LUMBERTON — After 12 years of serving mothers and babies in Lumberton, Helen and Ed Rogers moved their mission, Agape Pregnancy Support, into a recreational vehicle in February.
They and their RV are now located beside the Sears shopping center on Fayetteville Road, only a few feet away from their former storefront. But they are concerned their clients might miss them — and be unable to find them.
Helen talked on Tuesday about the mission to mothers and babies that now is 32 years old and counting.
“Agape means God’s unconditional love,” Helen said. “We’ve been helping new and expecting mothers for a long time. Everything we do is free.”
Agape Pregnancy Support is in Lumberton from 3 to 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Diapers, formula, clothes and lots of love are given away when a baby shows up.
Niasia Carmichael stepped into the RV on Tuesday to pick up diapers for Ma’Kiya, who is 11 months old. In no time, babies were smiling happily.
“I’ve been coming here since my first child was born,” Carmichael said. “He’s 4 now.”
Carmichael’s friend Quatajia Howell brought her 4-month-old daughter, Dejiah Calhoun.
“I came last year when I was pregnant,” Howell said. “Today, I need diapers, clothes and baby food.”
Helen makes no apologies that she and her mission are pro-life. She wants women to “choose life.”
“One of the things we do is get pregnant women free ultrasounds,” she said. “After the mothers see their baby, they decide against abortion.”
Based at 710 E. Russell St. in Fayetteville, the nonprofit does not run on government handouts. It runs on love — and generosity.
“Grants?” Helen said. “No, Jesus supports us. All our support comes from churches and Christians. People who have very little sometimes give a lot.”
In 12 years in Lumberton, Ed, who pastors a church in Salemburg, said they have served 1,954 babies and their mothers.
“That does not count toddlers,” he said with a chuckle.
Word of mouth is powerful, Helen said. But they also get referrals from the Social Services departments and local health departments.
“They say, ‘We are not allowed to talk about Jesus, so we are sending them to you,’” Helen said. “It’s an awesome ministry.”
It must be because Helen began working with pregnant women in the 1980s while teaching kindergarten. She possesses a stubborn faith that is unshaken in the face of heartache and celebratory in the joy of babies and mothers.
“I see the best of the best,” Helen said.
Agape Pregnancy Support is a part of a larger web of support. It includes counseling, shelter, adoption and something that Helen calls, “We’ll do whatever we can.”
She used that term during a phone call with an associate who was seeking shelter for a pregnant woman who had escaped a human trafficking ring.
To find the Agape RV, turn on to Peterson Drive and it will be on the right. To contact Agape Pregnancy Support, call 910-308-2583.
Staff writer Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]