The Morning Center Blog

Happy Birthday, Morning Center!

August, 2013 was a monumental month for the Morning Center. One year ago our Memphis Morning Center staff opened the doors of our mobile clinic and saw a local mom & baby for the first time.

Memphis Morning Center Executive Director, Camille Clark, and CNM Davin Johnson prepare a clinic room to receive the Memphis Morning Center's first patients!

Memphis Morning Center Executive Director, Camille Clark, and CNM Davin Johnson prepare a clinic room to receive the Memphis Morning Center’s first patients!

Months and years of preparation were coming to fruition. In a way, it was as if all who had contributed to the vision of the Morning Center were “giving birth” as we launched this little experiment. In some ways the Morning Center is a radical experiment. As far as we know, there is no other organization like us in the United States. Certainly, there are many non-profit, pregnancy-centered organizations. But, one that offers maternity care through licensed medical professionals who are completely supported by private, grassroots funding, and is founded on gospel-centered principles of caring for the poor is rare indeed!

Meet the Courtney & Tiphanie Gladney Family.  The little guy's hardworking mom, father, and Morning Center CNM Davin Johnson have beaming smiles! The first baby born in Memphis with the love and care of the Morning Center.

Meet the Courtney & Tiphanie Gladney Family.
The little guy’s hardworking mom, father, and Morning Center CNM Davin Johnson have beaming smiles! The first baby born in Memphis with the love and care of the Morning Center.

Since the moment that the Morning Center was an idea, our essential purpose has been to be the next step in the pro-life movement. God has provided many champions in the pro-life movement. From those who stand outside of abortion clinics praying every day, to volunteers who staff crisis pregnancy centers, to the staff manning mobile ultrasound units and offering pregnancy tests. But, a crucial link was missing. There weren’t enough nurses and OBs standing in the gap to provide prenatal through postpartum care, and those who were, had offices busting at the seams with people needing quality, charitable care. But not just any medical professional can stand in this gap. These people have to come alongside a woman, her baby, her family, and help be their support system for 9 months – oftentimes confronted with domestic problems that are not easily reconciled.

Memphis CNM Davin Johnson and volunteer Olivia during the first week of Memphis Morning Center patient visits. So happy to be hitting the streets sharing God's love and care!

Memphis CNM Davin Johnson and volunteer Olivia during the first week of Memphis Morning Center patient visits. So happy to be hitting the streets sharing God’s love and care!

Memphis Morning Center Administrative Assistant Angela holding a precious new born baby.

Memphis Morning Center Administrative Assistant Angela holding a precious new born baby.

Patients Alexis and Makiva were extra special blessings sent our way. I think we were as blessed to know and serve them as they were in receiving private charitable maternity care!

Patients Alexis and Makiva were extra special blessings sent our way. I think we were as blessed to know and serve them as they were in receiving private charitable maternity care!

Why is this so essential? Because God calls us to be faithful in the little things. An entire culture who has been raised up thinking that abortion is normal is not going to be changed to a culture of life overnight. It will be a purposeful, gradual process. As we work arm in arm with other ministries such as churches, crisis pregnancy centers,mobile ultrasound units, and maternity homes, we are faithfully showing the love of Christ together and fulfilling the specific calling God has placed on the Church and Christians in our culture. We have been called to love and serve in all that we do.

Perhaps even more significant, God should receive the glory for every baby that is born. When a mom and baby have received maternity from the government, the state receives the glory when that baby is born, not God. What better way than to serve and love a woman, and her family, in the time of need than by being the hands and feet of Jesus and honoring God with the birth of the baby that He created and sustains?

Morning Center Memphis Patient Kaisha receives medical care for her and her precious unborn baby!

Morning Center Memphis Patient Kaisha receives medical care for her and her precious unborn baby!

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.

Memphis Morning Center Patient Rosa and her toddler son are all smiles even though Rosa's husband had been deported. It was hard for her to walk through her pregnancy without him, but our staff made sure she and her son were not alone!

Memphis Morning Center Patient Rosa and her toddler son are all smiles even though Rosa’s husband had been deported. It was hard for her to walk through her pregnancy without him, but our staff made sure she and her son were not alone!

We are thankful for a year’s worth of giving God the glory for the lives of each baby born in Memphis.

