This Is the Most Significant Thing Unwed Mothers Need

February 12, 2018 | Posted by LCEF

Over 30 years ago, Ed and Sheryl DeWitt attended a Lutherans For Life rally where they learned about the true atrocity of abortion. Devastated, they walked away wondering: “Wouldn’t it be great to provide a home for single, pregnant women who don’t have any options?”

Fast forward to 2009 when their daughter returned home from college facing an unplanned pregnancy. She said, “I can see how the desperation, the pressure, shame and stigma might cause you to have an abortion.” Fortunately, she knew she had options, options she and her parents wanted to share with other women.

Across the street from Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Sanford, Fla., where Rev. DeWitt is a pastor, sits a dilapidated duplex. For years, it was the kind of place the DeWitts dreamt of turning into a home for expecting unwed mothers. Through a recent LCEF loan, Redeemer bought the property to start Redeeming Life Maternity Home. The home opened in Nov. 2013 and took in its first resident by December of the same year.

Most of the women who come to the home are homeless, living in a shelter or involved in a toxic relationship. Redeeming Life’s first order of business is to offer clients a safe and secure place. This allows them, Mrs. DeWitt said, “a minute to slow down out of the chaos they’ve known as their existence and get a chance to really know what it means to be loved and not be judged and shamed.”

Once the residents settle into the home, the ministry trains the women in life skills like budgeting, ethical use of public aid and parenting. “But the most significant thing we do is explain to them how deeply they are loved by Jesus, something many have never heard,” Mrs. DeWitt said. Their biggest joy is to “witness the baptism of a resident and/or her baby.”

Since opening the home, 34 women have been through the program. Fourteen women gave birth during their stay. Eleven babies and two adults have been baptized.

One resident said, “I got a job at Staples, was going to Bible study, church, and then something clicked inside of me and I felt like I was home. … without Redeeming Life, I don’t think I could have gotten as far as I have gotten today.”

LCEF honored Redeeming Life Maternity Home at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference with the Lietz Mission Project Award, an award in honor of LCEF’s first president and CEO, Fred E. Lietz. The $9,105 collected during Sunday morning’s worship service was given to Redeeming Life Maternity Home. Because our Lord has abundantly blessed the LCEF ministry, LCEF matched that offering for a grand total of $18,210.

We give thanks for the steadfast efforts of this year’s recipient and ask you to pray with us for Redeeming Life Maternity Home as they are making a difference in the hearts of people and their communities.

Ed and Sheryl DeWitt accepting the 2017 Fred E. Lietz Mission Project Award. This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of an LCMS mission project that promotes mission and ministry.
Christ Lutheran Church in Cape Canaveral Florida showcasing the Fred E. Lietz Ministry Award as Redeeming Life Maternity Home begins its Baby Bottle Fundraiser Kickoff.