Bethesda House was established in 2016 and is located on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Our home offers 8 mothers a safe place to stay, where each mother shares a single room with her child. We link these young women with an educational plan so when they leave, they have the necessary skills and knowledge to be self-sufficient. We help them work out all the details in order to make this possible, from accessing benefits, to child care and transportation, to financial aid. We also teach parenting and life skills to help them be the best mom they can be. Best of all, we provide them with the love and support they need as a new mother.

Women interested in living at Bethesda House are invited to complete our simple online application or, call or text 781-361-2418.

Our Mission

To provide a temporary home that is safe and nurturing for young mothers, either pregnant or parenting their baby. The basis of our home is built on God’s love and how life can be transformed through a relationship with Jesus.

Our Story

A pregnant Missy at age 15 (left). Missy and her son, John Robert Porter, Jr. (right)

The Porter family siblings: Colby, John Jr., Ethan, Adam, and Makenzie

John and Missy Porter

In 1988, Melissa became pregnant at the age of 15, while John was 16. On Melissa’s sweet 16th birthday, while 9 months pregnant, she received her drivers permit and then 11 days later gave birth to a precious baby boy, John Robert, Jr.  John struggled with the concept of raising a family so he regrettably walked away from the relationship. This was a bit more than they had bargained for, but Melissa pushed on despite very little support from John or family. Melissa attended a teen mother’s educational program which allowed her to graduate with her class in 1990. John graduated high school and then attended college to earn his degree, while working to help financially support his son.

“I know the struggle. I was 15, pregnant, alone and scared. Was it easy? No! Was it worth it? YES!”

Missy Porter
Director/Co-Founder of Bethesda House

Melissa and John got back together when John Jr was about a year old. However, at 17 Melissa found herself homeless with a 1 year old. No one was able to take Melissa and a baby in, so for some time they slept on friends’ couches until a friend’s mom offered temporary housing. A few months later, arrangements were made for Melissa and John Jr. to stay with John’s family.  Melissa obtained a certificate in Medical Assisting and then she and John married in 1991, at 18 and 20 years of age. A year later John and Melissa bought a home in South Plymouth.

After many years of putting God first and working extremely hard supporting a family emotionally and financially, Melissa began attending evening classes to become an RN. Four years later she received her nursing degree and then God blessed Melissa and John with three additional children- Colby, Ethan and Makenzie. In 2019, the Porters were blessed to add another member to their family, Adam, through adoption. Melissa has experience as the young homeless mom, as a Family Health Advocate for moms, and as a Program Coordinator for Healthy Families working with high risk pregnancies. It’s been the desire of her heart for over 25 years to have a home for young moms.

What We Believe

That EVERY life is created by and important to God

The Bible is the ultimate authority in all matters of faith and conduct

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God

The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

In the trinity- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

That Jesus Christ came to die on the cross so we could be reconciled to God

That trusting in Jesus is the only way to heaven and that He wants a personal relationship with us

Our Model

While living at our “home” young mothers are linked with educational programming so mom and baby leave with the necessary skills and knowledge to be self-sufficient. Bethesda House also assists mothers in accessing benefits to aid in the support of mom and baby. Parenting through formal classes and informal teaching are an integral part of daily life. Basic life skills are taught as well. We model the love of Christ so these moms come to know His love. All of this is encompassed in Biblical teaching.

Bethesda House is a 501(c)3 non-profit

Testimony: A Family Who Loves Me

2 Samuel 22:33

33 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

I was a drug addict from ages 13 through 24, for what we think should be some of the best years of our lives. In that time, I got pregnant and birthed my sweet boy, Karter Joseph. I got clean the day after his second birthday, October 16, 2018. I was sober but I hadn’t yet been saved. With a broken spirit and a broken heart, I now had to pick up the broken pieces produced throughout my life. Bethesda House allowed the support, comfort and love I needed to do that while simultaneously seeking God through that process. I came to BH on December 4, 2019, only 6 months pregnant with my daughter. Now, we have a home and with both God and my BH family, I am transforming into the woman and mother God intended for me to be.

Today, I am over 2.5 years clean, I am a college graduate, I am present for my sweet Karter Joseph through adoption and am raising my fierce Kaelani Jade. We are surrounded with so many people who have become family, who embrace, teach and love us and we have a Heavenly Father who loves us more.

