ST. MARYS — On Oct. 10 to 12, Concepts of Truth, an abortion recovery ministry, will be hosting The Journey Recovery Weekend.
The weekend, which goes through their own Biblically based curriculum “Concepts of Recovery, the Journey,” focuses on taking participants through the healing process in relation to the abortion experience.
“One out of every three women in church have had an abortion,” said Sherry Neuenschwander, director of the Ohio office, who has had two abortions herself. “They are often still stuck in their grief. Everyone handles post-abortive trauma differently, but it is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. A woman who has had an abortion has an 81 percent higher risk of mental and emotional health issues. They don’t realize the panic attacks and paranoia are part of the post-abortion experience.”
This is why, Concepts for Truth, founded by Dail and Millie Lace, offers not just the healing weekends, but also the International Helpline for Abortion Recovery.
“We have 24 hour, seven day a week live assistance,” explained Neuenschwander, who also serves as a call consultant two days a week and one weekend a month. “We listen and assess the caller, and then we refer them to local help.”
Concepts for Truth, which is a non-profit organization that receives almost all of its funding through donations and is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, also brings awareness and education by speaking at churches, small groups and other organizations; offers sexual health programs to help students live out their sexuality in purity and responsibility; and trains and equips leaders in abortion recovery.
Currently, Concepts for Truth has 13 call consultants located all over the country, including one man. Neuenschwander said that they are looking for more workers, though. “We train and equip those who want to get into abortion recovery ministry,” she said. “We also have a heart for the church. We want to help pastors to reach that person sitting in the pew, hurting from an abortion.”
“Concepts for Recovery, the Journey” is only one of two curriculum that is written to be used in a retreat type setting. “Most are done week by week,” said Neuenschwander. “The pros of doing it in a weekend is that they can shut out the outside world and just concentrate on healing.”
The weekends are offered two to three times a year in Arkansas, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.
Neuenschwander said that they only take three to six participants for each weekend, and it is open to men, women or couples. “It’s very small and intimate,” said Neuenschwander. “All inquiries about the weekend are confidential, and we take them through an intake process or interview.”
She said the questionnaire is simple and helps the facilitators to assess where the person is at in their healing journey. After the intake and questionnaire, the participant is sent the book and asked to do the first two chapters: “Where am I” which is a look at where that person is on their journey to healing and “Map Maker” which talks about the character of God.
The weekend, which costs $99 and includes a private room and all meals, starts at 3 p.m. Friday when the attendees go through the first two chapters together. On Saturday morning, participants begin working through chapters three through six which discuss various road blocks to healing.
“We work through denial, identifying anger, forgiving others, dealing with depression, guilt and shame, and accepting God’s forgiveness and forgiving self,” said Neuenschwander.
On Sunday, participants finish up the last two chapters which deal with letting go, grieving the loss and dealing with ongoing reminders. They also have an opportunity for closure by honoring the child they lost through a special service.
Neuenschwander said that although the weekends are very helpful in finding healing, Concepts of Truth recommends other abortion recovery programs to callers if appropriate. “There are a lot of good programs out there besides ours. We have two criteria for the ones we recommend,” said Neuenschwander. “They need to be Biblically based and offer closure.”
Despite going through the weekend, Neuenschwander said that recovering from the emotional effects of an abortion is an ongoing journey. “It’s a breath by breath journey,” she said. “I’m 54 and had two abortions. I’ve gone through healing and am at a place where I can help others, but part of my journey is now dealing with never becoming a grandmother. I recognize the need to grieve quicker now, and I don’t stay down in the dark. Years ago, I was stuck in that pit. Now my faith is stronger. I am forgiven and set free.”
What: The Journey Recovery Weekend, St. Marys
When: 3 p.m. Oct. 10 through 4 p.m. Oct. 12
Cost is $99 and includes a private room and meals.
To register call 419-492-4639 or email email@example.com. For details, visit www.interntionalhelpline.org.