The Morning Center Blog

FAQ: Why Do You Not Accept Funding From Government Sources?

FAQ: Why do you not accept funding from government sources?

Here at the Morning Center we get this question a lot. It is true that we do not accept any government funds to run our operations and provide women with free prenatal care. We rely solely on the support of private donations from individuals, companies and foundations that are themselves privately funded.

Historically, God clearly placed the responsibility of caring for those in need as part of the role of the Church – both the individuals within the Church and as a corporate institution. 1 Timothy 5: 3&8 says:  “Honor widows who are truly widows…But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” These verses outline the requirements placed upon the church to care for widows.  It is made clear in this passage that families are to care for their own as they are able, and when they are not able, the church is to step in and see that those who cannot care for themselves are helped. When the Church, the family of God, steps in to care for a woman without a husband, or without support of her family, it is evidence of obedience to God and an exercise of faith. This view is confirmed in James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…”. Morning Center Board Member, R.C. Sproul Jr. explains how we are to understand and apply this verse in today’s American culture: “No one is more a widow than a woman being led by her husband/boyfriend/father to murder her baby, no one more an orphan than the unborn being put to death by its parents.”


In accordance with these Biblical mandates, the Church, since the time of Christ, has taken up the mantle of charity. Charity was and is the responsibility of the Church and the people in it. The money given to the Church by its members was intended not only for the needs of those within the Church, but to help the Church to help the poor and suffering.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in America. Journalist Roseann Salanitri describes the problem of our age:  “While the directive of the church hasn’t changed, it no longer needs to support the fatherless, the strangers and the widows. The government now does that through a myriad of social/welfare programs – and takes more than 10% of our money in taxes to support these programs. To be fair, much of our tax money is spent properly on running the government as prescribed in our Constitution. But nowhere in the powers listed for government in our Constitution is the government given the authority to support our orphans, widows or strangers.”

To understand where we have gone astray in this regard, we need to understand what Ms. Salanitri just said. Both the Constitution and Scripture make it clear that charity is not the government’s responsibility. It belongs to the Church. The Church has abdicated her responsibility in this area, and the government has replaced her.cs

Some will say “Well, I agree that the church ideally would be the one offering help and support to these women, but why don’t you just work with what you have? The government is the new provider of services and charity, so you should just accept their help, funding, and resources.”

There are several reasons why we reject this notion. First, we believe that it is our responsibility as Christians to show love to these women in the name of Jesus.  As Matthew 10:42 describes, it is our desire to give a cup of water in Jesus’ name. Showing love and grace through practical help is what the Morning Center is all about.  This requires putting our money where our mouth is.

It is clear that government has done a poor job of exhibiting godly principles of charity. Since we are first and foremost a pro-life ministry, it would be hypocritical to accept funds from the government, who have shown themselves eager to support a culture of death by funding abortions and abortion providers. We desire to be a light in the cities we are serving, pointing to Christ, not government programs. It is our goal at Morning Center to show love to anyone who comes through our doors.  As we do this, we point them to Christ and to the principles found in His Word, including those of hard work, sacrifice, and self-sufficiency.

We truly believe that the Morning Center is able to steward the funds we have been generously given more wisely and efficiently when few strings are attached. Our sister ministry, Samaritan Ministries, is a shining example of this principle. Christians helping other Christians directly cuts down on health care costs, not only because bureaucracy and profits are removed from the equation, but because of the power of prayer. The greatest thing our supporters can offer to the mothers and babies we serve  is prayer. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)

Because of the immensity of our mission field, we continue to see the need for increased funds from our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you believe in Christians helping those in need in our communities, we encourage you to prayerfully consider supporting projects to reform charity…projects like the Morning Center!


 If just 26 Christians gave $20 dollars a month throughout one of our mother’s pregnancies, the costs for her and her baby’s care would be paid in full. We are delivering an average of 4-6 babies a month, and have multiple other expenses as well, so you can see the need for Christians to join together and get behind us! God has promised to honor you for your generosity to the widows and orphans we serve. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Prov. 19:17)

We are so thankful for our many diligent and faithful friends, and are eager to continue spreading the message of the importance of the Church showing love to “the least of these” in Christ’s name.

