Garden of Hope Banquet

“Pregnancy Resource Centers are the only place to get
accurate abortion information in America.” 
– Sydna Massè, CEO and founder of Ramah International.
 (Photo by Scott Hamilton)
Garden of Hope Banquet
By Scott Hamilton

April 11 was the day for celebrating life in Houston. The Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) of South Central Missouri held their annual Banquet of Life hosted at Faith Fellowship. This year’s banquet theme was “Garden of Hope.” Pastor Russ Stigall of the First Baptist Church in Houston was the emcee for the night and began the banquet with introductions of all the speakers and guests of honor, including Rep. Jason Smith, a representative from Sen. Josh Hawley’s office, several area ministers and business owners.
Father Roy Chinnabathini of St. Mark Catholic Church opened the evening with prayer and scripture reading. This was followed by a brief speech in support of the PRC by Rep. Jason Smith. Smith asked that we all pray for our representatives and our state in regard to current legislation that is under way regarding abortion. During the speech he clearly stated his stance on abortion, “I believe life begins at conception.” He ended his speech in praise of the work being done by not only PRC of South Central Missouri, but pregnancy resource centers throughout the state.
“It is an honor to be a part of this banquet, and thank you for doing the Lord’s work,” stated Rep. Jason Smith.
Rep. Jason Smith addresses the
crowd at the “Garden of Hope,”
fourth annual Banquet For Life.
(Photo by Scott Hamilton)
Debra Stockard, Executive Director of PRC of South Central Missouri, gave an overview of existing services as well as new things for this year. Among these services are: pregnancy testing, ultrasound, crisis pregnancy counseling, parenting classes, post-abortive counseling, adoption referrals, abstinence until marriage education, and material assistance. New services offered this year are baby-sitting services, life skills classes, classes for fathers, toddler classes up to three years of age, and the IMNF sexual integrity program, which is offered four times a year in sixth through eighth grade classes in Texas County schools.
The buffet style dinner was catered by Miller’s Grill and featured pork tenderloin, chicken and rice, green beans, mashed potatoes, salad and cheesecake. The quality of the food was excellent and several comments were made by guests confirming this. 
The event was made possible through many generous sponsorships. Platinum sponsors were Big Country 99.3 The Rooster and Kinder Plant Food; Gold sponsors included Texas County Memorial Hospital and Knights of Columbus St. Gabriel Council #12650; Silver sponsors were Rx Boutique, Parts City, Town and Country Bank, Mitchell Insurance Agency LLC, Mahan Drilling and Pump Service, CHC Do it Center, Friend Lumber Company, The Bank of Houston and State Farm Agent Justin Shelby; and Bronze sponsors included The Health Food Store, Joe E. Richardson III, D.D.S., P.C., Main Street Pottery, Neal & Lori Moncrief, Wilson Family Chiropractic, Rinne’s Fast & Friendly and Hatch Insurance.
Sydna Massè, CEO and founder of Ramah International, delivered the keynote address. Massè is best known for her work with Dr. James C. Dobson as manager of Crisis Pregnancy Ministries. She shared her personal testimony, much as she has done on several occasions during “Focus on the Family” broadcasts. Massè spoke very eloquently of her painful decision to choose abortion as a teenager and how she found God’s healing through a pregnancy resource center’s abortion recovery program. The very same program is offered by PRC of South Central Missouri.
Massè described in detail her experience at Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinic to which she was referred. She shared how throughout the entire experience she was never really given any details as to what an abortion entailed. She vividly remembers shock upon realizing as she entered the clinic that an abortion was a surgery. At the time of her abortion, anesthesia was optional and cost extra; she had not paid for it. She remembers leaving the clinic barely able to walk and seeing the bruises on her thighs from being held down by the nurses while the doctor performed the DNC.
Massè also shared some surprising statistics; among them were the fact that one in three women over the age of 40 have had an elective abortion and a majority of them were young Christian single women who believed it was the only choice for them. Massè shared her thought process and explained why she chose the “safe and legal” abortion option over giving her son “Jesse” up for adoption. Among her reasons: she was attending a Bible college and the pregnancy would have caused her to be expelled; she was worried it would drive her mother insane; her boyfriend said he would leave her if she didn’t go through with it. Adoption didn’t seem to be an option to her at the time; if she lost her future job, future husband, mother, and family, her son would be the prize, why would she give up the prize after she went through all of that. She says that, looking back, she would be so much happier knowing that Jesse was alive somewhere, even if she didn’t know where.
During her opening remarks, Massè said, “The only place to get accurate abortion information in America is at a PRC.” The most heart wrenching part of Massè’s presentation was when she shared about hearing the screams of the mothers in the abortion clinic and wishing she had the means to help them. It brought to her mind a verse from Jeremiah 31:15, “This is what the Lord says: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’” The verse is the reason behind the name of her post-abortion outreach and training ministry, Ramah International, Inc.
Massè invited anyone who has experienced an abortion to visit their local PRC or her abortion recovery website, and her weekly blogs at, which are full of one-of-a-kind writings documenting abortion’s pain and revealing the truth that God can heal abortion’s emotional and spiritual pain.
Pastor Terry Brown closed the evening with the benediction. 
If you would like more information about PRC of South Central Missouri, you can visit them at 107 E. Pine Street in Houston, or on the web at They are always in need of prayer support, monetary donations, and volunteers. If you would like to contribute in any way to the ministry of your local PRC, you can mail donations directly to PRC, P.O. Box 295, Houston, MO 65483, or ask questions via phone 417-967-1100 or e-mail



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