Updated 10-20-2017 11:09 a.m.
Dove Award-winning Christian comedian Mike Williams had audience members in stitches, and still challenged them to a deeper commitment to First Source’s pro-life mission. / W.C. Mann
CULLMAN – Hanceville’s First Source for Women on Thursday evening held its annual banquet at Loft 212 in Cullman, celebrating 10 years of service and raising a total of $75,243 for next year, a record for the organization. Around 350 local officials, ministers and supporters came together for fellowship, fine dining from Top of the Town’s caterers, and hilarious entertainment from Christian comedian Mike Williams.
First Source is a faith-based organization that provides free services to women (and fathers) facing unplanned pregnancies, including: pregnancy tests; ultrasound exams; counseling services for parenting and adoption; educational services teaching parenting, healthy relationships, nutrition, Lamaze, labor and delivery, time management, money management and Bible study; the Material Assistance Program: diapers, formula, infant and toddler clothing, car seats, cribs and toiletries; and post-abortion recovery therapy.
First Source Director Catherine Bethell shared, “This ministry started 10 years ago, so this is our 10-year anniversary. The ministry was started by a small group of Catholic women, and they had this desire to help women that were in a very bad situation, that were in an unplanned pregnancy. And they wanted them to choose life for their babies, and so that’s why we started. And it’s grown to what it is today.
“In 10 years, we’ve reached hundreds of women, and talked to them, sent them the message of abstinence, and we’ve helped hundreds of women go back to their life with our Lord Jesus Christ. And we’ve saved many, many babies; so it’s really a night to celebrate. It’s a celebration of life, and we’re so happy to be here.”
At the entrance to Loft 212 sat First Source’s new mobile unit, the “Storkmobile,” for all to see. The traveling examination room and counseling office is currently making the rounds of churches that participated in First Source’s baby bottle fundraising campaign, so contributors can see first-hand what their gifts have done. Soon, it will hit the road in Cullman and surrounding counties, providing free onsite ultrasound examinations, as well as counseling and information services, in remote communities. Bethell and her staff are excited to see their services extended beyond their walls, especially the ultrasound.
“On the outside it’s a billboard,” Bethell told the crowd, “but on the inside of that mobile unit, it’s a safe haven for these girls. When they walk on that mobile bus, they’re going to meet the RN; Allison (Reid)’s going to be our RN on that mobile unit, and she’s going to be able to support them, to love them. When they walk in, they’re in fear. They are afraid. They haven’t told their parents; that’s what we see at the center. Their boyfriend may have given them the money for an abortion, but in their hearts, they do not want to make that choice. They have that seed, and they want to keep that baby.
“So Allison will give them an ultrasound. They’ll see the baby, and they’ll know that’s a life. It’s not a glob; it’s a life. So there’s a realization there. They know, through the education that they’ll receive, that they can go to the center in Hanceville, and get anything they need by taking our parenting classes. So it’s a great joy that we can go out, reach out to these women in Cullman County, all because of you.
“It’s nice to see God work so fast. He’s working so fast in this ministry, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. It is. My volunteers know that. One thing leads to another; it always does.”
Christian comedian and recent Dove Award winner Mike Williams provided the evening’s entertainment. An adopted child himself, he supports two pregnancy centers like First Source in the Dominican Republic. His comedy is hilarious, but his personal mission is serious.
Before he addressed the audience, he took a moment to talk to The Tribune.
“My mission in the Dominican Republic has two pregnancy resource centers. I’m a regular speaker at Heartbeat and Care Net, which are the two national organizations for pregnancy resource centers across the country, and I’m here to share what they’re doing and how they do it, and help people understand it in a fun way.
“Sometimes people question why I’m a comedian. People say abortion’s not funny. Well, these folks don’t do abortions. They save lives, they rescue people, they transform moms. They help young moms who find themselves with child, who don’t know how to be a mom, they teach them how to be a mom. That changes a community. That rescues the community. That transforms the community. I’m excited to be part of that.”
To the audience he said, “Do you know what tonight is? It’s a birthday party! We are here to celebrate life, 10 years of saving lives. Next year, whether I’m here or not, I want you to take some candles, and I want you to drop them in those desserts, and I want you to stop and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to all the children that are going to be alive because of what we do tonight. Isn’t that a celebration, folks?”
The average cost of helping a mother and baby is $708. First Source is seeking donors who will commit to giving $59 per month for one year, along with others to donate larger sums for specific purposes. For more information, visit www.firstsourceforwomen.org or www.facebook.com/firstsourcecullman.
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