For the Russell family, the fight for life didn’t start on a street corner or with a news article but instead around the dinner table. Susan Russell, matriarch of the Russell clan, is a 30-year volunteer at Hope Pregnancy Center, and as the family would sit down for dinner, she would sometimes talk about her day serving the young women of Oklahoma City. Her stories about sharing the Gospel with young mothers and supporting them through an unplanned pregnancy stirred a desire in the hearts of her children, who as adults, continue to contribute to the same mission.
“She would come home and share stories as we grew up,” her son Steven said. “And in a loving way exposed our family to just what this ministry does and the real need for it and facilitated a passion in our home for it. Her stories created a very missional mentality.”
So, when the time came for their father to hand over the family business of commercial window treatments to Steven and his sister, Kelly, the siblings knew just what to do. The siblings knew just what to do. While they could not donate their time, they did decide to donate some of the proceeds of their business to support Hope Pregnancy Center.
“The Lord provides, and we like to steward it back into great and life-changing causes,” Kelly said. “We know it’s going to a life enhancing ministry at Hope Pregnancy Center. It’s not just throwing money at a cause.”
One story of their mom’s that really sticks out to the Russell siblings is about “the woman from Africa.” Alone and without family, the woman reached out to Susan as she went into labor and through delivery. Even after the child was born, Susan continued to help and support the young mother for the first couple of weeks.
“That one stands out because she was so active in that,” Kelly said. “Time and time again, I just hear her talking about faith in general and how she lovingly directing the young women to Jesus. Points them back to him, no matter where they are at in their faith walk.”
At Hope Pregnancy Center, the Gospel is the focal point of everything that they do. The women and their families always receive the Gospel, regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy test.
“No matter what the pregnancy test shows, positive or negative, Susan comes back and shares the Gospel no matter what,” Stacey, Steven’s wife, said. “They don’t send them off without at least hearing the Gospel.”
If a woman does find out she’s pregnant, the center has a variety of things that they offer. There are parenting and discipleship classes, and a “mommy” store where the young mothers can pick up some of the necessary items that they need like baby clothes, toys, blankets and even a crib. There is also a small photo studio, so young mothers and families who go through the program can celebrate their children.
“There is so much intention in how this ministry serves,” Steven said. “In an intentionally loving way, the center is a source of kindness and love to these women.”
There are a variety of pregnancy resource centers across the country that serve women, and hope is not just a part of the title but is always an essential part of the equation. As the pro-abortion lobby’s voices seem to get louder and more aggressive, places like Hope Pregnancy Center serve an increasingly vital role in supporting life and the women who may find themselves struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.
As long as there is a need, the Russell’s will continue to support the center and advocate for life. It is a passion that they hope to pass onto their children, as their mother did for them, and bring a third generation into the fold. Even so, they are hopeful that one day life will win out over abortion and places like Hope Pregnancy Center will no longer be needed.