No one knew what was about to happen when Southern Baptist pastor Nathan Lino stood to share at the Evangelicals for Life dinner about God’s provision for his Houston church’s pro-life pregnancy center in the wake of flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
The leaders of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Commission (ERLC) and Focus on the Family were hoping for $125,000 in donations that evening to provide ultrasound machines and training for pregnancy centers in the United States. By the end of the evening, guests at the Jan. 19 event at the Museum of the Bible had responded to Lino’s account by giving about $336,000. Three weeks later, the amount had surpassed $400,000.
As a result, at least 10 centers — not just three — that serve pregnant women in need will benefit. The heads of both the ERLC and Focus rejoiced in the outpouring of support.
“Houston reeled after the flooding, but God was at work. At Evangelicals for Life, he continued to work,” ERLC President Russell Moore told Baptist Press in a written statement. “God used Nathan Lino’s testimony about their center’s loss to advance the work of the pro-life movement far beyond the Fifth Ward of Houston.
“Satan hates babies, because they remind him of the Child born in Bethlehem who uprooted his reign and will one day crush his head,” Moore said. “The generosity among those gathered at this event is a gospel counter-proclamation, one that reminds the watching world that Jesus offers life.”
Focus President Jim Daly told BP, “Something powerful happens when people of faith and a love for the sanctity of every life gather together. The Holy Spirit inspired dozens of people at that special dinner to give generously and use their resources to save pre-born life.
“Our campaign to protect every human life carries on with enthusiasm and optimism,” Daly said in written comments. “Thanks in part to the miracle of technology, the case for life is winning. The rising generation sees it. They get it.”
Comparing the pro-life effort to William Wilberforce’s decades-long battle to end slavery, Daly said, “[S]o must we tirelessly advocate for the most vulnerable in our midst!”
Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church (NEHBC), described for the dinner audience gathered during the three-day Evangelicals for Life conference how Focus and the ERLC came to the aid of the congregation’s Farrington Mission. Flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in late August poured into the community center, which includes a pregnancy resource clinic. The flooding left the mission’s ultrasound machine unsalvageable.
NEHBC members, as well as volunteers from other churches, gutted the building and restored it with the help of contractors. The church could not replace the ultrasound machine, however. The ERLC — which places ultrasound machines in Gospel-focused pregnancy centers — contacted Focus, which makes grants to such centers through its Option Ultrasound Program. Focus covered 80 percent of the expense for a new machine that cost more than $50,000, and the ERLC picked up the balance.
The need at Farrington Mission called for quick action, said Robyn Chambers, director of Focus’ Sanctity of Human Life Department. She had been interviewed by a Houston radio station only the week before in response to the announcement some clinics would provide free abortions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
In Houston, Planned Parenthood “has one of the largest abortion clinics in the United States, and I couldn’t stand the thought of that,” Chambers told BP.
After describing the support Focus and the ERLC quickly provided his church’s clinic, Lino asked dinner guests to give so women who enter other pro-life pregnancy centers can view an image of their unborn children. And they responded generously.
“The ultrasound machine is the heart and soul of our clinic,” Lino said in an email interview with BP. “At our clinic, 95 percent of abortion-minded mothers choose life for their baby once they see the clear, live image of their baby. The machine is the most effective way to expose the lies of the abortion industry.”
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Source: Baptist Press