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Sophia’s Testimony: The Path to Becoming a Love Life City Director 

Coming to the Lord and the Issue of Abortion 

Before coming to know the Lord, I had lived in deep rebellion toward God with bitterness and resentment in my heart. Growing up, I was raised by a single mom whose addictions lasted until I was 18. I was in and out of Juvenile Hall throughout my teenage years, and many of my friends were gang members. I had an abortion at age 15, which sent my already spiraling life further down the path of destruction. Three years later, I had my daughter. As much as I wanted to do things differently than my Mom, I eventually found myself partying and doing what I never wanted to do as a mother. 

At age 22, I was asked by a friend to read him the Bible his sister had given him for Christmas. Because of my love for reading, I said yes. For the next few weeks, I read a chapter or so at a time to him from the book of Matthew. When I came to Matthew 12:33-37, the holy fear of God came upon me, especially verse 37: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

At the time, I used horrible language and often spoke hurtful words to people. I knew at that moment if I were to stand before a Holy God and give an account for my life, I would be condemned. I was instantly convicted and cried out loud, “What must I do to be saved?” Right there, on my living room couch, I prayed to God and received Christ. 

Over the course of the next 10 years, the church I began attending sometimes hosted representatives from a pregnancy resource center who shared about their ministry. I would shed a tear or two but quickly bury the pain surrounding my prior abortion for fear of anyone finding out. I could not change the past. I knew God had forgiven me, but I did not know how to deal with the emotions surrounding what I had done all those years ago. 

God’s Conviction 

Several years after being at a new church, a new pastor regularly preached against abortion in a way that I had never heard before. At first, I received these messages gladly and was fired up about this issue. I strongly identified as pro-life, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. I was sure I would never have an abortion again but did not feel confident to tell anyone else that they should not. As time passed, I grew annoyed with the constant messages about abortion. 

One Friday in November of 2016, we had our once a month corporate prayer meeting. Guess what he was preaching about? Yep. Abortion. He spoke about David and Goliath and how we needed to take down the giants in our day. The first giant? Planned Parenthood! He said it is time for Christians to get off the sidelines and rush the field. When it came time for corporate prayer, I buried my face in the carpet and wept as my heart broke. God was saying it was time to rip off the scab and heal from the pain of my past abortion. That night, I cried before the Lord. “God, if you want to use me in this area, I say yes. But I don’t know what to do.” 

God Prepares Sophia for This Work 

That same night, I also prayed, “God, would you please defund Planned Parenthood?” I knew what defunding meant but couldn’t reckon in my mind why that was coming out of my mouth. I had no idea that a “medical clinic” received funds that could be defunded. Within one month, I got a postcard in the mail: Due To Defunding, two of the Planned Parenthoods in your county have been closed. I had not been a patient of Planned Parenthood for over 15 years when I received this notice! God was speaking again: When you pray along these lines, I hear you, and I will answer you. 

That began an insatiable appetite to learn everything I could about being pro-life. I studied scriptures and followed experts in the field as well as various life-affirming organizations. I posted articles on social media and learned how to defend my views in a public forum. I looked at the gray areas and hard cases and allowed God to solidify my convictions. My long history in ministry serving youth expanded to include teaching and training ministry partners on how to effectively serve Christ in our community. I also helped raise ministry partners for ministry teams. 

Despite seeking many events that might guide me in Pro Life ministry roles, none seemed to be what God would have me do. I was frustrated. At a Live Action gala, I made another commitment to the Lord. I prayed, “God, I want to be used by you in a deeper way in this area in the coming year, but I don’t know how. Please show me.” 

God Led Me to Sidewalk Outreach 

In 2020, during the pandemic, some dear friends and I began to follow a Love Life Missionary in NYC on social media. One of those friends went to a Love Life Boot Camp in September of that year. When he came home, he asked if I would be willing to go out to the abortion center with him. I never envisioned myself as being a Sidewalk Counselor, but oddly enough, I said yes. We went out to the Fresno abortion center, and within the first 2 days of being there- 3 babies were saved! It amazed me to see how God answered specific prayers for these babies whose moms choose life in response to us being there. God gripped my heart. He heard and answered my prayer. 

For several months, my son and I served on the sidewalk and helped with the work in Fresno. I began praying about attending the Boot Camp and to start serving closer to home in Antioch. I even flew out to the Week 40 Prayer Walk celebration in Charlotte in November 2020. A couple of months later, my son and I went to a conference in Arizona where Justin Reeder, founder of Love Life, shared his vision. When my son heard Justin, he knew that he wanted to be a part of this amazing work. 

After much prayer and conversation, we went to Boot Camp together in February of 2021. We came home and began the work in Antioch with a small handful of volunteers going to the sidewalk at one abortion center. By God’s grace, that has grown to Sidewalk Outreach at six abortion centers across Northern California. As I committed to the process and followed the leadership of my Regional Shepherd, Daniel Parks, my role expanded to become the City Director of our NorCal Antioch Mission Field. 

Hopes, Goals, and Dreams for this Ministry 

My hopes, goals, and dreams for this ministry are to see Sidewalk Outreach teams at every abortion center in Northern California. I want to see Houses of Refuge established at solid Bible-believing churches in every city of Northern California within a 45 mile radius of an abortion center. I want to see Pastors preaching boldly against the sin of abortion and proclaiming the healing and restoration found in Christ alone. I want to see women who are suffering silently because of the pain of their past abortion be set free and be made whole. I want to see babies live and families discipled. I want to see a world where the church does not sit idly by while innocent babies lose their lives every day in our communities. And I want Christ to be glorified in it all. 

Highlights and Struggles 

There have been so many highlights! 34 moms have chosen life since we began in February of 2021! We’ve been able to partner with 28 churches, ministries, and pregnancy resource centers. The selfless pastors and churches have a sacrificial love for their congregations, the lost, and the preborn. We’ve seen 5 official and 2 unofficial Houses of Refuge raised up in our region and 1,725 prayer walkers to date. 

There are accompanying struggles. Breaking hard ground in starting the work in Antioch was difficult. It’s taken time to establish solid relationships. Finding the right people to be in the right places and waiting for that to happen can sometimes be challenging. Finding the right mentors quickly for our moms has also been difficult. Through it all, the Lord has been faithful to provide all that we have needed. 

Concluding Thoughts 

The Lord has blessed me with phenomenal teams. I have had the privilege of serving Jesus next to committed and earnest brothers and sisters. I am very thankful for each one. I am praying that in the coming year, we would grow closer to the Lord and to each other, serving Him in true unity as He continues to draw others to our team. 

If you would like to give to help support the work that God is doing in Antioch or any of our cities nationwide, please visit our donate page here.

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