Author Archives: Perry Underwood

The Faces of Abanon

There are dozens of people serving as volunteers with AbAnon and the volunteer who is the most visible and the one I’m asked about most often is Paula Krant.

Meet Paula

AbAnon has never been an overtly religious organization but faith in God and a relationship with Jesus Christ are at the core of who we are.  As they are our core, we also believe in the power of prayer. Well over 100 people make up the AbAnon Prayer Team; they are led by Paula Krant. This month I thought I would introduce Paula and share her story.

“My abortion happened over 47 years ago. My healing, from the guilt, despair, regret, anger, fear, shame, and the grief that abortion brought, took me years to find. I struggled for many of those years, trying to understand all the emotions and feelings that seemed to invade and impact my life. I have become an avid supporter of AbAnon because I have seen the healing it brings to post abortive women. If there had been an AbAnon around to help me deal with the effects that my abortion brought me, I would have been spared years of pain and grief! It is a program that works!”

Click on the image below to watch a short video on more of Paula’s story.

10 Keys to an Effective Post-Abortion Ministry/Outreach

vintage-keys

1) Realize that one-out-of-three adults are Post-abortive. Studies consistently show that between 25% and 34% of US adults ages 20-60 are post-abortive. These numbers hold true both inside and outside the Church.

2) Understand that no one involved in an abortion remains unaffected. Most people working within the Post-abortive healing services will tell you that 100% of those involved in an abortion have been or will be adversely affected by this choice. But even the most skeptical of those who disagree with the 100% claim will often acknowledge that a large percentage of the Post-abortive are indeed adversely affected.

3) Reaching the Post-abortive may be the greatest life-transforming opportunity of our generation. There are an estimated 65-70 million Post-abortive men and women in the US and over one billion estimated world-wide. With this many hurting people, the opportunity to offer them healing and forgiveness through Jesus Christ ranks as one of the greatest evangelistic opportunities of our generation.

4) Have the courage to talk about the harmful effects of abortion at every level of communication within your church. Surveys show that 97% of Pastors do not talk about abortion from the pulpit. Care Net’s research found that nearly 4 out of 10 women who have abortions were actively attending church at the time of their abortion. Silence within the Church has contributed to the social acceptance of abortion and will serve to condemn another generation to the pain and suffering it causes.

5) Recognize the symptoms of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS). More and more churches today are realizing the need for “Recovery” ministries. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling as well as behavior issues such as eating disorders, anger, depression, cutting and self-mutilation, sleeping disorders or a change from heterosexual to a gay/lesbian lifestyle are often PASS symptoms that have never been properly dealt with. Church leadership must learn to connect the dots between the abortion experience and the aberrant behavioral issues of today. We cannot effectively deal with the aberrant behavior or addiction (presenting problem) until we’ve dealt with the abortion (root problem).

6) Know that the people under your shepherding care will never become all that God intends them to be until they have properly dealt with the abortion. Churches are full of people living with incredible guilt and shame. Three things are essential for people to get the help they need: realizing their need, courage to act, and relationships with others who will encourage them to take the first step. These three elements are often found within Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Small Groups and Recovery Groups. Here is a link to a short video that reinforces this point. Churches are full of similar stories; this is not an isolated case: https://vimeo.com/210486739 (Jennifer’s Story)

7) Partner with your local Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC). Few churches are equipped or able to provide a Post-Abortion healing ministry and those that are generally fail to see that it is not a stand-alone ministry. To be effective, post-abortion recovery is a ministry that must be integrated into every other adult ministry within the church that will then point the Post-abortive to the help they need. PRCs have people who are specifically trained to facilitate Abortion Anonymous (AbAnon) Groups. If you don’t have one already, develop a volunteer position within the church that will be the liaison between your church and the local PRC. Provide opportunities for this liaison to speak as often as practical to group meetings of the adult ministries and the small groups within the church.

8) Use the AbAnon curriculum and model. The AbAnon curriculum is not overtly religious but is extremely evangelistic. Each week of the eight-week curriculum begins with a true story where the storyteller shares her (his for the men’s) encounter with Jesus Christ as the integral part of their healing. The curriculum itself makes no mention of God, Jesus or Scripture until week seven where the Gospel is powerfully introduced through the story of the “woman at the well” (David and Bathsheba for men). The curriculum is six weeks of “soil preparation” before the seeds of grace and forgiveness are planted in week seven. By this time, AbAnon Group participants clearly see their need for forgiveness and are quite often ready to enter a relationship with Christ when they encounter this “Y” in their road. Most Post-Abortive individuals, who already know Christ, have never properly dealt with their abortion and continue to live in guilt and shame. The AbAnon curriculum provides these individuals a badly needed restart in their walk with Christ without the heavy baggage of their abortion guilt and shame.

