“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
The fact that Hope Pregnancy Center volunteer Karen Duncan and her former HPC client Ty’Cha Pullen share a special bond is evident. When Karen and I enter Ty’s home for a visit, Ty wraps her mentor in a warm embrace. “I’ve missed you!” she confesses, a hint of relief in her tone.
“I’ve missed you, too,” Karen agrees.
All smiles, the women pick up where their last conversation left off, swapping snippets of news and compliments as we weave our way to the spacious room that Ty and her two children share. As I prepare for our interview, Ty shows Karen the discipleship material she plans to use with her seven-year-old daughter Ty’Ona in the near future.
It’s been roughly three months since Ty and Karen have seen each other face to face, although they text and talk often over the phone. A few months ago, when Ty’s youngest daughter De’Siya was just three weeks old, Ty moved to Moore, a distance too far from the HPC North OKC location for the two women to continue the weekly meetings both looked forward to.
“We really didn’t get that much time together,” says Karen. She adds with a smile, “Not enough, anyway.” Ty came to HPC looking for help and resources when she was already six and a half months pregnant. “We crammed an awful lot in in a short amount of time!” Karen remembers.
Ty laughs and nods in agreement. “We sure did!”
Ty wasn’t quite sure what to think when she walked into HPC for the first time. She and Karen were introduced that very day. “The first thing Miss Karen did was talk to me about God,” Ty recalls with a smile.
“You received Christ that day,” Karen declares. “I’ll never forget. We went through the booklet that shows how to become a Christian, and you said, ‘I really need to do that.’ Remember?”
Ty nods. “Yes, ma’am, I sure do.”
In the few short weeks that Ty was able to make regular visits to the HPC North location, she was able to attend prenatal classes and earn points to buy things she would need for her baby in the HPC Baby Boutique through the Earn While You Learn program. She was also able to lay a solid spiritual foundation upon which to build a life of faith. Ty began going to church with Kim, a former HPC staff member, and her Sunday School class threw her a baby shower. Some of the HPC volunteers, understanding that Ty had a limited amount of time to earn points, attended the shower, and counseling sessions that were supposed to be an hour long lasted an extra half-hour or more to meet the eager new believer’s needs. It was a team effort, to be sure, fueled by the joy of service.
“I just don’t know what I would have done without all these people,” says Ty, lifting De’Siya from her swing and preparing to give her a bottle. “When I first found out I was pregnant, I was worried, but this little girl has been a blessing. I was on the road to somewhere else, but I found a brand new family because of her, my Hope family. They love me. I feel it every time I walk in the door.”
When asked what drew her to Karen, in particular, Ty responds without hesitation, “Her open arms. She’s like a mother to me.”
The admiration is mutual. “I was drawn to Ty’s positive spirit,” says Karen. “Even in the midst of problems, she wore a smile. She was searching, and I knew that once she found what she was searching for, she would make the most of it. What she was looking for was Jesus. She found Him, and, talk about a ‘new creation,’ that’s Ty!” Ty beams at Karen’s praise, tears in her eyes.
Ty has her Associates Degree in Medical Office Management, but never took the test after finishing classes. She plans to attend Moore Norman Technology Center and obtain her LPN license as quickly as possible. Ty’s immediate goal is to get a car.
Conversation dwindles as Karen and I make our way to the front door of the cottage. Although Ty and Karen have plans for lunch in just three days, Ty can’t resist calling out, “I love you, Miss Karen!”
Karen turns and hugs Ty firmly, baby and all, “I love you, too, sweet girl.”