Voice06-2020

Our Voice – June 2020

PERFECT VISION: Seeing Where God is Moving

I have the practice of listing all the good things that are happening as a way to shift my focus to see more clearly where God is moving. I want to share some of the awesome things we see God doing in AbAnon/SAVAnon.

We have seen him bring clarity and healing to record numbers of people through our groups. We are busier than ever. The shelter-in-place order, which on the surface looked like it might set back our healing groups, actually worked to accelerate our online groups. We have launched two separate healing groups in New York alone.

The growing numbers gave opportunity to refine our intake process to ensure those who start healing groups are ready and willing to follow through to the end.

We have seen a record number of participants step out to volunteer as facilitators. Because of this rapid growth we have updated to an online facilitator training. Laurel Bahr, SAVAnon Director, has spent countless hours working with trainers to get our Teachable classroom up and running. This allows us to train more facilitators, which will in turn allows us to launch more healing groups.

As we have grown, so has the need for additional help, we have added new team members. Jennifer Reed has come on board as our AbAnon Director. We are very excited about her passion to see others find healing. Mary Jones has joined us to oversee social media and marketing to communicate the healing that is possible through our classes.

This year has given us many opportunities to think outside the box and trust God in a deeper way. We had to cancel a fundraiser scheduled for the end of March. Our fundraisers provide about 40% of our annual budget. We are hoping to reschedule that for August. I say “hoping” because as we have seen, plans can change very rapidly. In the meantime, we are working on campaigns to bridge that gap.

We are asking you to prayerfully consider partnering with us. If you are a monthly partner, would you prayerfully consider increasing your monthly donation? If you are an occasional partner, would you prayerfully consider donating monthly? If you have experienced one of our healing groups, would you consider donating to help someone else have the opportunity to experience healing as well?

One of the most important things I have seen so far in 2020 is that we are not in this alone. A large part of our year may have been spent in isolation, but we are in this together. I am so proud to work, pray and kneel alongside each you. 

Rachel Bren,
Development Director,  SAVAnon

TO BE LIKE OUR FATHER

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We live in a world where liking a social media post enables us to create a world where we can be whomever we want to be, escaping a reality that may look very different. Our current culture tells us that we make ourselves who we are and that our history defines us through generational experiences; I once viewed my life that way.

When I was a young adult— living life according to my own plan and with little regard to anyone other than myself and my girlfriend; we found out that someone, God, had other plans. I quickly had to transition from doing whatever I wanted, into, “ I’m going to be a father.” I looked at my own father and wondered if I could do it. I was reminded that God had created life in His image (Genesis 1:26) and that now, my life was not longer my own. Shortly after this realization and transformation, the decision was made to end the pregnancy that had already changed my entire world.

I was never the same. My “Father’s Heart” had been activated and I became so much more aware of what it meant to truly be a dad.

I met my wife when I was 26 years old, we married and began to discuss having children. I had such a deep desire to be a father and now those hopes were within my reach, but I needed healing from the pain and emotional impact caused by abortion.

My wife and I are very blessed to have a 14-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. Being a dad is all I hoped and dreamed it would be. I was there for every doctor visit, every ultrasound, and the birth of both of our children. However, in all the excitement of their births, I was reminded of the moment I saw my preborn child in the procedure room when I was just a young man who desperately wanted to be a father. I knew my heart was fractured and I yearned for healing and to help others who were in the same position I had found myself in all those years ago.

I was at a Life Services (now MyChoice) volunteer training even. We shared our reasons for being there and I explained that I wanted to help other men make the choice to be a dad. I was encouraged to contact AbAnon, a local non-profit that offers support and restoration for post abortive women and men, and I did just that.  I attended the 8-week course included in the AbAnon program. I attended facilitator training and am now a board member.

With the support of my wife, AbAnon, and my Heavenly Father, I have experienced another level of freedom and restoration. I am not ashamed of my story! My story has Power! Your story has Power!

