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Living In Liberty, 06/2020

Financial support is especially important, as we currently have the real need to hire staff to effectively minister to the growing number of women we are reaching both through our street ministry and our safe home. At the same time, our primary source of income, the Repurposed Thrift Store, had to be closed due to the virus until just recently. We are busy with grant writing, but would also like to offer the opportunity for churches/individuals/groups to support our staff, much like they may support missionaries.

Another constant need is meals for our drop in centers during outreach. We normally prepare for about 30-40, and ask that dishes be made in disposable containers, and are able to be frozen. We have recipe ideas available if that is something an individual or group would be interested in. We have a few groups that regularly have "parties" to make the dishes. They are then dropped off at the Repurposed Store where they are kept in a freezer until needed by an outreach team. 

As you can imagine, the Repurposed Store has been short of volunteers since reopening. Many of our volunteers are older, and understandably do not feel comfortable coming back in yet. If you could let your congregation know about this, it would be a huge help. Even if they can only help temporarily it will make a difference. Our website has more information about how to volunteer for the store, and other areas, and you could direct them there. We are currently working on an on-line training, and will probably be doing a "socially-distant" in-person training in the next couple of months.

Another area we are trying to expand is our awareness and prevention efforts. We have a team that goes out (wherever we get invited!) to speak about trafficking and the efforts of Living in Liberty. We have a variety of programs to fit various settings, including talking to teens, kids, and parents about prevention. With the increased use of technology during COVID, we are seeing traffickers increase their online appeal to children and teens. We would like to help parents have the resources to protect their children.

We thank you for your prayers, and would ask you to please ask for wisdom and creativity as we make plans for the future. Staffing our safe house, and developing a more intentional training program for women in the program to work in our store are two other major issues. Would you please pray for our volunteers and the women we serve, especially the women we serve through the outreach? They have been doubly burdened by the effects of this virus. 

WCN, 07/14/20

Introducing: The Nest, Nearly New Clothing for Little Peeps.

As a leader at your Church, you are among the first to know about our latest client outreach project. The Nest, a resale store for children 0 through size 6x will open this Fall to serve our clients and the larger Pittsburgh community. The Nest is located in the retail space right beside our North Side Center location on East Ohio Street. We are excited to this great news giving you a sneak peek at one of the many new developments you’ll hear at this year’s Fall Banquet.

How Can I Get Involved? 

Consider joining us for a work day and help “build the nest.” The next work day is Saturday, July 25 from 9 to 3PM. Carpenters, painters, and clean up teams are needed. To sign up, contact amys@womenschoicenetwork.com

Consider organizing a Baby Shower at your Church or home. 

Oliver Pierce, IUP RUF, 06/2020

What a difficult past couple of weeks we’ve all been through! As our attention has been drawn to all that is going on nationally and globally, we’ve been thinking of and praying for many of you all. In light of these challenging times, I’m glad I can start off this update with some good news! Our daughter, Julia Abigail Pierce, was born on June 4th at 12:48pm. Today was her due date but she wanted to show up a few days early! We are praising God for a great delivery and healthy baby and mom! Thank you for your prayers and celebration with us. 

We continued, as usually as we could, to reach and equip students online for the rest of the semester. Many of us struggled with some Zoom fatigue as the semester wrapped up in May. However, our spirits had a reboot when another RUF campus minister at WVU reached out to me and a few other campus ministers to suggest partnering together for an online summer event we’ve called Theology Thursdays. We’ve taken seminars that are normally done at RUF summer conference, which was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19, and set them up online. Students from IUP, WVU, Rowan, and even Bogota National University in Columbia have joined us each Thursday to learn together! In a time where people have been weary of video calls and social distancing, it was particularly refreshing to have some fellowship in Christ even with students in a different hemisphere!

Though the news headlines have often seemed far away from day to day life in the tiny town of Indiana, PA, I have continued to hear how our students are being affected by all that is going on back home. One student was working in a retirement home that had several COVID cases and sadly a few deaths. Another student who was back home in Philadelphia working at a grocery store was transferred because it was looted in the riots.

