The Morning Center Blog

Reflections From One Of Our Supporters

Recently a longtime friend and supporter of the Morning Center had a chance to visit our clinic locations in Memphis and observe as we served our patients there. She wrote some beautiful thoughts on her experience, and we’d like to share them with you.

“Every so often I get to go to Memphis and work with The Morning Center, a ministry that offers free care to struggling moms and their babies. It’s been amazing to see the ways they’ve helped people through the years, and to see how the ministry has grown since its beginning. Those involved truly care about helping the less fortunate, and to see them pour their hearts into helping others is nothing short of inspiring and convicting.

This last trip was different than previous ones. This time, we got to visit several clinics, and go to the projects where one of the clinics is located. We had been warned about how dangerous these apartment buildings are. There are fires and shootings and prostitutes and…the list goes on. I was even told not to walk around with my camera. It’s a run down, dust covered place where women in pajamas carry children around and tattoo-covered men walk in and out of apartments.

In the midst of this sad and defeated looking place, there’s a red door with a welcome sign on it. This door is left unlocked. It’s a place where anyone is welcome – for a meal, for encouragement, for help, or to get out of the heat. While we were inside eating lunch after touring the place, there were a few kids and women who just walked in, knowing they were welcome. I thought it was such a beautiful representation of what our homes as Christians should look like.

Going to Memphis was a reminder that we HAVE to get out of our small worlds. There are so many people who need the Lord. We are tempted to think that ministering is someone else’s job – someone who has the time. No. It’s our job. We are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. If we don’t help these people, who will?

I don’t realize how self absorbed I am until I go there and see people who don’t even have food or a way to get to the grocery store. I worry about things like running out of hairspray or decorating a room or making sure someone still likes me, and they’re worried about being mistreated and feeding their kids. Talk about putting things into perspective. We too often turn our minor problems into ordeals, because we are focused on ourselves instead of God and others.

Their physical needs were blindingly evident, but their need for the Lord even more so. A lot of them have never even heard about Jesus. They don’t know that there is eternal hope. They don’t know that they are valuable in God’s eyes. They’re ashamed and embarrassed to be in the situation they’re in, and they don’t see a way out. It’s heart breaking.

Going to Memphis was also a reminder that you don’t have to have a passport and travel across an ocean to minister to people. You may not even need to go two hours away to another town. If there are lost people in Haiti and Memphis, there are lost people in our own cities. I’ve noticed that a lot of people in my circles put a huge emphasis on ministering to people inside the church. This is wonderful. It as absolutely important and necessary to minister to the body. But, I also notice that sometimes we are so busy focusing on our relationships with fellow believers, that we neglect ministering to those who don’t know Christ. I’m grateful for going to the projects (which someone described as resembling a third world country) and being reminded that outside of my wonderful church and community, there are people who need the gospel just as much as I do.

Learning to practically carry out the commission to minister and spread the gospel is hard, and not a commission I feel prepared or adequate for. But, we can’t just sit idle. WE are the church. WE are the hands and feet of the Lord.”

Amen! We couldn’t agree more. We are so blessed by the opportunities we have been blessed with to continue serving where it’s needed the most.


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

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Planned Parenthood Sorts Through Dead Bodies

This is the logical conclusion of the world seeking to profit from harming women and their babies, rather than serving them.





“For 6 months, O’Donnell’s job was to identify pregnant women at Planned Parenthood who met criteria for fetal tissue orders and to harvest the fetal body parts after their abortions. O’Donnell describes the financial benefit Planned Parenthood received from StemExpress: “For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.””

Watch the video and read more HERE

It is truly heartbreaking that the pro-abortion crowd seeks to add insult to injury by profiting from the babies they kill. This is why the Morning Center exists, to provide compassionate, Gospel-centered maternity care and shine as a light in the darkness. We want to provide hope to every woman and child that crosses our threshold, not use them as a means for lining our own pockets.


Posted in: Laws and Politics, News, Pro-Hope, Pro-Life, Pro-Woman 

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A Big Thank You From The Warren Fire Victims!

Dear friend,

You may have recently heard about the fire that occurred at one of the communities where we offer a clinic in Memphis, Warren Apartments.

We alerted our supporters to the immediate needs of the residents within, including our patients, and we were blown away by the amount of support we immediately received! People care about those who have been injured or lost their homes and possessions, and desire to show them Christ’s love in tangible ways.

To date, we have raised over $3,000 in our Help Warren Community Fund.

One of our supporters has approached us and offered to do a dollar for dollar matching grant for this fund, up to $5,000! That means if we raise $5,000 to help Warren Apartments, an additional $5,000 will be given, bringing the total to $10,000! What a blessing.

Will you consider donating to our fund to help those in need today? We are already over halfway to our goal.

Remember, every single dollar that you donate will not only be matched by this generous, anonymous supporter, they will be used specifically to give provision, housing, food, necessities and gospel-centered discipleship to the families affected by the devestating fire.

