'Truly a Godsend': Texas Couple Offers Safety Net for Single Pregnant Moms
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From housing and meals to financial assistance, the Blue Haven Ranch ministry in Argyle, Texas, is helping single pregnant mothers work through past trauma and emotions in an atmosphere that fosters healing and a fresh start.
"These single moms who through a huge variety of circumstances are single moms again or maybe have been single moms the whole time - find themselves pregnant again through different situations that could be divorce, that could be abuse, that could be abandonment from either long term relationships, short term relationships," Blue Haven Ranch Founder and Executive Director Aubrey Schlackman told CBN News.
Schlackman said God gave her the idea for the ranch two years ago. It was an answer to a desire she and her husband had been praying about for years.
"We've been involved in different ministries but then we've also had a big heart for single pregnant mothers for a long time," explained Schlackman.
The mission of the maternity ranch will be to provide a supportive community for pregnant single mothers with children, complete with counseling and gospel-centered discipleship.
Schlackman said, "That's what we're called to do as followers of Christ - is to love God, love others and make disciples."
She admits that the ranch, which is intended to house moms in individual cottages, will take time to build. Still, the couple felt that the needs of pregnant mothers and their children couldn't wait. So, they made the decision to start the ministry out of their home.
"We knew we could take moms that are already in current housing, and they were in a safe situation and then bring them into our Bible study and a support group structure in our home," said Schlackman. "We would all cook meals together. Send them home with the meals."
Part of the plan includes teaching the mothers simple farming techniques to work through old wounds.
"We have a greenhouse in our backyard. We started and learned how to grow to produce organically hydroponically with water channels and stuff. We got chickens and we raise eggs."
The ministry has since expanded beyond the family's home.
"We have five moms now. Basically, we house them in rental homes and apartment complexes and we pay for their rent and their utilities associated with that rent," Schlackman said.
Many see this type of work as a model for how the church can assist pregnant moms at a time when abortion could be outlawed in America.
At this year's March for Life held in Washington, D.C., conservatives voiced optimism that the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade would be overturned.
"Hopefully next year we'll be in a new era of building a culture of life because Roe will be gone," said former U.S. Rep. Dan Lapinski (D-Ill).
Schlackman believes with the current Texas Heartbeat law, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, the need to serve these mothers is greater than ever.
"We feel like the timing is so important of what we're doing right now. Because all of these moms, being able to offer them this safety net in that space to kind of come into a community that loves them, that supports them and sees them for who they are and then embraces them and empowers them to be better moms once they leave the program, and better equipped," noted Schlackman.
Beth was a hard-working, single mother of two when she became pregnant again at the height of the pandemic.
Unsure of how she would provide for her growing family, she turned to Blue Haven for support.
"I was feeling damaged and punished but I knew that I wanted this positive change for my life, for my family - my two older children, for their sakes if for anything," Beth explained. "I felt comfortable right off the bat. I feel more powerful especially when they pray over me. I really love that part."
Schlackman said it is rewarding to see the ministry's impact.
"Just hearing back from some of our moms who came out of some pretty desperate circumstances and even abusive situations that now they feel safe and their children are safe and they feel loved and welcomed and even with the fact that some of them are not believers they feel welcomed and loved and cared for and not oppressed," she added.
"I can do all things through Christ," Beth said.
"Without Blue Haven Ranch, the mountains of life would have been a lot harder to climb. But now they're just small hills that I can get over. Since then, Madallyn's been born. She's a beautiful, perfect baby girl and without the help of Blue Haven Ranch and the sweet ladies there we wouldn't have everything we need. We want for absolutely nothing. Blue Haven Ranch was truly a Godsend," she added.
Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign to build the actual ranch for women is currently underway. For now, the ministry hopes to continue making a difference one mom at a time.
"Obviously the goal is still the ranch and so that's still at the forefront of our prayers. We're faithfully laying that before the Lord knowing that that will come at the right time," said Schlackman.
For more information about the ministry, go to https://www.bluehavenranch.org/
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