by Katelyn Keeling – Media Intern
It was a small nudge from the Holy Spirit, but Becky Yurisich felt it still.
Change the conversation.
She made her first trip to Hope Pregnancy Center in August of 2015.
Armed with the unconditional love of Christ and a short presentation about a national, church-based organization called Embrace Grace, she put a face to the ministry she’d felt called to begin. After a question and answer session with the girls, Yurisich left a contact sheet at the center in hopes that some of the girls would sign up and run to the church rather than from it.
“I was looking around and seeing what the church was saying about pregnant girls and what they were doing about it and it didn’t connect for me,” Yurisich said. “This doesn’t make sense. If we’re supposed to be supporting these people but we’re not, that doesn’t line up.”
Embrace Grace is a nationally-based ministry that operates through churches that aims to create a safe place where single, pregnant girls can run to for encouragement, resources and support. The program is a twelve week bible study for moms-to-be aged anywhere from thirteen to twenty-eight where they learn how they are loved, treasured and a child of God. Yurisich says the girls who participate are “called ‘blooms’ because we’re just planting seeds.” At the end of the Bible study, the church hosts a baby shower for the moms who have completed the program and a graduation called “Princess Day” where the church serves the graduates a nice meal and celebrates them.
“This is Jesus to me,” Yurisich said. “This is what it should be.”
After seeing the impact of the ministry through the work of one of her close friends, Yurisich felt called to begin a chapter of the organization through First Temple. The first twelve-week run was a success, according to Yurisich. Four new mothers were able to graduate.
Laricia is one of the girls who signed up for the program the day that Yurisich visited Hope Pregnancy Center in August.
“I was actually reluctant to come because I felt like a charity case,” Laricia said. “But once I started going and I saw the way they treated me, I knew they were doing it for a greater purpose and I enjoyed it.”
“We had girls who came in afraid and not knowing what the church was going to say to them about their situation,” Yurisich said. “We had them leave confident in who they were, who they are in Christ.”
“We had professions of faith, or people who said, ‘you know, I didn’t believe this at all before, but I’m kind of starting to see.’ The seeds have been planted,” she said. “If one girl comes to Christ through all of the ministry, it’s wonderful. But at least the seeds have been planted so at least they have something to fall back on if they need to. It’s been really neat to see.”
Not many members of First Temple knew Yurisich had started the ministry until she began to seek donations for the girls’ baby shower. Ever since, word has spread about the wonderful things Embrace Grace is doing in the lives of the girls, more and more members of First Temple have jumped on the opportunity to help out in any way they can.
According to Yurisich, at least fifty people have been involved in supported Embrace Grace in various ways. Sunday morning Life Groups of twenty or thirty people adopt a girl in the program, some people donated baby items for the shower, some brought a meal to the Wednesday night meetings so they could have food to eat, and some made themselves available to provide transportation to the girls when needed.
“The church has been really great about it. I think the biggest thing is that no one knew about us, and so we came around asking for things for the shower and people were like ‘we didn’t even know this was here!’ It’s been really cool to see the church rally around the organization.”
First Temple is starting a new bible study specifically for single moms that will follow the Embrace Grace program, creating space for spiritual growth, support and community.
If you would like to get involved in the things Embrace Grace is doing in lives of young moms-to-be, Yurisich says there are lots of ways to start. The ministry has a Meal Train account for those who want to provide a meal for the class each Wednesday, each girl needs to be adopted by a sponsor to provide her with gifts at the baby shower, and needs transportation for two of the girls who recently signed up.
Additionally, Yurisich asks for prayer.
Embrace Grace’s second twelve-week session will begin with a new class of moms-to-be on January 20, 2016.