Back to the monumental day one year ago. For me, after the excitement of preparation wore off and the gravity of our inaugural day hit us, we posted this on our Facebook page:

“Please pray for the Memphis Morning Center team seeing our first patients this week! May God guide & work through us. May He be our provider and source. And, may His Love be made real and powerful in the lives of our patients!”

I believe God has answered our prayer many times over in this past year. He has blessed us in more ways than we could ever imagine. In just one short year at our first location in Memphis we have helped to bring 17 healthy, beautiful babies in to the world. We have served 156 Memphis women, through 547 prenatal/postpartum appointments.

We fondly remember the day that we talked to this beautiful patient about how her job as an MMA fighter (ouch!) was changing because of her pregnancy status.

We fondly remember the day that we talked to this beautiful patient about how her job as an MMA fighter (ouch!) was changing because of her pregnancy status.

Meet Morning Center Memphis Patient Lakeitha and Cornelius!

Meet Morning Center Memphis Patient Lakeitha and Cornelius!

Memphis Morning Center patient Tenesha is beautiful as always as she waits to welcome her baby girl. We are thankful to often see her family with her when she comes to appointments and especially enjoy her little one year old son. When she comes in she lights the room up with her glowing smile and sense of style!

Memphis Morning Center patient Tenesha is beautiful as always as she waits to welcome her baby girl. We are thankful to often see her family with her when she comes to appointments and especially enjoy her little one year old son. When she comes in she lights the room up with her glowing smile and sense of style!

We currently have 36 active patients (actually, 72 active patients when you count mom AND baby!)

So you might be wondering, “What’s next?”

Our favorite part of any day - when we get to see the precious babies that God gives us the opportunity to welcome in to the world! Our prayer is that this little one will grow up in the to love and know Jesus. Have you ever seen anything more precious?

Our favorite part of any day – when we get to see the precious babies that God gives us the opportunity to welcome in to the world! Our prayer is that this little one will grow up in the to love and know Jesus. Have you ever seen anything more precious?

As we grow and expand we want to make sure that we keep our focus steady.

We are planning for continued expansion and growth in Memphis. At a minimum we will need to double the number of staff as patient numbers continue to increase.

We also continue to explore expansion in to other cities, and covet your prayers as we work towards that expansion.

How can you help? First, you can pray for us. Pray that we would be faithful in the task that the Lord has given us to do, and that He would continue to pave the way for us. Second, you can support us as we support mothers and babies in need. A gift of just $20 a month from 28 people for 9 months would completely underwrite maternity care for a mom and her baby.

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.

Feel free to explore our website to learn more, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep in the loop in regards to our day to day happenings and needs.

Thanks for celebrating our birthday with us!

The @MorningCenter is the #NextStep in the LIFE and @PPact is the #LastStep in DEATH. ~ Walter Hoye II, Morning Center Board Member

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

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How Amazon Helps Us

We love how easy Amazon makes it for us to share our needs with our supporters and friends!

We have certain medical and administrative supplies we need to purchase on a regular basis for our Memphis location.  Amazon allows us to make a list of those needs, and share them with you, our friends, so that if you are interested in helping us in this way, it’s as easy as pie.

Amazon Wish List

 

If you are interested in participating, click here!

Posted in: Fundraising, Updates 

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A Day In The Life…

When you are in a position of ministry, every day provides new experiences and new challenges! We have learned to “expect the unexpected” in the day-to-day workings of our Memphis location.

Life In Ministry

The above picture is just a small example of this truth. Our Executive Director Camille needed a place to work on site during clinic day, and the only thing available was a toddler table! Definitely not the most comfortable office space! But again, you have to expect the unexpected, and make the most of every situation with joy.

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Why I Believe in the Morning Center

“Pro-life people don’t care about the life of the mother at all, just the fetus inside her. If they cared about the mother, they’d make sure she was taken care of before and after her pregnancy.”  

While I believe neither of these accusations are true at their core, it is certainly possible that the pro-life community can narrow our focus excessively. Far too often pro-abortion and pro-life folks view government as the default welfare option for mother and baby. But this is hardly the duty of an institution whose primary purpose is to enforce civil order. 

How will the same government that is expected to bring hardened criminals to justice, lovingly provide care for the poor and create an atmosphere of nurturing? I mean seriously, this is backwards.

The Morning Center, however, seeks to change the way that we look at caring for the needy amongst us. Rather than let the government provide health care to mothers and babies who can’t afford it (and often do so within facilities that are also happy to provide abortions!), the Morning Center seeks to bring the responsibility of care for those in need back into the hands of the Church and Christian individuals.

