Little River Baptist Association holds a ribbon cutting for its new pregnancy care center. (Submitted)
NASHVILLE, Ark. – With a heart for unborn children and their parents, the churches of the Little River Baptist Association partnered to launch a pregnancy resource center in Nashville.
Initial discussion for the resource center began three years ago. Two years ago, the association voted to pull together an exploratory team to delve further into the project. The team met, prayed, looked at statistics and interviewed other resource centers.
After gathering information, the team recommended to the association to move forward with the idea. The association took it to a vote and approval was granted.
With the association’s blessing, Associational Missionary Robby Sherman said they began scoping out potential locations. Realizing the association building could be more fully utilized, they decided to remodel and house the center in their current facilities at 256 Highway 27 South in Nashville.
“We spent nine plus months remodeling, hiring staff and just getting the ministry ready to go,” Sherman said.
The center has an intake room, a place to meet for one-on-one mentoring, an exam room with an ultrasound and an office for Living Well Counseling. Staff includes Director Christy Young, Assistant Director Brittany Crow and Living Well Counselor Crystal Evans.
An open house for the facility was held Sunday, Aug. 13. Sherman said more than 150 people attended the celebration. Arkansas Baptist State Convention Interim Executive Director Rex Horne spoke at the event and Pastor John Lindsey led attendees in guided prayer time. They broke into groups and prayed for various aspects of the ministry.
“I was most impressed by the pregnancy resource center. The careful and thoughtful preparation for the mothers and babies was evident in every room. The broad participation by the churches in dedicating this ministry was a blessing to me,” Horne said.
The pregnancy resource center officially opened Tuesday, Aug. 15. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
“We’re here and we covet everyone’s prayers. We are excited, nervous, and ready to rock and roll,” Crow said. “There is really not a place like this in this area. If anyone around here wanted services like this, they would have to go to either Texarkana or Arkadelphia.”
With no other resources like this in the area, Sherman said the need was great. He shared how at one school in the area seven girls within a year drove to Shreveport, Louisiana, for abortions. To hear that was heartbreaking, he said.
“If the mom sees the baby and hears the heartbeat, statistics show that four out of five will choose life instead of abortion. We have a heart for the unborn,” Sherman said.
Along with caring for the unborn, the folks within the association also have a heart for the moms and dads.
“We want to help them develop the skills necessary to be a good parent,” he said. “It is not just enough to say it or to fight for the life of unborn children. We need to do something to meet the needs of the moms as well. We want to help you through this process.”
This includes nutrition classes and finance classes as well as Bible study to help them grow and develop as a believer. Like other pregnancy centers, participants can earn “baby bucks” to use at the center to purchase assorted items they need such as baby formula, diapers, wipes and more. Sherman said they have also developed an incentive that for every 25 lessons, participants receive a free item. For instance, after the first 25 they are given a homemade baby blanket. After 50, they earn a car seat.
“The ultimate goal is to see mom and dad, and eventually the child, trust Christ,” Sherman said. “Everything we do, no matter what our ministry is, should be pointing people to Christ. That is the No. 1 reason that we’re doing it. To show Christ’s love and share the Gospel to help through these moments to get them to the next phase in their life.”
If the parents choose not to raise their child, Sherman said they have an adoption option available through the Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries.
Young said their mission is to share the Gospel and help the young ladies and men make the right choices and guide them along.
“We want to shine with Jesus and lead them with the Truth,” she said.