Being a Dad is one of the greatest challenges in life. Children are our greatest gifts from God and we are called to love, care for and cherish them. God created us in “His likeness” so that we would know how to love them well. In whatever capacity you find yourself: bio-dad, step-dad, granddad, uncle, brother, or mentor, the role of a Father’s Heart is vital in every child’s life.

In a world where we have the opportunity to build alternate realities through social media, let us be reminded that no post or photo will every replace the quality time and memories that we make in real life with the children we have been entrusted to lead, teach, and protect.

—Geoff Morgan, AbAnon Facilitator and member of  Board of Directors

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More Great News

A few months ago I met with the AbAnon/SAVAnon Leadership Team to discuss strategic planning.  Like any NPO, we have several staffing needs but very limited resources.  “Which position should we fill next?” I asked.  We all agreed that it should be the Development Director position.

In January we launched a capital campaign to raise money to pay a Development Director salary. Within a few weeks we had enough funding that we felt confident to begin searching for the right candidate to fit our needs. I am pleased to announce, as of May 18, 2020, Rachel Bren is the Development Director for AbAnon/SAVAnon.

RachelBrenRachel comes to us from Life Services where she has been their Volunteer Coordinator. For many years, AbAnon/SAVAnon has had an incredible partnership with Life Services in Spokane, WA. They are an amazing organization. As a pregnancy resource center, Life Services refers dozens of post-abortive and sexually abused women to us each year.

Serving as the Life Services Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel often referred potential volunteers who were post-abortive or sexually abused, making certain that candidates had properly dealt with their experience before trying to serve others.  But as Rachel tells it,

“I felt like a hypocrite.  Here I was referring women to SAVAnon when I had my own sexual abuse story and I had never gone through the group that I was making them go through. Of course, I thought I was FINE, which now I believe is a huge lie that the enemy wants us all to believe, but going through a SAVAnon group I realized how much negative influence my abuse was having on my life.  Because of SAVAnon and God’s work in me I am forever changed.”

Even though Rachel was extremely happy in her job at Life Services, after completing her SAVAnon group she felt that AbAnon/SAVAnon was an organization she HAD to be a part of. When she heard about the Development Director position, she applied.

I am thrilled to have Rachel on our team. She has all the essential gifting necessary to perform the duties of the Director of Development position. At AbAnon/SAVAnon, we’re into storytelling … we tell the stories and allow the Holy Spirit to do the fundraising. Rachel has the passion and enthusiasm to tell our stories well. You’ll be hearing more from her in the future. This is great news.  Welcome aboard Rachel.

Together in His service,
Perry Underwood, Executive Director

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AbAnon / SAVAnon Events

Two Incredible Nights to Choose From!

Listen to success stories and the expansion of both AbAnon and SAVAnon. Learn about our vision for 2020 and how you can impact the lives of those around you with freedom and healing

Enjoy an evening with Wine & Cheese, Beer & Bread!
(Doors open at 6:00)

Click below to get tickets:

AbAnon: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/abanon-spring-fundraiser-tickets-90349496777
SAVAnon: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/savanon-spring-fundraiser-tickets-90350046421

 

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2020 … Now What?

I heard someone refer to 2020 as “The Year of Perfect Vision.” I thought that was pretty clever and that I should find a way to incorporate the “perfect vision’ theme into the AbAnon/SAVAnon Strategic Plan that I’m in the process of writing. But the more I thought about this the more hopeless the idea became; my vision is far from perfect.

The truth is that much of what has been done through AbAnon/SAVAnon I did not “see” coming. Yes, as an organization we have been faithful to prayerfully develop and implement the plans that we believe to be prudent and wise and often things work out just as planned. But we have also seen plans turn out to be nothing like what was anticipated. This is true both ways. Ideas that we thought were great have flopped and ideas that were skeptically implemented have turned into huge successes.

So here we are at the beginning of another new year and another new decade. It is time to be introspective and ask a couple of questions. What are three things we have done well in 2019?

