Oct. 14—MOSES LAKE — About 300 people gathered Saturday at the 4-H building at the Grant County Fairgrounds to support an institution dear to their hearts: Crossroads Pregnancy Resource Center.
Crossroads, which has offices in Moses Lake and Ephrata, is a Christian ministry that offers alternatives to abortion, as well as ultrasounds, sexually transmitted disease testing and resources for parents, like baby clothes, diapers and some financial assistance. The amount of money raised was not immediately available.
The event began with a tribute to Crossroads' longtime director Marilyn Hallberg, who was honored with a plaque and a standing ovation for her 12 years of service to the center. Hallberg then delivered an opening prayer before dinner was served.
The banquet was catered by Top Gun Concession & Catering and offered prime rib, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salad and dessert. After dinner, a trio of Abby Martinez, Kirsten Hintz and Justine Friehe sang a song of blessing.
Crossroads' executive director Carol Knopp gave a rundown of the center's activities, emphasizing the difference made in clients' lives. Pregnancy centers face an uphill battle, she said, particularly in states like Washington, with few restrictions on abortion, but the resources Crossroads offers are continuing to expand.
"One client we had come in was very undecided about her pregnancy," Knopp said. "It was unplanned and she ended up being a lot further along than she thought. She said that the lack of finances was the primary barrier to keeping her baby. We told her about our new (financial assistance) program and that we could help her provide what she needed for her baby up to the baby's first birthday, and then we'd determine if she needed more help. Well, that was the tipping point for her, and she chose life for her baby and accepted our offer."
"This year," she added, "in addition to financial support, I would like to appeal to you for more prayer support. We are in the midst of a very real battle in our state. But we serve a God who hears and answers our prayers."
After Knopp's presentation, emcee Chuck Yarbro Jr. introduced the event's guest speaker, Joseph Backholm, a lawyer and the senior fellow for Biblical worldview and strategic engagement for the Family Research Council, a conservative political organization.
Backholm, a Washington native and father of four, spoke about the legal and cultural implications of abortion, as well as sex education, assisted suicide and other hot-button issues, and how Christians should respond to them. He also spoke glowingly of the crisis pregnancy centers like Crossroads and the people who run them.
"The nation's pregnancy centers reach some 1.9 million people each year," Backholm said. "They provide pregnant women education on options, life-affirming community resources education on sexual integrity, parenting classes, maternity and baby clothes, supplies as well as abortion recovery support. ... And these services are provided at no cost, thanks to the generosity of those who work for and support these centers."
"Twenty-nine out of every 30 people engaged in pregnancy resource center work across the country are volunteers," Backholm continued. "The 2,300 centers have more than 40,000 volunteers across the country. Of those, at least 1,200 are nurses and physicians who provide ultrasounds and teach young people, among other things, how to have healthy relationships, how to be better parents, and the value of sexual integrity."
Despite abortion providers' financial and political advantages, Backholm said, centers like Crossroads make an enormous difference.
"One of the most significant challenges to the abortion industry in Washington state and around the country is a growing and increasingly relevant network of pregnancy resource centers that would dare shine the obnoxious light of hope in the darkness that women often find themselves facing with an unplanned pregnancy," Backholm said. "These clinics ... are not only cutting into revenues for the abortion industry, but they are producing thousands of testimonies to the power of grace, love and hope in even the most difficult circumstances. And once you've seen the cute little face of a baby that otherwise would not have had a chance to take a breath, it's difficult to argue that it wasn't worth fighting for."