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Agape House Offers Alternatives

Agape House Offers Alternatives
By SABRINA BATES
Chief Staff Writer
To some, it is considered a place of refuge, a sanctuary amidst an often-unforgiving world. Many have walked through the doors of the Agape House faced with the circumstance of an unplanned pregnancy and walked out knowing they are not alone in their uncertain future.
While the Agape House in Martin has provided a support group since it saw its first client Sept. 1, 1994, the triple-ministry building now offers free ultrasounds. As director of operations Linda DeBoard explained the Agape House provides clients who have a positive pregnancy test result with an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and determine how far along a client is in her pregnancy.
DeBoard said throughout the years, people have sought out the Agape House with questions and fears surrounding an unplanned pregnancy. Some were seeking out information on abortion, thinking there were no other options. Agape House CEO said the staff of the ministry “share the truth in love,” and let their clients know “they have a choice.”
“One of the greatest joys we experience here is when a couple comes in scared and confused looking for information about abortion and call 24 hours later to thank us for being there and listening to them,” DeBoard said.
With the capacity to see their unborn child and hear its heartbeat through Agape House’s medical clinic, DeBoard said many clients experience more of a sense of how “real” their situation is.
Free ultrasounds are only a portion of what the Agape House offers. Once a patient chooses “life,” that person can participate in the ESTHER Program (Establishing Spiritual Truths Helps Encourage Responsibility).
“We help them work through their options. It is a very emotional time. We discuss things such as are they going to parent or place for adoption; who are they and what are their goals; who will help with parenting,” DeBoard said.
Through the ESTHER Program, mothers-to-be, as well as their partners, work through issues such as body changes during pregnancy, financial responsibilities and issues that are tailored specifically to their situation.
“We want people to know this is a safe place for people to come and sort through their situation in a non-judgmental way that is completely confidential. We’re here to serve them with the truth in love,” DeBoard said.
“We meet them where they are and love them through their crisis.”
By participating in the ESTHER Program, clients can earn “Mommy Money” and in turn use that money to shop in the Blessing Bin of the Agape House. The Blessing Bin offers children’s clothing and other necessities that are donated by people through out the community.
The Agape House also offers post-abortion counseling, as well as adoption agency referrals. While the center is only open five days a week, staff members are available 24-7 by calling 1-800-805-9722 or 1-800-395-HELP.
One of the center’s largest fundraisers will take place this Saturday at 9 a.m. when community members will gear up for the “Walk for Life.” Participants have been gathering sponsors to contribute to their two-mile walk in Martin.
An open house will follow the Walk at the Agape House location on Oakland Street.
“We want people to see the heart of this ministry, we are changing lives here,” DeBoard said. She also paid tribute to the countless number of volunteers, organizations, individuals, businesses and churches that donate to the center.
“It’s great to be from a community that is supportive,” DeBoard added.

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