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News for February 2012
Every Saturday Morning
Every successful sidewalk counselor I know, started by praying in front of an abortion mill. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have against abortion, and it is a fairly easy thing to do. You stand or kneel in front of an abortion mill while praying for the women going in—that they will open their hearts to God and realize the precious gift of life they carry inside is priceless and can never be replaced.
While you are praying, you quickly realize those women in front of you are not just some generic, unknown group, like a herd of cattle. They are your neighbor’s daughter, your niece, your co-worker’s sister. They are real, individuals who either don’t understand the magnitude of what they are about to do or are so overwhelmed they feel like they have no other choice. It be comes personal, even though you don’t know them. It is a spiritual battle that is hard to walk away from. “Prayer warriors,” who put their souls into their prayers, experience a deep involvement in helping save a woman and her unborn baby from abortion.
There is no “typical” Saturday morning for a sidewalk counselor. Every car that enters the parking lot carries a unique story: a young woman not ready to start a family; a couple with three kids, who think they can’t afford another one; a vulnerable woman afraid of losing her boyfriend, who doesn’t want to be a father. The sidewalk counselor has a few brief seconds to size up the situation while explaining the risks of an abortion and other information that the doctor and nurses in the abortion mill will not tell them.
The counselor looks for clues while talking, such as an empty car seat in the back of the car, a Rosary hanging from the mirror, or the facial expressions of the woman and her boyfriend/husband. The car seat tells the counselor that the woman has already been a mother, and she knows the bond between a mother and her child. This is often the key to a woman’s heart. The Rosary tells the counselor that the woman may be open to the love of God, who is the source of all life. The facial expressions reveal the inner emotions taking place for both the woman and her companion while the counselor is talking. They reveal where the counselor is making progress and help determine what direction the counselor should take in reaching the heart of the woman. Above all,the counselor needs to show compassion and understanding. Behind all of this are the prayers of those on the sidewalk.
The sidewalk counselor’s number one goal is to get the women to leave the abortion mill. For those who have enough doubt to leave, but are still undecided or not firm in their choice for life, the sidewalk counselor needs a place to send them, and it’s almost always Culture of Life Family Services. COLFS is where all their fears will be addressed, where they can be examined and reassured by a qualified doctor, and where they can actually see the growing life within their womb.
For the vast majority of women, once they see their baby on an ultrasound, confusion gives way to joy and relief, and the battle for life has been won. COLFS is the only pregnancy resource center with a doctor who will see abortion-intent woman on Saturday mornings—just minutes after being intercepted by a sidewalk counselor in front of the abortion mill. COLFS is a vital part of the teamwork approach to saving lives: prayer in front of the abortion mill, sidewalk counseling, and the doctor and resources needed to help a woman choose life. For dedicated prayer warriors, sidewalk counselors, and the people on call at COLFS, saving lives is not a part-time effort.
To find out more about Helpers of God’s Precious Infants San Diego, visit www.helpersSD.org.
Health Matters for February 2012
By using these vaccines, we are cooperating with the evil of abortion and risking scandal. “Cooperating with evil,” from an ethical standpoint, means that we are benefiting from or promoting an unjust act, such as an abortion. “Scandal” means that we may lead others to unethical behavior by the example we set when we use these vaccines.
On the other hand, we do have a duty and a right to protect ourselves and our children from the dangers of infectious diseases. Can we, therefore, in good conscience, use these vaccines?
Next month, I will continue the discussion and offer some options.
Director's Report for February 2012
As we prepare to enter Lent full of the hope that Easter brings, we can focus on performing acts that lead us closer to Jesus. Loving the children of God who are in circumstances that force them to consider unimaginable “choices” is one way to lead them to the love of Christ, who shines the light on the truth of life.
This month, please join us in prayer for mothers who are at risk for abortion. It is not judgment or condemnation that helps them choose life. They are gently guided with the agape form of love exhibited by sidewalk counselors, like Roger Lopez and members of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants San Diego; crisis pregnancy coordinators, like Debbie Bradel; and doctors, like George Delgado and Karen Saroki.