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January Prayer Requests and Praises!

Welcome to Morning Center’s new monthly “Prayer Requests and Praise Reports” blog post!

Prayer Requests:

images-16-2–Please pray for a patient who is nearing her due date and may have to be induced very soon. Pray for wisdom for our medical staff and health for this mom and baby.
–Please pray for a patient whose last pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Pray that she turns to the Lord for comfort, and that we are able to provide help and hope during her pregnancy.
–Please pray for a patient who had a positive pregnancy test but is experiencing bleeding. Pray for physical safety for her and her baby, and for God to reveal his love to her during this time.
–Many patients coming to Morning Center recently are coming to us late in their pregnancy. Pray for us as we catch them up on needed maternity care, and that we will have many opportunities to share the gospel even during our shortened time with them.

Praise Reports:

praise-report-button–Praise God that a concern about the placement of one of our patient’s placenta turned out to be a false alarm. She and baby are healthy!
–Praise God that a 7#, 11oz healthy baby boy was born on Tuesday this week!
–Praise God that this week we met with the soon-to-be-adoptive parents of a Morning Center baby. And, even more exciting the birth mother has made a profession of faith in Christ. This could possibly mean TWO adoptions – one phsyical and one Spiritual. Please keep this little one, the birth mom and adoptive parents in your prayers during such a wonderful and emotion-filled time.
–Praise God that baby Cadee was able to visit the Morning Center. She was born 6 weeks ago and spent some time in the NICU. Here she is with Morning Center OBGYN, Dr. Laura Engbretson, and Nurse Davin Johnson. Praise the Lord for another person created in His image; may her life bring Him glory.


Posted in: News, People and Stories, Prayer & Praise, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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Thank you, Cultivate Wines!

To our friends at Cultivate Wines,

Thank you! Your gift of a $50,000 grant to the Morning Center Memphis has made such a difference in the lives of underserved women and their babies.

Memphis Morning Center Medical Director and OBGYN, Dr. Laura Engbretson holds a Morning Center baby at her postpartum visit - a baby delivered through the love and care of the Morning Center's staff.

Memphis Morning Center Medical Director and OBGYN, Dr. Laura Engbretson holds a Morning Center baby at her postpartum visit – a baby delivered through the love and care of the Morning Center’s staff.

Since launching in August of 2013, we have been able to serve 71 women, providing 551 appointments. We have delivered 39 babies and so far have 26 more on the way in 2015. Pregnancy tests and ultrasounds have been given to all women requesting them, irrespective of health risk or stage of pregnancy. In addition, we have operated our full-service maternity care program that serves moms from the initial pregnancy confirmation all the way through prenatal appointments, lab work, ultrasounds, and finally, delivery and postpartum care. All of this charitable care has of course been free of charge to the patient.

Without Cultivate Wines’ $50,000 grant Morning Center would not have been able to provide extensive maternity care in four urban communities in Memphis. Of the total grant, $37,086.52 went straight to Morning Center’s Maternity Care Program and $12,913.48 went towards leasing and maintaining our Maternity Mobile Care Unit.

Maternity Care Program Expenses

– $9,449.67 used for patients’ labor & delivery care.
– $1,575.41 spent to purchase medical equipment (such as fetal dopplers).
– $3,287.22 went towards purchasing medical supplies (such as ultrasound gel, exam gloves, and alcohol prep pads).
– $869.38 paid for proper disposal of medical waste.
– $17,514.80 provided prenatal & postpartum care for our patients and their babies (lab work, P-17 shots, etc.)
– $4,290.04 provided mobile ultrasound training & continued education to Morning Center medical staff.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to provide high quality pre-and post-natal Tenesha Collagematernity care to women in the urban and underserved areas of Memphis. Your grant has helped move us towards our goal of reducing one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation, by ensuring all Memphis women have access to quality prenatal care.

Thank you again for your generosity!

The Morning Center Team

Memphis Morning Center staff from L - R. Camille Clark, Executive Director; Burt Stouffer, Communications; Angela Walker, Administrative Assistant; Davin Johnson, CNM; Dr. Laura Engbretson, OBGYN and Medical Director.

