Archives for Guest

He Equips the Called

“The Lord doesn’t call the equipped – He equips the called.”

Jacob was a liar, David was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Rahab was a prostitute, and Peter denied Christ. Despite their failures, wrongdoings, and flaws, they all aided God in different ways. So the question stands: Do you really think God can’t use you?

I have felt useless before – as if I have nothing to possibly contribute to a greater cause. But I continuously find fulfillment from serving God and His people, regardless of my doubts in the skills I have to offer.

We are all created in the image of God, and He truly does work Himself into each of our lives if we allow Him to. In my experience, God has always taken who He has created me to be and matched me to help those in need. Read More

Optimal Health Clinic: STI Testing

This past quarter, Bridgehaven began offering an Optimal Health Clinic with limited STI testing to clients and their partners through a partnership with the Iowa Department of Health.

Who? We are offering the testing to current Earn While You Learn and pregnancy test clients, as well as their partners.

What? There are four possible tests. The Department of Health advises each client on which to take based on their individual risk factors. Details of the four tests are listed in the graph below.

Test Type of Test Results
HIV Finger Poke If finger poke (results in 20 mins) is positive, will draw blood (results in 1 week).
Hepatitis C Finger Poke If finger poke (results in 20 mins) is positive, will draw blood (results in 1 week).
Gonorrhea Urine Results in 3-5 days.
Chlamydia Urine Results in 3-5 days.

A member of the Bridgehaven team will also offer client counseling and prayer.

When? The STI clinics began on February 1, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they will continue every other Thursday until further notice.

Why? Statistics:

  • Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the most common STIs in Linn County
  • Linn County has the second highest STI rate in the state of Iowa
  • 90 percent of the population that is STI-positive experiences no signs or symptoms
  • Bridgehaven served 507 women with pregnancy tests in 2017. We know these women and their partners are sexually active, and they have already approached us for our services. We can do more to give them the information they need to be a healthy family.

Clients who participate in STI testing are 60 to 70 percent more likely to choose abstinence*. If they simply take the one-time pregnancy test, only 15 to 20 percent choose abstinence*. By offering STI testing, we now have more opportunities to water the seeds that have been planted, reach abortion-vulnerable clients, and share the Gospel.

We know STI testing is somewhere on Bridgehaven’s roadmap for the future. We are going to learn a lot from this opportunity. When the time comes, Bridgehaven will be more equipped to provide these services through our own resources.

*Statistics from CareNet; Bridgehaven’s National Affiliate

Biblical Marriage

My husband and I just finished nearly two weeks of constant togetherness. As he’s a teacher and I’m in grad school, this was our first year where I was also home during his Christmas break. It was both lovely and ugly. As we returned to “normal” this week, I both mourned his presence and breathed a sigh of relief.

Andrew and I have been married for ten years, after five years of dating. We’ve covered some ground including a war, a flood, two seasons of postpartum depression, two undergraduate degrees, one completed and one in-progress graduate degrees, and three very energetic sons. We became adults together, surrendered to the relentless love of Christ together, and learned much about one another and ourselves along the way.
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Marching for Life

The following article is by Melissa Ohden, our 2016 Bridgehaven Banquet speaker and an abortion survivor.

“I march.

“By the grace of God, whether I’m in DC for the March for Life or not, I march everyday.

“From the moment I was subjected to a saline infusion abortion that was forced upon my birthmother and I was meant to be scalded to death in the womb, I marched.

“During the five days in the womb that I was subjected to that toxic salt solution, I marched.

“On the fifth day of the abortion procedure, when my birthmother’s premature labor with me was induced and I was delivered, meant to be a successful abortion, a deceased child, I marched.

“When it was demanded that I be left at the hospital to die after it was realized the abortion had failed to end my life, I marched.

“When the doctors believed that I would likely not live for very long because of the severity of health problems I was facing after I survived, I marched.

“When the doctors gave the prognosis that if I did live, I would suffer from multiple disabilities, I marched.

“You see, my very existence is a march. A March of life. A March for Life.

