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How ProGrace Helped Andrea Lead Like Jesus

courageous conversations empathy equip grace impact pregnancy centers stories May 28, 2024
Podcast Cover art episode 11, Angela Weszely, Andrea Capuyan, ProGrace, Laurel Pregnancy Center


In Episode 11 of the ProGrace Podcast, Angela speaks with Andrea Leigh Capuyan, Executive Director of the Laurel Pregnancy Center in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Andrea entered this role after her own experiences with Christian pregnancy organizations, both good and bad. She realized the transformational power these organizations have in the lives of their clients and wanted to ensure that more women like her were offered the grace of Jesus in their time of need. She uses ProGrace tools and curriculum to train volunteers and staff and gives her employees language to align with their organizational values. You can learn more about Laurel Pregnancy Center at lpcpartners.org or follow them on Instagram @laurelpregnancycenter. 

Episode Overview

Andrea Leigh Capuyan was a 25-year-old Bible school graduate when she discovered she was pregnant. She was not married, and the pregnancy was unintended. She was in a very dark place emotionally:

“I was in shame upon shame upon shame. However, I tried to live for a long time in denial that I wasn't really pregnant, and that only gets you so far along in a pregnancy. And so I was probably roughly 25 weeks, and I knew that something was gonna have to change. I had actually been having a lot of suicidal thoughts and thinking about I should kill myself.” (15:56.128)

Andrea felt that the best decision for herself and the child would be to place the baby for adoption. She also knew that she and the baby would need medical care, so she turned to a Christian pregnancy organization, but a staff member only seemed interested in affecting the outcome of an abortion decision. When this staff member was told that Andrea had already decided on adoption, she did not seem willing to help. 

You didn't want to help me. You don't want to help people who already tell you their plan. You only want to help people who might be choosing abortion. So you didn't want to help me. And what you don't know and what they didn't know at the pregnancy center is that I truly was contemplating suicide. And there was no way I was going to share that over the phone with anybody. I was filled with shame.”  (20:07.264)

Her second call to a pregnancy organization differed from the first; the staff member was kind and expressed concern for Andrea. This directly affected Andrea’s approach at Laurel Pregnancy Center. Because she understands the complex emotions a woman is feeling during unintended pregnancy, she and her staff lead with empathy and compassion. They express equal value for both the woman and the child, representing God's equal value for all lives. 

Leading a pregnancy organization while respecting the lived experience of clients and the teachings and actions of Jesus presents many challenges for Andrea and her leadership team. In a culture that is steeped in political language around unintended pregnancy and abortion, Andrea needed a way to train her staff and volunteers to use language that would make people feel safe and comfortable. When they encountered ProGrace’s Equip Program, they were able to envision a much easier way to ensure that anyone who encountered LPC staff or volunteers would have a warm, grace-filled experience that represented Jesus and aligned with the goals of the organization. ProGrace training results in a new, empathetic view of unintended pregnancy and abortion that changes the way people think, talk, and engage around these issues. 

During her time at LPC, Andrea has shifted their service model from affecting the outcome of unintended pregnancy to meeting the client's needs first by asking questions and listening. She has found this way of responding with grace to align with her faith and make the work of LPC look more like Jesus. They use the ProGrace Equip curriculum and tools to teach volunteers and staff how to do this, as Jesus did in the Gospels. When confronted with an ethical decision, Jesus made the person feel safe first, then He would ask questions to understand the situation. When we do this in interactions, we teach our brains to seek commonality and build empathy. We can also assess the person's needs, which helps us focus on both the woman and the child. When we focus on the needs of both, rather than focusing on only the woman or the child, we reinforce God’s love for all people. 

What You Can Do - Actionable Tips

While Andrea had a specific experience with unintended pregnancy, which informed how she and Laurel Pregnancy Center interact with clients, you can also emulate Jesus in your response to complex issues like these, and ProGrace is here to help. Our content is created to take you through a mindset shift so that you can think, talk, and engage differently on the topics of unintended pregnancy and abortion. Here are some practical steps you can take to change your response to unintended pregnancy and abortion to look more like Jesus and less like politics:

1. Listen and ask questions.

Asking “Tell me more” or “How do you mean?” can open up conversations and promote understanding.

2. Lead with your equal value for the woman and the child.

The Kingdom answer to abortion is to value the woman and child equally and enter into the complexity and care required. Now more than ever, we need to be vocal about this third option and trust God to help even more Christians live it out. 

3. Talk about the experience of unintended pregnancy.

When we realize women's overwhelming distress, we develop greater empathy and understand the limitations of any abortion laws. When people start to realize that it’s the unintended pregnancy that’s the issue, not abortion, we can come together regardless of the law and meet those needs.

For even more resources, click on the links below.

Listen and learn:

  • Listen to the entire episode with Andrea to learn more
  • You can also listen to Episode 10 with another pregnancy organization leader, Kristen Lonberger
  • Sign up to join our Transform Fall Leaders Cohort
  • Listen to this episode with Christy Vines to learn more about the power of empathy and finding common ground


  • John 8:1-11
  • This post about having courageous conversations
  • This post about the power of empathy
  • This story about a mother using ProGrace conversation tools to have a difficult conversation with her daughter
  • Our free e-book

You can represent Jesus in divisive conversations about unintended pregnancy and abortion. Remember to respond as Jesus did by asking questions, listening, and focusing on how the other person feels and why. Approach the conversation with the knowledge that God cares for and loves all people equally, and seek an understanding of what causes a person to feel strongly about these issues or make the choices they do. 

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our e-news to stay up to date with the latest ways ProGrace responds to abortion and related issues in the news. Follow us on social media, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast so that new episodes are automatically downloaded into your podcast player.

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