Memphis Morning Center staff from L – R. Camille Clark, Executive Director; Burt Stouffer, Communications; Angela Walker, Administrative Assistant; Davin Johnson, CNM; Dr. Laura Engbretson, OBGYN and Medical Director.

Posted in: Fundraising, Mobile Care Units, News, People and Stories, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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Take Five!

Have you ever wondered how you can help the Morning Center when you are taking five minutes to sit down and catch up on social media? Really, it’s pretty easy!

facebook-computer-screen-0915First, go to the Morning Center Facebook page and find the “invite friends” link. Click on this and you will see a list of your friends come up. Scroll through them and as you see friends, family, fellow church members, or others who have not yet “liked” our page, simply click “invite”. We recommend you invite 10-15 of your friends at a time, and it will only take a couple of minutes.

Second, scroll through the posts on the Morning Center Facebook page, and find a post that interests you and click “share”.

Then, with or without a personal message from you about the work of the Morning Center, such as how it helps people and points them to Christ, invite them to get involved (giving, volunteering, spreading the word, buying stuff through the Amazon Store).

And, when you share our post make sure to say: “If you haven’t liked and shared, the images-16-2Memphis Morning Center images-16Facebook page, please do so now” and ask them to pray for us!

If you spend just 5 minutes a day, 3 times a week spreading the word about the Morning Center, in 15 minutes you can become a powerful advocate of life and hope for the women and babies we serve!

Posted in: News, People and Stories, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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From the Morning Center Mailbag!

Dear Morning Center Family,

Enclosed please find a check to sponsor a Morning Center Mom in 2015. We were writing-a-letterrecently blessed with some stock as part of an inheritance. Because this stock is in Verizon, a company that matches employee donations to Planned Parenthood, we cashed it in and feel it would be a good thing to support the Morning Center with some of the proceeds since your ministry is on the pro-life frontline.

We have 11 children, 7 of whom were delivered by midwives so we are thrilled with your approach to ministry.

Love in Christ,

John and Chris T.

Posted in: News, People and Stories, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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Les Riley Joins Memphis Morning Center Staff!

Les RileyWe are excited to announce that Les Riley has joined our Memphis Morning Center team, assuming the position of Executive Director. Many in the pro-life movement and circles are already familiar with Les, thanks to his work as the founder of Personhood Mississippi. During his time there, he gained experience in a multitude of areas that will be valuable to us, particularly in the areas of non-profit management, growth, and day-to-day operations.

Here are a few questions we asked Les this past week, in order to properly introduce him to our friends and supporters.

How long have you been familiar with and involved with the Morning Center?

Back in 2011 I heard James Lansberry on radio program talking about the vision for the Morning Center. We were in the middle of the Personhood campaign and my family had been doing sidewalk counseling in Memphis off and on for many years. I found out how to contact James and said “You need to come to Memphis!”

What does the Morning Center being the next step in the pro life movement mean to you?

While I have been and continue to be an advocate of the law protecting all human beings created in the likeness and image of God from their biological beginning to natural death, it is not politics and law alone that changes culture & saves lives, but the Gospel declared and lived out. Likewise, while there are many good ministries from crisis pregnancy centers to sidewalk counselors standing in the gap for individual mothers and babies, there still has been a “gap” and a need to offer comprehensive medical, practical, and Spiritual care soaked with the Gospel. 
The Morning Center gives believers the opportunity to follow in the path of Christ by laying down our lives for the least of these and to live out the two great commands in tangible, practical, effective ways. And the gates of hell will not prevail against the church embracing love for Christ and living out love for our neighbors as He did. This again demonstrates as false the claim that pro lifers don’t care about mothers and their babies.

What are your goals for the Memphis Morning Center in 2015?

