As you know, I've been training to volunteer as a crisis pregnancy "client advocate." It's been a long journey, but I finally completed all the training necessary to start leading counseling sessions, with a staff member observing. The director's plan is that by the time Baby Boy arrives I will be able to counsel fully on my own so that when I return from maternity leave I can hit the ground running.
At times, I've felt downtrodden with the length of this process. In March I began attending two hour training sessions once a week, until we moved to Tucson in June. At that point I had completed most of the formal training I needed in El Paso, aside from observing enough counseling sessions. I did have the opportunity to observe one counseling session in El Paso, which was a priceless experience. Once I began training at the center in Tucson I attended once a week, three hour training meetings for six weeks. During that time I began observations at the center and have sat in on eleven sessions thus far. Unfortunately, you can never guarantee that a client will show for her appointment so there have been SEVERAL occasions when I went to the center and all appointments cancelled or did not show--frustrating.
Last week I was finally given the green light to lead counseling sessions with women who plan to carry or are undecided about carrying. My first day "on the job" was such a high, as the woman shadowing me proclaimed. I couldn't have imagined a better beginning to serving in this ministry. My formal training, practice sessions, prayer time, Bible reading, Bible study, and trust in God's guidance prepared me to show my clients the love of Christ and inform them about their pregnancy and options, while meeting them at their point of need.
A typical counseling session begins with finding out about the client and their situation (and concerns), followed by a pregnancy test, options information, a spiritual conversation, and finishes with prayer. The first client I saw was excited to be pregnant and eager to carry, which was a smooth and stress-free way to begin serving in this role. My second client came in undecided and heavily considering abortion; however, by the end of our appointment she left planning to carry her child--praise God! My third and fourth clients came in considering abortion, but both had negative pregnancy tests. All of these women were open to hearing about Christ and allowed me to pray for them at the end of our session. It's a glorious feeling to release all judgment and embrace these women, showing them the love and comfort that only Jesus can provide. And hopefully saving some lives at the same time!