Proverbs 31:25

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

Proverbs 3:5

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Testimony: A Story of Adoption

When I was a kid, I never had my parents as role models since my grandparents raised me. When I had my first son Titan, I didn’t know what I was doing and his dad wasn’t much help. I struggled a lot with Titan— it was more the emotional part than the physical part.  I got mixed up in stuff I shouldn’t have so Titan was put in foster care. I didn’t fight to get him back. I finally agreed to adoption because I knew that it was is best for him. Sadly, since it was through DCF, it’s taking a lot longer than I think it should.

When I got pregnant again with my second son Dazz, I struggled again so much. I knew deep down that I couldn’t be the mother he needed me to be. It was hard for me to admit—to myself and other people— because my family would make me feel like I was not doing the right thing and make it all about them.  I was also worried about what other people would think because I couldn’t raise either of my babies the way they should be raised. I felt like admitting that would make me this horrible person.

I knew deep down that I couldn’t be the mother he needed me to be.

Up to this point, the only way I had experienced adoption was through Titan’s adoption through DCF and I didn’t want that for Dazz too.  Sadly, I didn’t have a choice when it came to Titan but this time with Dazz, I finally made the choice to go through a private adoption and I am so happy about my choice. Sometimes I do get sad but I also know that it is the best thing I have done for Dazz.  The process this time took two weeks. I actually got to meet the family and spend time with them and see how they are with him.  Getting to know them also helped me realize that I did the right thing. The awesome part is that I have their number and email so I can text them and check on him any time.

John Porter, Engineering Manager

John Porter, Engineering Manager

Co-Founder and President
Melissa Porter, RN

Melissa Porter, RN

Co-Founder and President
 Dennis Bauder, Pastor

Dennis Bauder, Pastor


Pastor Bauder is a Graduate of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He recently retired from Brookville Bible Church in Holbrook, MA after 37 years of pastoring. He and his wife Elaine have been married for 38 years, have two children, and are the happy grandparents of seven grandchildren.

Jamie Blake, Educator

Jamie Blake, Educator

Co-Founder and Assistant Director

Jamie Blake earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Mathematics and has been a teacher for over 20 years. Every day, she is privileged to share her love of Christ and of learning with her second grade students at Calvary Chapel Academy in Rockland, MA. Jamie is a wife and a mother to 4 beautiful children.

Donna Williams, Educator

Donna Williams, Educator


Donna earned her Bachelor of Music with a Concentration in Voice degree from Mars Hill University in North Carolina. She was the Music Director at First Baptist Church of Duxbury (FBCD) for sixteen years and continues to share her passion for music as a piano and voice teacher. Donna is currently FBCD’s Treasurer, leads the Women’s Ministry there and facilities women’s Bible studies. Additionally, she taught at FBCD’s elementary school, Good Sheperd Christian Academy, for thirteen years. She is a wife and a mother to two lovely children.


Carolyn Atanian, Educator

Carolyn Atanian, Educator

In-Kind Donation Coordinator

Carolyn earned her B.A. at Curry College and taught sixth grade at Plymouth Community Intermediate School for 27 years. Now, she is a happily retired educator who resides in Kingston with her husband Dana, and attends FBCD. She is the mother of two children and two grandchildren. Carolyn feels blessed to be joining the Bethesda House team of dedicated people who want to help better the lives of young, pregnant or parenting, mothers and their babies.

Erin Spencer

Erin Spencer

Marketing Coordinator

Erin is a graduate of Hartwick College and worked at the Massachusetts Society of CPAs doing marketing, communications, and website management for ten years before taking time off to raise her children. A resident of Marshfield, Erin and her husband Greg are the proud parents of three children, Jack, Annie and Charlie. The Spencers are members of St. Christine’s Church where Erin has taught CCD for 10 years. Erin is excited to work within the amazing community of Bethesda House.

Maureen Smith

Maureen Smith

Baby Bottle Coordinator

I have been a volunteer at BH for over five years! I have been blessed to have met so many young women and their families, over the years! BH always fills me with such hope! When I think of all the women and their families and the opportunity that they have had to come to know our Lord and to see Him working in their lives, is just amazing! I have also had the opportunity to help with a variety of activities from sorting and storing baby clothes, to babysitting, driving people to appointments and helping out with the Baby Bottle Drive and to pray for the needs of BH and also to give thanks. I am so grateful to BH and for the wonderful team there!