Trick Baby

Dr. Ron Archer spoke to a packed crowd at the Northern Indiana Event Center on Thursday, March 7 at RETA’s Celebrating Life Benefit Dinner. His booming voice and powerful story inspired those in attendance to stand up for the sanctity of life.

Ron’s story begins with tragedy, as he was born to a teenage call girl after failed back-alley abortion attempts. His life was plagued with abuse and torment because of his disabilities. After a teacher stepped into his story, that all changed. She began to show him that God loved him and had a plan for his life by teaching him how to read by learning the Bible. Ron’s life changed when he met God and learned about who he was as God’s dearly loved child. He graduated as valedictorian and went on to become a church planter and presidential adviser. We’ll be posting a video of our evening together on our Facebook page and YouTube channel soon.

Ron has a book, entitled What Belief Can Do coming out in May of 2019, which can be pre-ordered at https://amzn.to/2NRxLSS.

The dinner has so far raised $202,000 as donations continue to come in. We're so grateful for everyone's support to make free pregnancy testing, ultrasound, parent coaching, pregnancy loss support and healthy sexual boundaries education possible for our wonderful clients. Above are some unedited photos of our amazing evening together.

Staying Inside the Fence

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Joni and Jeff from RETA have the privilege of presenting our Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education in local schools, most recently at Elkhart Memorial High School. Students are encouraged to choose abstinence before marriage as a means to their best life, helping them think through how their choices now will impact where they end up and how it will impact their future relationships.

Near the close of their presentation, they help the students think through the difference of reducing risk versus avoiding risk. As Jeff says, “You can’t just get part of an STI or get just a little bit pregnant.” The only foolproof way of making sure you don’t get an STI or experience an unplanned pregnancy is abstinence. We know this because our coaches have met with pregnant clients who have used various forms of birth control, whether medication or barrier.

Abstinence is a difficult, but not impossible choice. It’s made easier through determining where your boundaries are. Jeff says, “It’s a lot easier to figure out your boundaries ahead of time. 11 o’clock on a Saturday night watching a romantic movie when the parents aren’t home is probably not the best time to try to figure out what your boundaries are.” Setting up boundaries, like not allowing a boyfriend over when parents aren’t home or not staying out with a significant other past 10 p.m. are boundaries that will help students reach their ideal future. They know what their triggers can be.

Jeff compares boundaries to a small child inside a fence. Inside the fence is the parent who is just a call away, the friendly dog, the red ball to play with and the plush grass. Outside the fence are the noisy, zooming cars, stray animals and strangers. The little girl can walk up to the edge of the yard and look outside the fence and see these things are around, but she’s protected from them by the fence. In the same way, the students’ boundaries act as a fence that keeps them on track for their ideal life. They know these other things exist, but if they stay inside their boundaries, without a doubt, they will be in a better, less complicated, more fulfilling spot in life.

You can learn more about our Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education which is offered to groups or one-on-one here.

A Reminder for 2019

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“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” - 2 Chronicles 20:15

Before the end of each year, RETA has a staff retreat. In preparation for the retreat, the staff send our executive director, Roxana a scipture or two that we feel would be a good theme for the coming year. The scriptures are posted at the retreat and the staff prayerfully vote for their top three. We then discuss and select the scripture that will be our theme verse.

For 2019, 2 Chronicles 20:15 was selected. We are not in the business of battling in the hurtful and divisive ways the world does. We recognize though, that this year has a lot in store, for the staff personally and professionally and for the organization as a whole. We face situations and enter the stories of our clients daily. This can begin to feel like we’re facing a vast army. The verse is a reminder for us that God has us. As we listen and obey, he is guiding, leading and empowering. He is giving us the wisdom and strength we need to face and accomplish what he’s called us to do.

We hope that’s an encouraging word for you as it is for us!

From Client to Board Member

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Meet RETA board member and secretary, Katie Mayfield. Katie has served on RETA’s board since October 2015. An Elkhart native, she graduated from Elkhart Central High School in 1999 and pursued social work, attending IUSB thereafter.