  • Launch of On-line Groups. Skype Groups have been a phenomenal success in terms of serving post-abortive women around the USA. But we’re learning that we need to develop better systems to support and train these Skype Group Facilitators who are scattered throughout our nation. AbAnon Skype Groups for men and SAVAnon Skype Groups are to be introduced in 2020.
  • The launch of SAVAnon has proven to be a huge success as well. SAVAnon for men will be available soon.
  • Facilitator Training. Thanks to the efforts of our leadership team our training is very professional and thorough. Our plan is to have all of our training on video in 2020.

What are three things that we could do better?

  • Manage Volunteers. Many of the people who have offered to be volunteers for AbAnon/SAVAnon have not become engaged with the organization. At the same time we seem to be overworking, to the point of burnout, many of the volunteers that have proven themselves capable. A remedy to this needs to be a priority in 2020.
  • Presenting Hope. It is great to talk about the hundreds of men and women that AbAnon & SAVAnon Groups have set on a path to healing, but for every individual that participates in one of our groups three others, who have asked for help, never responded to our follow-up or just didn’t show up when their group began.  We must find better ways to communicate the hope that is available.
  • Telling our Stories. Through the people behind AbAnon & SAVAnon God is writing some great stories. We need to find more effective and strategic ways to tell those stories in 2020 and beyond.

At AbAnon/SAVAnon we believe that reaching the post-abortive and the sexually abused is the greatest life-transforming opportunity of our generation.

Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support of AbAnon/SAVAnon.
Perry Underwood
Executive Director
perry@abanon.org

Checks can be mailed to:
Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon)
PO Box 11664
Spokane Valley, WA 99211
Donations can be made online at:
http://www.abanon.org/donate
https://savanon.org/donate/

An Encouraging Report

Last year a team was sent to Zambia, Africa to launch AbAnon/SAVAnon in partnership with Association For Life Africa (AFLA).  AFLA is an association of about 270 Pregnancy Centers throughout 18 African nations.  I was so encouraged by this report that I thought I would share it with you.

ReportTitlePgClick here to view or download

Many of the people served by AFLA live in unimaginable poverty and AFLA does an incredible work on meager resources.  AbAnon supports AFLA as much as we are able but we would like to support them even more with training, marketing material, curriculum and financially.

If this report touches your heart I would ask that you consider an additional year-end gift to AbAnon so that more people in Africa and throughout the world can experience this incredible healing.  I thank you for your faithful support of AbAnon/SAVAnon.

Perry Underwood, Executive Director
perry@abanon.org

Have you heard the news?

gvcAbortion Anonymous, more commonly know as AbAnon has two recent initiatives that are having significant positive impact on the organization;

  • In June of this year, AbAnon launched Sexual Abuse Victims Anonymous or more commonly known as SAVAnon.  The SAVAnon curriculum, Victims No More, is an 8-week sexual abuse healing curriculum for women who have been sexually abused or assaulted.  Early reports indicate that we drastically underestimated the need for this healing program as our Fall Groups are already very full and more groups are needed.  A curriculum for men is currently in the works.
  • With time and resources limiting the number of new cities and countries where we could launch new AbAnon/SAVAnon Chapters…and with emails constantly coming in from all over the USA (and world) asking for information about participating in an AbAnon or SAVAnon Group, we reluctantly started Skype Groups.  One recent Skype Group had participants in four different time zones.  Judging by the surveys provided by our participants, these Skype Groups have been an amazing success.  We have plans to launch several more Skype Groups this Fall.

At AbAnon/SAVAnon we believe that reaching the post-abortive and the sexually abused is the greatest life-transforming opportunity of our generation.

Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support of AbAnon/SAVAnon.
Perry Underwood
Executive Director, perry@abanon.org

 

join-team-800x334Job Openings: At AbAnon/SAVAnon we are looking for:

  • Spokane Local Director
  • Development Director
  • Skype Facilitator Coach

For more information send an email and resume to joinus@abanon.org

Check can be mailed to: Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon)
PO Box 11664, Spokane Valley, WA 99211
Donations can be made online at:
http://www.abanon.org/donate
https://savanon.org/donate/


It’s a FRIENDraiser

friendraiser-inviteAbAnon/SAVAnon is happy to invite you to our very first Friendraiser.  Notice we said “FRIEND”raiser rather than “FUND”raiser!  The purpose of this event is not to raise money but to bring AbAnon/SAVAnon awareness to people who are unfamiliar with the awesome work done by this organization.

