by Marvin Platten
While many small Lutheran churches in the inner city struggle to stay alive, many are reaching out to their local community with early childhood programs’even if only on a limited basis.
One early childhood program was developed a few years ago at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lubbock, Texas. Originally called “Parents Day Out,” it is conducted by an outgoing, energetic Redeemer member, Traci Loveless. Starting with only two or three young children ages 2 to 6, it eventually grew into double-digit numbers. Today, it is known as “Redeemer Early Childhood Program.”
When I visited this program recently, Traci introduced me to the bright, happy, and excited children who enthusiastically responded with smiles and waving arms. Traci said they always seem happy to be there.
Then, she turned my attention to a little girl who, she said, would not be here or anywhere if it were not for our Lord answering a prayer. She told me about “Baby Terri.” That is what all the other children in the program and the staff of the Redeemer Early Childhood Program call her.
Terri’s mom had an unplanned pregnancy. After long consideration, she decided to have an abortion. Though many of her friends and family tried to talk her out of it, she apparently had made up her mind to proceed with the abortion. Many tears were shed knowing that a life was about to end.
On the day she was scheduled for the abortion, the staff at Redeemer had a meeting. When Pastor Jay Beyer asked for prayer requests, Traci shared what was about to happen to the life of this young pregnant woman and her unborn child. Through teary eyes, they brought their petition to the Lord in prayer.
Before the meeting ended, Traci received a phone call from someone informing her that the young woman had changed her mind. She would not abort her baby!
“Isn’t the power of prayer amazing,” Traci proclaims. “Now we all share in the love for this precious little gift from God named Baby Terri. She is a very special child and steals the hearts of all those who know her.”
And, it almost was not to be.