Now working at a law firm next door to RETA’s office, Katie is blessed to have a job that allows her to love, encourage and walk through difficult times with her clients who face end-of-life issues for themselves or their loved ones. She’s reminded daily of the sanctity, fragility and brevity of life - not only from her job, but from her own life experiences.

Katie is a single mother of six. She has three beautiful children, middle school through college-age, here on earth and three in heaven, who were lost to abortion and miscarriage. Her experiences with her lost children ultimately led her to receive services at RETA, and after finding healing, freedom and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, Katie now provides a unique perspective serving our RETA’s board of directors.

She hopes to make an impact with RETA through building relationships and empowering Elkhart by sharing truth, love, hope, resources and education. We’re so glad she’s part of our team!

2019 Celebrating Life Benefit Dinner

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Our Celebrating Life Benefit Dinner presented by The Norris Estate is only six weeks away! We're going to have presidential adviser and NFL consultant, Dr. Ron Archer share his incredible life story after being born to a seventeen-year-old call girl after a failed abortion attempt and the transformation that took place in his life. We're also going to hear from a former RETA client, now volunteer, who went through our Abortion Recovery Support program, as well as a local OB/GYN who performs Abortion Pill Reversal. It's going to be an incredible night.

We still have seats open for our Celebrating Life Benefit Dinner presented by The Norris Estate! Our main auditorium is currently filled and we have seats in our video venue across the hall, featuring live hosts and a special meet and greet during dinner with Dr. Ron Archer.

To be transparent, if seats open in the main auditorium, those signed up first in our video venue will be moved into the main auditorium. If our video venue is filled, we will create a waiting list.

Make sure to get your reservation in today at retaforlife.com/dinner!

Nice Ride!

RETA’s mobile unit upgrades are complete! During Thanksgiving week, the mobile unit was dropped off at Fox RV, where the inside was renovated over the next two months with new furniture, chair covers and carpet.

The shower and stove were removed to make places for better storage. Along with those changes, a sink was added to the exam room as well as a new ultrasound probe disinfection station and an emergency exit door and stairs.

Not wanting to neglect the outside of the vehicle, RETA staff Rod worked on a preliminary design for a new wrap on the outside of our mobile unit.

After finalizing the design with the crew at Bandit Signs and Graphics, the mobile unit was re-wrapped. We are so excited to begin services again in mid-January around Elkhart County.

Those looking for a free pregnancy test or first trimester obstetric ultrasound can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 574-522-3888 or visiting our website at retaforlife.com/appointment.

Work Release Update with Jeff

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For six months straight I have invested Monday evenings with dads in the facility commonly known as Work Release in Goshen, Indiana. In that time, 57 different men have attended class. Men and women here are serving varying amounts of time for a variety of offenses. Blank looks, a few quiet nods or “Evening, sir” serve as greeting. Airborne odors inform you that many people dwell within these concrete walls. A brief check-in and pat-down take place before being escorted through the halls. An officer announces, “Men’s Coaching in classroom C”.

In the room, the lights and air-conditioning kick on, and they keep us alert and prevent dozing. Guys arrive and sign in; those who have been in class before are enthusiastic and the new guys are polite. Men bump the plastic chairs into place behind the tables and banter abounds. I provide lesson materials. New attendees get RETA brochures and folders as I explain the basics of RETA and introduce our topic.

The discussion or video begins and guys fill in blanks on their handout. Instead of lecturing, I entertain a dialogue about the issues. We all share real-life, relevant stories. There is little embarrassment here, much honesty, and an acknowledgement of reality.

Some men express cynicism about their legal situation. Some are angry about the limited contact their girlfriends or wives permit them with their daughters and sons. Some cry about the mountains they feel they will have to climb before they will be allowed consistent time with their kids after their release. Some shed tears of gratitude because their voice and heart were heard by a sympathetic ear.

