Above: Two lives saved through the efforts of South Dakota’s ultrasound ministry.
“I have set before you life and death … Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19b).
The challenge from the LFL of South Dakota conference speaker was taken as a personal challenge. The high success rate of abortion-bound women to choose life for their baby, after seeing an ultrasound of their baby, was all one needed to hear to take up the challenge to introduce an ultrasound ministry to South Dakota. (“Ultrasound is a type of imaging [that] uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Health care professionals use it to view the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver, and other organs. During pregnancy, doctors use ultrasound to view the [baby].”) 1
Through the encouragement and support of trusted and well-known contacts with vast circles of influence, the enthusiastic Southeast South Dakota chapter of Lutherans For Life joined in the challenge. Nothing less than a storm of conversation and creative ideas followed. We determined the ministry needs, which led to goals and strategy development. Brochures were developed and produced; endorsements were obtained; and promotional articles were written and distributed. Copies of the educational video, Eyewitness to the Earliest Days of Life, by Shari Richard, an obstetrical ultrasound expert and educator, were purchased. We took this video on the road across South Dakota, showed it to life-affirming congregations and groups, and pleaded our cause. The whole state was buzzing as participation in the challenge grew!
And participate they did! By the grace of God, nine months from the launch date of the fundraising campaign, over $40,000 was raised ($10,000 more than the goal). We had enough money to purchase an exam table, clinical gowns, gloves, and ultrasound gel, and to receive training to get the ultrasound ministry off the ground.
Over sixteen years later, faithful, life-affirming Lutherans, including LFL chapters and other friends of life, continue to financially support the ultrasound ministry at the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls. We have also been able to expand the ultrasound ministry to another pregnancy center in South Dakota.
Ultrasound images save lives. They provide an opportunity to share the Good News of the saving grace of Christ Jesus and plant the seed for the Holy Spirit to change hearts and heal the many lives involved in that one precious little life.
Shari Richard, founder of Sound Wave Images, wrote, “The eyewitness of ultrasound is the window to the heart and speaks the universal language of the soul. . . This gift of life is unique, it is transforming, and it is irreplaceable. As a result of my ultrasound profession and personal grief and pain from abortion, I incorporated Sound Wave Images in 1990. We are ‘Leading the Way with Ultrasound,’ and we are changing lives and touching hearts through the ‘window to the womb’ and the voices of millions of men, women, and families who are breaking the silence and sharing the truth that abortion hurts all!! It is my prayer that this message will continue to bring healing and hope to change hearts around the world to recognize the hidden and inherent beauty of every life. It is time to begin the journey back from death to life, from pain to healing, and from denial to purpose.” 2
Our ultrasound ministry story is just one example of the many acts of love that life-affirming Christians do daily to help others choose life over death. Why do these faithful people do what they do? God’s Word. It compels us to speak and act on behalf of those who are vulnerable and defenseless. Out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us, we reach out in defense of others.
Lutherans For Life is here to help in that defense by equipping Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices for life. And we love life because God Loves Life as the song by the same title goes:
God Loves Life
From the moment of first conception
And His love is without exception
Rich or poor
Big or small
In love, His Son He gave us
Through Christ, our God has saved us
Short or tall
Young or old
In Water and Word He claims us
By the Spirit’s power, He names us
Shy or bold
Girl or boy
Now my heart in faith confesses
And each day my life He blesses
Yellow or red
Black or white
And when life on earth is ended
And in heaven our life’s extended
Rich or poor
Big or small
God Loves Life
Words and music by Terry K. Dittmer © 1995. You can listen and download a recording of “God Loves Life” here.
“Ultrasound: MedlinePlus.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
“Unborn.com.” Shari Richard. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.