An African American student who has attended RUF events occasionally this semester reached out to me asking me what I thought about all the protesting and rioting. I lamented with her the havoc our sin has wrecked upon the world and affirmed the call to pray and work for a society in which we increasingly heed the call "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with (our) God" (Micah 6:8). My words were well-received and we had an encouraging conversation.

Please pray for wisdom for the many moments like this where I have opportunities to bring the truth of Scripture to bear on the national and global issues that students are wrestling with. Pray at the same time we might keep the focus of our ministry on Jesus Christ and the hope of the gospel. Jesus is the ultimate hope for the prejudice every heart is prone to, “for he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14).

Pray for Fall Plans and Freshman Outreach

As the fall semester gets closer, I am excited at the prospect of seeing students in person again. IUP recently announced that they will be meeting in-person in the fall yet with many social distancing policies in place. Pennsylvania has moved into its more open "green" phase and that has increased my hope of fruitful ministry in the fall. Soon we will be having planning meetings this summer and I’m excited to have some of our students involved with our outreach! However, I am anticipating this semester may not be a typical semester. As we have learned this year, we "do not know what a day may bring” (Pr 27:1).

Please continue to pray that this virus would die out and not resurface during the fall, especially in a way that might hinder our mission to reach and equip students. Pray for wisdom for us and our students who will be involved with outreach, particularly for creative ways to still connect with students while staying safe.

Pray for Resurrection Indiana

A unique aspect of my call to start RUF at IUP is I am also closely partnered with Resurrection Indiana, a PCA church plant. Resurrection was set to launch monthly services mid-March at the YMCA when the shutdown began. I have been encouraged by how the church planter, David Schweissing, has innovated and continued to connect with the Indiana community through online trivia nights, book clubs, and even a night of painting instruction from a local artist. However, it is undeniable that the shutdown was a setback for the church plant. Our family longs to have a more normal Sunday worship gathering and a more established Church community here. We still trust the LORD is at work and can accomplish these things in his timing but we know this may continue to be a time requiring prayerful perseverance.

Pray that the LORD might work beyond what we can ask or imagine in these challenging circumstances. Pray that non-Christians we are continuing to build relationships with might repent and believe the gospel! Pray that our love for the lost of this community in particular might continue to grow. Pray we also might find rest in God ourselves as we bear the burdens of others. Pray for the LORD to send other Christian families and individuals to labor in the harvest with us since there are so many who are harassed and helpless. 

WCN, 04/23/20

39 Lives Saved (so far) During Quarantine!

While our nation unites to fight an unseen enemy, we are continuing to serve those most vulnerable to abortion inside our walls. And while the quarantine has been in place, the battle for the unborn continues to grow even stronger. Our doors have remained open and our courageous staff members provide an essential service to those facing an unplanned pregnancy in an increasingly uncertain time.

Beyond the infection itself, COVID-19 has also delivered fear, loneliness and isolation. Imagine adding an unplanned pregnancy to that scenario! But God is so good! Here are just a few of our “stories from quarantine.”

“Gary” was determined to see his girlfriend choose abortion. He is unemployed and the future looks uncertain. But after talking it through with our male staff, he stepped up to the challenge and is now willing to accept help to support this emerging family.

“Rachel” arrived early for her appointment (many arrive early and stay late because of loneliness and isolation). She needed a place to live and a job. Our team promised to pray for her and one week later, both a job and a new apartment were proof that God cares about her situation.

 “Jewel” chose life after seeing an ultrasound revealing her tiny baby. A victim of rape, Jewel’s strength amazes our team.

Serving new patients during the COVID-19 crisis is challenging, but we continue to serve our ongoing clients as well. Distance learning allows our Life Support clients to continue with classes while talking with our staff in real time.

We’ve served 25% more clients in March and April than in those months in 2019. And we’ve doubled the number of sonograms for abortion vulnerable couples (more than 3 every day we are open!). Of the 70 clients with a positive pregnancy test, 39 have already chosen life. More than 20 are still making a decision and need our prayers and support. Your gift makes the difference for tiny lives waiting to be born. 

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