This December, when Haven Care Center moves into the former Brothers BBQ location, executive director Tiffany Johnson said her Danville, Kentucky center will expand its ability to serve more of the abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clients who are now coming to their doors.
“We know time is really crucial,” Johnson said. “So our goal is always to get an ultrasound within 24-48 hours, because we know 82 percent of those who see their baby choose life.”
Since July 2015, Haven Care Center has offered ultrasounds through a partnership with Assurance, a mobile ultrasound provider out of Lexington. Using a room at the center, Assurance provides a suitcase-sized mobile ultrasound machine and its own medical personnel—all at no cost.
“We are so blessed to work with Assurance,” Johnson said. “That partnership with them, and getting ultrasound available, that's what has taken Haven Care to the next level. They assist pregnancy centers like us in sanctifying life. We are now reaching more abortion-vulnerable and abortion-minded clients. We've had more ultrasounds this year than any other year.”
Realizing their clients’ needs were outgrowing their space, the board and staff of Haven Care Center took a hard look at their rented 900-square-foot location. They considered acquiring the space next door and knocking down a wall to double their size.
Then, one after another, came two donors offering $25,000 each toward renovating a restaurant-bar space that had come up for sale. Suddenly, the center was looking into purchasing a building rather than renting one.
“Purchasing a building was not in our budget at all,” Johnson said. “This all originated with an anonymous donor with a heart and passion for life. We never know how past trials can bring Romans 8:28 to life for God’s glory. It’s true that ‘God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’”
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“That's only a God thing,” Johnson said. “We prayed about it, and the board decided to purchase Brothers BBQ. It's being completely renovated at this moment.”
Since that decision occurred, another $25,000 came in to further slash the $190,000 mortgage. The center’s fundraising banquet brought in a record-breaking $55,000, far exceeding the already-optimistic goal of $40,000.
“We've never raised that amount,” Johnson said. “God abundantly blessed us.”
From a Hangout to a Haven
Thanks to some major renovations, the former Brothers BBQ is looking entirely different, inside and out. | Photo Courtesy: Haven Care Center
As remodeling the former bar began, the project hit several obstacles, including the need for all-new plumbing.
“The piping had to be ripped out,” Johnson said. “It was a laundromat before that, then several restaurants. So it's been a challenge, but super exciting, because we have designed it to meet the need of our clients so we can best serve them.”
At the new location, Haven Care clients will find more parking, easier visibility through donated signage, a conference room with an adjacent kitchen for group meetings and Bible studies, and three separate entrances.
“There will be a door for regular clients, a side door for donations, and then we'll have a private entrance for abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clients in the back,” Johnson said. “As soon as they walk in we'll have the ultrasound room and a private bathroom. We've not had that in our current facility. We're tripling space, going from 900 square feet to 3,000.”
This larger facility will put Haven Care Center on prime downtown real estate.
“It's going to be right by the hospital,” Johnson said. “We're also across the street from Salvation Army, and seven doors down from a church. So we are in the heart of Danville.”
And at the heart of the new building is Scripture, written on the raw walls just before the drywall went up in October.
Stewarding Community Support
While purchasing a building took a step of faith, Johnson said that step was in keeping with good stewardship.
“We had already put six digits into this place that we're renting,” she said. “Most pregnancy centers in our state own their facility. The main goal is that when you and I are dead and gone, this ministry is still going to stand and it's going to be paid off.”
In the four years since Johnson took the helm, community support for the center has doubled, keeping pace with the growing budget. This has allowed Haven Care Center to operate free from federal or state money. Sixty churches now contribute to the work, up from 30 in 2014.
Those churches stock the center’s boutique with clothing and diapers, and some even help the center meet needs for families without homes. While the center worked with local agencies to find housing for 30 families, Southland Christian Church, for example, assisted in providing furniture for 72 families in need.
“If individuals are pregnant, and they don't have a place to live, you've got to focus on the physical first before you can even tackle the emotional," Johnson said. “Then we untangle the rest, including the spiritual, which is key to everything.”
To encourage clients’ spiritual growth, Haven Care Center plans to use its new conference room to offer two weekly Bible studies where past and present clients can join in fellowship alongside women from the community. Already the center ensures that every visitor leaves with a Bible and “My Father’s Love Letter,” Scripture that affirms each person’s value in the eyes of God.
At the same time, outreach to area students will continue. This year alone, Johnson spoke to over 1,620 youth.
“I’m not only in our peer counseling room, I’m also in schools, promoting abstinence and healthy relationships,” she said
She does so in all four of the counties they serve (Mercer, Garrard, Lincoln, and Boyle), educating ninth graders and even some middle school students.
Planning for Future Ministry
Johnson said she hopes to build more awareness of her center’s services in two of those counties where the center has less history. Mercer County housed the original Haven Care Center in 1991, until it moved to Danville in Boyle County in 2004. Currently, only 19 percent of the center’s clients come from the other two counties combined.
Another future focus for Haven Care Center will be its growing male mentorship program. “I'm hoping to get more male volunteers and spiritual leaders in our community to help fill that gap,” Johnson said. “We want a stronger male mentorship, like we have with our ladies.”
However, Johnson said her primary objective is to grow Haven Care Center into a stand-alone medical facility. Then her team will be able to instantly provide an ultrasound to expectant moms and dads who need to see exactly whose life depends on their next decision.