We can’t celebrate 20 years of Lifeline without celebrating LeAnn Dent, a woman of enormous compassion, grace, and wisdom with almost ten years of Lifeline service under her belt. When she was first hired in 2008 as Client Services Coordinator, LeAnn was a newlywed Truman grad: enthusiastic, energetic, and “extremely naive,” as she herself puts it. All she knew was that Lifeline had good work to be done, and she wanted to be a part of it. “In my first year at Lifeline, our staff consisted of three employees. Our facility was comprised of a reception area, a bathroom, one shared office, and two very overfilled counseling rooms. A floral wind chime alerted us whenever someone walked through the door; we didn’t have an electric doorbell, let alone an ultrasound machine!” There was no way she or anyone else could have imagined the transformation she would be a part of for the next decade.
For those of you who just attended our Fall Banquet, understand that what you experienced is a far-advanced version of what it once was, as LeAnn can testify. “Our banquet used to be a much, much smaller event, to which we sold tickets and had a fraction of the attendance,” she says. Because of the steady growth of our partners for life persistent in the work of Christ, the Fall Banquet became the inspirational, two-night extravaganza that is today. And from the creation of Pure Freedom to DadLINE, LeAnn has been there for it all. “God has provided,” she exclaims, “not just a nurse who can run an ultrasound machine, and not just an abstinence educator who can handle speaking about sensitive topics with teenagers, and not just a building with some more square feet. God has provided nurses who care so much for our clients they will listen to fears, discuss life, and tell the truth, all while running an ultrasound machine! To meet the overwhelming demand for Lifeline’s Pure Freedom program in our schools, God has provided more than one abstinence educator who both care so much for our students that they give real dignity to teens by showing concern for the things they are concerned with and taking the time to challenge and communicate with them about things few others will. God provided a building that is not only perfectly functional for our ministry and administrative needs, but also spacious and beautiful.”
LeAnn has also witnessed the spiritual transformation of Lifeline’s client services. “We spent time together as a staff praying for our clients, occasionally prayed with clients, but didn’t offer a client Bible study.” In her current role as Ministry Assistant, LeAnn now leads a weekly Bible study for our clients, usually going through a book of the Bible like Matthew or Ruth or doing a topical study such as the fruits of the Spirit. LeAnn’s goal is for clients to learn more about Jesus and be inspired to find their own church community outside the clinic. We recently had a client and who informed LeAnn during Bible study that she and her grandmother just joined a local church, and LeAnn lead the rest of us in rejoicing over Christ’s movement!
Like LeAnn, may we dedicate ourselves to the work of Christ, simply because we know it is the work of Christ. I know everyone reading this desires to make their time matter: so let’s do it together, right now. Let’s pay attention to the floral door chime in our own lives, heralding the opportunity to act. Even if we have no future-vision or forward-motion, let us humbly offer this day to feed the widows and clothe the orphans and to fight for justice for the oppressed. Because He offers. He fights. And He wins.
By Kathryn Farmer