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Heaven’s Army continues to bridge gap from past to future

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    Members of Heaven’s Army show off the bridge. Pictured: LaNora Purvis, Howard Purvis, Donnie and Tammie McCoy, Dwanda Nelson, Wanda Campbell, Kolton Purvis, Mary Yount, Ami Rankin, Faith Watzon and Juanita Ponce. The Vindicator | Abraham Ramirez
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    Folks visit during the open house gathering at the brand new Heaven’s Army home. The Vindicator | Abraham Ramirez

Heaven’s Army of Resources is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and community outreach ministry. Founder LaNora Purvis, with the help of community members and family alike, utilizes the organization to provide struggling women with the tools needed to better their lives and emancipate women from a life of hardships, including domestic violence and sex trafficking.

“I come across many women who want to change their lives or not live the way they are living,” said Purvis. “I always tell them that if they want out, they can just call me.”

Since its foundation, the organization has helped hundreds of women by offering them a place to stay, teaching them how to succeed, and ministering to them while providing a dependable and unwavering support system.

“We want to teach them a new way and renew their mind,” said Purvis, adding that they strive to address the “root issues” impacting the individual woman’s mindset.

Following enormous growth in the years following Heaven’s Army’s foundation, a home on Morgan Cemetery Road in Cleveland provided expansion in 2015. However, the ministry soon outgrew the location in the years that followed as more women sought help.

Purvis searched for a larger home with funding from local sponsors. After first locating a suitable home, the sale fell through, and the search began once again.

“I called my sponsors and told them about the sale falling through,” said Purvis, who was eager to be transparent with her supporters. “But they trusted me to find a new home for us.”

With the sponsorship funds untouched and safely in tow, Purvis looked at a large home in Tarkington at the urging of a close friend. She considered the home to be a long shot due to its elevated price range. However, Purvis felt drawn to the home.

“When I saw it, I knew -- this is where we were meant to be,” said Purvis, who prayed over the property before meeting and befriending the owner. “I told her that I felt like this is where God wanted us to be.”

Following a string of serendipitous occurrences and a prophetic dream, the home was in their grasp.

“My husband woke up one morning and told me of a dream he had where a lot of women were standing on a bridge,” said Purvis. “He said if we get sponsors for the bridge, then it will be the people that get us where we are going, not us.”

Purvis soon realized the meaning of this dream, as the property included a bridge that had fallen into a state of disrepair. The decision was then made to offer community members and organizations the opportunity to sponsor one of 232 new planks in an effort to replank the bridge.

The planks, which were donated by McCoy’s in Cleveland, were sold to sponsors for $1,000 per plank and could then be adorned with names, company logos, in memoriams, or other forms of personalization.

The efforts were a success, and the money raised covered not only the remaining costs of the home but also helped purchase utilities. An added benefit is that the dream allowed Purvis’s husband, who has always been an integral part of the ministry, to feel even more connected and involved.

“It means so much to have God show him this, and it’s really helped build his faith,” said Purvis of her husband. “I’ve loved seeing it all come together and seeing the growth in him.”

The future reselling of the planks, which current sponsors will first have the option of repurchasing after a 3-year period, will also offer funding for future ventures and expansion, creating a self-sustaining environment for the ministry.

Heaven’s Army members have officially made the house a home. The home sits on 22 acres and features a pond, which Purvis admits her husband enjoys showing visitors and community members who stop by the property.

All of this was made possible, according to Purvis, with help from community members, a dream sent from God, and a bridge.

“There was a picture in our very first house that showed camels crossing a bridge from a desert to this beautiful land,” said Purvis, noting that the picture included the phrase “bridging the gap from the past to the future.”

According to Purvis, this wasn’t a mere coincidence but part of what she refers to as “kingdom business.”

“We knew this all meant that the people will take us where God is trying to take us. Every aspect of the ministry is community,” said Purvis. “I never could’ve imagined anything like this, and I just am so glad to see all this unity and to be able to put back into the community. This isn’t just a Heaven’s Army thing. This isn’t just a Lanora thing. This is a community effort.”

Planks are still available for sponsorship. For more information on the organization or to sponsor a plank, contact Lanora Purvis at 832-401-7965.