Women in crisis pregnancies gain support, witness from seminarian

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--While Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students wait anxiously for test scores, young women at the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center wait to find out whether they passed or failed a test of a different kind.

"I think most girls come somewhat nervous," said Beverly Wilson, director of the FWPC, a Christian organization that offers free pregnancy tests, counseling and support.

The average age of her clients is between 15 and 25 from all backgrounds, but she has met with a 12-year-old at FWPC. While the results of their pregnancy tests are life-altering, some test-takers seem more indifferent than others, Wilson said. Some high school girls think of pregnancy as a rite of passage into womanhood. "So it's not really a big deal [to them]; they come in and they are a little blase about it."

On the other hand, a college student typically comes in petrified because of the fear of losing her education and scholarship aid, Wilson said

"We have also had a lot of Christians come in -- single and married -- for pregnancy tests," she said.

In one extreme case, she had to counsel a girl who had been raped by her own father.

Wilson, from Nottingham, England, is enrolled in the diploma in Christian education program at Southwestern Seminary. Her husband, Derick, graduates in December with a master of divinity degree. Both have served in crisis pregnancy centers in the past.

When a young woman enters the FWPC, "you don't know whether she is thinking about abortion or parenting," Wilson said. So, "first of all, we reassure them everything they tell us is confidential."

Then she asks them a few questions and they fill out a form, which often leads to the girls sharing their stories, Wilson said.

At this point, God uses the staff and volunteers at FWPC to meet the specific needs of the individuals, she said, noting that she loves meeting her clients individually, many of whom are young and promiscuous.

"In a way you are calming them down, but at the same time you want to inform them [about] risks involved to their own body," Wilson said.

"We want them to feel that sense of support and love," she said, adding that everything is done in the name of Jesus Christ.

A girl who had an abortion returned to FWPC, which is unusual, Wilson said, but she felt that she could come back to an environment in which she would be loved and supported.

Sometimes she gets frustrated with "not being able to get through to these young people," Wilson said. At the same time, she continues to love and help them with the gospel and information so that they will make good choices and change their lifestyles.

A significant challenge for the center is recruiting and retaining suitable volunteers, especially those with Spanish-speaking skills.

"We haven't been able to minister effectively to clients who speak Spanish," Wilson said.

The other significant challenge is that the lack of financial support for the ministry is a continual cause of concern.

"Ministering at the center is a tremendous challenge, but it is great," Wilson said. "I wish more of the Christian population would realize that this is a ministry that is on the front line of evangelism every day and that pastors and congregations must be involved.

"Christians -- leaders and laypeople -- must speak out regarding the pro-life debate and not sit on the fence over these difficult issues," Wilson said. "We will all one day be called to give an answer before God."


(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BEVERLY WILSON.

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