Thank you for your support of this ministry, which could not function without your love and dedication.
Ten days after our break up, I took a Home Pregnancy test and the result was “Positive.” I was five weeks pregnant! When I initially saw the results I almost fainted. I dropped to the floor unable to breathe and could not stop crying and screaming. Sadly, my reaction was from devastation and not happiness. The last time I cried like that was nearly five years ago when my father passed away. I kept asking G-d, “Why? Why has this happened to me? Why now? I’m a 38-year old unmarried woman without a job, money, or family nearby, and with a huge amount of school loans to pay off.”
My family, who resides on the other side of the world, is very traditional and I thought they would never approve or accept my situation. Where I come from, girls are expected to get married first and then have children. And here I am: pregnant, alone, financially constrained, and nowhere close to my life’s plans and dreams.
The only thing I could think was to get an abortion as soon as possible. I believed that my life was over and I had no other options. I searched online for a place where I could get an abortion for free, but my search was unsuccessful. I came across a few places that advertised “immediate assistance.” One was called Turning Point, and they referred me to Culture of Life Family Services for free medical care, such as an ultrasound. I made an appointment hoping they would be able to help me find a place where I could get a free abortion and get back to my life’s plan. But that first visit changed my life.
Since the moment I stepped into the office, I was surrounded by unconditional care, compassion, empathy, and support. The staff at COLFS gave me the strength I needed to look beyond my selfish pain and misery, and gave me the ability to think more clearly about my options. They gave me the hope I desperately needed and helped me understand that my life was not over. Moreover, they helped me realize that what had happened to me was not the end of the world; rather, I was given an amazing gift and a blessing. They helped me remember my training, where I learned that unexpected life-changing events, such as the one I was experiencing, often cause fear and distress that automatically impact our ability for rational thinking. When I think about life without fear, and I let go of the unknown future that doesn’t yet exist, only then could I focus on the moment and make rational choices.
When I began thinking without fear, I started thinking about my life and about G-d’s plan for me. I had a few weeks of no sleep and extreme stress, but COLFS helped me accept the miracle I had been blessed with. And thus, I began embracing the new life that was growing inside of me. I came to realize that this was G-d’s plan for me, even though it was not the plan I had for myself. The truth was there was an innocent child that was created by my actions. What right did I have to cease it and take away the life that it was given?
Shortly after I visited the clinic, I found the strength to call my family and tell them about my situation. To my surprise, they were very supportive and happy for me! It’s now been about three months since I first went to COLFS. I am currently four months pregnant and am enjoying the beautiful miracle I am blessed with. G-d has given me a gift and I embrace every moment of it. I still have my fears, but that’s ok – fear often comes up in the challenges that life has in store for us. Focusing on the positive aspects of life and avoiding the negative is the best thing we can do for ourselves—to let go of our fear and to utilize the support and resources around us. And that’s exactly what I did! I am extremely grateful for that opportunity, as my life has changed forever – and, yes, for the better.
Special Thanks: Words cannot express the gratitude I feel when I think about what Debbie Bradel, from Culture of Life Family Services, did for me. She is truly a blessing in my life. From the bottom of my heart, I thank her for being supportive through this difficult time, for the strength she has given me to see the gift that I was given, for the hope that my life is not over, and for the courage to look deeper into G-d’s plan for me and do the right thing. I also want to sincerely acknowledge Dr. Saroki and the rest of the staff at COLFS, for without them my life would be very different today.
Health Matters - January 2012
“Irreversible” is key, as the temporary loss of brain, heart, or lung function can occur with subsequent recovery. This can be seen with profound hypothermia, which produced the emergency department axiom that a person is not dead until he is “warm and dead” to ensure the loss of any function is not due to the temporary condition of low body temperature.
Since the brain is the body’s command center, when the brain is dead, the body is dead. Brain death quickly follows the loss of cardiopulmonary function, since the brain is so dependent on oxygen-rich blood.
