Dr. Linda Henderson serves as the Client Services Director at CPC. She has faithfully served at Cleveland Pregnancy Center for 20 years. We wanted to give our readers a more in-depth look into what she does, her story, and the impact it has had on our community, so we decided to sit down and ask her some questions. Here is our conversation.
You've been involved with CPC for quite some time. Can you share a little bit of your story? I was reared in a Christian home with my parents who loved, adored, and nurtured all nine of their children and our family pet Brownie (Fox Terrier). I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at the age of 10 on Sunday, October 10, 1963. I moved away from the Will of God seven years later. In the 11th grade, I experienced a false sense of insecurity. The teens that I had started hanging out with in my Junior year of high school were dating. Many times I felt like the third wheel, until one of my friends shared with me that a senior was admiring me from a distance. And that’s when I took the lid off of Pandora’s Box. By my senior year, I was expecting my first child. I was absolutely terrified. I knew within my heart that this was not the plan God, nor my parents had for me. Thursday, April 16th, 1970 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Three years later, I gave birth to my second daughter on March 15, 1973.
I knew that the road I was traveling on was moving me further and further away from Christ. The following Sunday after having that experience, I returned to church along with my two daughters; repented of my sins and rededicated my life and my daughters to the Lord.
How did you first get involved with Cleveland Pregnancy Center? Standard Products, the company I had previously worked for, relocated me back home on Thursday December 30, 1999. They relocated me to the North Olmsted area. I prayed and asked God what church He wanted me to attend, and I knew in my heart that it needed to be a mission-minded church that loved all God’s children, and taught sound doctrine. He chose North Olmsted Evangelical Friends Church, which was within walking distance of the hotel I was staying at. On Palm Sunday, Pastor Geoff invited the congregation to a brown bag luncheon on Good Friday.
He expressed for all to bring their bagged lunches and to hear the message spoken from Calvary Hill. After the message and prayer, he asked if anyone would like to share their testimony. I shared about the younger me who was a seventeen-year-old teenage mom loved by God. He bore all her sins before she actually met Him personally.
I had no idea that organist Jane McManus was the Executive Director at the Cleveland Pregnancy Center. All who heard my testimony shared with her that I would be a good encouragement for the moms involved at the center. I volunteered faithfully as the M.O.M.S support group facilitator for five years. Eventually there was a need for part-time H.E.A.R.T. (Healing Effects of Abortion Related Trauma) Coordinator. I was offered the position. The Executive Director and I raised the funding through the local church where we both were members. I was able to serve in that capacity for three years. One of the former Executive Directors Renell Williams asked me in November of 2008 if I would consider serving as the interim Client Services Director full time, and that is where I continue to serve today.
How do your experiences help you to navigate some of the problems clients face?
I literally have faced the same giants, or members of my family have. However, the ultimate answer clients are looking for is in the Will of God. As a single mom, I had to learn to trust God no matter what the situation.
How often do you meet with clients? I am in constant contact daily with clients who are facing crisis pregnancy, pregnancy loss and those who are abortion vulnerable.
What are some of the common struggles that your clients face? Homelessness, abandonment, depression, financial crisis and transportation are the most common.
What is the spiritual background of the clients that you meet with? The majority of the clients we serve do not have a personal relationship with Christ.
What do you feel is the most rewarding part of what you do at Cleveland Pregnancy Center? Being able to accept clients for who they are. Having the freedom to share the love of Christ with them and to give them hope that surpasses all understanding.
What is something that you'd like for our Champions to know about the work we do at CPC? If it were not for their prayers and support, the CPC team would not be able to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of our clients. In addition, we are teaching the clients to pray for the support of donors and staff.
How can we pray for you and for our clients? Pray that the Lord will continue to use the team to serve his children, and that the staff will forever stay humble and committed to the ministry.
What would it have meant to you if a place like CPC had been there for you when you were pregnant as a teenager? Fifty years ago, I was not aware of any community services that afforded teen moms and dads pregnancy counseling and education. I surely could have benefited from such use of services. With my oldest daughter, I was so naïve that I had no idea I was in Labor. I thought I was just experiencing some discomfort in the lower part of my back. Three years later with my second daughter the day of my scheduled appointment, I was preparing to leave for my appointment and my water broke, I had no idea what was happening with the pregnancy. I was literally terrified. Therefore, if I were privy to attend a faith based educational program like the CPC, I would have been more knowledgeable of the labor process.
I am so grateful for the supporters and donors who have made it possible for all abortion vulnerable and teenage moms and dads to participate in a faith based program that prepares them for pre & post-natal care education and so much more through the Bright Course program and in house classes that are offer at the Cleveland Pregnancy Center.
Thank you Champions & Pillars for making it all possible!