9) Include the AbAnon post-abortion healing ministry as part of the DNA of your church. Treat the post-abortion ministry as you would any other vital church ministry. Assign a church staff member oversite of the AbAnon ministry, include updates of the AbAnon ministry as a regular part of the church staff meetings, use the AbAnon bulletin insert as often as needed, include AbAnon Groups in the church calendar and list the AbAnon post-abortion healing ministry along with the contact information of the PRC liaison on the church website and other church promotional materials. But most importantly, just start talking about it and when the situation allows, ask the question of those you care for, “Have you ever had an abortion?” for women and, “Have you ever been involved in an abortion?” for men. Courage is contagious and others in leadership will soon follow by asking these same questions of those they serve.

10) Throw more fuel on the fire. Encourage, empower and honor those men and women who have had the courage to step up and participate in an AbAnon Group and want to share their story of healing, forgiveness and freedom. The testimony of these people will become the spark that ignites a revival within your church and then your community.

Finally, you might wonder, “Why is all this attention given to the post-abortive? What about the babies?” Great question! We believe that the number one reason abortion is still so prevalent is because it is touted as “a woman’s right,” and therefore “good for women.” AbAnon hopes to demonstrate the opposite. In fact, abortion devastates women (and men) in the long-run. At AbAnon our aim is to expose the truth about abortion and to provide a path to healing for those affected.

AbAnon Launch in Poland?

Polish-girls-costume-webAbAnon Launch in Poland?

I was having a conversation recently with one of the members of the AbAnon Board of Directors. She questioned the wisdom of launching AbAnon in European countries and even within the USA in states so far from our base in Spokane, WA. She went on to point out that while we’ve seen tremendous results here at home, there is so much untapped opportunity to bring healing to the post-abortive right in our back yard. I could not agree with her more, launching AbAnon in far-away states and foreign lands is ABSOLUTELY INSANE for an organization so small and so young!

But I believe there is so much more going on with AbAnon than we can see with our natural eyes or understand with our human reasoning.  Doors keep opening and we are being asked to enter into the most unlikely places. How can we possibly say, “No” when everything indicates that Providence is at work? She agreed.

Poland could be our next open door. I will not go into all of the details in the limited space of this newsletter but a series of unplanned events have made the launch of AbAnon in Poland a very real possibility within the next few months.

To launch AbAnon in Poland a few things need to happen first:

  1. Translation of all AbAnon materials into the Polish language
  2. Securing the funding to hire an AbAnon Director of Poland
  3. Hiring the Director (We are in the process of vetting a  candidate)

If you would like to participate in items 1 or 2 above, please feel free to contact me using the email: perry@abanon.org

Thank you for your continued support of AbAnon.
Perry Underwood – Director

Back in Full Swing

It is hard to believe that summer is winding down and fall will soon be upon us. The work of AbAnon continued throughout the summer but many of our Facilitators took a well-deserved break.  Most of our AbAnon groups will be starting again in September and October.  If you or someone you know has experienced an abortion this would be a great time to encourage them to sign up for one of our groups.

AbAnon began almost four years ago in Spokane, WA and has held Post-Abortion healing groups there for two-and-a-half years. We continue to expand into other areas. AbAnon groups are up and running, or soon to be, in 5 states in the USA and in the country of Ukraine.  Our brochure is available in nine languages and our women’s curriculum is available in six languages thanks to the efforts of several volunteers.

At AbAnon, our hope is to someday have AbAnon chapters in every major city throughout the world.  It is a huge dream that will take years but the need is definitely there.

Jennifer'sStoryIn our last newsletter I shared a couple of videos from women who had participated in an AbAnon group.  Here is another story I think you will enjoy:
https://vimeo.com/210486739
(Jennifer’s Story)

Here are a few ways you can partner with us:

  1. We are in need of a videographer who can edit video that has already been shot.
  2. We could use help translating our material, especially French, German, Polish and Italian.
  3. We could use help transcribing the stories on our videos so that they can be translated.
  4. Join our Prayer Team
  5. Support AbAnon when you shop on Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/
  6. Support AbAnon when you shop at Fred Meyer: https://www.fredmeyer.com/topic/community-rewards-4 (Organization #87222)
  7. Monthly financial partnership: abanon.org/donate

Thank you for your continued support of AbAnon.
–Perry Underwood, Director

News & Updates

The very first AbAnon Group for men was scheduled to begin July 20th but a serious boating accident involving one of the Facilitators has delayed the start date until sometime in September. There are a couple of openings still available so please contact us if you would like to participate in this historic event.

