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COURTESY PHOTO
COURTESY PHOTO                      “Esther,” the NEW Beginning of Restoration & Hope Mobile Services bus, has been outfitted as a clinic, with space for basic prenatal exams, pregnancy testing and a boutique of donated children’s clothing.
COURTESY PHOTO “Esther,” the NEW Beginning of Restoration & Hope Mobile Services bus, has been outfitted as a clinic, with space for basic prenatal exams, pregnancy testing and a boutique of donated children’s clothing.

On a bus they’ve named Esther, a Kempner couple regularly volunteers their time to help families in crisis pregnancy situations. JoAnn and James Mensch founded NEW Beginning of Restoration & Hope Mobile Services last year and have since served a large community with pregnancy services and resources. “We give pregnancy tests and limited ultrasound and sonogram services,” JoAnn Mensch said. The nonprofit ministry offers resources through state health services and information about WIC. In addition to testing and exams and other resources, the couple also offer mentorship and Christian counseling. “We give out Bibles and minister to [clients],” JoAnn said. The ministry typically serves 30 to 40 clients a month, and all services are confidential. The Esther bus has a reception area, a private clinic room, a restroom for testing, a counseling station and a boutique of donated clothing for children from newborns up to 3 years old. The mobile clinic comes to two locations in Lampasas and several sites in Copperas Cove during the course of a month. “We’ve met with churches in Lometa and Gatesville, and we’d like to start going to those areas,” JoAnn said. “The goal is to get established in Lampasas, maybe with a building. We serve the community, but I think it would be best to have a set foundation. We will still have Esther to go out to the smaller communities. “I feel that if people know we are here, they will come out,” she added. The clinic is open to anyone, individuals or families. “Sometimes we have grandparents that come in because they are taking care of their grandchildren,” James Mensch said. There is a need for crisis pregnancy resources in every community, JoAnn said. “They need us right then at that time,” she said. The ministry and its clients are close to JoAnn’s heart. “I know what they are feeling and going through,” she said. “I was a 13-year-old who was pregnant. They’re in their own little world. They think, ‘I am here, and this is all I have.’ I can relate to that.” Both JoAnn and James Mensch have served for several years on the board of the Trotter House, formerly known as the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center. After moving to Kempner two years ago, the couple started their ministry last year and have been helping clients by volunteering their time and that of a registered nurse. “Right now we have no funds for a staff,” JoAnn said. “Everything is by donations,” James added, including diesel fuel and maintenance for the bus. The couple said they named the bus Esther after the Hebrew woman in the Old Testament who took a stand against the genocide of her people – a cause they relate to. “We don’t believe in abortion,” James said. “We want to give them any other option besides abortion.” The ministry has connections with adoption agencies, and it partners with the Texas Department of State Health Services, but the couple said ultimately it is the client’s decision how to handle a pregnancy. “We’re there to show love and compassion,” JoAnn said. “We’re here to mentor them if need be. “I love what I do,” she added. “I just enjoy helping others. I’m blessed to have my health and to do what I can do.” The mobile resource center is at Lampasas Mission from noon to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month and at New Covenant Church from 1-6 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays. For more information about NBRH services or to learn how to donate, visit www.nbrestorationandhope.org.