One fall afternoon in 2010, Joe Baker was standing outside an abortion clinic in New York City. He hadn’t done anything like this before.
In fact, most of those with him were still in the process of learning how to become sidewalk counselors.
“I’m here for my appointment,” he heard a girl say from behind. She must have thought he worked at the clinic.
“Uh… I’m not… No. I’m here with another group,” Joe stammered.
Joe started looking around desperately for his mentor, Julie. She would know what to say! In the meantime, Joe went on, “We… Um, see that van? We can give you a free sonogram! And some other resources too if you’d like?”
Surprisingly, even with all his stuttering, the girl agreed.
40 minutes later, that same girl climbed out of the van with tears in her eyes. As she pulled out her cellphone, Joe couldn’t help but ask, “Who are you calling?”
“My mom,” she replied. “I need to let her know she’s going to be a grandma.”
This was the moment Joe knew what he was called to do. When he and his fiancée were married the following year, they bought a gutted-out Mercedes Sprinter Van and started traveling the country to spread their vision—and hopefully gain support.
When their first bus was finally paid for in 2014, Joe and Ann went to Dallas, TX.
In their first year, 394 women chose life for their children after receiving a free sonogram from Joe and Ann’s van service. The power of a heartbeat and a picture was saving lives!
Not only that, but more and more donors and supporters came to give them aid in their ministry. Today, there are 39 busses in 26 states across America.
Why Save the Storks?
Abortion can be a deeply traumatic event for all involved. It is well known by anyone in the pro-choice or pro-life community that the decision to have an abortion is one of the most difficult choices one could make. But for so many women, it doesn’t feel like a choice.
According to Save the Storks website, 67% of women who have an abortion felt it was their only choice, either because of finances, shame, or other personal reasons. Many are even under pressure by those closest to them and are told that having a baby is simply not an option.
This is where Save the Storks comes in.
Their primary focus is on the oft-forgotten other victim of the abortion industry: The mothers.
Inside the Save the Storks busses is state-of-the-art equipment and a warm, friendly environment designed to make women feel safe and at ease. A bathroom in the back offers privacy to take a pregnancy test. Leather chairs and a clean, cushioned bench helps her relax.
There’s even massage chairs and refrigerators with cold drinks.
With the Mercedes Sprinter Van, they are easily parked in a single parking space, conserve costs for gas, and are still large enough to feel spacious inside.
Most importantly, an ultrasound technician and a sonogram machine allow the Stork Busses to offer free ultrasounds.
Many of the women get to hear their baby’s heartbeat and see their child for the very first time.
But Save the Storks doesn’t stop there. Partnered with pro-life pregnancy centers, Stork Busses are also equipped to offer resources for women who do choose life. They offer food, clothing, formula, diapers, financial assistance, legal help, or adoption resources.
Saving Lives, One Woman At A Time
Each story from Save the Storks carries the message of redemption and hope.
A refugee couple had recently escaped from the war-torn country of Afghanistan. They were intrigued when they happened to pass by a brightly colored van parked a church parking lot.
And while they knew very little English, they recognized one word plastered on the side: “pregnancy.”
They quickly stopped, hoping to find someone that could help them. In his limited English, the husband tried his best to ask for a way to confirm whether his wife was pregnant.
Language barriers are difficult already, but trying to offer someone medical care or service, it proves to be an even larger hurdle!
After a few minutes of lots of gesturing and simplified terms, the couple was able to understand they were being offered a free pregnancy test and were invited to come inside the van.
The test confirmed the couple’s suspicion and the look of concern quickly came across their faces. How could they care for a child when they could barely care for themselves right now?
With many gestures and as many simple words and phrases as possible, the team managed to convince them to come for an ultrasound the following week.
What’s so amazing about this story is that none of the counseling strategies the team had been trained to use were of any use in this unique situation. But God provided where they lacked ability!
The refugee couple could barely understand even the most basic of English, which became even more apparent as the technician tried to point out their child on the black and white screen. They had never seen such technology before! Yet it was clear they could understand what the technician was trying to show them.
Finally, the technician moved her instrument to show them one more thing. She pointed to her chest and then back at the screen. “Heartbeat!” She tapped her chest and then looked at the screen again. “Heartbeat!”
Suddenly their faces lit up. “Heartbeat!” The husband smiled as he repeated the word in another language. And that one word forever changed 3 lives for the better!
By being faithful and serving this couple in a difficult situation, the team was also able to share the gospel and love of Jesus Christ with a couple from a Muslim nation. Please pray for this couple to accept Christ as their Lord!
This is just one of the many powerful moments Save the Storks has witnessed while serving pregnant women.
There was also Haley, who was already a young mom. She first came into the center after seeing a sign offering free pregnancy tests while juggling her 3-year old and 4-month old. She couldn’t believe the service was really free.
While they waited for the results, the center worker patiently listened to Haley’s story.
Her boyfriend wanted to be a father, but she was already so overwhelmed with the two young children she already had. She simply couldn’t have another child. When the test confirmed her suspicions, she broke down in tears. An abortion felt like her only option.
The center worker offered her a free ultrasound. Free? Haley was again taken aback by the offer. It was too early in the pregnancy to be able to see much of anything, but the worker convinced Haley to come back the next week.
Haley returned the following week, but it was still too early. However, by the third week, she came in with her boyfriend and together they saw their child for the first time.
While Haley was still anxious, she knew an abortion was no longer a choice.
And because of the resources Save the Storks had been blessed to provide, they were able to offer her even more! Haley received baby items, parenting classes, and a multitude of other resources for her two young children and her newest addition to the family.
In a matter of weeks, Haley had gone from scared out of her mind to hopeful and happy, all because she knew she wasn’t alone in carrying and raising her child.
Another young woman was also blessed by Save the Storks, this time right outside of an abortion clinic.
It was the second time Abby had been to the clinic in four months. Just four months ago, she walked into the abortion clinic and walked back out with an emptiness inside her. Now, here she was, pregnant again, and walking back to the abortion clinic.
Every time Abby would feel that creeping sense of doubt sneak in, she’d push it away with the doctor’s words:
“It’s just a clump of cells. Get in, get out. Everyone does it.”
Then she saw out of the corner of her eye a bright blue van offering, “Free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds!” She continued walking towards the clinic until a voice from behind her offered her a free ultrasound.
It’s just a clump of cells. What is there to really see?
But she couldn’t resist the pull inside her that wondered what would really be on that screen. She wasn’t allowed an ultrasound in the abortion clinic. This one was free and that pull was stronger than ever. What did she have to lose?
As the technician pulled up the image, Abby worried about being late to her appointment and anxious thoughts were blended together with the doctor’s words:
“Oh look! There’s the heartbeat.”
She couldn’t believe it. A heartbeat? Clumps of cells don’t have heartbeats!
But what she saw was not a clump of cells, but her sweet baby. Its head, its arms, its legs, and that tiny, but steady, heartbeat. How could she have believed the lies?
That moment was the beginning. The beginning of healing from her first abortion. The beginning of ridding herself of the lies and mantras she had been repeating to herself for months. The beginning of a new life—for her child AND for her!
4 out of 5 women choose life for their babies after visiting a Stork Bus. Since its first bus, Save the Storks has convinced over 4,000 women to choose life.
If you’d like to learn more, or know how you can support this ministry, visit SavetheStorks.com. You can also check out their many amazing stories on Facebook and YouTube!