I believe in the Morning Center because they understand the Biblical nature of the Church helping those who need it the most. Because they seek to not just care for the baby’s physical needs, but the mother and baby’s physical and spiritual needs. Because they want to take the pro life movement to the next step, of not just encouraging a culture that celebrates life, but actively participating in the practical outworking of this.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to work alongside the wonderful staff members of the Morning Center, and am eager to spread the word so that the Church can help pick up the pieces that they surrendered to the government many years ago. It’s time for the Church to begin putting their money where their mouth is, by supporting private, pro-life charities like the Morning Center.

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Darby Stouffer joins Morning Center team!

Darby Stouffer is thrilled to join the Morning Center team as a project specialist. 1511701_344811012327942_1475861134_oDarby has had an interest in furthering the cause of the Morning Center as a friend of the ministry from the beginning, and is grateful for the opportunity to be able to do so in an official capacity.

Darby has been actively involved in the pro-life movement as a sidewalk counselor since 2011, and as such has a unique perspective on the needs of expecting moms in inner cities. She is passionate about seeing the Gospel presented and practically carried out to these mothers, their children, and their families.

Darby graduated from Reformation Bible College in 2014, just a few months after marrying her husband Chris. They are expecting their first child in January.

We are grateful to have her on our team. Please join us in welcoming her!

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

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Safe Mom, Safe Baby!

I love it when supporters get involved in pro-woman, pro-life ministries as a family. Today we received this wonderful drawing from Bryce in the mail that portrays a beautiful mommy and her baby safely nestled in her tummy.

Safe Mom & Baby

 

Praise God for young men like Bryce who already understand that the safest thing for mother and baby is to choose life!

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

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Memphis Morning Center’s first postpartum visit!

Memphis Morning Center just provided its first postpartum visit:

Momma and baby are doing well…and we just can’t get enough of these baby pictures! What a cutie pie!

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Posted in: Birth in America, Mobile Care Units, News, People and Stories, Pro-Woman, Updates 

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Morning Center Board Member Spotlight: Walter B. Hoye II

walter_hoyeLike any organization, the Morning Center is only as good as the people who stand behind it and support it from day to day.

From our certified nurse midwives to administrative assistants, from directors to board members and all of our ministry partners, the exemplary maternity care we provide for under-served women and their babies is a measure of the people who’ve dedicated themselves to the pro-life, pro-woman cause.

One of those individuals is Reverend Walter B. Hoye II, a Morning Center board member and dedicated pro-life voice in the black community. Formerly a pastor in California, Hoye now labors full-time as a pro-life speaker and consultant with the organization he started, the Issues4Life Foundation.

As a member and respected voice within the black community, Hoye knows how important it is to reach the people in his neighborhood. He also knows it’s about much more than a political agenda or a stump speech—it’s about Christian messengers reaching the hurting and needy with the message of Jesus Christ in real, tangible ways.

“Listen, abortion is big business—a billion-dollar, well-funded business. Like any business, it will survive as long as it has customers. Who are the customers? No. 1 and No. 2 is black America and Latino America, the communities of color,” Hoye said. “Until there is a strategy that impacts those communities, that customer base, you’re wasting your time. You’re not going to have the impact you’re looking for.”

That’s what got Hoye interested in the Morning Center.

“[The Morning Center] came to me…they could clearly see that reaching the black community, my community, was vitally important, and they wanted to be a part of that,” Hoye said. “The Morning Center is one of the strategies I can get behind, that will work in our community…I love the mobile units, the strategy of going to the people. That’s just Christianity 101, man. If you don’t feed the hungry, they ain’t gonna listen.

We can come to your church, wherever you are, and say, ‘We’re here for your women and your children, your man, here we are, we just want to help you. It’s real help.’ She needs prenatal care, resources, care for the well being of her pregnancy. We understand. We’re here to help. That’s what’s going to make a difference in my neighborhood.”

A Story of His Own
When it comes to front-line support for the pro-life movement, Hoye has quite the story of his own to tell. Not only has he spoken to leaders across the nation, he’s also stood on the sidewalks in front of abortion clinics to bring Jesus’ love to women and infants in need. He also did it, he said, to model for his congregation what loving, peaceful, front-line ministry looks like.

He’s even gone to jail because he refused to stop holding a sign in front of an Oakland clinic that read “Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help.” Why is Hoye so passionate about bringing the Gospel to women and babies in need?