In addition to monetary gifts, our friends and supporters have sent physical items to those in need. Our volunteers have been busy bringing car loads of items to the apartment complex, to distribute to those who have lost their clothes, furniture, and other belongings.

One of our friends has even made beautiful quilts to be given to the residents of the complex that lost their bedding and linens. What a wonderful way to serve those in need!

Thank you for your support, and encouragement. But most of all, thank you for these prayers for the victimes of the Warren fire. If you haven’t already, will you share the Help Warren Community Fund with your friends and family?


The Morning Center team

Posted in: Fundraising, People and Stories, Prayer & Praise, Pro-Hope, Updates 

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Why the Morning Center?

Because sadly, this is the lurking alternative hundreds of thousands of vulnerable women are drawn into every year.

Support better options for struggling mothers via the Morning Center.


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On the Importance of Ministering to Fathers

Pastor Jack Wellman recently wrote an article titled “The Importance of Good Christian Fathers”.

Some of the points in this article are relevant to the ministry of Morning Center , so we would like to share them with you:

“There is overwhelming evidence that when a Christian father attends worship service on a regular basis, the rest of the family follows. A 2000 study found that when both fathers and mothers attended church regularly, about 41% of the children would go to church when they reach an adult stage.  Amazingly, when the father attends church on an irregular basis, 60% of the children reaching adulthood will be irregular attendees or drop out all together.  When the father doesn’t ever attend church, only 2% of children that grow into adulthood will attend church with nearly none of them ever becoming Christian.  When this same equation is with the mother, the numbers are not nearly as drastic.  The conclusion is that fathers have the greatest influence on their children’s lives and have the most impact on their becoming a Christian and attending church regularly as adults.

What this shows is that when the father takes the church and Christianity seriously, almost all of his children will too.  When he doesn’t care about Jesus Christ, the Bible, or the church, then the overwhelming majority of his children won’t either.  This shows you the critical importance of a godly father.  This doesn’t only show you the importance of role modeling but of the father being the spiritual head of the family.  His position is likened to that of the high priest in the Old Testament.  As the priest lives and performs his duties and takes them seriously – without hypocrisy or duplicity – so too does the family.  You simply cannot fool children.  A superb example of that is when Aaron’s son’s brought a “strange fire” before the Lord in the temple and took the performance of their priestly duties too casually (Lev 10).  Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were struck dead and the worship of the entire nation was negatively impacted.

The importance of children coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ can be broken down like this:

  • 7% of saved children will help lead both of their parents to faith in Jesus Christ.
  • 23% of saved wives and mothers will help lead their husbands and children to faith in Jesus Christ.
  • 94% of saved husbands and fathers will help lead their entire family to faith in Jesus Christ.

Fathers can break the cycle of negligence in their families and keep family history from repeating itself.  So many fathers are “missing in action” that we are causing our children to be placed under a curse.  Maybe that’s why Malachi wrote, “he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (Mal 4:6).  Let me add some emphasis and paraphrase this verse in case we miss God’s point; unless the hearts of the fathers are turned to their children the hearts of the children can not be turned to their fathers.  And, unless the hearts of the fathers do turn to their children, God says that he will “strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”  How can this be?  Is this possible?  Does He mean…strike all of the land?  Yes!  God is giving us fathers a serious warning here just like he tried to warn Aaron about his sons offering strange fire.  I am not belittling the mothers’ impact of course but God has placed fathers in the position of having the greatest influence in their children’s spiritual lives and into adulthood.  He will hold us responsible. We can actually bring a curse down on our family (so to speak) by our negligence and our absence.  And as any sociologist will tell you, as the family goes, so goes society…and the nation.  Now maybe God’s warning that He will “strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” makes more sense, for as the family goes…so goes the nation.”

Father Helping Son

With these thoughts in mind, we would like to update you on Memphis Morning Center’s efforts to reach not only baby and mother, but father as well! In our efforts to reach women with the gospel we have found partnering with the churches and ministries that are already working and sharing the gospel in inner city Memphis.

As you know one of the areas where we provide maternity care is Warren Apartments,where Faith Baptist Church has been operating a mission for several years. Eric, our partner there, has started a men’s Bible study. We are excited for the fathers who come in to our clinic to begin attending this Bible study and to begin being mentored in what it means to live a life in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We have interacted with two young men, Jonathan, whose girlfriend came to Morning Center for pregnancy testing and maternity care, and Darrelle, who lives a couple of doors down and came to the first men’s outreach. Both men have expressed that they want to “straighten their lives out and get right with God.”

Last week our Memphis Morning Center Executive Director, Les Riley (and his son) met a young man, C.J. who is a 10 year old with a bad home life. When he came in to Morning Center’s facility he was reading the signs on the wall, so Les gave him a Bible to read. A few hours later, when appointments were finished, Les saw C.J. sitting on the step of his apartment reading his new Bible!

We are so thankful for the doors God opens in allowing us to show the Gospel to the people of Memphis. We ask for continued prayers that opportunities like this will keep coming to us, and that we might be able to have a lasting impact in the lives of these young men.

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

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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…” 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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