NORTHRIDGE, Calif. Marcela Garcia listened carefully as her family practitioner described the options. She didn’t have to have the baby. By going to Planned Parenthood, the 20-year-old wouldn’t even have to pay for an abortion.
But Garcia didn’t want to face the pro-life activists who picketed there, so she chose a private clinicone secluded from any reminders of her childhood faith.
According to Garcia, now 29, her family moved to California from El Salvador when she was only a toddler. For the first 12 years of her life, they were Christians. But when a disagreement caused her parents to leave the church, Garcia decided she no longer wanted anything to do with God.
Alcohol use and sexual activity led to her unwanted pregnancy while she was a student at California State University, Northridge. Garcia said she had no doubts about ending the pregnancy.
When she walked into the spa-like facility, friendly people wanted to make sure she knew what she was doing, but “they never addressed my baby as a child.”
Though they offered her an ultrasound, Garcia refused.
“I didn’t want to know that something was alive inside. The technician agreed saying ‘I think that’s best.’” The conversation was deftly shifted to Garcia’s education and future plans.
Despite being assured she’d feel better when she woke up, Garcia said that afterward she didn’t feel anything.
“I just began to weep and weep and couldn’t understand why. Something had died inside of me; something of me died.”
However, because of her Hispanic heritage, Garcia said she couldn’t talk about it. Instead she determined that this would be a secret she’d take to the grave.
“In the Hispanic community, abortion is never talked about because it brings shame and guilt for the whole family,” Garcia said.
Over a three-year-period, she struggled with anger and depression so intense that she even contemplated suicide.
During that time her parents returned to church. Garcia said her mom “would come into the room and pray for me at night. She’d say, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong, but you were born to serve God. You were born to be a voice.’”
Garcia knew the truth would devastate her mother.
Given a new beginning
Nothing relieved her depression, Garcia said, until she attended a young women’s encounter group where she came back to Jesus.
“Finally, I felt freedom,” she said. “No more guilt, no more shame. The most significant thing that happened was that I felt pure, like a child again.”
As a result Garcia heeded her mother’s words.
“I will be a voice to end this thing,” she decided. “Abortion brings death.”
The first person in which she confided was her pastor, Netz Gomez, at the Houses of Light church in Northridge. Knowing how difficult it would be for her parents to accept the news, Garcia said her pastor advised her to wait and pray before telling them.
One day, while watching “The Call Nashville” on God-TV with her parents, Garcia said she heard Lou Engle, who heads a national repentance ministry, proclaim that if Hispanics would raise their voice, abortion would end and California would become a pro-life state. Then a Hispanic woman prayed in Spanish calling forth a young woman to lead the way.
Garcia said she began crying as she sensed God’s call to become a voice for her people. Though her parents were drawn to the message, they wondered what was wrong. Months later Garcia confessed the truth to her mothera truth that broke her heart, but then brought them closer. Telling her dad, a church leader, took much longer and proved much harder.
Though Garcia, her mother and Pastor Gomez all prayed for the right timing and circumstances, when Garcia finally told her dad, he quit speaking to her. But as he prepared to teach on father/daughter relationships, Garcia said the Lord gripped him. Instead of giving the message he’d planned, her dad later confessed his failure as a father.
“He came into my room and said, ‘Hey princess,’ and I knew God had given me my dad back,” she said. “He said ‘I don’t care what you did. I love you, and I’m proud of you.’”
He also told Garcia that, knowing her, he understood that she’d want to speak out about abortionand that she wouldn’t do it alone.
Giving Hispanics hope
Since then, Garcia said the Lord has not only called her to be a voice for the end of abortion, but He also called her whole family.
“We started going out to Hispanic churches speaking the ‘life’ message and exposing how abortion has impacted the Hispanic community,” Garcia said.
“As women turn to Christ, He brings them out of the darkness of their fear, shame and guilt.”
Recently Garcia said she was one of 39 young women chosen by The Esther Call to complete a 21-day journey, walking about 250 miles from America’s largest abortion facility in Houston to the Dallas courthouse where Roe v. Wade was signed 39 years ago.
“(I walked this) Trail of Tears, so that Hispanic women affected by abortion will have the courage to break out of their silence and be a voice to end this injustice in every culture,” she said.
Now Garcia is building on that experience as California’s regional coordinator for TheCall Aviva. She and Pastor Gomez are encouraging Hispanics to come together on Sept. 1 for fasting and prayer. Garcia said that Latino women are being called to come out of the shadows and into the light“to repent for the sins of America, break out of silence and shame to cry out for life and the ending of abortion.”
With one voice they’ll plead with God to make California a prolife state.
To register go to www.thecall.com and click on TheCall Aviva link or contact Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.