A Heart Felt Thank-you!

thankyouOn May 5th 200 people attended our third Annual Spring Celebration.  Everyone I spoke with said they had a great time. The event also raised about $22,000 that will be used to expand AbAnon into other communities throughout the USA.

Special thanks to the elected representatives who made the time to show their support for AbAnon: Spokane Valley City Councilmen Arne Woodard and Mike Munch, Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan, State Representative Matt Shea and US House of Representatives Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Thanks also to Pastor Dan Shields, Steve Allen and the staff/volunteers at Valley Real Life Church for the use of their facility, and their work to set up and tear down our event then re-set the facility for their Sunday Services.

During the evening, I provided an update on several of the exciting things happening at AbAnon but speaking to the need for AbAnon and the heartache caused by abortion can be a sobering topic. Elliot Wallach stepped in as our auctioneer and provided the necessary comic relief. He was the hit of the evening with reports of some people laughing so hard that they almost…well you know!

We also introduced a couple of new videos.  If you were not able to attend, these short videos would be well worth the time to watch:

https://vimeo.com/210465701 (Brandi’s Story)
https://vimeo.com/215534608 (Dani’s Story)

NEWS & UPDATES
The very first AbAnon Group for men will begin July 20th. Contact us if you would like to participate in this historic event.

ADDITIONAL THANKS:
The work of AbAnon would not be possible without volunteers who give so freely of their time. There were 30-40 people who helped to make the recent event a success.  Thank you to all! Special thanks to: Kim Gardell — Marketing materials, and to the event leadership team: Dianne Jongeward – Decoration, Paula Krant — Promotion, Erika Munch — Auctions, Kathy Olsen – Program.

THANK YOU again to all who attended!  Hope to see you again next year.
–Perry Underwood, Director

Paula’s Story

mature-woman-journallingFor the next couple of months I want you to hear about AbAnon from some of the people we serve. The following story is from Paula. —Perry Underwood – Director

In 1971, I accepted a ride from a co-worker who I didn’t really know very well, but with the naivety of a 20 year old, I never even hesitated. After a detour and another poor decision, I was violently raped. In a state of denial and isolation, I never acknowledged or spoke of the rape to anyone. After 3 months, I had to face the fact that I was pregnant. I saw a doctor who presented 2 choices: carry the child full term or abort. I really didn’t listen as the doctor described the abortion because I believed in God and believed abortion was not an option. I walked out planning to have the baby.

My mother had flown to be with me when I saw the doctor and was supportive of whatever I decided to do. Two nights later, my dad called. I lived away from home and we had not talked, though we were very close. He began to cry as I told him. I had never seen my dad cry! He said that he couldn’t see how any of us could live with “this.” You see, the man who raped me was a drug addict, and he was black and I am white. In the 1970s, an inter-racial pregnancy was unacceptable— even more so than an abortion which could be hidden! His tears broke my heart and I changed my mind.

The abortion was a nightmare. Because I was so far along, my uterus was filled with a fluid to cause premature birth. The room was cold and sterile. There were 6 interns observing the procedure. I was horrified and humiliated. Afterward I was taken to another room and left alone. Unprepared for what followed, a piece of me shriveled up and died that day.

Pro-Choice advocates, and some Pro-Life supporters would say I was totally justified in having the abortion. My pregnancy was the result of a violent rape by a drug-addicted man of another ethnicity. I should not feel guilt or shame but rather be thankful that I had a “choice” and the ability to live a life without being constantly reminded of that trauma. That lie has deceived many. It has been 46 years since my abortion, and I still regret the decision. I struggled for many years with guilt, shame, regret, unworthiness, anger, and fear, all stemming from that one act.

AbAnon has helped me, and many other women, to understand the impact abortions have had on our lives and to find healing. One of my greatest blessings is to be a part of AbAnon and to help other women find peace and hope as they are healed from the lasting effects of abortion.
Paula

Roxanne’s Story

Woman-Writing-600x400For the next couple of months I want you to hear about AbAnon from some of the people we serve…
Perry Underwood – Director

I was 22, married, had a 2-year old child, and was pregnant with another man’s child.  He wasn’t just any man, he was the love of my life and I wanted our baby from the first moments of our relationship … I was excited and nothing else mattered to me. My unborn child’s father saw things differently.  I can recall the moment I called him as if it were yesterday.