There is no cost…but Yes, there is a catch.  Your ticket to this event is to bring someone with you that has never before been to an AbAnon/SAVAnon event.  Our goal is to have 50 people, already engaged in AbAnon/SAVAnon bring another 50 people who are NOT YET involved with the organization.

If you come with your spouse, bring another couple.  If you come solo, bring a friend…each one bring one is the mantra.

Come out and enjoy some great food, hear the latest AbAnon/SAVAnon news, all without any pressure to volunteer or donate money.

Event details are found in the invitation below. Space is limited and will fill up quickly.  Click here to RSVP:  FRIENDraiser Tickets

The SAVAnon Dream is Reality

Victims-No-More-webIt was one year to the day. May 23rd, 2018 was the day that the idea of SAVAnon first came to mind and May 23rd, 2019 is the day the very first shipment of SAVAnon books arrived. Just in case you have been out of the loop lately, SAVAnon, short for Sexual Abuse Victims Anonymous, is an extension of AbAnon intended to bring healing for those who have been sexually abused or assaulted. The SAVAnon curriculum is titled Victims No More.

Many people have put in long hours to bring Victims No More into reality: Rob Fischer, is the principle author of the curriculum with contributions from Laurel Bahr, Cindy Crawford and Lisa Cinq-Mars; seven women who have courageously allowed us to use their stories (some anonymously); book layout by Kim Gardell; illustrations by Jennifer Beecham-Miller; cover design by Heather Wilbur; plus an army of other individuals who have made contributions in various ways. From the depths of my heart I thank you. Click here to purchase copies of Victims No More.

The SAVAnon website is up and running with only a few finishing touches needing to be completed. Check it out at savanon.org. We also have our Facebook Page available and would love you to “Like” it at: SAVAnon Facebook.

Two SAVAnon pilot groups have been held in the Spokane area and the response has been incredible. Several of the women who were pilot group participants will be among the 20 or so women attending our first joint AbAnon/SAVAnon Facilitator Training on June 22nd.

I am also pleased to announce that Laurel Bahr has accepted the position of SAVAnon Spokane Area Director. Until we have more staff in place, feel free to contact me about starting a SAVAnon Chapter outside the Spokane area.

In my last newsletter I told you about our need to raise considerable funding to launch SAVAnon. Several thousand dollars came in and for that I thank you. We still have a great need and that is all I will say on that subject.

In the past year I have talked about SAVAnon quite a bit. I assure you that we are not deviating from our original mission of serving the needs of the post-abortive; we just found that so many stories of post-abortive women also had a sexual abuse component that we simply could not ignore. We believe that sexual abuse healing will help us access hurting women and men that we would never have access to with only a post-abortion healing curriculum. SAVAnon will greatly strengthen AbAnon.

Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support of AbAnon/SAVAnon.
Perry Underwood
Executive Director
perry@abanon.org
Check can be mailed to:
Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon)
PO Box 11664
Spokane Valley, WA 99211
Donations can be made online at:
http://www.abanon.org/donate
https://savanon.org/donate/

A Seemingly Impossible Dream

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Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you had to do something but the thing you knew you had to do was so far beyond your capabilities that you were certain that your sanity would be called into question?  This is exactly where I found myself a few months ago.

At 4am on May 23, 2018 I was awakened from a deep sleep by what I believe was the Holy Spirit of God.  Some of you reading this will understand what I mean by this but others will not…that’s okay. We all know people that say God told them this or that and I admit when hearing such proclamations, I’m about as skeptical as they get.  I believe that if we abide in Him, the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit to lead, guide and direct us through this thing called life but my experience on that early Wednesday morning was far more than that.  It was like God himself was talking to me in a voice that could be heard only in my soul.  This is not the only time this has happened to me but I confess that similar experiences of this magnitude in my life have been rare.

