Alpha Pregnancy Center's Walk For Life 2018
Written by: Stephanie Y. Photos by Gary G. and Jaimie L.
Alpha Pregnancy Center’s (APC) annual Walk for Life took place on Saturday, October 20th, 2018. This year was my first time participating in the event, and I led a team of young adults from Sunset Church - 5 of us on Team D, out of a total of 27 volunteers and one canine Sunset volunteer. I am very encouraged by the number of people who came to represent our church in this event. Sunset Church contributed to just about 20% of all the walkers this year. (Sunset represent!)
This year, Team D walked a total of 4.7 miles (sort of… ask me or my teammates for the whole story) to two client homes, and to Louis Sutter Playground for the community picnic. We delivered individual hand-picked gifts of appropriate toys and clothing from APC. The last client home we went to had a family of two kids and one on the way. When we presented the gifts we had for the family, the 10-year-old boy held back tears of genuine gratitude. He said, “This is the best… and it’s not even my birthday!”, before giving us a round of hugs. Other teams from Sunset (and from other churches throughout the Bay Area) had opportunities to minister to the families they were assigned to, pray for them, speak with them, and remind them that they are cared for. This is one of the many ways in which Alpha Pregnancy Center mobilizes people to work for the glory of God.
Alpha Pregnancy Center is situated at the edge of the Outer Mission neighborhood of San Francisco and aims to serve individuals and families who face a variety of life circumstances. I started volunteering at APC about a year ago. I now work as a client advocate at APC, and I have seen God change and grow my heart to care for families facing unplanned pregnancies, and also families in need in the time that I have worked here. The center acts as a non-profit family resource center and a licensed medical clinic that aims to (but is not limited to) serve the Excelsior community in San Francisco. The people who live in this community are often people who are of a lower socioeconomic status, of a less privileged background, or are immigrants (primarily Latin American and Chinese) to this nation. Because of this, a big part of our ministry is to offer material things that the center which can be invaluable to a family in need. However, oftentimes, I have seen that a package of diapers or a packet of baby wipes are the very least of what we can offer to these families. The people who walk through our doors every day continue to teach me the value to sit down with someone who is hurting, to be a voice of sympathy, and to be that source of compassion for someone. It reminds me how much more we can be doing as a church, as a community, and as a city -- to be aware of what goes on in the lives of the heavily burdened people we seek to serve so that we can be witnesses of the hopes and promises of Jesus Christ to them.
APC has given me opportunities to sit down with mothers of a variety of different backgrounds. One mother I talked to, felt a profound sense of guilt and shame even before her child made his way into this world because she was unable to provide him one of the basic necessities of babyhood, a crib. I have prayed over and cried with another who confessed her deep fear, anxieties, and insecurities she has with her own abilities as a mother because she blames herself and continues to mourn for her first child who died from SIDS. I have hugged a mother who has found herself in a position where she fears for her child and for herself because she is not safe in a place, she calls her own home. I have seen God move to orchestrate events to lead young women who felt they had no other choice but to terminate a pregnancy and to offer the resources that may help her choose life, whether that be access to peer counselors or case management for housing. These snippets are just a mere sliver of the hundreds of people who walk through the center’s doors every year - hundreds of people who do not realize how much they are loved by the God who created them.
Because of that, Alpha seeks to host events like the Walk that manifest as a tangible way to actively take part in the lives of our clients. It is our hope that participants walk away from the Walk with a greater understanding of the Great Commission, and to be a beacon of hope for the lost at home in San Francisco.