Some guys laugh about their kids doing stuff they used to do when they were kids: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” Experienced dads wisely share about learning from mistakes and gently advise younger guys to avoid repeating the same ones. Some dads are curious about where to start with their kids after a long separation: “What do I say? What should I give them? How do I explain my actions and my absence?”

They have learned communication skills to improve their relationship with mom. They have learned about parenting styles and how to maximize personal strengths. They have learned about the impact families feel by both involved dads and absent dads. They have learned about creating rituals for their kids as they age and move into new seasons in their lives. They have talked about and imagined reconnecting with their children, face-to-face and heart-to-heart. They have learned the purpose of appropriate discipline, co-parenting tips and traps, and how to connect emotionally with their kids.

I could share many more details, but please note… These dads’ hearts are very soft toward their kids while often hardened toward other people as well as “the system”. Many of these dads need Jesus. The men and women in work release need us to pray for them and their families as they transition back into the community and their families. Pray that men in my class would respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

by Men’s Coaching Manager, Jeff

Harvest Time

RETA was invited to be part of Harvest Community Church's Missions Weekend, which kicked off at the beginning of November. RETA staff had a blast sharing with the church members all weekend about the services we provide and how folks can get involved with what we do. Rhonda represented us at the opening evening dinner, speaking with a table of Harvest members. Roxana and Joni spoke to small groups on Friday evening. Rod and Angie shared stories with the youth on Saturday evening and gave an overview to the congregation on Sunday morning. We had a great time!

Happy Merry Volunteer Luncheon

RETA has some amazing volunteers - more than 50 regular volunteers, in fact. Through the first ten months of the year, our volunteers have put in more than 1,750 hours of service, through things like helping as parent coaches, providing ultrasounds, serving at our events or maintaining our mobile unit.

As a small symbol of our gratitude, RETA staff, headed up by Rhonda and Tonya, threw a Happy Merry Luncheon to recognize and celebrate our volunteers. Those in attendance played several Christmas-themed games, had a nice meal and enjoyed some fellowship.

Volunteers, thanks so much for all you do!

Big Mobile Upgrades

Last week, RETA’s mobile unit was taken to Fox RV, where it will receive some pretty big upgrades inside and out over the next two months. We’ll be updating the furniture, making our space more user-friendly for our medical staff and re-wrapping the outside of the unit. Check out the mock-ups to get an idea of what the new outside will look like!

Our mobile unit will be out of commission until mid-January, but clients are still able to schedule their free pregnancy tests or ultrasounds at our office in Elkhart.

We are currently working toward implementing STI testing. It is not yet something we do. This is just a mock-up.

Spreading the Word

RETA has been blessed with the opportunity to share at three of our supporting churches this past month, with another great opportunity early next month!

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Clinton Frame Church invited RETA out to their first ever Mission Fair, providing Rod and Angie an opportunity to share about our services and volunteer opportunities. We are projected to serve our clients over more than 2,600 appointments this year because of awesome folks spreading the word about who we are and what we do! While we were there, Pastor Scott Miller of Pathway in Middlebury shared the Sunday morning message, encouraging folks to visit our booth.

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Angie had the opportunity to present at Sugar Grove Church's Cultivate Women's Conference. She's pictured on stage with keynote speaker Kelly Minter. It was an awesome opportunity to share about how ladies can get involved in volunteering with RETA. Speaking of volunteering, if you're interested in partnering with us, check out retaforlife.com/volunteer.

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Zion Missionary Church had Rod out to present as part of their Missions Week. After talking to the adults in the Sunday morning service, Rod joined the kids, who were making blankets for our Family Store. So cool!

We are very grateful for each of our supporting churches - for raising awareness, volunteering, giving and being the Church God has called them to be.

A Special Visit

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Rep. Jackie Walorski and Marilyn Musgrave from the Susan B. Anthony List stopped by RETA earlier this month. We're so grateful for our representatives and the work they do!

While the ladies were here, they toured our building, learned more about our programs and dropped off a report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute about pregnancy centers across the United States. Did you know that pregnancy centers saved their clients and communities more than $161,000,000 in costs in 2017? We didn’t either!