Both humility and a practical desire to act in wisdom make me very reluctant to make too many specific goals before I even begin the work in an official capacity. 
Generally and practically I would say that my goals would be to reach out to more churches; to continue to grow relationships with pro life groups and indivuduals in the area; to increase awareness and effectiveness; and God willing to make the Memphis Morning Center more locally independent and self supporting so that the national organization can move into more cities.
Ultimately, though, the command to love our neighbor is the second to and resultant of the first – loving God. There is only one legitimate goal for any individual or organization – to glorify Christ. And zeal for His glory and Kingdom must be the primary foundation and end goal. Therefore, my first goal for the Memphis Morning Center and myself is completely beyond my ability – namely to increase the knowledge of, love of, and obedience to Jesus among our team, our supporters, and the moms, families; communities we serve, beginnning with myself.

How can our supporters pray for you as you assume this new role? 

To that end, I would ask before anyone considers giving or volunteering that they would first pray for me and the Memphis Morning Center as we begin another chapter in this journey. There are some practical changes my family will be making as we transition into this new role, but my real prayer request is that Christ would be magnified in this. That God would keep us humble and dependent; that He would increase or love for Christ, each other, those we serve, and this community corporately by giving us a more clear view of His infinite worth; that He would protect us and our families from sin and from discouragement by increasing our faith; that He would grant us wisdom; and that He would cause us to bear fruit beyond what we are capable of even asking for or dreaming, but that He would work in such a way that He receives all the glory and leaves us simply astonished.

We are looking forward to seeing what God accomplishes through Les’ work with us, and ask that you join us in welcoming him to the team!  

Posted in: Events, Mobile Care Units, News, People and Stories, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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December Updates

Happy December everyone!

Last week we had baby #32 – a beautiful 8lb, 4oz baby girl. This baby girl’s mom had a long labor, so prayer for rest and a smooth recovery would be much appreciated. And then over the weekend baby #33 joined us – also a girl – weighing in at 6lb, 15 oz. Our midwife happily reported that she took to nursing like a champ and baby and Mom are doing well!

December is one of the best months of the year, sandwiched between a season of Thanksgiving, and launching us in to the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Christmas is a season I look forward to all year long! My anticipation has been heightened this year since each time a Morning Center baby is born I remember that Jesus first came to earth as a little babe. He came for one purpose – to bear the weight of your sin and mine! What a miracle!

celebrating their babies

Last month was a banner month for Morning Center! We had the opportunity to gather the national and local morning center teams and celebrate a year of serving God by caring for the women and babies of Memphis and beyond.

First, we spent time training…can you tell we are all concentrated?

Memphis staff training

Also joining us for these events, was Walter Hoye, one of the Morning Center’s national board members. Walter’s life mission is to bring speak for the unborn – to give a voice to the voiceless. You can read more about Walter here.

Walter speaking 2

It was a blessing to have Walter praying over our patients and encouraing our staff. We look forward to many more similar events in the future. God was glorified and His love spilled over our staff on to patients, their babies, and their families.

Memphis MC reunion

Another treat was the opportunity to capture some video of how Morning Center is serving in Memphis. It was amazing to hear patients tell their stories in their own words. For me the highlight of hearing these stories came when one of the young ladies shared that because of the Morning Center’s love and care for her and her unborn baby, she turned her life over to Jesus. I can’t wait to share these videos with you early next year, but in the meantime, here’s a few images captured from the videos.




If you haven’t had a chance to visit or like our Facebook page, please do so. We post regular updates and prayer requests.

And, if you have been considering giving a tax deductible donation to Morning Center, we would be very blessed to receive your support by the end of the year. 

Celebrating His Love,

Elysse Baumbach, National Project Manager


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Thankful Hearts

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the staff at the Morning Center are still full to the brim with thankfulness for the work God has done in and through our ministry in 2014. We asked both our Memphis and National staff to share what they are thankful for this year, and here are just a few of the responses we received.

“I am thankful to the Morning Center for providing free health care to many women and children, specifically thankful that they are doing it in my neighborhood. Recently some patients said they felt blessed to have known me through the Morning Center but the truth is I have been far more blessed to know them. I have been able to share the Lord in ways I did not know was possible. ”

–Angela Walker, Memphis Administrative Assistant

Angela Walker headshot


“I’m thankful for the 62 lives – 31 moms, and 31 babes that God has allowed us to be a special part of this year. I’m thankful that I work with people of prayer and passion for the pro-life movement. And, I’m thankful for every supporter of Morning Center’s ministry; I have gotten to know several of you in a more personal way this year, and you have each touched my life with your obedience to give to the Lord’s work in this way. ”

–Elysse Baumbach, National Project Manager



“I’m thankful that in our first year, we have had all healthy deliveries. I know this last one was early, but even with that, Laura and Davin kept them as healthy as they could!  So many things can go wrong over nine months, but God has spared us!”

