Wednesday, 05 October 2016 13:11

Life on Wheels Alabama: Shining Light on Life

Written by  Laura Bell
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Fourteen years ago a family walked into the office of Dr. Matt Phillips with the look of panic, fear and anger on their faces. A mother, father, teenaged daughter, and a nervous boyfriend entered into his exam room. The father looked at Dr. Phillips and said, “Our daughter took a positive pregnancy test today. I want you to make the final call that she’s pregnant so we can get ourselves to the clinic and “take care of it.”

 Dr. Phillips responded with grace and authority, calling his nursing staff to prepare for a pregnancy test and ultrasound for this terrified, teenaged girl. The family left Dr. Phillips to get test results and an ultrasound if the pregnancy test was positive. When the family re-entered the exam room with Dr. Phillips, the look of fear and anger had lifted and was replaced with tear filled eyes.

 

“How did everything go?” Dr. Phillips asked. The father replied, “That’s a baby, I just saw a baby.” The family went forward with having the baby, a beautiful baby girl. Just a mere four years later, the same teenaged girl had grown a little more, married her then boyfriend, and they just had their second baby. Dr. Phillips delivered the baby and went out into the lobby to tell the parents the good news of a second grandchild. Walking through the doors of the delivery room, Dr. Phillips saw that once afraid and angry father, holding his four-year-old granddaughter while she giggled and played with his beard. “How do you like her?” Dr. Phillips asked with a grin. The father’s eyes filled with tears, “Oh, Dr. Phillips,I love her, I just love her.”

 

According to statistics, 90% of all women who are planning on aborting their babies will change their minds if they see their child through an ultrasound. Dr. Matt Phillips of OB/GYN Associates is passionate about life as he delivers hundreds of babies every year. His heart and work has been invested in his practice, as well as working with women in crisis pregnancy.

 

“Women who change their minds about having an abortion are not automatically saved from the difficulty of raising a child in a difficult circumstance, but once we have met the women, we are able to direct them to the places that are their best resources for help after their delivery,” Dr. Phillips said in an interview.

 

Matt Phillips began realizing how important ultrasounds were in saving a child’s life, but realized he was only able to give a few crisis pregnancy ultrasounds per week, while the Montgomery County abortion clinic is aborting 40 babies per week, only closing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. What was the problem? How could things like this change?

 

Dr. Phillips soon realized that most women who are planning to abort their children are choosing to go straight to the abortion clinic because money, transportation and resources for an ultrasound are too difficult. Most women don’t know where to go, what to do, can’t afford, or don’t have the proper transportation to make the trip.

 

So what if the ultrasound was brought to the woman? That is how Life on Wheels began. A mobile ultrasound unit is the new buzz across the country, and now it is believed that the best way to reach the women is to take the ultrasound to them. This has been going on for many years through a company called ICU Mobile. Mobile units have been an awesome and efficient way to end abortion, but the set back that seems to attack this outreach is how expensive it is to obtain and operate one. Many cities around the country have wanted one for years, but have never had the resources to do so.

 

Dr. Phillips spent about a year researching and looking for different angles on how he could make something like this work in the River Region, but finally felt like it was something he just wouldn’t be able to accomplish. Until one day, Dr. Phillips had a patient come in for an ultrasound with her husband. After resolving that this idea of acquiring a mobile unit was impossible, his patient’s husband asks abruptly, “Why don’t we have a mobile unit in Montgomery?” to which Dr. Phillips replied, “Well, it’s because they’re expensive, that’s why. How do you expect we can afford one of those?”

 

The husband looked at him and said, “Well, I raise money for Ducks Unlimited, and if I can raise that money for ducks, surely we can match that money for human life. I’ll do your first gala if you put together your board and start the ministry.”

 

It was with that encounter that the excitement and movement began with Life on Wheels. Dr. Phillips began praying, putting together a board, and communicating with ICU Mobile. ICU Mobile unit is known for how well they do ultrasound mobile units. “They do it best,” Dr. Phillips said.

 

With Dr. Phillips mention that he wanted to start a mobile unit in the Montgomery area, ICU Mobile confirmed that their director would actually be in the area, and that the two of them should get together. Dr. Phillips explains, “Want to talk about how the Lord is moving in this ministry? I would say setting up divine appointments such as this to allow me the opportunity to sit down and speak with this director for three days.” Out of that meeting, a board was officially created and a gala thrown giving the ministry half the cost of the mobile unit.

 

In the midst of putting the ministry together, Dr. Phillips realized how much time it was taking to practice at OB/GYN Associates, work with a local crisis pregnancy center, and start this mobile unit. He knew he needed someone to come on board who would be helpful in making sure all ducks were in a row to get the ministry started.

 

With that need in mind, Dr. Phillips hired Maria Kometer (left). When Maria came on board, she hit the ground running, putting order to this vision.

 

“At that point, all we had was half the price of the unit and a vision… until Maria came. She has helped make this vision come to life,” Phillips said.

 

The Lord knew what He was doing in Maria Kometer’s life. “Around the time that all the planned parenthood hidden camera videos were hitting social media, my heart and passion for life was growing, and then I got a call about this job opportunity. I knew it was exactly where I needed to be at exactly the right time,” Maria shared in an interview. Maria and Dr. Phillips have been working tirelessly to make this vision come to life.

 

Crisis pregnancy centers are Dr. Phillip’s passion. He believes that the crisis pregnancy center is the place where people are changed, come to know Christ, and turn their lives around, but he wants to reach more people. He believes that this mobile unit is his avenue to do just that.

 

“If I were to explain my vision for this mobile unit in medical terms, I would say the unit is the ambulance that gets the patients to the hospital, which is the crisis pregnancy center. We just to need to get to them before they get to the abortion clinic.”

 

Dr. Phillips (right) spent time driving around Montgomery, figuring out the best places to park the unit where it can be seen and help can be offered. The unit will roll five days a week in an attempt to reach women in crisis pregnancy, hoping to unify the pro life community. The goal is to bring other ministries working in crisis pregnancy to the table to give women multiple options when they choose to move forward with their pregnancy.

 

“We are not picketing or lobbying, we aren’t angry, we are just bold. We plan on just simply changing the mother’s mind about keeping her child,” Phillips said.

 

The Grand Opening Commissioning Ceremony will happen on October 20, 2016, and the start date for the ministry to begin work is October 24, 2016.  If you are interested in joining the ministry in their prayer initiative, you can join their email list of specific needs for prayer as they journey to reach more women in the River Region. If you are interested in volunteering with the Life on Wheels ministry, there is need for bus drivers, pit crew people, and client advocates. The client advocate walks the patient through the process of getting her ultrasound and how to help women after they get their ultrasound. There is an application process for becoming a volunteer because it is very important to have a safe and efficient place for women at such a vulnerable place in life. All information and details can be found at www.lifeonwheelsalabama.com.

 

Laura Bell is a freelance writer, born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. She enjoys spending time with her husband Cody and finding all reasons to find joy in life!

 

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 13:19
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