LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Kentucky First Lady Glenna Bevin urged 300 attendees during a Woman’s Auxiliary luncheon at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to step out of their comfort zones and get involved with foster care and adoption. Glenna and her husband, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, have adopted four children from Ethiopia and have pledged to improve the state’s foster care system.
“Our state is on the precipice,” she said during the March 24 event. “It will be lost if we don’t step up. There is much work to be done in our own backyards.”
After opening with her favorite Bible verse, Psalm 46:10, Bevin spoke openly about growing up in Oklahoma, becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college, and meeting her husband Matt in Louisiana when he was in the Army. She also shared how their oldest daughter’s passion for Christian missions inspired their efforts for adoption.
When 7-year-old Brittiney learned about Jesus at her private Christian school, she determined not to go to heaven without her mother. Ten years later, Brittiney died in a car accident near Southern Seminary’s campus shortly after expressing her desire to be a missionary.
“She was my best friend for 18 years,” Bevin said. “We grew up together and lived through things that no one else would understand.”
But through Brittiney’s gospel influence as a child, her mother gained confidence that she will one day join her daughter in heaven.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jesus is real and that He loves me,” she said. “His plan put me so far out of my comfort zone that there’s not even a zip code for where I am now.”
The Bevins have nine children, four adopted from Ethiopia. Bevin said that before turning to Ethiopia, they spent two years trying to adopt an 11-year-old girl from Kentucky. She said the state’s adoption system is broken but assured her audience that the Bevin administration is working on improving it.
Bevin told the women gathered at Southern her purpose for speaking at the luncheon was “to ask you to join me, to step out of your comfort zones, to rethink your plans, your mission, and to pray for His guidance in this.”
“I’d like you to pray about whether or not to make Kentucky your mission field,” she said.
Bevin described children in Kentucky’s foster system “who are going to bed hungry, abused, and that don’t know Jesus loves them.” But she encouraged the women of the seminary community to educate themselves and others on how to get involved with foster care and relieve foster parents.
She also offered examples of ways the Woman’s Auxiliary could get involved, including a program that connects families with parents who need a place for their kids to stay temporarily and a program that recruits foster and adoption parents.
“It all begins with Jesus, parenting and education,” Bevin said.
The Bevin family has been closely connected with the seminary since their daughter Brittiney’s death. In 2012, the Bevins pledged an endowment to open the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization. This center sponsors evangelism, missions and church planting efforts for Southern and Boyce College, the seminary’s undergraduate school. An excerpt from Brittiney’s last journal entry, in which she expressed her calling to missions, appears on the wall of the Bevin Center. More information on the Bevin Center is available online at missions.sbts.edu.