Who Will You Tell?

“So weird…we received a ton of online donations last night. Any thoughts why? I wonder if somehow we’re getting spammed. These donations just keep coming in!” 

This was the message I received from Annie, our CFO, at 8:18 am on February 14…Ash Wednesday. We both sat in disbelief on a video chat, watching donations flood in from across the country, and even a few internationally. What was happening? We continued to ponder during our Director’s Meeting, trying to figure out if these donations were real and why they were coming all at once. Do we pause the donation page while we figure it out? Do we just let it roll and assume the best? 


My inner Nancy Drew kicked in and I began to investigate – emailing a few of the donors, thanking them for their support, and asking how they’d heard about Couple to Couple League. The answers started coming back…

“You can thank Dr. John Bergsma from the St. Paul Center through the Exodus/Exile course study.  Today’s video had a pro-life theme and he recommended a donation to your organization as part of our Lenten journey.” 

“So happy I could help out. I heard through the St. Paul Center’s new Exodus program for Lent! (Shoutout Dr. Bergsma!)” 

“I am 17 years old and live in Toronto, Canada. I am doing Exodus and Exile this Lent with St. Paul Center, and for this first day of Lent the activity was to give alms to a Pro-Life cause.”

“You guys, this is legit!”, I said. Over the next 48 hours (and throughout February), we were blessed with 184 new donors giving over $11,603 for their Lenten almsgiving, all thanks to the simple recommendation of Dr. Bergsma. 

A Mom’s Advice

When Dr. John Bergsma was a young Protestant seminarian, he asked his mom (a Dutch Calvinist, pro-life activist) for marriage advice. “The Catholics have it right; take a Catholic marriage prep program,” she said. John walked into the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, looked around at the brochures, and randomly chose a Couple to Couple League flyer with the upcoming NFP class schedule. He and Dawn, his fiancé, learned the sympto-thermal method and were forever grateful for the foundation this set in their marriage. Many years later, they would both convert to Catholicism and continue to stay connected with Couple to Couple League as donors.

Exodus & Exile

Fast forward to Lent 2024. Dr. Bergsma, Dr. Scott Hahn, and the St. Paul Center created a program to get deeper into scripture for Lent. Exodus & Exile takes participants through the forty chapters of Exodus, a chapter a day. Chapter One’s themes present a crisis for God’s people when Pharaoh is imposing population control. Dr. Bergsma drew a modern application, discussing our culture’s fear of humanity and new life, denying the supernatural beauty of each child. “God’s blessing of being fruitful is a gift and it’s sad when we don’t receive that,” Dr. Bergsma explained.

Each day of the program has a challenge centered around prayer, fasting, or almsgiving. On the first day of the program, Ash Wednesday, Dr. Bergsma encouraged participants to make a donation to a prolife organization, specifically recommending Couple to Couple League. “I wanted to choose an organization that was combatting the contraceptive mentality. I have always loved CCL; an unsung but very sincere hero in the prolife movement. The mission directly targets that mentality, with boots on the ground, helping couples learn a different way of life. It’s an organization worth supporting, one that’s not getting the attention it deserves.” 

The Impact

I reached out to Dr. Bergsma to share the impact of his recommendation on CCL and ask if he expected that kind of response. “I wasn’t even thinking of that. I’m a Bible scholar, a content provider. I didn’t realize the real world impact my suggestion would have. My wife and I have been consistent donors of CCL but always wished we could do more. The chance to give back at this level is very gratifying and emotional.”

Just the night before this happened, Katie Zulanas (Executive Director) and I had been talking about our desire to share the mission of CCL with new audiences. We have so many great programs to offer; an antidote to many of our culture’s ills…how do we spread that good news? Imagine our surprise when we awoke the next morning to an inbox full of new supporters. Who would have guessed that God would answer our prayers this way?!

“If you know people in this season of life, pass along the information, share your personal testimony. Have the boldness to make a social media post, be willing to be open about the blessing that CCL has been in your life. Encourage others to grow with God and trust the cycles that God has written into our bodies. Be open and publicly align yourself with the Church teaching on NFP. CCL is a practical choice, offering the training that people need to put these skills into practice, not just talk about it,” Dr. Bergsma encourages others. 

When we go and tell the good news, people will listen. Change will happen. Who will you tell? Imagine the impact it will have. 

Written by Heather Murphy, CCL Director of Development. Originally published in CCL’s Family Foundations.