“Listen man, Jesus Christ was a living, breathing, walking Morning Center. The woman with an issue of blood, she touched his garment and was healed. He came to the people who were sick and in need,” Hoye said. “The Morning Center is part of the long-term strategy, part of the answer. The need is not going to go away. Let’s say you repeal Roe [vs. Wade]. Let’s say abortion is made illegal tomorrow. You’re still gonna have a need to meet, always. That’s why the Morning Center.”

Hoye also knows firsthand how vital it is that Christians reach the black community.

“At the rate [the black community] is aborting our children, we don’t have 40 more years. We’re talking about genocide. Black Americans have fallen below the replacement level. There’s a real possibility of us not being here. In New York, for example, for every 1,000 live births in the black community there are 2,600 abortions. Our people are dying. The inn is full. We gotta go to the manger, meet the babies in the manger and care for them.”

Ultimately, Hoye said, the Morning Center is about one simple message: “Jesus Christ loves you and your baby. We’re here to help.”

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Morning Center’s first birth! See how you can help!

I write this note to you with a heart full of joy. On Saturday, January 25th the Memphis Morning Center staff welcomed the first baby to be born after the Morning Center provided quality maternity care to mother and baby throughout pregnancy!

Still to come…scroll down to learn about new, innovative fundraising tools for Morning Center supporters to use!

Meet the Courtney & Tiphanie Gladney Family.  The little guy's hardworking mom, father, and Morning Center CNM Davin Johnson have beaming smiles!

Meet the Courtney & Tiphanie Gladney Family.
The little guy’s hardworking mom, father, and Morning Center CNM Davin Johnson have beaming smiles!

God was gracious to us and answered our prayers for a safe and smooth delivery!

The vision of the Morning Center began in conversations with my wife about how we wanted to see God receive the glory for little babies that are born in to this world in the midst of challenging circumstances. And, today, that vision is no longer just a dream; it has been born in the life of this little boy whose parents received gracious, life-honoring maternity care from the Morning Center.

These parents didn’t have to consider abortion as an option. They didn’t have to sign up for Medicaid or any form of government assistance. And, when their son was born he was welcomed with praises to God, and hearts full of thankfulness!

Click here to learn more about the Gladney Family.

Morning Center’s vision, of providing pro-woman maternity care to mothers in urban and underserved areas, has become a reality in this family’s life, and the lives of our other patients due to give birth in the next few months. This has been made possible by your faithful support. And now, there is new, innovative way that you can help Morning Center online!

We have created a new way for you to help us raise support for our new, “Laboring in Love” fund that will help more families like the Gladneys. Our development team has rolled out a new website feature that allows our supporters to create their own fundraising pages and keep track of how much they personally raise for the Morning Center.

Here is how it works:
1. Click here to create/login to your Morning Center account, powered by NeonCRM.
2. Select the “Laboring in Love” campaign for now (there will be other campaigns in the future).
3. Create your own touch and feel for your social fundraising page under “Page Content”.
4. Integrate any social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn…use #LnL for unified social media presence) options and supply information on the other user tabs.
5. Start sharing with friends and family!

I encourage you to check out this new supporter-driven tool, share with your friends and tell them why Morning Center’s vision is important to you. We’ll post ongoing results of our active social fundraising campaigns and maybe feature some of our top fundraising team members.

Let’s help some more mothers out…on your mark…get set, go!

Gratefully,

James Lansberry Signature

James Lansberry
Morning Center, National Director

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

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If Jesus was born today…

As I sit looking out the window at the bare trees on this wintry day, my mind keeps wandering to the Christmas activities that my family and I are already planning for this year. And, as my thoughts turn to Christmas, they return to the wonder of how God sent His only begotten Son as a babe into the world.

I cannot help but imagine some of the experiences that Mary encountered as she carried the Child within her womb. She was likely confused and processed many emotions. What would her betrothed husband think of her pregnancy? Would she have anyone to walk with her through this new and uncharted territory?

As we provide full-service maternity care to the many women that the Morning Center serves in Memphis, we hear these kinds of questions time and time again. As some of the Morning Center’s first patients enter the holiday season, their feelings of uncertainty and expectation are intensified as they prepare to deliver their babies in the New Year. At this time, it is particularly important for us to walk with them.

