How East Gate Ministries helps women in crisis in the Shenandoah Valley
Written by Brad Jenkins

Since 2002, East Gate Ministries has provided residential and outreach programs that help young women choose life for their unborn children. East Gate is a ministry partner, and in July is our featured local-mission group. We asked Isla Weaver, president of the organization, about its work, which also includes helping women recovering from abuse and trauma.

What does the overturning of Roe v. Wade mean for your ministry?

Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, we, as the Body of Christ, have the opportunity to amplify the resources East Gate Ministries currently provides to serve young women in unplanned pregnancies. The reversal of Roe v. Wade is the Church’s hour to demonstrate its pro-life commitment by caring for women and children in crisis, providing housing, counseling, adoption and many other resources that we have been providing for two decades.

Tell us more about those resources and how you help women facing unplanned pregnancy.

Through East Gate Ministries’ Grace House Residential and Outreach Programs, young women courageously choose life over death by either choosing to raise their children or place their babies into a forever home through adoption.

Grace House Residential Program is a maternity program for young women who are in need of support during their pregnancy. The Grace House program provides housing, Bible studies, professional counseling, parenting education, assistance with medical care, assistance with adoption, assistance with GED/education/college, job placement, life skills, boundaries, nutrition and fitness, budgeting and other resources concerning the future of the young women and their preborn babies.

In the housing program, the young women stay throughout their pregnancy: an average of six months and up to six months in the After Care Program after their baby is born.

How about for women who don’t do the residential program?

Grace House Outreach Day Program is a maternity program offered to young women who do not choose the residential program, but can benefit from the services offered in the program to support them and their decision to choose life. This robust and diverse day program focuses on a variety of topics to empower the young moms to thrive in their daily lives. Groups through this program involve: parenting education, coping skills, Bible studies, daily life skills, art, budgeting and more.

Transitional Care Program helps young mothers who have graduated from the Grace House program to stay connected to East Gate Ministries after the birth of their babies. The young mothers receive ongoing support, counseling, mentors, assistance in finding a church, housing, employment and childcare.

What kinds of help do you offer women

Outreach Counseling Services offers free-of-charge counseling with a licensed mental health Professional to teenage girls ages 13-18, and young women 18 and older. We have a holistic and Christ- centered approach, committed to assisting the individuals in their healing journey. Our founder, Ilsa Weaver’s prayer and hope is that every woman East Gate Ministries serves will be set free from their former life (John 8:36), healed from trauma, and will discover Christ’s love for them, accepting Him as Lord.

You also work with women who have faced sexual abuse and other trauma. Tell us about that.

East Gate is a voice for the voiceless, the hurting, the forgotten and those without hope. Where rape, abuse, a past abortion, prostitution/sex-trafficking or other sexual traumas have broken their lives, East Gate holistically treats each precious individual for their specific needs. Common coping mechanisms we see from the girls include drug use, alcohol, nicotine, self-harm, eating disorders, staying in abusive and toxic relationships, gambling, excessive spending, promiscuity, advertising themselves for monies on pornography websites, seeking out hook- up sites for sex and other risk-seeking behaviors.

Every single day we are given the opportunity to speak God’s truth into the messiness of the young women’s lives that we reach. We get an up-close glimpse of God’s mercy and grace in action. It is a privilege to witness the power of God’s intimate love through His Son, Christ Jesus to change and transform lives that are deeply broken for eternity.

What do you hear from the women you have helped?

Here’s what one of the women we helped told us: “Without East Gate, I don’t think I would be here right now. I would have gone back to the life I was living and most likely be dead from the sex industry, alcohol and using drugs. I was barely surviving. The Grace House program helped me realize that I am loved and that my life has purpose. The Bible studies, classes, counseling and encouragement I received helped change my life and choose adoption for my baby.”

How can we pray and support East Gate?

East Gate Ministries is not able to do what we do without the incredible monetary and volunteer support from our partners in ministry. Praying for the work of East Gate Ministries is also vital. We know that the enemy’s purpose spoken in John 10:10 is to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy wants to steal these young women’s purpose and destroy their preborn baby. But Jesus came to give life!