Based on the national statistics, we learned that in free ultrasounds alone, RETA saved our clients $94,000 last year. We couldn't do that without the awesome support of individuals, businesses and churches in our community. Thank you!

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Candlelight Memorial

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Tonya, RETA's Pregnancy Loss Support Coordinator, along with Julie from Northern Indiana Hope Mommies and Lynda of Loved Baby came together for a Pregancy & Infant Loss Candlelight Memorial event at Sugar Grove Church in Goshen on Sunday, October 21. The open house-style event provided families who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth and early infant loss an opportunity to honor their babies' lives, share their stories and learn about local loss support programs.

Attendees wrote notes to their lost children or a letter in honor of their baby, placed them under candles and lit the candles as a reminder that they were here and their lives mattered.

Losing your baby is tough. If you need support, please consider coming to RETA’s Pregnancy Loss Support group, which meets the second Monday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m. at RETA’s offfice.

In Memory of Lori

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This past month has been a hard month for the RETA family. We were deeply saddened when we learned of the deaths of two of our beloved clients - Lori and Lisa. We will miss them deeply.

Months before her passing, Lori allowed RETA to share her story and we are so grateful that we had the honor of seeing her life transformed through the grace of Jesus Christ. Below is her story.

LORI’S STORY, SHARED EARLY 2018

“I have a nine, six and three-year-old and I’m going to deliver in June. My nine-year-old is Ryan, my six-year-old is Chase and then I have Carson. I was in a very tough spot when I chose RETA. I was actually in a Planned Parenthood office with my third son and they had given me abortion numbers.

So I just fell to my knees and started crying. And then, someone came in and that’s when I got up and I was like, ‘You can walk this way or that way,’ so I just kept walking and never knew where I was going. It was in January, so it was below zero. I saw a cross on the sign, and it was the Faith Mission. So I walked in there and I was like, ‘I want to talk to somebody, preferably a female,’ because I think we would be more understanding with each other. While I was there, the coaches, they give referrals, and RETA was one of them.

When I was on my knees, it was just a wakeup call, and I was at rock bottom. That’s when I found Jesus. There’s a verse in Matthew – don’t worry about the clothes you wear, the food, and all these things. I’ll provide for you, so I believed. It wasn’t just believing, but I’ve seen him provide for me and he’s really shown me who he is.

RETA, Reason Enough To Act, they stepped up to the plate for single mothers and mothers who need insight and it’s great. It’s helped me become a better mother. I’ve been able to provide for my children better financially. It’s tough being a single mother and I can earn mommy money, go shopping in RETA’s Family store and get brand new stuff for my kids. It saves me money and it leaves me more money for them.

My situation has made me who I am today, so I’m thankful for hitting rock bottom and not being shy to cry in front of people. If I would’ve done that, I wouldn’t have my son, Carson. I’m thankful that I did not take that route and that I have my little boy with me, because he’s a joy. I just love him to death. He’s been my savior, almost like my rescuer. If it wasn’t for him, I might still be in the mess I was in – surrounded by drugs, on a friend’s couch and didn’t have anything of my own. Its great – you have something to live for, something to take care of.

I’m thankful for RETA, I can’t even explain how great this program is here.”

Understanding a Post-Abortive Woman

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If you’ve never experienced an abortion in your past, it can be very difficult to understand the emotions and thoughts that race through a woman’s mind as she discovers she is expecting again. For this reason, several staff and volunteers attended a training conducted by Ramah International. 

Ramah, named for the biblical account of Herod’s genocide of the children of Bethlehem, exists to equip those working in pregnancy centers to see through women’s eyes who have abortions in their past. 

This training gave us tools to understand the thoughts a woman goes through as she processes the reality of the new life she carries and the other life she did not. A woman who is post-abortive may have a very strong emotional reaction to seeing an ultrasound of her current pregnancy.  She may also have a numbness that won’t allow her to feel excitement over this new pregnancy as she doesn’t feel “she deserves to be happy” because of her past choice. 

