Sometimes my heart breaks.
It's been 15 years since I began giving my life to rescue hurting, pregnant women, helping them step out from the ashes of their past and into the light of a better tomorrow. Young women often enslaved by men who are destroying their lives and stomping on their self-worth, come to Bethany House with the clothes on their backs and carrying an unborn baby.
These women aren't much more than children themselves. We, certainly, can agree they did not always make intelligent choices, yet, casting blame isn't the answer. Instead, we must look to support viable solutions that lead to lasting change and better lives for these wounded women and their infants.
Their lives affect and are intertwined with ours in many surprising ways. With over a million teenage girls pregnant in the US alone each year, we can expect welfare, prison, and hospital costs to rise. Statistics show that 80% of young, teenage moms end up on welfare, passing the same lifestyle on to their children. The sons of single, teenage mothers are 2.7 times more likely to end up in prison. Bethany House offers a solution.
Molested at age 12, by her mother's boyfriend, and then pushed to the streets by her alcoholic mom, can we really expect such a girl to make healthy choices? How would she even know how? Bethany House can show her.
Tormented and tortured in her own country, a woman escaped to the United States to find little support and later no work. She ended up prostituting herself to survive. She had no education and spent time pregnant living inside a cardboard box in downtown Portland. Bethany House offered her a home.
Fleeing from an abusive, drug-addicted boyfriend, a woman traveled to Oregon from California to start a new life for her unborn son. But how would she break the patterns of addiction and abuse, learning how not to pass this lifestyle on to her precious child? Bethany House was there for her and helped her transition not only to a new home, but to a new life.
A pregnant woman coerced into an abortion she doesn't want, because her family is ashamed of her pregnancy is not uncommon. Every day, I receive calls where a tearful voice says, “They're kicking me out unless I have an abortion. I have nowhere to go. Can you help me?” Bethany House can help provide another option.
All these stories are true, and there are so many more. For over 15 years, Bethany House has shined its beacon of light in an often dark and dreary world -- a world that promotes and entices its youth to be sexual, yet cannot offer real solutions to the teen pregnancy epidemic. There is hope. You can help!
Bethany House becomes the safe home and family many of these women never had. We are able to touch two lives at a time, and generations beyond, by our proven program of love and accountability. Combined with counseling, education, training, and a supportive environment, this powerful combination of love and accountability have helped over 300 women re-enter society as productive mothers and women of character.
There are so many more hurting women and children who need our help. The operating costs for a shelter program of this magnitude are high. Qualified workers and volunteers are needed. We can't bury our heads and pretend that a quality program is cheap. It's not. We believe in you, our neighbors and friends. We trust that you, too, care about helping women and their babies escape from abuse, poverty, addiction, and heartache. We have discovered people like you who agree we can't just send our dollars around the globe when there is so much suffering in our own backyards.
There is no good excuse for any pregnant woman in our state to be sleeping in a cardboard box when places like Bethany House exist and are prepared to expand their services. The only thing keeping us from serving more women and babies is a lack of consistent funding.
If you will help us, we will continue fighting for those who are unable to fight for themselves. We will improve our neighborhoods by training women to work and become productive members of our society, moving them away from the welfare trap. We will help break the cycle of abuse and homelessness, two lives at a time.
We have our proven program and a well-working system in place. We are giving our all to help others. With caring people like you, we will continue to bring hope and healing to a hurting population. This holiday season, we are asking directly for your help. Please consider providing the best Christmas gift of all - life - new life. Your decision to give today will affect countless lives tomorrow. Thank you and God bless you.