Therefore, a trained medical professional usually can confidently declare a patient dead using cardiopulmonary criteria (irreversible cessation of heart motion). When the heart and lungs are being artificially maintained by a ventilator, either brain death criteria must be used or the ventilator must be withdrawn to see if the heart will stop beating.
A person who is declared dead by brain death criteria is dead even though he may have a heart rate and blood pressure artificially sustained by a ventilator and medications. Death of the body and organism has already occurred. The individual organs simply are being sustained by the life support systems and are no longer part of an integrated living organism.
George Delgado, M.D.
Thank you Angel Sidewalk Counselor
That same day, we told the nurse we didn’t want the baby, and she gave us options. We decided to take the option of abortion, and we never thought about giving my baby up for adoption. I was more terrified of my parents knowing about my pregnancy, about my family and friends calling me stupid for being pregnant, about being fat and having stretch marks the rest of my life. That same day, we made a Saturday appointment for the abortion. I told my mom I was going to San Diego to buy my prom dress (oh, I wished!).
Our drive from Calexico to San Diego took three hours or less, but it seemed to take a year to get there. I was horrified and just wanted to get rid of my baby… I had the worst feeling ever! I felt like a monster. Well, I was a monster.
We finally got there. On our way into the parking lot, an angel stopped us! I thought she was crazy or something. She gave us information about abortion. We talked for 10 or 15 minutes, but we didn’t care. We just wanted to get rid of the baby.
We went into the clinic, and, oh, what a horrible place! It was full of teenagers and some adults. We signed in and talked to a woman who was having her third abortion. She was only 23 years old and told us it never hurt, but I could see everyone’s faces–how sad, horrified, and confused they were. I just couldn’t stop thinking about that angel sidewalk counselor and what she told us.
They called my name. I was going to enter the room when my boyfriend called me and said the most wonderful words ever, “DON’T DO IT! LET’S COME ANOTHER DAY. I LOVE YOU!” I went running to his arms, and we left that horrible place.
On our way out, we looked for the sidewalk counselor. She was still there, like an angel, saving lives. She took us to another wonderful person, a doctor named George Delgado. We had a free ultrasound and he gave me prenatal vitamins. We thanked them so much for being there, at the exact time and perfect place. We drove back home, so confused.
The next day, we told my parents. I was expecting something so much different from what they told me, “Well, that’s a blessing, and it’s sad that it’s happening now. We wish it happened some years later when you finished your schooling. We are happy. We love and support you. Just don’t get out of school.”
I still considered not having my baby. I didn’t have a job and neither did my boyfriend or parents! How was I supposed to bring a baby to life without resources? But our angel saved us once again. She told us about some places where we could get shelter, food, and clothes for our baby. I lost my cell phone and couldn’t find her number again.
Going through my pregnancy was hard. My mom had to leave the city far away from me to get a job in the fields. I was by myself and had no air conditioning in the summer. I couldn’t feed my cravings. I was eight months pregnant when I moved with my boyfriend to a studio. We were getting aid from the government. I was still in school and got three scholarships, which I used it for my baby. Everything was getting better.
I had three baby showers! November 6 was my due date, and that day, I was at the hospital with contractions. On Nov 7, I delivered my baby boy, who was 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and 19.5 inches-everything was perfect.
I still hadn’t decided on his name. I just knew I wanted something that meant “Warrior” because he was a warrior. I liked “Andre” because it’s the name of a drummer I admire. One week later, I looked up Andre on Google, and “warrior” was the definition! “Sidewalk counselor” may mean something else, but for us, it’s “Angel.”
I now feel proud of myself-blessed and thankful to God for putting such wonderful people in my path. I’m still a teenager, maybe more mature than the ones my age (or boring, they call me). I still go to the movies, concerts, and do teenager stuff. But I’m also a mom, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Now we are taking classes from the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program (IVROP) to become better parents. We were chosen as Parents of the Year! We are both in college and working. I’m studying business marketing, and Hazael is becoming a physical therapist. I work at Sonic, and he works at our college bookstore.
