Tom and Betty Freitag have been active in pro-life ministry for decades. Their most recent endeavor is starting a Love Life ministry in their church, turning it into a House of Refuge for women facing crisis pregnancies. They will work closely with the Pregnancy Help Center, referring these women to the Center for pregnancy services and resources. Read about the amazing work they are doing and how your church can also become involved:
Tell us about your journey to pro-life ministry. What inspired you to become active in the pro-life movement?
Starting in Sidewalk Counseling
As listeners to Focus on the Family in the late 1980’s, we heard James Dobson speak on the issue of abortion and came to understand that life starts at conception. Tom learned about a local ministry called Crusade for Life and we started attending their meetings. We began sidewalk counseling outside the local abortion mill in Inglewood.
As our involvement grew, we were invited to lead the pro-life group, Hope for Life, at Hope Chapel. We served there for about 5 years and received overwhelming support from the church leadership and from the congregation. Betty would leave our kids with a friend to babysit them while she went up to the abortion clinic. She would meet women entering and offer them an alternative to ending the life of their child.
Back then, we learned how to sidewalk counsel on the street from an amazing mentor, Georgia. She had been there for years and would continue to sidewalk counsel her entire life. She would hook up a TV and VCR to our car cigarette lighter and show the film “The Silent Scream” to women entering the abortion clinic. The film would show them what the baby in the womb looks like and the horror of the abortion procedure.
A Miracle Baby
Betty was at the clinic early one Friday morning when a young woman drove up and parked. Betty approached her and learned that she was 17 and there for an abortion. According to her doctors, she was “too small to deliver a baby and should abort.” In talking with Betty, she agreed to go down to Torrance to a pro-life doctor for an ultrasound and consultation on her ability to have this baby. She quickly changed her mind after seeing the ultrasound and learning from the doctor that she could have this baby. We held a baby shower for her and for years she would send us recent pictures of her “miracle baby.”
During the 1990s, we transitioned to life as homeschooling parents and were not active in the pro-life community.
Working With the Pregnancy Help Center
In 2015, we were invited to the Pregnancy Help Center’s yearly fundraising banquet. In our season of retirement, we were once again prompted to fight for the lives of the unborn and the souls of their parents. Tom was invited onto the Pregnancy Help Center Board in January 2021.
Our church, Oceanside Christian Fellowship (OCF), has a long history of supporting the Pregnancy Help Center through monthly donations, baby bottle collection drives, individuals sponsoring tables at the fundraiser, and individual members who volunteer at the Pregnancy Help Center.
The Birth of Love Life Ministry
A year ago, God prompted Betty to start a comprehensive pro-life ministry at OCF and our Pastor encouraged her. She found the Love Life ministry and attended their peaceful prayer walk in Pomona hosted by Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. We attended a Love Life training in May 2022 and then presented a proposal to our OCF Pastor/Elders. They eagerly approved of the ministry and together we are currently moving towards fully launching the ministry very soon.
What is Love Life?
The Love Life Mission
Love Life is a ministry that started in 2016 in Charlotte, NC by a businessman named Justin Reeder. The Love Life mission is to “unite and mobilize the church to create a culture of love and life that will result in the end to abortion and the orphan crisis.” Justin Reeder believes that the abortion clinic is the darkest place in our city and the problem is not the darkness, but the absence of light, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Protestant Church has been on the sidelines for too long, so God inspired Justin to start Love Life. Love Life comes alongside pregnancy resource centers across America by training sidewalk counselors and mentors to minister the love of Christ outside the mission field of the abortion clinics. They refer those women to local pregnancy resource centers to get the loving care they deserve. At the pregnancy resource center, the women receive a free pregnancy test, a free ultrasound, counseling, and other referrals.
Churches As Houses of Refuge
Love Life encourages churches to become what they call a “House of Refuge.” A House of Refuge is a safe place for those facing an unplanned pregnancy to run to the church for mentoring and help, instead of running to the abortion clinic. It is a place for those seeking healing from past abortions. It is also a place for congregants who want to get involved but aren’t sure where to start.
Love Life makes it easier for churches to do this by providing the framework and training for church members. They will learn to effectively mentor and do life with a woman through pregnancy and throw her a baby shower. They will see her through that baby’s first birthday and beyond if desired.
