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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Blessings afoot

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The finished product - completed designs are meant to be kept or given away to bring a blessing to a friend or stranger.
(T-G Photo by Shelby Bearden) [Order this photo]
There was serious bling to be found at Midland Heights Baptist Church Saturday evening, as a group of women, teens and tweens took part in a Bling for the Souls fundraising event.

Each visitor was encouraged to bring two pair of flip-flops to the event, and Children's Emergency Relief International was on hand to encourage the ladies as they dressed up the sandals with provided jewels, ribbons and beads.

Gretchen Lange, director of the organization, gave a presentation about CERI's mission.
(T-G Photo by Shelby Bearden)
CERIous business

The guests kept one pair of shoes to wear and were asked to give one pair away to bless someone in their lives, or give to a stranger in need. The event is used to spread awareness of CERI -- and bring a random blessing to a friend or stranger along the way.

The Christian-based organization helps with the care of orphans in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, and Moldova. In these countries, orphans are on their own at the age of 16, often with little education and usually no work experience.

Vulnerable, and in need of assistance, CERI is there to be that help. The orphans are given the opportunity to get an education and in getting (and keeping) a job to support them.

CERI also provides micro-enterprise loans in economically disadvantaged countries. Sometimes these "small business loans" go to purchase chickens or a cow, so the owner can sell what they produce.

Beliefs at work

After the tsunami of 2004 in Sri Lanka, CERI was asked to build an orphanage for the children who lost their parents. To this day, it is the only orphanage in the country.

CERI's main project is Moldova Operation Knit Together, which the proceeds of the this event went to sponsor. In this mission, volunteers go to orphanages throughout Moldova giving each orphan new winter boots, socks, caps, gloves, and scarves.

Stephanie Reed, left helps daughter Leah and friend Mimi Riega get started on their design projects.
(T-G Photo by Shelby Bearden)
To most people in the United States, a few winter clothing items wouldn't be a big deal -- but to an orphan this shows that even having a rough life, there's someone out there that cares about them.

Steps to success

The guest speaker, Sondra Knight, was one of the orphans blessed with new boots. She talked about how special they made her feel and how much CERI has meant to her over the years.

"Every little bit counts. People get so overwhelmed at how much need there is that they don't do anything, but even just a little helps."

Gretchen Lange, director of development for CERI, she says the event was designed to get bring awareness to the importance of missions.

Learn More

For more information about sponsoring a child, or to sponsor a similar event with your organization, visit www.cerikids.org.

An array of ribbons, jewels and beads were available to decorate the flip-flops.
(T-G Photo by Shelby Bearden) [Order this photo]

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