Monday, March 12, 2012

Gateway Pregnancy Centers Share Christ with Women in Crisis
Posted by Tom Campisi on 01/05/2012 in Local News & Features
Editor’s note: The following is a Q and A with Dean Gavaris, the Executive Director of Gateway Pregnancy Centers in Elizabeth, Irvington, and Plainfield, New Jersey.

How was Gateway Pregnancy Center started?
After working as executive director of Archway Pregnancy Center (established 1985) in Elizabeth from 1986 to 1990, a group was formed to begin a ministry in the Newark area. A very suitable location was found in Irvington, right down the block from a large high school, across from the second largest bus terminal in New Jersey, and a block from a large abortion facility. In 1998, the Archway was ‘adopted’ into the Gateway family. In 2000, we added a sonogram ministry. In 2008, we opened our Plainfield satellite.

How has it grown over the years?
Gateway has grown from one location in 1990 to three locations, serving over 12,000 women a year. In our 26 years of ministry, we have seen over 26,000 women, and have also counseled hundreds of boyfriends. Nearly 1,800 have trusted Christ as Savior and nearly 2,700 babies are known to have been born. We have performed over 700 sonograms, trained about 459 volunteers, made more than 300 church presentations, and given out about six tons of baby items.

What is one of your favorite testimonies or success stories?               
In 1997, Gateway helped a pregnant woman who was in jail. Sonia Jackson was seeking an abortion, but then changed her mind. Attorneys for two pro-abortion groups attempted to keep her in jail and force her to abort. The Lord used many believers to see her released. She now has a beautiful 14-year-old, Elva Messiah. Sonia then helped another (younger) woman by going into an abortion facility and encouraging her to leave. This girl had her child (she named her Messiah) and we were privileged to attend her high school graduation.

How have the needs of this ministry changed over the years?
Gateway’s needs have changed as have the crisis needs of the women we serve. Many more now confirm their pregnancy with home tests, so our ministry has needed to expand into performing sonograms to verify pregnancy, giving out more baby items, and referring to a variety of agencies for emergency housing and other help.

What has stayed the same?
What has remained the same is that many are very open to hearing about their need to trust Christ. Our need for additional volunteers and funding has never been greater.

What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is for pastors and the local Church to see Gateway as a Gospel mission rather than a pro-life, parachurch group that seeks to rescue babies from the awfulness of abortion. We understand that a true change of heart that is lasting can only be achieved by trusting Christ. Although we are adamantly pro-life, allowing for no exceptions whatsoever because God’s Word allows for none, we are guided by a simple motto in the form of a question: Although you may be pro-life, do you have eternal life?
Beyond this, our biggest challenge is funding a volunteer staffing. Greater things can be done for the kingdom as God’s people see that “the mission of the church is missions.”

How can the Christian Community help Gateway?
1) Pray for us. 2) Consider taking our volunteer training. 3) Pastors, consider inviting us to speak at your church.

What is a key scripture for you and your work?
Matthew 6:33, relative to our many needs, especially financial ones:But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Esther 4:14, relative to our calling to seek lost souls in this unique ministry: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
I also like a few Dr. Martin Luther King quotes:

 “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”  

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
To volunteer at Gateway, to make a donation, or for more information, visit or call (908) 353-0604.

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