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Alternative Assignment

Unexpected trip home leads missionary to a new calling as “precious baby” photographer.

With the click of a camera, Angela Colleen Forker captures the memory of a newborn baby. Now, with her photography series After the Abortion, Forker is helping post-abortive women process past trauma and find new life in Jesus.

Forker, 51, her husband Rick, and their three daughters, Candace, Charity, and Christina, ministered as Assemblies of God world missionaries at Verona International Church in Italy. In 2012, the Forkers unexpectedly returned to the United States to help 19-year-old Charity give birth to Ricky, their first grandson, and to help their daughter recover after an unplanned pregnancy.

“During that time, our ministry was to teach Charity to become a mother,” Forker says. “I had so much time on my hands, I started taking pictures of that little grandson. It’s amazing because that little unplanned baby changed the entire course of my life.”

When the Forkers returned to the States for furlough after finishing their term in Italy, Angela says she felt a deep desire to learn newborn photography.

“I felt like God was saying He would use my photography to touch more lives than I could imagine,” Forker says. “I felt like He was going to use it to open huge doors of ministry for us to do missions work again.”

Forker called her photography business Precious Baby Photography. She began crafting intricate fabric scenes of babies fighting dragons or floating through space called Baby ImaginArt. The creative scenes quickly gathered attention far and wide.

Forker says God led her to pray a blessing over every baby she photographed. Currently she’s prayed over 300 babies and their families, many of them unchurched.

In 2018, Forker says she prayed that her photography would save lives — that pregnant abortion-minded women would change their minds. A month later, Forker began the Precious Baby Project, a Baby ImaginArt series of babies with special needs doing impossibly beautiful things.

Scenes are designed for special-needs babies who can’t sit up or roll over.

“All they have to do is lie down, and I go up on the ladder and shoot from above,” Forker says.

Forkers puts in about 20 hours of set up, shooting, and editing work for each client. She charges nothing for the images of babies with serious conditions, as parents often are deluged with medical bills.

The Precious Baby project has been covered by a variety of major news outlets, including a segment on NBC Nightly News. The photos also are featured in perinatal clinics and hospitals.

Forker says she kept busy with her photography business, leading worship, and assisting her husband in his work as pastor of Joy Fellowship Church in New Haven, Indiana, where they transitioned in 2015 after 15 years as AG world missionaries.

A little over a year ago, Forker prayed that more people would come to know God through her photography. She says she sensed God leading her to photograph a series of post-abortive women and tell their stories through photos. Subsequently, as a result of media attention about her photography, post-abortive women from around the world have contacted her to be a part of the project.

Marcie Hamaker worked with Forker on a session for After the Abortion. A victim of forced abortion at age 16, Hamaker experienced deep grief, shame, and suicidal attempts afterward.

Hamaker, 42, says she prayed about a list of thought-provoking questions Forker sent to her and came up with photo ideas. The day of the session, she experienced major anxiety about the raw emotions that resurfaced, but God gave her strength.

“From the get-go, Angela bathed the session in prayer,” says Hamaker, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “She has a calming effect, but there were times we were both crying. When it was done, we were both exhausted.”

Replaying the suicide attempt brought back Hamaker’s memories of self-harm.

“Seeing the before and after photos helped me to realize those before pictures didn’t tell the end of my story,” Hamaker says. “To see the visual of what the Lord can do brought quite a bit of healing and removed some of the shame.”

Since then, Hamaker says she has been bolder about sharing her testimony at various churches and Celebrate Recovery groups.

Forker says the often-shocking After the Abortion photos show the haunted experience many women say they have experienced. The After the Abortion series is designed to reach post-abortive women, prolife Christians, and persons who favor abortion.

“Post-abortive women need to know there is healing and there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ,” Forker says. “We as Christians have pushed many of these hurting women away.

Forker has learned that the abortive woman who seek her out have been devastated by their decision. Circumstances vary: some were coerced, others tricked into having an abortion; some are depressed and suicidal afterward; many go on to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Forker has experienced attacks on her social media pages, including threats to her personal safety. Yet she continues in an effort to help women find healing. She relishes a comment from a woman who had mulled a third-trimester abortion, but decided to keep the baby after seeing the website’s pictures.

“Post-abortive women from around the world write to me and ask for help finding their way back to God,” Forker says. “Others ask me how they can find forgiveness. It all started with an unplanned baby.”

Rachel Ellis

Rachel Ellis resides in the mountains of West Virginia with her husband, Michael, and two children. She is a graduate of Evangel University and a licensed AG minister, as is her husband. Ellis works as a freelance journalist and artist, and she enjoys helping the people of God tell his story of redemption through the power of the written Word.