Serving Orphans and Widows–Simultaneously

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It only took two weeks into hosting a Latvian orphan through New Horizons for Children this summer for Kirk and Beth Bleavins to know they wanted to become her forever family.
They fell in love with 14-year-old Vanda’s laugh. And it was heart wrenching to send her back to a place where she had no future, Kirk said.
In Latvia, children can’t receive foster or orphanage care once they turn 16, Kirk explained. Many boys turn to crime, and girls turn to prostitution.
“I could sense the Lord nudging us to adopt,” Beth said.
But international adoptions are not cheap. To make Vanda their daughter, the couple will pay between $30,000 and $40,000. With these expenses before them, the Bleavins began praying about some unique ways to earn the money needed to bring Vanda home.
The couple found Lifesong for Orphans, a nonprofit that helps families raise money to adopt. Through Lifesong, Beth and Kirk discovered Both Hands, a partnering charity that makes home repairs for widows.
Through Both Hands, the Bleavins gathered a group of 39 volunteers to work on Charlotte resident Wanda Plyler’s house. The volunteers solicited funds through sponsorships for their time working. The money will go directly toward Vanda’s adoption expenses.
Plyler’s husband died in 2007, and she lost her job nine months ago. The Bleavins’ team cleaned, did yard work and made repairs to Plyler’s home that she can’t do herself due to medical conditions.
“God sent them to do this for me,” Plyler said.

The fundraiser appealed to the Bleavins because they felt it helped them and their volunteers fulfill the biblical description of “pure and faultless” religion in James 1:27: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress …”
“It’s two worthy causes for the price of one,” Kirk said.
“This has been an amazing journey,” Kirk said. “It’s tiring and harder than I would have expected, but it’s worth it because the life of a young girl is at stake.
“It’s one thing to know there are orphans out there in this world and another to really know that we can do something about it,” he continued. 

*A longer version of this post first appeared in the Mooresville Weekly, one of the newspapers where I contribute.

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