Love Life also provides the training for the church to raise up sidewalk counselors. These counselors speak to the women going into the clinic and offer them help and hope. Then they refer the women to the local pregnancy medical clinic for an ultrasound and any other needed referrals.
Love Life also provides confidential referrals for women seeking healing from abortions and trains churches to provide healing bible studies. Love Life supports churches in developing an “Orphan Care” ministry, where families are trained and equipped to do foster care.
40 Weeks of Prayers Outside Abortion Clinics
Secondly, Love Life adopts cities and conducts 40 weeks of peaceful Saturday prayer walks and sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics. Currently, the closest prayer walks are in Pomona, Riverside, Downey, Orange, and Ventura.
How did you come to choose the Love Life ministry?
Our church chose to partner with Love Life as a House of Refuge because we want to be known as a place of ministry and the love of Christ. Our church mission statement is: to passionately pursue God, passionately pursue healthy relationships, and passionately pursue those who need Jesus. Due to the comprehensive scope of the Love Life ministry, and the training and support they provide, we felt they could help us passionately pursue those women and families facing a crisis pregnancy who need Jesus. They will equip us to minister to these hurting women and offer them the hope and love of Christ through prayer, mentoring, sidewalk counseling, post abortion care, and the orphan care ministry. We won’t have to reinvent the wheel!
We will also be forming an even stronger partnership with the Pregnancy Help Center as we refer women to them for their services, and they refer women to us for mentoring and post abortion care.
As we as a church come together in this ministry, we will also grow closer as a body of believers. We saw the need to prepare for the launch of this ministry, so we are currently in training for the various areas of pro-life ministry. We look forward to fully launching in the near future and partnering with the Pregnancy Help Center.
What kind of activities will your ministry be involved in?
As a Love Life House of Refuge, we will mentor women both within our church and referred to us by the Pregnancy Help Center and sidewalk counselors. We will throw them a baby shower and continue the mentorship, as long as both the mentor and mentee agree to have a relationship. We hope these women will involve themselves in our women’s bible studies, join a small group, and become part of the body of Christ at OCF. Their boyfriends/families will also be invited to join in this process.
We will be raising up sidewalk counselors to be outside the abortion clinic in Lawndale and Torrance. They will connect the women to the Pregnancy Help Center for free services. We also intend to confidentially help women within our church to heal from past abortions.
How will your church partner with the Pregnancy Help Center?
With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the declaration of Governor Newsom to make California a sanctuary for abortion services, we have a “golden” opportunity to minister to the women coming both from within California and those outside our state seeking abortion services. Abortion clinics have set operating hours when we know that women are coming to get chemical abortion pills. This is our mission field and our opportunity to minister to those women!
We will invite women we encounter during sidewalk counseling to go to the Center for a free pregnancy test. If we can get abortion-minded women to have a free ultrasound, 83% of them will choose life for their baby.
OCF will be a “House of Refuge,” where the Pregnancy Help Center can refer women to continue the ministry they started! We will share the gospel, mentor these women, host baby showers, help them heal from previous abortions, and support them during their pregnancy by doing life with them. The goal is to incorporate them and their families into the body of Christ.
Any tips for someone starting or managing a pro-life ministry in church?
As we are moving forward to launch our own Love Life House of Refuge. We have learned we need to get the training first, so that when women come, we can effectively minister to them.
We invite every church to become a Love Life House of Refuge. Become a place where women/families, both inside and outside our churches, can run to as they face a crisis pregnancy. With the call for women in neighboring states to come to California for abortions, now is the time to step up! Love Life has the tools, training, and framework to do so successfully.
We are networking and learning from churches in the inland empire who have been in this ministry for almost two years. We at OCF will also gladly help your church get started as well. If we can enroll all the protestant churches partnering with the Pregnancy Help Center in their own Love Life ministry, we can harvest both the souls of the mothers/families and save the lives of their babies!
We are also available for any questions you may have: Tom and Betty Freitag 310-740-2901. Look for us at an information table at the upcoming Pregnancy Help Center banquet. We will look forward to meeting you!
Get Your Church Involved
Besides the Love Life ministry, there are many other ways your church can partner with the Center to be a voice for hope. You could invite us to host a baby bottle campaign, form a team for the next Walk for Life fundraiser, or even build and assemble Love Boxes for the Center’s clients. We are blessed to have the generous support of our church partners. They are making a profound impact by sharing Christ’s love with every woman, child, and family.