Sometimes I wish I could have more time for my baby. I wish I could be rich and not work, but it didn’t work out that way. When I think about the sidewalk counselor, I want to thank her for being there. If it wasn’t for her, I would’ve been coming home and feeling empty inside, crying all night. But every time I get home now, I see my baby, and I smile, feeling joy inside.
Thanks to everyone who prayed for me. I did get your blessings. Thank you to the sidewalk counselor, my angel and inspiration. I hope to be like her one day. I’m starting now by talking to girls who plan to abort. Soon, I want to open a place for those girls who don’t have a home or resources for having a baby.
Thank you, all. Thank you, God. Thank you, Angel Sidewalk Counselor.
(You may contact Nadia at NadiaZapata@live.com.)
Director's Report for January 2012
Reading Nadia’s story on the front page gives us insight into the life of a pregnant teenager. How easy it would have been for her to continue through that abortion clinic door to “fix” her problem in a few short minutes. How hard the fall out would have affected her and her boyfriend for the rest of their lives. The picture of Nadia’s smiling baby, Andre, puts a face on Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, we can’t glimpse the sweet faces of the over 50,000,000 children who have been killed since the law was passed. Each with his or her own unique features and future.
At COLFS, we resolve to give real solutions to tough decisions that parents in crisis pregnancy must face. January 22, 2012, is just one day in the struggle to give abortion-intent women options that bring peace and joy to their lives. Everyday of the year, our crisis pregnancy counselor is there to take the calls of those desperate for assistance.
My resolution for 2012 is to make COLFS known to more women in need of our life-affirming services. Will you help me?
New Client Website
A Blessed Year in Review - 2011
Without our generous donors of time and treasures, we could not do our Lord’s work of protecting the innocent lives that He creates. Thanks to you, we can offer women in crisis pregnancies a free sonogram. Once a mother-to-be sees her baby, 70% chose life!
- 8 Baby Bottle Boomerang fundraisers, to create awareness of pro-life issues, raised over $30,000
- 60 free sonograms to crisis pregnancy patients
- 151 crisis patients seen by Dr. George Delgado, Dr. Karen Saroki, and the medical staff
- Now open on most Saturdays, the day with the highest rate of abortions performed
- Increase in prenatal care services and a collaboration with an obstetrical group to help with deliveries
- High rate of referral to COLFS from sidewalk counselors and other pregnancy resource centers
- Enshrinement of the medical practice to St. Gianna Beretta Molla, with the presence of her daughter Gianna Emanuela
- Bishop Cordileone of Oakland, CA, made a visit to San Diego to give a talk to the pro-life community
- 1st annual Our Lady’s Tea—a great success with a sold-out crowd of over two hundred women
- 2nd Annual Gala with another sold-out venue of 630 attendees
- Redesign of the COLFS website and the launch of the Pregnant and Scared site (www.PregnantAndScared.me)
- New logo and marketing material helps COLFS create a greater presence at events, health fairs, and parishes
Director's Report for December 2011
Here at COLFS, it is our mission to serve others in need as if they were Jesus. Without the grace of God and you, our supporters, it would be an impossible task. I marvel at the selfless servitude of Dr. George Delgado, Dr. Karen Saroki, the rest of the medical staff, the office staff, Debbie Bradel, and our faithful volunteers. To me, they personify the words of Christ in the gospels.
As I reflect on my first year at COLFS, I thank God for the opportunity that He has given me to meet some of you and to explain our direction and goals. You have responded generously, and I pray that our needs continue to be met throughout the coming year.
As you read on the first page, COLFS has touched many lives this past year. We have been led by the Holy Spirit to fight for what is right and to bring souls to the foot of the Cross, where true peace and happiness can be found.
I pray you all have a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with hope and joy. As you continue to fight for the rights of the unborn in the coming year, may your battle armor be the Word of God, and the Truth your sword.
Baby Bottle Boomerang Thank You
If you do not see your parish or school listed, please consider a Baby Bottle fundraiser in 2012!