For the past five years I have been the Executive Director for an organization, Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon).  The purpose of AbAnon is  to create awareness regarding the emotional harm caused by abortion, and to provide a path to healing for those affected.  As Director of AbAnon I have heard hundreds of abortion stories over the years.  Many of these abortion stories have also had a sexual abuse or a sexual assault component as part of the overall story.  Upon hearing about the sexual abuse or assault I would think, “Oh, that’s unfortunate.”  But then give no further thought to the matter.

Back to being awakened at 4am on May 23rd.  That morning I heard what I believe to be the Holy Spirit telling me. “You (AbAnon) are to create a healing curriculum for victims of sexual abuse.”  Now wide awake and in full control of my mental faculties I jumped to my feet and said. “Yes Lord, I am your humble servant and ready to do anything you might ask of me.”  NOT.  To my shame I remember lying there thinking, or maybe even saying aloud, “God, are you nuts?  Are You not aware of my calendar and the impossible amount of work I already have to do?  This idea is ridiculous!”

Not able to go back to sleep I got up and started my day.  Like Jacob in the Old Testament, I wrestled with God…for the entire day.  But by the end of the day I had set aside my doubts, my fears, and my skepticism, agreeing to obey and to do what I had been called to do.

Over the next couple of days I shared this story over coffee with some close friends.  I didn’t know how they would respond but I was already questioning my sanity.  I know what I had heard but couldn’t get beyond my own inadequacies.  Having no personal experience in abortion I was already leading a Post-abortion healing organization and now, having no personal experience in sexual abuse, how am I to also lead a sexual abuse healing organization?  In my mind it made no sense.  These close friends were of no help in talking me out of doing this, as a matter of fact, they seemed to be fully on God’s side of the argument.

A few weeks later at our monthly AbAnon Board of Directors meeting I slipped this topic into the meeting agenda.  What I thought might be a five minute conversation turned into an hour and a half conversation.  Several of the Directors shared their own personal story of sexual abuse.  As a Board we discussed the obvious questions:  Do we have the staff to offer a sexual abuse healing program?  NO!  Do we have the time?  NO!  Do we have the funds?  NO!  DO we have any resources at all that would offer an intellectual reason to move forward with this idea?  NO!  So, based on absolutely no logic or reasoning, the AbAnon Board of Directors unanimously voted to develop a sexual abuse healing curriculum.

Sexual Abuse Victims Anonymous (SAVAnon) is the result of all this.  The SAVAnon curriculum will be called Victims No More.  SAVAnon will operate under the legal entity of Abortion Anonymous, Inc. but to the general public, SAVAnon will have no obvious appearance of being connected to AbAnon.  It will have its own website, SAVAnon.org, its own marketing strategy, videos and marketing material.  But the beautiful thing about SAVAnon is that it will be able to operate in tandem with AbAnon, having “Victims No More” Groups available anywhere AbAnon Groups are available.

At this time the rough draft of the SAVAnon women’s curriculum has been written and reviewed by a group of women who each have their own story of sexual abuse.  The same artist who drew the sketches for the AbAnon curriculum has also agreed to do the sketches for SAVAnon.  A SAVAnon “Pilot Group” has been scheduled to start later this month, publication of our curriculum will hopefully be in April and we plan a full SAVAnon launch this coming May.  A SAVAnon curriculum for men will follow in a few months.

Here is an excerpt from Victims No More:

“According to childtrauma.org, in the U.S. one out of three females and one out of five males have been victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18 years.”  And in some parts of the country, these rates are much higher.

Sexual abuse causes lifelong damage to the individual with symptoms that are varied and universally common. Victims feel a deep sense of sexual shame, depression, anxiety, worthlessness, guilt, and difficulties with careers and relationships.

