If in marriage two become one, in pregnancy one becomes two – or even more. The child – or the children – in the womb can move, even leap as did Jacob and Esau, and also John the Baptist (Gen. 25:22, Luke 1:41, 44). They can be consecrated in God’s service, like Jeremiah and Paul (Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1:15). The unborn John the Baptist was said to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15), while the unborn Son of God was said to be blessed (Luke 1:42).
Modern medical science has shown what ought to have been obvious: the unborn child can also feel pain. This issue of EFL news is based on Mark Jones’ attempt to look at the world from the perspective from a child in the womb who would be deprived of life. The result is challenging indeed.
Prayer point: For Hope House at Prestons to support pregnant women and their children.

Phone number: 0433 930 220
Email: hopehousesydney@gmail.com
Website: www.hopehouse.com.au
Bank details for Pregnant Alternatives Incorporated:
032-260 422 126 (donations are tax deductible)
Location: 20 Gerroa Place, Prestons NSW 2170

With kind regards in Christ
Rev. Dr Peter Barnes


Review of Mark Jones,
If I Could Speak: Letters from the Womb,
Fearn: Christian Focus, 2019

Mark Jones has adopted an imaginative way to approach the abortion issue by calling himself Zoe who is an unborn girl and who writes fourteen letters from her mother’s womb until she is aborted. The fifteenth letter which completes the book is a letter from the mother ten years later. At first I found the book a little odd in that the unborn child writes like an articulate apologist for life, but once I got over that sense, I found the result convincing, informative and haunting. The book is well-illustrated, and each little chapter begins and ends with a saying, from ‘I can hear your voice’ to ‘God was here once’ (i.e. in the womb) to ‘I wish I were a baby eagle’ to the mother’s heart-breaking response after the event: ‘I miss you’.
Life is a continuity, as Shakespeare in As You Like It spoke of the seven ages that we go through, from infancy to ‘second childishness’, ‘sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’. Little Zoe cites the Declaration on the Rights of the Child (1959): ‘Whereas the child, by reason of physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.’ Another ‘Whereas’ adds: ‘Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.’ The UN has seen better days than it sees at the moment.
Most compelling is the reference to the incarnation: ‘God so values the womb that He put His beloved Son there.’ The incarnation of the eternal Son of God does not take place at the birth, but the conception. It is, of course, a virgin conception more than a virgin birth. Even when the Messiah was in the womb of Mary, Elizabeth could ask of her: ‘But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ (Luke 1:43) Mary was not going to become the mother of the Lord; she already was.
Zoe in the womb is quite sophisticated and wide-ranging in her comments, but at the end she is powerful in her simplicity. She cites Winnie the Pooh: ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ This leads onto her last crushing word to her mother: ‘I love you; I wish you loved me too.’ The last chapter consists of the letter that Zoe’s mother wrote to her aborted daughter, ten years after the event. There is forgiveness through Christ, but consequences remain. She has been unable to have children.
The culture of abortion is a culture of deception and death, a violation of reality and God’s plan for His world. Mark Jones has opened a window to its almost inexpressible sadness.
– Peter Barnes

EFL – resource paper April 2020


Hope House

Hope keeps us motivated! And we are pleased to announce – at last! – that Hope House is up and running, together with the long-term hope that the day might come when its services will no longer be needed.

Ashlie Stevenson and Nadia Rysko, along with others, will provide a ministry from a property in Prestons, kindly set apart by John and Nadia Rysko for the declared purpose of helping pregnant women who may be tempted to see abortion as the answer to their trials. Below are some details for making contact:

Phone number: 0433 930 220
Email: hopehousesydney@gmail.com

Website: www.hopehouse.com.au
Bank details for Pregnant Alternatives:
032-260 422 126 (donations are tax deductible)
Location: 20 Gerroa Place, Prestons NSW 2170

Evangelicals for Life is pleased to announce that Hope House, a pregnancy crisis centre operating under the auspices of Pregnant Alternatives Incorporated, has just been opened. This has become possible, in the providence of God, through the closure of Sara’s Place in Surry Hills in late 2018, and the subsequent transfer of the business name of Pregnant Alternatives Inc. to those who remain the committee for EFL. The objects of this association are, in brief, to provide life-affirming counselling to women facing pregnancy in difficult circumstances and also practical assistance where possible.

Ashlie Stevenson has worked as a volunteer at Sara’s Place for some years, and was very disappointed when it closed. Nadia Rysko, who found this out through Ashlie’s regular newsletter, contacted her about trying to do something together, then EFL became involved as the umbrella organisation. This has enabled us to do something practical in this area. Abortion causes not only the pain and death of the most vulnerable in our world, but also often leads to lifelong trauma and guilt.

Ashlie and Nadia have long had a heart for this work and Hope House will be the outworking of their desire to serve God through encouraging women who are contemplating abortion to think about the alternatives. Nadia’s eyes were opened to the evil of abortion through a lecture at a Christian Democratic Party meeting some fourteen years ago, and since then she has been longing to work in this area. She found out how common abortion is – currently an estimated 70,000 – 80,000 each year in Australia, although the number is probably higher because of medical abortions – the ‘morning-after’ pill. She started to pray for women facing crisis pregnancies, and those facing post-abortion trauma. She had a longing to work with evangelical Christians, was introduced to Ashlie’s newsletter, and from their conversation, and with support from EFL, Hope House has just started.
They counsel women about abortion – its methods and pitfalls, assist with accommodation if necessary, help with domestic violence or coercive situations, support those who go to term, and counsel those who struggle with post-abortion grief. They are aware that most of the women they see will be abortion-minded and that to change that mindset can be difficult. They ask us to pray that God will work through them to save little lives from ignominious death, and that perhaps mothers will come to understand the love of God, including His gracious commandments.

Ashlie’s housemate, Alexandra Somlai, is doing the graphic design for all the resource material we need to advertise this venture – in doctors’ surgeries and other appropriate places. Through the generosity of Nadia and her husband, we have been provided with a building where this work will begin. The address is 20 Gerroa Place, Prestons NSW 2170, a suburb in south-western Sydney.

EFL is very thankful for the way the Lord has provided this opportunity for us to become more involved in this work, and for those who have assisted us by freely giving of their time and talents. If you would like to support this work financially, there are details provided overleaf, as well as phone and email contacts. A website is also being set up. And, again, please pray as you are led for us.

As we are now able to encourage this fledgling work we can have hope because “the light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it” (John1:5).

Ashlie Stevenson and Nadia Rysko, with editing by Pat Christian