As the words, “I’m pregnant” left my lips, his temper flew. “You can’t keep it! What are you going to tell your husband? What about my job? No, we are not doing this!” His voice faded as my heart broke and in that darkness I knew I had to have an abortion. The whole ordeal was so traumatic on various levels that I have mentally blocked from my memory everything that happened in the two months following that call.

Fifteen years later I was invited to an AbAnon Group where the opportunity came for me to really heal from my abortion. I met other post-abortive women and together we began the journey to find healing, forgiveness and freedom. It’s amazing to me that my healing came by way of other women’s stories which included God’s loving grace. AbAnon not only helped me to heal but also to forgive people with whom I didn’t even realize I was angry. Some very important relationships in my life have been restored.

I have  become an AbAnon facilitator and now I meet with other women to help them start their healing journeys. But, there is so much more than group meetings that goes into helping women heal through AbAnon. I have met many of the people behind the scenes of the organization: donors, prayer warriors, facilitators, writers, and the Board of Directors. These are the people who made my healing possible and I would be remiss to not thank them. To all of you far and wide who are connected to AbAnon, thank you for investing in me and my healing.

–Many Blessings, Roxanne

The Power of THEIR Story

The Power of THEIR Story

how-to-shoot-video-9-650-80For the past three years we have been laying the foundation for AbAnon. We have organized as a non-profit and assembled a highly energetic and knowledgeable Board of Directors. Dozens of volunteers have emerged who are passionate about our mission. A reliable group of partners has stepped up to meet our basic financial needs each month. We have witnessed lives transformed as eight AbAnon Groups have met using the Women’s curriculum completed about a year and a half ago. (It is now available in six languages and our first AbAnon Group in Ukraine will begin November 19th.) The AbAnon Men’s curriculum is written and in the process of being reviewed by five post-abortive men. We plan to launch a men’s pilot group in January. I could go on and on about what is happening.

As exciting as all this is, the best part so far just occurred in the past couple of weeks. Arlene Roberts, one of our volunteers, contacted some of the women who had gone through an AbAnon Group to see if any might be willing to share their story on video. Ten women agreed. Ben Hinson, another volunteer, arranged the use of a studio, coordinated the technicalities, and rounded up a couple of professional videographers to volunteer their time.

In the video, I asked each of these ten women twelve questions. There was not a dry eye in the room as they told their stories about the emotional pain they experienced after their abortion and the role faith and AbAnon have played in their forgiveness, healing and freedom. I will never forget this experience.

I have never doubted that the work being done by AbAnon is desperately needed in our world today. But if there ever was any doubt, shooting those videos has forever erased it. I am eagerly awaiting their completion so we can share them with you and with the world.

Our work at AbAnon is only possible because of people who freely give their time and resources and who share our desire to see our world changed one life at a time.  On behalf of the men and women whose lives have and will be radically changed…Thank you.

Perry Underwood – Director

Our Vision

setting-a-cairnAbout two years ago, we were in desperate need of funding and I had just made several appeals, a few of which were positive but most were not.  When the answer was negative, I responded with, “I understand” or, “That’s Okay” but in my heart I really didn’t, and it really wasn’t.  I was new to the non-profit world and never imagined that fundraising would be so incredibly difficult.

I remember driving down the road and crying out to God, “I HATE fundraising…” while in the same breath  saying, “…but I LOVE sharing our vision and telling the stories of lives that have been changed!”  The very next instant was a “God moment.” I felt the Holy Spirit responding to my earnest and desperate cry with, “Well duh! Stop trying to raise money and just share the vision I’ve given you.  Let ME take care of the money.”

What a liberating experience for me!  Now I have stopped assuming responsibility for raising the money we need to run this organization. I share the vision and when people get genuinely excited about AbAnon they are eager to help however they are able.

One of our Board members recently asked me to write out our vision for a project she was working on and it occurred to me it is worth including in this newsletter.  So once again I have the privilege of doing what I love to do— sharing the AbAnon vision.

Our vision is that someday AbAnon chapters will be in every major city throughout the world to provide freedom and healing to those suffering from the emotional pain, guilt and shame caused by abortion.  It is estimated that over one billion people world-wide have been involved in an abortion and eighty thousand just here in the Spokane area.  It is our hope that by helping women and men find the courage to share their stories of how abortion has affected them, abortion will someday cease.  While the AbAnon curriculum works extremely well for those within the faith community it is uniquely targeted to those outside the faith community as a means of encountering God in a way that they may otherwise never have.