“Each day that I am alive, I have the distinct opportunity to be an example of not just what a failed abortion looks like, not just what the consequences of abortion are, but I have the opportunity to lend my voice, my actions, my very life to demand that others be given this right.

“I was not given the right to life. God willed my right to life when it was being taken by man and by the laws of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

“And so, no matter what the date on the calendar is, I march.

“As I lend my voice to Pregnancy Resource Centers to assist them in raising funds for their organizations and reaching out to people in need both facing unexpected pregnancies and those who have been impacted by abortion, I march.

“As I testify before Congress or engage in political advocacy, I march.

“As I work with abortion survivors around the world, connecting them with support and services, I march.

“As I educate the public about the realities of failed abortion and abortion’s impact on not only women and children, but men, families, and communities, I march.

“As I come into contact with men and women, those who are responsible for abortion decisions and discuss love, forgiveness, and healing, I march.

“As I am blessed to have contact with my biological family and bring the truth about my survival into their lives, I march.

“As I raise our daughters to know the truth about abortion and its’ impact on their lives, I march.

“As I pray for lives to be saved from abortion, for lives to be transformed after abortion, and those within the abortion industry and politics to be converted, I march.

“Yet I know that I have never marched alone.

“God has led the March of my life. And along the way, so many have marched along:

“The nurses who fought for me after I first survived.

“The doctors and nurses who provided me great medical care and loved me.

“My mom and dad (my adoptive parents) who loved me into life and my extended family who has lived and supported me throughout my life.

“All those who prayed for a life to be spared from an abortion (many of whom I’ve been blessed to meet who prayed outside the very hospital where I survived during the very same period of time that I survived).

“This winter storm may have prevented many from coming to DC this year for the March, (myself included–I will be heading straight to Austin, Texas for their March), but I want to remind you that the March for Life, while it is an important part of our pro-life movement, and an energizing part at that, it is simply a small part of our march.

“Day in and day out, just as I have marched for life and others have joined me in this March, I know that you have been marching, too. And I encourage you to keep up that March. Whether you ever attend a March for Life in DC, it is each of our daily marches that I will believe will make the greatest impact on life.

By Melissa Ohden. Reprinted from a blog written by Melissa Ohden, January 21, 2016.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ was a daily flip book I read a few years back. It provided reasons and examples of what we shouldn’t waste our time worrying about. The meditation was biblically based. Each daily reading reassured the reader that God has everything under control, and when overwhelmed, we should lift up our fears to God; He will take care of us. At the time, the meditations were exactly what I needed to calm my anxieties and remember that God is in control. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6: 33

I used to put stock in the commonly used phrase of “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” but this week I meditated on the expression with this verse in mind and realized that sometimes the “small stuff” really does matter.

Why my shift in thinking? Two reasons:

1- My husband encouraged me to read last week’s daily readings for words of wisdom. The September 3 video (linked here) was the primary reason for my reflection on this phrase. It made me dissect the saying from both perspectives. What “small” means to me, and what “small” means to God.

2- If we’re not sweating the small stuff, who is? And will those “small things” ever be done? Now that I truly think about it, some of the smallest stuff is some of the most important to me.

Here are some examples of small stuff that I fear – if I don’t sweat just a little bit – will cause me to miss the important things in life:

  • Calling my parents to just to say “hello”
  • Writing a ‘thank you’ note (no, not an email – a real handwritten note!) for a special gift I received
  • Hiding a chocolate treat in my daughter’s school bag with a “Just because I love you” note
  • Giving my loved ones a hug and kiss in the morning before we all fly out of the door into this crazy world
  • Sending a coloring book and homemade caramel corn to my niece and nephews who live out-of-state

While these things may seem small in nature, to me, they are the reason for being. These are acts of love, compassion, kindness and serenity. They bring a smile to someone’s face, and after all, if we’re not smiling – what’s the reason for doing (or not doing) the things we’re currently deeming important in life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

While my small stuff might be different than your small stuff, the point is this: sometimes the small stuff does matter.  I’m not talking about possessions. Material items cannot provide happiness, nor bring true joy. For that, we must seek God, His path, His promise, and works that glorify Him. I’m talking about doing good works, and practicing the golden rule by treating others as you would want to be treated.