–Camille Clark, Memphis Executive Director



“I am thankful for new relationships. I am blessed by relationships with board members, staff, donors, and ministry partners who not only have our vision and interest in saving lives, but who challenge me to be a better proponent of this important work.”

–Burt Stouffer, National Outreach Director



“I am thankful for each of the  Morning Center babies I’ve had the privilege of meeting. When you are holding a precious newborn and realize that the ministry you work for had some part in bringing them into this world, you can’t help but be overcome with joy and gratitude.”

–Darby Stouffer,  National Project Specialist




As we look ahead to the coming year, we are so excited to see what the Lord will accomplish in Memphis and across the country. We pray that He will continue to allow us to be a part of the next step in the pro-life movement, by providing exemplary pre-natal care to the women who need it the most. Will you join us in that effort?

Posted in: People and Stories, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman 

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FAQ: How do you share the Gospel with your patients?

The first instances of sharing the gospel through charitable care are found in the Bible – when Jesus himself helped those in need and as He shared God’s love. While the model is not a new one, it is often saved for third world country missions trips. The Morning Center seeks to change that, though. We often have the opportunity to share our commitment to sharing the gospel through charity when we are asked: How do you share the Gospel with your patients? How do you turn your interactions with them into opportunities to speak words of truth into their lives?

While the Morning Center is a young, small organization, sharing the gospel is something we desire to be deliberate about. And, as such, we are constantly reforming and honing our efforts in this area.

The plan for doing this is often as unique as the patient’s situation. With some women, they don’t come to us until late in their pregnancy, so the opportunity to build a relationship with them is cut short. Some women’s hearts are more open, and others more closed off. We believe that the key to preaching the gospel within the doors of the Morning Center is through three things: actions, words, and resources.

First, we are ever mindful that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, serving our patients with love and care that is motivated out of our love for Jesus. Second, we talk to our patients about Jesus’ love and care any chance we get – whether it be in casual conversation, asking to pray with them, or sharing the Good News ever building our relationship with them. And, lastly, we have done the research and gathered (and continue to gather) a stellar group of resources, such as tracts and fliers, pertinent to our patients’ unique situations. We have some from the Fatherhood Initiative and Focus on the Family that deal with issues such as: “Should people live together outside of the covenant of marriage?” Please let us know if you have any suggestions for resources along these lines!

Another approach we have to sharing the gospel with our patients is to help in connecting them to our partnering churches and ministries. If they have a specific need, we connect them to a ministry to help that need (for example, when a patient was kicked out of her home, we helped her to live in a local maternity home with a Christian family). At two of our locations the churches are very involved in the lives of our patients from the time a patient walks in the door. After the patients’ appointment with us, we have a team from the church meet with them for counseling and prayer. Our goal is that these patients will have a long-term relationship with the church we connect them to, and the church can continue to share the gospel and/or disciple the patients.

One final thing we do that may seem small, but has the potential to change lives, is we always provide a Bible to our mothers when they deliver their babies, along with other gifts to help them as they begin the journey of parenthood.

It is important to remember that even when we don’t see significant spiritual strides in the lives of our patients, that our job is to plant the seeds and God brings the increase. 


Truly, offering a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name is the gospel. There is no separating the love from the action.

Posted in: FAQ, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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Mother’s Love

It is so special when we are able to see our patients with their babies. They are full of stories about their new child, and their love for motherhood. It’s especially meaningful to us to get to meet someone that we have been praying for and taking care of in the womb for many months. We hope our patients stay in touch with us for years to come, so we can watch their children grow up!

One of our patients with her two month old son.

One of our patients with her two month old son.

We praise God for each and every life He allows us to help bring into the world, and we are so thankful for our friends and supporters who make our ministry possible!


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