If not dealt with, the trauma associated with sexual abuse can result in PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety that could last a lifetime.  Some of the possible symptoms of PTSD resulting from child abuse include:  

  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Withdrawal from and mistrust or fear of adults
    and authority figures
  • Hyper-sexuality and promiscuity
  • Avoidance of sex and physical touch
  • Problems with sleep or fear of going to bed
  • Nightmares and/or flashbacks
  • Self-harm
  • Addictions to drugs, alcohol, or food
  • Unusual sexual behavior
  • Lesbian lifestyle
  • Prostitution
  • Depression
  • Sexually abusing other children
    (35% of child sexual abusers were abused themselves as children.)
  • Phantom pain

Exact numbers are impossible to obtain because most sexual abuse cases are never reported, but studies suggest that there are at least 60 million sexual abuse victims within the USA and probably well over a billion worldwide.  The NEED for SAVAnon is huge. I have learned that people do not support charitable organizations because the organization HAS a need; they support charitable organizations because the organization MEETS a need.

At AbAnon we rarely ask for money.  Our funding comes through our financial partners; most support us with $20, $50 or $100 each month.  But to properly launch SAVAnon we need to raise an extra $50,000 and we’re hoping to raise this by inviting you to ignore any logic or reason and to join us in this seemingly impossible dream.  Any amount will help.  Below, you can find information on how to donate.

SAVA-finalPerry Underwood, Executive Director
perry@abanon.org

Check can be mailed to:
Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon)
PO Box 11664
Spokane Valley, WA 99211

Donations can be made online at:
http://www.abanon.org/donate

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Zambia and Israel— An amazing trip!

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your generous financial gifts toward our AbAnon trip to Zambia and Israel. Our team arrived safely home late Friday night and in short—the trip was amazing!

We spent five days in Zambia, Africa and stayed in the home of our hosts the Mwansa family. Barbra Mwansa is the President of Association for Life of Africa (www.AFLA.in). She oversees 217 pregnancy resource centers in 16 African countries.

In Zambia, we trained about 40 people over a two-day period. About 10 of these were pastors from around the country. Others were directors and workers at pregnancy resource centers in Zambia. Some traveled as far away as 1200 KM. The wife of one of the provincial chieftains also attended with the intent to take the curriculum back to her people. The Zambians’ reaction to the training was profound!

In Zambia, they estimate that 9 out of 10 women are post-abortive. Abortion is viewed as a means of birth control in order to “space their children” in a way that’s most convenient for them. But we learned that the pain, shame, guilt, and self-destructive behaviors that the post-abortive in America experience are the same in Zambia. But Zambia had no post-abortive healing curricula whatsoever, so AbAnon is very needed!

After the training, one pastor was deeply moved. He declared, “My life has been changed! I need to go to my congregation and apologize for not speaking about abortion and sexual abuse in our church. By avoiding those topics, I realize now that I’ve unintentionally sanctioned them.”

Another pastor just emailed us with the following: “I have shared your [AbAnon] videos to 55 women and the response is overwhelming. Am praying to have a meeting with them before Christmas if all falls in line. Keep praying for us. Keddy is a young woman has gone through two abortions and two failed marriages. After watching the videos, she cried and shouted ‘AbAnon, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?’”

And shortly after arriving in Israel, we learned that two of the men in Zambia who were in our training, were already on their way to Nigeria to train people there in the AbAnon curriculum!

Israel-Participants-webWe also stayed five days in Israel. We learned there that abortion is rampant. Military service is compulsory in Israel for both men and women. While women are in the military, they are offered up to three free abortions.

In Israel we trained about 35 people, most of them women. We only had one pastor attend the training even though many pastors had been invited. Unfortunately, the pastors consider this a “women’s issue,” so didn’t see the need to get involved.

The one pastor who did attend was there grudgingly as his wife made him come. But after a short time into the training, he was won over and recognized the tremendous need for healing in Israel and in his own congregation. By the afternoon, he was feverishly taking notes and we enjoyed a great time of fellowship over dinner that evening with him and his wife.

In both countries, we experienced the presence and power of the Holy Spirit as He moved in our hearts and among those we had the privilege of ministering to.

Thank you so much again for making this trip possible!

Your brother in Christ, Rob Fischer
Member, AbAnon Board of Directors