD information, post abortion support, youth education services, parenting classes, prenatal classes, abstinence counseling, life skills classes and Bible studies.
Lorraine Helgeson is executive director. Other staff are Leah Mahlen, office manager, Betsey Horken and Cammie Miller, nurses, Seanna Smart, nurse, program and events coordinator, Dr. Eric Pearson, medical director, and Dr. Jody Treuer, director of radiology.
Pam Tebow, mother of New York Jets Quarterback, Tim Tebow, was Tuesday night’s guest speaker. Hers is a beautiful story. When she and her husband, Bob, were missionaries in the Philippines, she was told by her doctor that the baby she was carrying needed to be aborted because of complications due to medication used for an amoeba infection.
The Tebows chose to trust God rather than the doctor and Tim, whom she calls “Timmy,” was born healthy. He was home schooled and while in college in Florida, became the first underclassman to win the Heisman Trophy. Tim often joins his parents in their missionary work and as one of the most openly religious players in the NFL, has become known for dropping to one knee and praying during a game.
Tim has had “John 3:16” printed on his face during a game. Tuesday night his mother told us that 94 million people goggled John 3:16 after seeing it on Tim’s face.
The evening opened with a beautiful prayer by the Rev. Gerard Braun, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, and it closed with another beautiful prayer by Pastor Paul Knight of Hope Evangelical Covenant. Among his words, Pastor Paul prayed that the Women’s Pregnancy Center could one day close its doors because no one ever considered abortion anymore. He also prayed that from a distance, people would look at the Grand Forks community and see that this place is different – that there is a spiritual revival going on.
After his “Amen,” Pastor Paul, an amazingly funny guy added: “OK, I know I’m not supposed to do this, but I just can’t help it.”
He dropped to one knee and put his head on his hand as if in prayer, the image Tim Tebow has become known for. Pastor Paul brought the house down as he was “Tebowing for Tebow.”
What a joy it is to learn that our communities are stepping up to help the Women’s Pregnancy Center fulfill its mission of changing the lives of women by educating them to make life affirming choices that will have a positive effect on their future, their families and their community.