Eastern Europe (MNN) — While abortion rates are falling in the developed world, Eastern Europe still stands as the region of the world with the highest rates of abortion. Research findings published in the Lancet in 2014 show that 42 out of every 1,000 women in Eastern Europe had an abortion. In North America, that rate is 17 abortions in every 1,000 women.
Life Matters Worldwide seeks to educate people on the biblical pro-life message, provide training for pro-life ministry in churches and communities, and partner with pro-life ministries both in the United States and internationally. Two countries which Life Matters has focused ministry in are Ukraine and Romania. The organization’s president Tom Lothamer and others with Life Matters will be traveling to these two countries next month to provide pro-life ministry training and connect with partners there.
One place they’ll visit is the Choose Life Women’s Center, a pregnancy care ministry Life Matter’s helped start in Odessa, Ukraine with ABWE missionaries, Dr. Miriam Wheeler and Holly Friesen.
Lothamer shares, “The center has been operating and functioning very well. When they started a couple years back, three or four years ago, we went over there and did an initial board meeting with the center. Well now they have new board members, so they’ve asked us if we would go back and do another training.
Tom Lothamer leading a conference workshop for missionaries in Slovenia. (Photo courtesy of Life Matters Worldwide via Facebook)
“Then once we get done there and actually speaking in churches, we’re going to fly into Romania to meet with our ministry partners to talk about vision casting for ministry into the churches with the pro-life message.” They’ll also help with ministry board training in Romania as well.
Statistics reveal that there’s a lot of ground to cover for pro-life initiatives in Ukraine and Romania.
“There’s kind of a callousness, if I can say that, in all of the Europe about the issues of life. And not only the issues of life at the beginning of conception and babies, but also the other end of life is also the same way,” explains Lothamer.
“Abortion is, of course, legal. Many of them are done in hospitals and they’re fairly inexpensive to get done, and it’s just tragic because sometimes the form of birth control for women is to go have an abortion. A number of women have six, seven, and eight abortions in their lifetime — sometimes even more.”
Often, when these women who’ve had multiple abortions are convicted with the truth of the Gospel, they stop there because they think they can’t possibly be forgiven.
“I remember a story from Miriam Wheeler, she’s a doctor and she was working with a particular woman outside the city of Odessa. [This woman] had 13 or 14 [abortions], and she had mentioned to her that ‘God could never forgive me.’ Of course, at that time, [Miriam] was able to present to her the forgiveness of Christ, the grace of Christ.
“So that’s one of the key ministries that can happen in these countries is post-abortion recovery and deliverance from the sin of abortion.”
Ultimately, when it comes to Gospel-based pro-life ministry, Life Matters’ rhetoric doesn’t start and end with man. In everything they do, it starts and ends with Christ as the reason behind the pro-life ‘why’.
Lothamer says their hope for Ukraine and Romania is “that the Gospel will flourish, and when that flourishes, then we’re going to see a lot of change of hearts and attitudes on the issue of abortion, people made in God’s image, and end-of-life ministry.”
Life Matter’s trip to Romania and Ukraine for pro-life ministry training will be from August 16-26. Please commit to praying for the trip during this time.
“The message of the Gospel is key to abortion recovery or even to preventing abortion. So the prayer would be that women who’ve had abortions would find deliverance and reconciliation through Christ and through the people that are there…. Secondly, pray that many women and men will not choose abortion because it’s readily available.”
Lothamer also asks, “Pray for us and our partners over there as we meet, that we’ll be led of the Spirit of God.”
There are still financial needs for this trip as well. If you’d like to give in support of Life Matters Worldwide, click here to give and in the notes section you can designate it for “Eastern Europe ministry trip”. Life Matters is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.