What a wonderful opportunity we have to share the story of the Gospel with everyone who God brings our way. We want to assure them that the God Who created them, and knows them, has experienced and understands the depths of our pain and suffering. We have the privilege of showing them God’s love and His faithfulness.

These are new and exciting times at the Morning Center. I asked Angela, our new Administrative Assistant in Memphis, to share a little bit about one of our new patients:Angela Walker headshot

“Greetings, Morning Center supporters! At this time of year, I am reminded of Jesus’ birth and the redemption He gives for our lives. As I work with patients at the Memphis Morning Center, I realize this is more than a job. This is my passion. I am blessed to see the miracle of birth throughout the whole year.

One of our patients, “Tasha,” has made me think of some of the struggles Mary must have faced as she brought Jesus into the world.

Tasha is a beautiful 16-year-old girl. The first time I met with her, she was accompanied by one of her relatives. We sat down, and I began to gather the necessary information to fill out a chart for Tasha. I also wanted to get her story and learn how she came to the Morning Center. Tasha was still in high school, and she explained to me that her mother had wanted her to have an abortion and that the baby’s father was not in the picture. But, Tasha told me that she wanted to keep her baby. As I listened, I was reminded of the Scripture that tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

At Tasha’s second appointment, I learned that she was an avid reader and her dream was to attend the University of Memphis. I asked her if her plans had changed since she learned she was pregnant. She replied, “No, ma’am. I will simply go to community college first, but I will reach my goal.” Even though she had a goal and determination, she was still faced with fears about where she would live and how she and her baby would survive.

As a Christian woman, I know that God has the solutions, but at the age of 16, that was hard for Tasha to see. So, I did the greatest thing I could do for her – I prayed.

God sent angels and a husband to Mary. He cared for her and watched over her. The Morning Center is a community of love, support, and prayer for pregnant women who are afraid, have little hope, or have no answers about how to proceed with life and a baby.

I am happy to say that Tasha’s mom had a change of heart and came to Tasha’s latest appointment with her. God answers our prayers!”

Please pray for the staff, the patients, and all of the little miracles we will see at the Morning Center in the coming year.

As our first patients near the end of their pregnancies, it means that we will be able to interact with them more often as the frequency of their third trimester prenatal appointments increase. We get a chance to build a deeper relationship based on trust with them, and as our relationship with each patient gets deeper, so do the opportunities to share God’s love.

Please pray with us for the women that the Morning Center serves as they face this new season of bringing a new baby into the world. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will awaken their hearts to the image of God in their newborn babies.

It is not just our words but our actions that prove we are pro-life. I have been challenged to remember that being the hands and feet of Jesus is much more than an idea – it is a lifestyle. One opportunity to live our lives as Jesus’ ambassadors is by supporting organizations like the Morning Center, whose mission is to bring life and hope. I know that our job is to share the love of Jesus and trust Him to provide the resources to fulfill our mission. I also know that people like you, as you support the Morning Center, are the answers to our prayers.

I would encourage you to consider giving an end-of-year donation to ensure that we can continue to provide these women with quality, Christ-honoring maternity care that does not compromise on the sanctity of life.

Also, as we continue to seek a balance between future ministry expansion and financial sustainability, one method of giving that greatly helps us is when supporters make a commitment to give a monthly, recurring gift to the Morning Center. Large or small, this kind of consistent giving from a lot of people greatly helps our leadership and board make important ministry decisions.

There are currently 139 Morning Center supporters who have generously committed to monthly, recurring gifts online that give a total of $3,584 each month to help provide maternity care services to our clients. This does not cover all of the monthly expenses for providing prenatal and delivery care services for the mothers that we serve, but it is a start! My goal for 2014 is to see these numbers at least triple. Would you consider setting up a monthly donation this year?

As you prayerfully consider this opportunity to join with us, my prayer is that Jesus, God incarnate, will make Himself real to you this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

For True Charity,

James Lansberry Signature

James Lansberry
National Director, Morning Center

P.S. While we are waiting to get final numbers on how much our first few client’s complete maternity care packages will cost (should start seeing final numbers in February/March after January/February births) we currently estimate that to provide quality prenatal through postpartum care for each client will cost about $3,700 (including delivery care.) I would encourage all of us to get together with friends and family this holiday season and consider “adopting” a mom this coming year. If you spread $3,700 out over 12 months, it is $308 per month. Do you think that you could recruit 10 people to $30.80 each month? It’s audacious, but it is doable!

Posted in: Birth in America, People and Stories, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life 

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