LAREDO Every day, the Laredo Life Pregnancy Center receives calls from women, some as young as 12-years-old, facing unplanned pregnancies. Many of them feel as though they have no good options, and for some, access to support could make the difference between choosing life or abortion for their unborn child.
“Believe it or not, I have sat down with many women who, just because they can’t afford diapers, they want to abort,” said Sandy Nava, LLPC executive director. “At that moment, they only see that problem. They can’t see the future. … We’re here to open up their eyes and help them see a little farther down the road.”
After experiencing the loss of her own baby through a miscarriage, Nava sensed God calling her to help pregnant women in crisis. She began volunteering at the center in Laredo in 2009, and the following year, she was named director.
Today, through her leadership and the teamwork of local volunteers, the organization is able to provide expectant mothers with emotional and practical support, beginning with education.
“It takes us as Christians to educate women about life, to share that what is in them is a person’s life that the Lord has put there,” Nava said. “We teach them, first of all, what an abortion is. They just think it takes care of the problem, but they don’t know the risks involved. They don’t know what harm is coming to them and the child.”
Open for appointments three days a week, the LLPC also offers free pregnancy tests, as well as parenting classes that help mothers and fathers move toward independence while maintaining a strong support base. Additionally, clients can shop the center’s monthly Beloved Boutique, which is stocked with a wide range of donated items to help meet the physical needs of new moms and their babies.
For those individuals who have abortion as part of their past, the center is also a safe place to receive support through counsel and Bible study.
“Even in our churches, there are women who are struggling and suffering from that decision they made. We want to help them be set free, so they can also be advocates for protecting life,” Nava said.
Above all else, the center’s primary focus is sharing the hope of the gospel in the midst of brokenness.
“People are broken, and they’re coming into the center in a crisis,” said Sandy’s husband, Jose Nava, who serves on the LLPC board of directors. “We are able to share with them love and God’s forgiveness through this. We want to make sure they understand we are there to help them and point to Christ, always.”
Despite a growing need for resources such as those offered at the LLPC, Sandy Nava said pro-life ministries have taken a backseat in churches and often get overlooked among so many other outreach opportunities, but she hopes to see that change through more support and more prayer from fellow believers.
“Life is precious, and we cannot think that we’ll wait until tomorrow or volunteer someday … Time is of the essence when lives are at stake,” Sandy Nava said.
One Laredo-area church engaging on the frontlines of this ministry is Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida En Jesus, which has given financially over the years and also has several congregants volunteering regularly.
The church’s pastor, George Levant, got involved with LLPC through his friendship with Jose and Sandy Nava and is now a member of the center’s board of directors.
“The Laredo Life Center is a wonderful ministry that the church ought to be able to tap into and help. The focus is on the physical life of the baby but also on the spiritual life of the mother, and sometimes, even the father,” Levant said.
In Laredo, as in many cities across the state, the need to educate and aid women in crisis is great, but instead of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of that need, Levant said his hope for LLPC is that the impact would come one woman and one family at a time.
“I believe if we work on a personal basis, eventually we’ll see the results,” Levant said. “If we can help one person come to know Christ, and we can save one baby, the impact that I see is not so much community-wide, but family-wide.”
To learn more about Laredo Life Pregnancy Center or to donate to the center’s ministry, visit support.laredolifecenter.org.