Cristal and Luke McClain have always had a heart for the poor and needy. The two have both been serving with YWAM [Youth With a Mission] for the past eight years and it was during Cristal’s first pregnancy that she was really struck with something. “I felt so grateful and thought about all the things I had. A home, a husband, healthcare,” she said.
The couple had spent years traveling and doing short term missions work for YWAM and had even contemplated a move overseas but Cristal became to feel a pull to a new mission field-mothers.
“I decided to pray about what practical step I could take to make this a reality,” she explained.
Her husband, Luke, wasn’t too far behind her. “Birth kind of runs in the family,” the couple joked. Luke comes from a family of labor and delivery nurses, lactation consultants and doula’s.
Shortly after Cristal began the path and started taking steps, she became a doula and started working with an organization that provided low income mothers with birth resources. She met a girl in an abusive situation who lost everything and Luke and Cristal’s hearts broke.
“We wished we had room to take her in but we didn’t,” Cristal said.
“So we started praying for just one more room to help these women,” Luke said.
It wasn’t long after that the two found out a home in St. Michael had been donated to YWAM and the couple was asked to head up a maternity home.
Their prayer was answered. And the location couldn’t have been more ideal.
Located just a few houses away from Cornerstone Women’s Center in St. Michael, the couple barely had time to get their bearings in the donated four bedroom house before they had inquiries and The Nest was born.
Luke and Cristal’s mission is a family affair and the goal is mentorship. “Our goal is for healing to occur in a family setting,” they explained.
“We create an environment that is free from influences and distractions for the girls to learn, grow and ultimately decide if they will parent or place their baby,” Luke explained.
Ideally the girls come near the end of their first trimester of pregnancy or the beginning of their second so they have time for education, career building skills and counseling. The women stay in the home until they’ve recovered from childbirth, typically 6-8 weeks.
The Nest is already helping women in Wright County and are excited to continue to serve more women. The couple talks of their eventual goal to have three houses to minister through. One for pregnancy, one for postpartum care and one for women who place their babies.
The Nest is currently looking for local businesses to partner with who will help the women with jobs and career building skills. They are also looking for monthly financial support as well as any physical donations.
The Nest, located at 249 Central Avenue and will hold an open house on Saturday November 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.