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Shaping Lives
Since 1983 The Brampton Life Centre has been providing ongoing assistance and caring support to women, teens and fathers facing unplanned pregnancies.


Sarah never dreamed that she would be where she is today. She finished high school and now has a job she loves and a beautiful son. She has never been happier. It wasn't always that way.

Sarah remembers clearly the struggles she had only a few months ago when she was pregnant and living out of her boyfriend's car. She was still attending high school and her boyfriend had a minimum-wage job, but had applied for college. Sarah's mom, an alcoholic, had kicked Sarah out of her home. Her father moved from hotel to hotel. Her boyfriend's mother told them they could stay with her only periodically. For Sarah and her boyfriend, each day was filled with finding ways to survive, but it was getting harder and harder. The reason she was pregnant was to keep her boyfriend, and now, early in her second trimester, she was considering an abortion. Then a friend told her about the Brampton Life Centre and the services it offered. Sarah walked into our centre feeling lost, rejected, and very, very exhausted.

Sarah is only one of more than 1,000 young women who contact our centre every year. The Brampton Life Centre (BLC), one of many community outreach ministries of Kennedy Road Tabernacle in Brampton, Ontario, has been providing ongoing assistance and caring support to women, teens and fathers facing unplanned pregnancies since 1983.

The centre offers free pregnancy tests, education on available options, prenatal development information, a mentoring program, abstinence counselling, life-skill groups, parenting classes, post-abortion recovery support, fathers' support, a care closet (gently used baby clothes and supplies) and community service referrals. All our services at the centre are free and confidential.

Normally, a pregnancy should be a time of excitement, but when it is complicated by broken relationships, family tensions, poor timing, health concerns, assault, financial difficulties, school or career pressures, it may leave a woman feeling confused and lonely. When a woman comes to the centre, our committed staff and volunteers wrap their arms around them, helping them sort through their confusion and giving them hope to achieve their life goals. Each member of our team, whom we refer to as "lifeshapers," brings her own particular skills and gifts to the centre. Together we help shape the lives of mothers in the next generation.

Being involved in pregnancy care for almost 20 years, I have witnessed many women move on from the centre to be productive in their personal, family and community lives. For some women it happens quickly, but for others it takes years of unconditional love. I mentored one young woman off and on for 12 years and then one day she asked me for a Bible. That day made all the years of patience worthwhile because she is now attending church with her children.

Out of that relationship with Christ, moral purity grows.

Statistics today show us that in Canada women represent an increasing proportion of those with positive HIV test reports. Since 2002, women account for 25 percent of new HIV diagnoses in Canada and 44.4 percent of positive HIV test reports are among people of age 15 to 29. The HIV/AIDS epidemic among women is of particular concern because of the potential for transmission to their infants. There are also more than 30 sexually transmitted diseases reported and two-thirds will occur in people under 25 years of age. Therefore abstinence counselling is a very important part of our time with each woman. First, we build a relationship with each young woman by touching her with tenderness, acceptance, appreciation, availability, prayer, affection and accountability. We gain her respect by being transparent, teaching by example, encouraging and equipping. Then we give something worth following by teaching her about a love relationship with Jesus Christ and being faithful to Him. Out of that relationship with Christ, moral purity grows.

Sarah joined one of our life skills groups (a mentoring program) and was referred to several community services. Over the next few months, her low self-esteem diminished and she gained confidence and hope to move forward in her life. After her son was born, her boyfriend's support vanished and she became a single parent. Her BLC mentor has walked beside her from the start of this journey as an emotional support and in practical ways, such as encouraging her to finish high school and helping her find a job and an apartment.

I see Sarah occasionally. Even though her life is packed with more responsibility than the average 18-year-old, her face shines. She works in a nursing home and loves the seniors she cares for. She is slowly letting go of our hands at the centre and is holding on to the Lord's hand more and more.

Holding her son in her arms, Sarah shares with me that she does not know where she would be today if it weren't for each person at the centre, who, even though they may have detested some of her past behaviour, touched her life with unconditional love.

The Brampton Life Centre believes that the smallest act of caring has potential to turn a life around. We believe we are extending to our community God's promise in His Word: "I know the plans I have for you … to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

Bev Hynek is the director of the Brampton Life Centre in Brampton, Ontario. Her e-mail is lifecentre@krt.org. Website: www.ket.org. If you or someone you know is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, please contact your nearest pregnancy care centre.

Originally published in Testimony, September 2005.

 

 
 
 
 

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