I very much appreciated getting these perspectives, and many others, presented in a new and fresh way. Thank you to our donors that designate funds for our continued training. These events help us to be better equipped at reaching our clients with the message of life.

Rhonda Feathers, RETA Receptionist

Forgiven, Worthy and Loved

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This past month, a handful of RETA staff and volunteers facilitated our third Abortion Recovery Retreat. The retreat allows for an extended time in a peaceful and secluded setting where we can explore the attributes and character of God in depth. Allowing ourselves hours of alone time with God and His Word brings us to face all the defense mechanisms we have built up to protect ourselves from Truth. Each group session, following a period of solitude and study, brings us closer to the Lord and learning how to walk with Him more completely. (And, of course, we enjoy some delicious food together!)

Participants had breakthroughs during the retreat regarding many of the relationships in their lives; with their children, spouses and marriage, their parents and or siblings. The biggest and most common victory we’ve seen over three retreats is learning to overcome the unworthiness and self-loathing some have felt for as many as 60 years. 

This changes attitudes, and most importantly how we view our relationship with our Creator.  Being forgiven, worthy, and loved changes lives.

Tonya Harwood, Pregnancy Loss Support Coordinator

Kingdom Building

Do you ever get that pounding feeling in your head? We've had it all day thanks to a great roofing crew from Kingdom Construction.

Setting up shop in a home built around 1910, RETA needs to do routine maintenance to keep up our historic facility. (Did you know we’re situated in the old Monger family home?) After some leaking earlier in the year, we discovered that a previous roofing crew - more than ten years ago - forgot to put decking on the northwest side of our building. For those of you who aren’t familiar, decking is what the felt and shingles are nailed to. We’re grateful for God’s hand of protection over our building for so long without problems! We’re also grateful for folks willing to get on top of a three-story home’s roof.

Filling Some Big Shoes

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Sharing stories, tears and laughs, the RETA staff said goodbye to Nurse Manager, Mariah, as she moved on to pursue a new opportunity in the nursing field earlier this month.

Mariah, RETA's first medical staff member, helped implement important medical policies and procedures. She acted as a liason with our Medical Directors at Fairhaven OB/GYN. Shortly after deciding to go medical in 2014 and purchasing our mobile unit in 2015, Mariah was trained in limited obstetric ultrasound, had the privilege of driving the mobile, and helped train our second nurse, Melody. Melody says of her:

"Mariah was always easy to work with and showed great compassion to her clients and co-workers. She listened with empathy, and when someone had a broken heart, hers was also breaking for them. She was passionate about working alongside her clients to help them have the very best care and plenty of resources for their pregnancy. Mariah will be greatly missed here, but I know she will thrive in her new setting and the hospital will be a better place because of her!"

Thanks for helping get our vital medical work started, Mariah, and thanks for your care for everyone around you!

Mariah leaves some big Administrative Nurse shoes behind to fill.

If you or someone you know has a heart for what we do at RETA
and a degree in nursing, visit link.retaforlife.com/nurse to apply.

Rain, Rain, Go Away! | 2018 Golf Outing

Golfers clopped into Meadow Valley Golf Club through sheets of rain and claps of thunder early Saturday morning, greeted by friendly RETA staff and volunteers. The golfers worked their way down the registration line, entering our raffle for a $500 Visa gift card, looking at door prizes like golf bags, restaurant gift cards, jewelry and automobile gift certificates, and picking up some free boxes of popcorn.

Despite the rain and standing water on the course causing the RETA Golf Outing presented by the Kerry Finnigan Rupright Foundation to be cancelled, more than $34,000 was raised. The golfers enjoyed donuts from Dutch Maid Bakery and Meadow Valley graciously gave our golfers rain checks to golf again another day.

A huge thank you to our golfers for coming out and trying to wait it out with us! Thank you to all of our sponsors for bringing everything together and thank you to our amazing volunteers for helping get everything around.