Raven Henson and her husband Cole worked with the City of Garland, Texas, and its Planning Commission and City Council in order to turn their house into a pregnancy center. On December 3, 2019, they were given the green light to move forward. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The couple had gotten to work on renovating their home and, up until February, were making progress towards their goal. But when Dallas issued a mandatory stay-at-home order because of COVID-19, everything came to a halt, according to LifeSiteNews. People were afraid to leave their homes and the couple lived in a low-income suburb. They knew funds were tight for people in their community and got to work figuring out how to best help.
“These people are struggling and suffering,” Raven said. They decided to work with the local food pantry to provide baby items to those in need. They made a sign and flyers and called the local WIC office. This yet-to-open pregnancy center was suddenly “an essential location for diapers, wipes, and formula,” said Raven.
They were able to serve more than 300 families between March and August, including a pregnant single mother with three born children who were sleeping in the car. They invited the family into their home, providing them with shelter from April to July.
“For us it seemed like a no-brainer… How could we not do that?” said Raven. “It’s not at all what we thought we’d be doing, this time last year.”
Raven is eager to help other mothers and babies because of her own experience with an unplanned pregnancy when she was just 15 years old. Her parents had wanted her to have an abortion, but a classmate encouraged her to go to the local pregnancy center instead. There, she found support.
“They also told me something else that I’d never heard before — they assured me that there was a God in heaven that loved me and my baby, and they also told me that the Lord had a plan for me and my baby, and if I wanted to carry this pregnancy, I wasn’t alone,” she explained. “I remember being amazed by that, that there was an all-knowing creator that cared about me and this baby that I was carrying. Then, the comfort and encouragement that counselor gave me at such a time that I felt completely helpless and terrified. She encouraged me and didn’t judge me and just loved on me.”
Now, Raven is the mother of three children and after volunteering at and working in a pregnancy center, she wanted to do more. She made plans to open the pregnancy center, called Shiloh Pregnancy Care, in her home. The center offers free educational classes including CPR, pregnancy nutrition, child birth, breastfeeding, and baby basics, as well as post-abortion recovery and material resources.
As she and her husband continue to move forward with that plan, they are equipped with an ultrasound machine but in need of a medical director. They are thankful that amid the pandemic, they were able to help others.
“We’ve really been able to experience the highs and lows of COVID through people,” Raven told LifeSiteNews. “[…] Things are looking up; we’re excited about getting this project done so we can move forward with that.”
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