- St. Timothy
- St. Joseph Academy
- St. Columba
- Sacred Heart, Coronado
- St. Jeanne School, Temecula
- St. Anne
- Our Lady of Grace
- Good Shepherd
- St. Didacus
- Our Lady of the Rosary
- Our Lady of Angels
- St. Luke
- St. Jerome
- St. John the Evangelist
- Holy Family
- St. Gregory the Great
- Christ the King
- St. James
Health Matters - December 2011
A: The zygote is the single cell individual that results from fertilization of the egg by the sperm. He or she becomes the embryo who becomes the fetus, then the baby and adult. So, we have a biological human life continuum.
The human zygote, embryo, and fetus are self-directing, self-programmed, self-affecting, self- actuating beings who require only the proper environment and nutrition to live and develop. This is fundamentally no different from human babies or adults.
Let’s look at these characteristics. They direct their own development; we all know that every single cell has a full component of the DNA that is required to direct all of the development and growth of a human organism. They are self-affecting; all processes or transformations that take place are put into play by the organism him or herself. They are self-actuating; any process is started by the human organism not from some trigger from the outside. At each stage of life, the human person looks and develops just as he or she should.
George Delgado, M.D.
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School Fundraiser
Their baby bottle collections during the month raised over $1,200 and will help us fund free medical care for those women who come to us for crisis pregnancies!
In honor of the feast of the Presentation of Mary in November, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School also generously adopted COLFS as the beneficiary for their Child Mary Celebration. St. Jeanne families blessed COLFS with donations of clothes, gift cards, toys and baby items, such as diapers, shampoos, and wipes. The month culminated in an event where the children performed many beautiful songs, and all items were presented to COLFS Executive Director, Scott Maxwell.
(Please send us pictures of your fundraisers for COLFS to include in future newsletters. Email comments and pictures to Scott Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Fighting the Good Fight to Save Lives
Miss S found her way to COLFS through another pregnancy help center and God, of course. After her ultrasound and an exam with Dr. Saroki, Miss S said, “This is the nicest doctor’s office I have ever been to.” It had been a long time since she smiled, and she was nervous because she felt a little crampy, so she wasn’t sure if she was miscarrying.
It was at her second visit, that Dr. Saroki asked me to spend a little time with Miss S and see how COLFS could help support her during this stressful time. True to COLFS mission, we were able to assist Miss S with transportation costs to the home of her older cousin in Georgia, who has two available bedrooms and the stable support that Miss S needs to finish her education and earn a living. Defying the odds that a young black single woman faces when she finds herself expecting a baby, Miss S is happy that she is still pregnant. The smile has returned to her face as she prepares to start a new life with family who cares and is able to help her.
What could have been a tragedy turned out to be an opportunity of neighborly love. R was pushing her baby in his stroller when a car hit them just as she reached the sidewalk. The force of contact knocked R over and the “little man” fell out. Neither one was injured, thank God, but the stroller was bent beyond repair. Unfortunately, this is an essential item for a single mom with no car. How else can a mom and son look for a job, attend school, and shop for groceries?
About two hours after R called to tell me what happened and ask if we had a stroller to donate, a friend of Dr. Saroki’s called saying he was just discharged from the Marines and wanted to know if there was anything he could offer in the way of time and/or talent. I couldn’t believe the perfect timing, but wanted to be respectful of his offer and not ask for too much. So I said, “Sir, it is very kind of you to offer to help us! We can use anything from a box of diapers to a stroller.” I proceeded to explain the story of R and how desperate she was to have a stroller. He went to Toys R Us that day and put a stroller on layaway so he could pay for it when his final paycheck came in. The next day he came in with a box of diapers and helped me put labels on baby bottles. Talk about generous! When the stroller was paid off, I accompanied our volunteer to R’s house, and she was filled with gratitude. Not only did she receive a brand new stroller but a car seat, as well, so she can ride with others.
This is truly a story of love of neighbor. Not only had our COLFS volunteer performed his duty to serve America in the Marines, but he came home and served a single mom who could have been housebound without wheels. This is the priceless support we give to moms who can easily be persuaded to abort when they have so many situational obstacles.