On one recent Friday afternoon, OKWU Nursing Professor Becky Le Thompson stood where she often does: in the parking lot of a downtown Tulsa abortion clinic.  

She and a few others from her ministry, The Cottage for Life, make a weekly habit of these trips, driving to Tulsa with resources for pregnant women and aiming to engage those around the facility in conversation. On this particular Friday, Becky and her colleagues noticed a couple getting dropped off near the building.  

“Our usual measures to engage the pregnant client failed,” Thompson remembers. “She walked inside the abortion clinic.”  

professor becky thompsonThe father, though, was more receptive, and Thompson managed to get him talking. “He reluctantly approached me and began to share his deepest, darkest feelings,” she says. “We talked about the abortion, his love for the child, his feelings for the baby’s mother, his childhood, adoption, and more… he said that he could feel our love and compassion for his situation.”

The two ended up talking the entire time the abortion took place, with Thompson offering love, shared grief, and compassion. When the baby’s mother came out of the clinic, she and the man left—but not before they’d taken a packet from the group outside the clinic.  

“On that day, he met the face of love and unconditional grace,” Thompson says, grateful for the memory. “On that day, he met Jesus.”  

Through a long career, that’s what Becky has sought to do: model Jesus to those who differ and disagree with her, even those on the opposite end of an issue that continues to be contentious in America’s cultural discourse. 

“It was so supernatural, because when we got together and we started praying, it was like bam, bam, bam, within nine months we had we had a mobile unit, we had a maternity home, the girls started calling us.”  


“I Want to Help Sick People” 

Thompson was born in Maryland, but her family moved to Bartlesville when she was 11, and she considers this area to be her home, even raising her children in the house she grew up in as a child. “I’m a tried-and-true Bartian,” she says. “It fit well with our belief system and who we are as a family, and it’s a great place to have kids.”  

She grew up in a Christian home and came to faith in Christ as a teenager, and knew from a young age that she wanted to be involved, in some way, with the medical industry. “When I was a little bitty kid, I still have in my scrapbook I want to help sick people, that I wrote [back then],” she said.  

As a teenager, Thompson gained her first experience with nursing on medical mission trips to various countries around the world. Through these formative experiences, she felt God confirming the call to nursing in her life. “That’s something God made clear through the mission trips,” she says. “It’s a calling.”  

After graduating high school, Thompson received her nursing degree from Oklahoma City University, returning to Bartlesville to work at Jane Phillips Medical Center in labor and delivery. That’s where she met Juli Merciez, who would eventually help her start The Cottage for Life. Ever since that first nurse post, her career has been dedicated to helping mothers. Soon, Thompson studied to become a Nurse Educator for labor and delivery nurses, and she says that the transition from that role to the classroom was a very natural progression.  

“The Lord’s plan for me just made so much sense as I look back through it. I taught the childbirth classes, and I taught the newborn care classes at the hospital. And I did all of the women’s health education,” she says. “I discovered that I really like teaching, because it helps people change people’s lives for the better.”  

So when OKWU began its nursing program in 2006 and began looking for someone to teach classes, the role felt like a no-brainer. 

“I transferred teaching from patient education into teaching nursing students, and I loved it. I’ve been here ever since,” Thompson says.  

“People will ask us, Well, why why are you here? I’m here because I care.”  

students with sign

OKWU nursing students often volunteer with The Cottage to fight for life.

Fighting for Life 

Throughout her early career, Thompson had dreamt of a ministry for mothers in Bartlesville, but things went on hold while she raised her children. Years later, she was sharing her dreams with her pastor, and the pastor mentioned someone else who’d shared similar dreams with her—Becky’s former coworker, Juli.  

“The same thing was happening with Juli. She kept thinking about it, and she was talking to our pastor,” Thompson says. “The pastor finally said – do you guys know each other? Because you’re saying the exact same thing to me right now.”  

When the two got together, God confirmed things right away.  

“It was so supernatural, because when we got together and we started praying, it was like bam, bam, bam, within nine months we had we had a mobile unit, we had a maternity home, the girls started calling us.”  

The community stepped up to help, too, with organizations and foundations arranging for office space and other resources. The support allowed Cottage for Life to fund more resources than other ministries are able to. “We have the maternity home and the office, and we have the medical unit,” Thompson says. “We have all three, which is very unusual for a pregnancy health organization.”  

Day to day, the ministry exists to provide care and resources to mothers in need. “Our programming and case management focuses on a healthy mom, a healthy baby, food, clothing, shelter, and education,” Thompson says. “Everything that we do revolves around those goals. We seek to provide care at their point of need with the love of Jesus Christ.”

In the five years since The Cottage began, the ministry has served over 600 women in the community. In fact, expansion has come so quickly that both Thompson and Juli have stepped away from hands-on roles, passing the organization’s management to Executive Director Lana Smith. 

After experiencing adolescent motherhood herself, Smith maintains a high level of excitement for the work each day. “It’s not too hard to be excited and passionate about the mission,” she says. “Extending hope and love to all is the key to The Cottage’s success in creating life-giving, life-long relationships.”  

For her part, Thompson isn’t blind to the politicization of abortion of America, and she’s well aware of how contentious the conversation can be. But as her presence outside a Tulsa abortion clinic each week proves, she’s not scared of getting involved and entering the discourse with the love of Christ. “It’s all done through relationships and through love,” she says. “You know? It’s about saying I’m a registered nurse. I’m here with free resources. I can do a free pregnancy test and ultrasound. What brings you here today? It’s all a casual conversation in love… People will ask us, Well, why why are you here? I’m here because I care.”  

And anyone, she’s quick to point out, can join in. “If you have a heart a heart for Christ, and you love the unborn, you can come and pray,” she said. “We need people that are willing to go stand in the gap and to bridge the gap between life and death.” 

If you want to get involved with the mission of The Cottage, please email info.cottagelife@gmail.com for opportunities. 

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