Walking Our Faith: Caring for our most vulnerable | SummitDaily.com

Walking Our Faith: Caring for our most vulnerable

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith

Imagine a dark winter’s night, uncomfortably cold if you are without shelter. Imagine you are an infant born into these challenging circumstances, relying entirely on the compassion of your parents for your survival.

When God entered the world as Jesus, he chose to do so as an infant born to impoverished parents. What did God want to teach us by this choice? What does God then ask of us in caring for the most vulnerable in our Summit County community?

Over the past month, I’ve highlighted charities that are providing winter coats (Knights of Columbus), food (Smart Bellies) and diapers (Casa Gabriel) for our children in need. This week, the Q&A is with a leader assisting underserved pregnant women in Summit County: Women’s Resource Center of the Rockies Executive Director Ann Hunsinger.

What services are offered by the Women’s Resource Center?

Women’s Resource Center of the Rockies offers life-affirming choices and compassionate support to women and men facing unintended pregnancies in our community. Located at 350 Lake Dillon Drive (same building as the Summit Resort Group), the center strives to bring help and hope to women and men, present sexual abstinence as a positive lifestyle for singles, and provide an opportunity for healing and restoration to those who have been hurt by abortion or miscarriage.

Our free services include pregnancy tests, obstetrical ultrasound exams and pregnancy decision counseling. Free material resources — including maternity clothing, cosmetics, newborn baby clothes and diapers — are also available. We provide prenatal and parenting educational resources as well as mentoring and counseling for prospective moms, dads and grandparents. Restoration and support for women and men who have experienced any reproductive loss — either through miscarriage, infant loss or abortion — is vital to our mission.

What are your faith beliefs, and how do they interact with your work?

Since May 2008, the center has served 276 women and men from Summit and other surrounding counties. Having experienced an unintended pregnancy over 30 years ago — and suffering mentally, emotionally and spiritually from the subsequent abortion — I became a member of the nonprofit’s founding board of directors in 2007. In 2013, much to my surprise, God called me to serve as the executive director of the Women’s Resource Center. Having never served as a nonprofit administrator before, it’s been quite a learning and growth experience for me. God’s love for me and for all people compels me to continue to serve in the ministry of the Women’s Resource Center to council vulnerable women and men.

It is only through God’s strength and his wisdom that I have been in this position for the past eight years. Today’s verse on my Bible app expresses this so well: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” — Psalm 28:7

Which of the center’s services matter most to you?

Due the generosity of the local Knights of Columbus Council 145, the center purchased its first ultrasound machine in 2016, allowing our clients a “window into the womb.” Obstetrical ultrasounds are performed by our trained volunteer nurse, Janet Graham, and reviewed by our Medical Director Dr. Steve Foley.

Our purpose for performing obstetrical ultrasounds is three-fold:

  • To confirm that there is a pregnancy within the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy outside the uterus is very dangerous and requires us to refer clients for immediate medical attention.
  • To measure the heart rate activity of the baby.
  • To determine the gestational period of the child or how many weeks and days pregnant the mother is. This information is invaluable to women and men trying to make a decision about their pregnancy.

What can women expect when they contact the center?

Whether clients choose to carry their pregnancy to term and parent, make an adoption plan or choose to terminate their pregnancy, our goal is to continue to love and support them. So far in 2021, the center has served 24 female clients, provided 22 pregnancy tests and five ultrasound exams. We have also been seeing many more male clients who are accompanying the women, according to Client Services Director Maggie Runte.

Religious affiliation is not at all a prerequisite for receiving help from the center. We serve women and men regardless of their race, religion or economic situation. Women and men who walk through our door can expect to be treated with love, compassion, confidentiality and respect.

Many of our clients struggle with past relational hurts, and an unplanned pregnancy on top of all that puts them over the edge, which brings them to our door. Pastor Jim Howard of Dillon Community Church just finished preaching a long series on Ecclesiastes. Verse 3:11 from that book is a great comfort to me and many others: “He has made everything beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet, no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Now healed from the shame and regret of my past abortion, I want others to experience that same forgiveness and freedom. In January, we will be launching a new post-abortion recovery and healing program for women called Surrendering the Secret. The group will meet weekly for eight weeks beginning Feb. 9. Please contact the Women’s Resource Center at 970-262-9274 or ann@wrcoftherockies.org for more information. The center is also always looking for new volunteers and board members with a passion for serving God and for our mission!

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