Midtown: Community

New leg for Blanca was ‘a God thing’

Blanca dribbled the basketball, tossed it into the air and watched it go into the basket as 19 volunteers from Asbury United Methodist Church in Raleigh watched in amazement.

They had traveled to San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, last October to build houses for the local community with The Fuller Center for Housing. But it wasn’t the 12-year-old’s basketball skills that were impressive; it was that she did it all on one leg.

The volunteers spoke with Mike Bonderer, leader of Homes from the Heart and director of The Fuller Center’s operations in San Luis Talpa, and learned Blanca had lost her leg seven years before when she was hit by a bus.

and she lived with her dad in the village.

The prosthesis Blanca was given right after the accident was of poor quality and was too short. Because it hurt her leg and was difficult to walk on, Blanca only wore the prosthesis to school and took it off as soon she got home each day.

But Blanco didn’t let having one leg hold her back. Every afternoon, she could be found in village jumping rope, playing soccer and even riding her bike with one leg.

“It is something to see this cute and smiling little girl literally making baskets on a basketball court while hopping on one leg. It’s hard not to be inspired by that,” said Mark Benjamin, minister of worship arts at Asbury UMC.

The Raleigh team had wanted to do something to make a lasting impact in San Luis Talpa beyond building the houses, and the team decided that this was how God wanted them to help, Benjamin said.

Skip Roy, a member of Asbury United Methodist and physical therapist with WakeMed Hospital, worked with Blanca’s father and doctors in both Raleigh and El Salvador to help determine the best solution. After considering many options, the Asbury volunteers decided to purchase a new prosthesis for Blanca in El Salvador.

“We felt God had put it on our hearts and minds that we needed help this little girl,” Roy said. “Of all the mission trips available, God sent me with the skills and training to help to a place that you can’t even find on a map with the little girl who was an amputee.

“I really believe that this was a God thing.”

Since Blanca will need at least one or two more prostheses before she becomes an adult, the Asbury team has committed to donate those, too.

Blanca received her new leg last month and has been attending physical therapy to learn how to walk with it. Bonderer said it has already made a huge difference in Blanca’s life.

“I have never seen a more excited young lady,” Bonderer said. “She has the best attitude and always has a smile on her face. She is really an asset and inspiration to our whole community.”

Unity Church of Raleigh

Rev. Beverly Bockover is holding a Miracles of Manifestation class from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, at Unity Church of Raleigh, 11101 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. The class will be a fun-filled, informative look at miracles and the world of manifestation. Donations of a $10 love offering per class will be accepted.

Unity Church of Raleigh also kicks off its 2nd Friday Night Out series with a family-friendly concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the church. The Transzenders, a popular acoustic “folk & roll” trio, will be performing, and a $10 love offering will be accepted. For more information, email ucrprograms@earthlink.net or visit unitychurchofraleigh.org.

Singles worship service

Hope Community Church is having its monthly singles worship night from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. Singles of all ages will share a potluck meal, socialize and enjoy live music. Donnie Darr, care pastor at the church, will share about the importance of having good relationships. For more information, call 919-532-0620, email singles@gethope.net or visit facebook.com/hccjourney.

Highland UMC bake sale and barbecue

Highland United Methodist Church will be serving barbecue and selling baked goods from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the church, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh. Traditional Eastern North Carolina pulled-pork barbecue along with sides and sweat tea will be served. Both eat-in and takeout available. Pumpkins will also be for sale on the front lawn. All proceeds will support church missions, including Backpack Buddies and the HUMC Community Garden, which provides hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. For more information, call 919-787-4240.

St. Giles Presbyterian Church sale

St. Giles Presbyterian Church invites the community to a parking lot sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 13, at the church, 5101 Oak Park Road, Raleigh. Items for sale will include children’s clothing, toys, games, kitchen items, linens, furniture, sports equipment and tools. All proceeds will benefit the North Raleigh Ministries Backpack Buddies, which provides breakfast items to more than 80 children per week in local schools. For more information, call 919-787-4790.

Animal Blessing Service

Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church is holding a Neighborhood Blessing of the Animals service at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, on the front lawn of the church grounds at 714 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh. All pets must be on a leash or in a carrier. Food donations will be accepted for the SPCA of Wake County. For more information, visit www.wesley-church.org.

Unity Baptist Church Fall Festival

Unity Baptist Church is having a fall festival along with an antique tractor and car show starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the church, 6338 N.C. 96 West, Youngsville. Antique farm equipment, tractors and cars will be on display. Festivities also will include bounce houses, a craft fair and a bake sale. Popcorn and snow cones will be free. Barbecue chicken or pork plates with slaw, potatoes, dessert and bread will be $8 per plate. For more information, call 919-612-4728.

Edenton Street UMC block party

Edenton Street United Methodist Church is holding an old-fashioned community block party from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the church, 228 W. Edenton St., Raleigh. The event will feature live entertainment, bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, basketball and a bean bag toss. Free hot dogs and snacks will be served. For more information, visit www.esumc.org or call 919-832-7535.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com.