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Establish the Work of Our Hands

It’s Monday morning rush hour in Joplin, Mo., with cars rushing to and fro past the white stucco office building just off the busy bridge on 7th Street.

Even though it is early, Melinda Campbell is sitting in the small cubicle shared with a co-worker at the LifeChoices pregnancy center. The oak door is wide open as she types away at her picture-and-paper covered desk.

Melinda’s official title, administrative assistant, may be confusing considering all she does. While her standard job description includes paying the bills, managing the accounts and doing the payroll, Melinda does a host of other things, everything from managing the center’s shopping to planning meetings and occasionally dealing with clients.

And it’s all done to further the center’s mission: Save babies while loving and helping their mothers.

No "unnecessary" jobs

"I’d like to think of something more glamorous that I do!" Melinda laughs. "In a nutshell, I do all the clerical and accounting work. Occasionally I will jump in and do counseling."

At a meeting one day, Melinda complained about how mundane her job was. One of the board members said to her, "Melinda, if you didn’t pay the electric bill, we’d have to shut down because the lights and ultrasound machine wouldn’t work."

"That changed my whole outlook on the ministry," Melinda says. "I’m not a counselor, but I have an extremely important job. It is an honor to hear people say, ‘If you need to know something about LifeChoices, ask Melinda.’ "

The idea of counseling a pregnant woman scares many potential volunteers away. And while counseling is vital to a pregnancy help center, it takes many hands to keep one running—all equally important. Everyone has something he or she can offer.

"There are so many things for people to do," says Rita Lawson, client services director at LifeChoices. "For instance, we can’t afford a cleaning crew, so our counselors split up the tasks. If people would volunteer to clean, it would free up counselors’ time.

"No matter how commonplace a job may seem, it is important," Rita stresses. "If we don’t clean, we don’t have a center. The important thing to remember is that we’re serving God."

Most volunteers discover that once they join a pregnancy center’s crew, they never regret it. The rewards are eternal and satisfying. Not only does one have the chance to save babies and change people’s lives, but the chance to share the gospel is always open.

"When I started working at LifeChoices, I was asking, What can LifeChoices do for me financially?" Melinda says. "Now I’m thinking, What can LifeChoices do for me spiritually?"

Renee Fisher, a counselor for six months, says she was looking for a way to minister to people. Not long after she started praying about it, she learned about LifeChoices.

"I wasn’t sure if it was what God wanted from me yet," Renee says, "but I tried it. Now I can’t wait to get back there every Monday. I can feel the Holy Spirit when I walk in the door. I enjoy the fellowship and love there. God is pouring His blessings on me."

You can help a pregnancy help center without having to enter its doors, too. For example, LifeChoices uses volunteers to run a small thrift shop.

Young women earn vouchers by attending parenting classes at LifeChoices—child care is provided by volunteers—and they can turn in the vouchers for diapers, clothes, toys, cribs and much more.

Who, me?

You may wonder, Do I have what it takes to be a volunteer at a pregnancy help center? God has given everyone a gift to use. It may not be the gift of counseling, but a local center will welcome you with open arms for any number of other tasks.

Most centers, however, will require you to meet certain qualifications. For example, many ask volunteers to undergo training to better equip them to serve.

Volunteers are also expected to meet the same standards they ask their clients to meet, e.g., an unmarried woman should not be having a sexual relationship, volunteers are expected to attend church and so forth.

The best way to find out is to call your local center and ask. While every center is different, there is one thing that most have in common: As often as possible, they share the love of Jesus with anyone who will listen.

You can find a local center at or check the Yellow Pages under abortion alternatives. Many centers were formerly called crisis pregnancy centers but are now using the more positive name of pregnancy resource centers.

Volunteering at LifeChoices is like being part of a family. Staff members regularly get together to share concerns and pray. "I’ve never had a job where we got together almost every morning to pray," Melinda says. "I just love working here!"

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