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” – 1 John 2:16

So for now I’m going to sweat a little bit more. I’m going to call my parents, run back into the house to hug my husband before I leave for work (even when I’m already two minutes behind), and write an occasional handwritten note. Why? Because I know all of these actions will bring a smile to someone. If I fail to be mindful of the details, eventually life will catch up with me. And when I turn around the next time to really “smell the roses,” my two-year-old will be 22 and my husband too fragile to squeeze like I once did. So, today I will embrace the small stuff.

Sweat on,

 

Kristy Staker

Kristy Staker

Bridgehaven Board Member

Hy-Vee, Community Relations Coordinator

Volunteering at Ride for Life

Barb Crosser has been volunteering at Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center for about seven years. She helps in multiple departments of the ministry each week, and last Saturday, she volunteered at Bridgehaven’s second annual Ride for Life. This interview is about her experience at Ride for Life and as a volunteer in general.

There were 46 riders on the day of the event, including these three who went 100 km.

There were 46 riders on the day of the event, including these three who went 100 km.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN RIDE FOR LIFE?

I talked to Leanne and said “I can’t ride, but can I help?” And Leanne said ‘There’s always something you can do.” I just like to be part of it. I can’t participate, but each time an event comes along, I just want to be involved. It’s my way of bringing my family and my friends into something. I say “Will you do this for me because I can’t,” and then I sponsor them. It gets more people involved. They say “Oh, Bridgehaven! Sure, sure!” And then they’re involved and next year maybe they’ll want to do it again.

Bridgehaven: Ride for Life- Barb

Barb cuts watermelon for the incoming riders.

WHAT DID YOU DO ON SATURDAY?

I got to check people in and make sure they had something to eat and drink if they wanted to before the ride. Leanne had me ask each rider questions like: “What is your birth month?” and “How old is your bike?” And everyone would respond with “My bike?” because they thought I was going to ask their age. It was for a prize, but they were surprised and it was just so funny. The whole time people were coming and going so that kept me busy. Then I cheered them in as they came back from the ride and checked them in to make sure everyone was accounted for. And then I fed them!

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF VOLUNTEERING AT RIDE FOR LIFE?

It’s always just exciting for me to meet the people who want to give their time to Bridgehaven and our mission. You visit with them and they always say “This is so great!” They want to know how the bike ride will help us, so you know they’re concerned. These people are neat to know. For many of the events, it’s many of the same people and you get to know them, and then they know me. It’s neat.

The thing that I’m always so in awe of is that the people, even the ones who did the long ride, came in and were so excited about getting a survey sheet and talking with Leanne about making next year’s better. They were all so supportive! You aren’t making people do it, they are wanting to.

This couple celebrated their wedding anniversary on the day of the ride!

This couple celebrated their wedding anniversary on the day of the ride!

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AT BRIDGEHAVEN?

A friend from church volunteered here and she asked me if I might like to come with her during one of her shifts to see if I would be interested. I was more unable to do things when I started, because it was before my surgeries. When you can’t do something, you feel like you can’t do anything. But they would tell me, “Barb, you don’t have to do it if you can’t.” The more I volunteer here, I find that even though I’m unable to do some things, I’m always busy. And so I just fell into it. It was just awesome.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WHO IS HESITANT TO TRY VOLUNTEERING?

When the clients are interviewed, they will comment that Bridgehaven is such a comfortable and safe place, and that’s also how you feel as a volunteer. There’s a friend of mine at church who is much more physically able than I am, and she keeps saying that she should volunteer. I told her, “I think you need to come down to Bridgehaven, take a tour, see what there is to do, and see what I do.” So many times people say they should volunteer, but they feel like they can’t. But regardless of my limitations, even I can do so much.

 

If you are considering volunteering at Bridgehaven visit our volunteer page.
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Bridgehaven: Barb Crosser

Barb Crosser

Volunteer