Experienced Providers—But Novices Before Zoning Boards

by Karen Hess January 26, 2017


Deuteronomy 3:16 encourages us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

All of us at AlphaCare needed megadoses of godly courage this past year. Tried and true methods of reaching and ministering to abortion-vulnerable women have resulted in being able to serve approximately 14,000 families over the past 36 years. We are so grateful for that legacy. However, last year we concluded that some significant changes were needed—big bold changes.

In 2016 AlphaCare managed the following:

  • Strategic office move to 3807 Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia
  • Acquisition of mobile medical unit
  • Addition of ultrasound program
  • Rollout of AlphaCare brand
  • Hire of Brooke McDowell, Advancement Director

Thus, the need for godly courage. This past year has been a walk of faith like none other, and we are so grateful for the steady stream of professional references, godly men and women who have encouraged us, unexpected gifts, and faithful prayers which have sustained us and enabled us to discern that we are indeed on the path the Lord has directed us to.

Times of weakness have been good reminders that AlphaCare is the Lord’s work, not my work or any other individual’s fiefdom. – Karen Hess

More than once we have experienced the cycle embodied by this verse: “When I am weak, then I am strong” [in the Lord] from 2 Corinthians 12:10. Times of weakness have been good reminders that AlphaCare is the Lord’s work, not my work or any other individual’s fiefdom.

We felt helpless when we learned that we needed $350,000 more than anticipated for the office relocation and renovation last summer. We were still reeling from the news and hadn’t even formulated a plan to ask for help yet, when “out of the blue” someone offered a $350,000 gift. Our Heavenly Father was not surprised by any of this.

In fact, I believe His perfect timing allowed us to feel the shock of the tremendous need which reminded us that we were weak and powerless to move forward without his blessing and provision. Due to his provision, we also discerned that we were proceeding in his will and with his blessing.

If you ponder it, why wouldn’t we need courage to implement new plans? After all, we ask the women we serve to make courageous choices each and every day.

Make no mistake, daily courage is needed to bring a vulnerable newborn baby into this world, even under the best of circumstances. Most of the mothers we work with do not have much in the way of financial, familial, and material resources. However, I believe the Lord instills within each mother a passionate and deep love for her child that compels her to courageously look for solutions to the problems plaguing her so that she can offer her child a better tomorrow.

AlphaCare shifted between two roles all year long. One day we were the experienced providers helping a vulnerable new family, and the next we were the powerless novices standing before the Philadelphia Zoning Board, humbly asking the Lord for wisdom, mercy, and provision.

Though the journey has had a few bumps, we are grateful for Tenth Church and you, our fellow travelers. Often being part of the pro-life community requires us to roll up our sleeves and take a bold stand on what is God’s plan. It is not glamorous but courageous. We are called to comfort the afflicted, challenge the comfortable, and sometimes to do the uncomfortable. We know our work is very pleasing to God.

Please consider participating in our 2017 Baby Bottle Campaign for our mobile medical unit. All of the funds raised through the baby bottles will support the staffing, maintenance, and related operating expenses of our new unit, enabling us to provide more women throughout Philadelphia with free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. To help, please fill a bottle (available in Reception Hall today), go online to alphapre.org/donations, or use Venmo “AlphaCare”.

For more information about AlphaCare, contact Karen Hess, Executive Director, at khess@alpha-care.org

© 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Karen Hess. © 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org