Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sensible Shoes from Barb

Children crushed in with the hope of receiving a pair of shoes to separate their feet from the perils of jiggers and other horrible things hiding in the bare ground. My joy, though, is found less in the shoes and more in the tender washing of those tiny feet and the prayers and prophecy over them. Yes, I cringe when I scrape thick layers of earth from between those toes, which have obviously not been washed in any recent weeks. I wince when I find open sores hidden by loose flesh also caked in dirt. But Jesus loves these children and accepts them dirty feet or not.

A simple thought passed through my mind, ever so quickly. Can’t we at least have some clean water for each child? The answer, I already knew was “no.” Their only access to water was several kilometers away, downhill. To ask my host or anyone else, for that matter, to traipse up and down that hill for hours so that I could wash the feet they failed to wash themselves would be ridiculous. And so the basin gradually provided something more like a mud bath.

As I prayed for these children, I found myself praying that the girls would have the boldness to break out of the stereotypes so heavily ingrained in them and for their freedom to live and love as the Lord does. I found myself praying that the boys would recognize the way Jesus loves his church and that they would grow to be men who loved their wives in the same way. On and on the prayers for these children went until finally I asked the adults surrounding me as I prayed and washed these feet whether they too prayed for their children. We had the perfect opportunity to be an example to these parents of how to love and pray for our children.

I was so humbled and thanked the Lord for this specific appointment. I asked his blessing for Barb because she made this ministry opportunity possible. Tender, sweet, and life-changing. I admit that I had hoped, though rather foolishly, that I’d be able to make some kind of exchange – old shoes for new shoes – so that I could create a simple gift for Sharon, the inspiration for this small ministry endeavor. But I quickly new there would be no shoes to exchange. And so, we shared 10 pair, but there are so many more in need.

The story of Surprised by Hope and Sensible Shoes goes back a bit and is filled with some very meaningful moments. Feel free to read all about it on my blog and then go to the Sensible Shoes website to find out how you can buy a copy of the book that inspires so many.

The man who was kind enough to help me with photos
had never used a camera before and so didn't understand
the importance of getting the shoes in the photo.
Each of these children received a pair of sensible shoes.

These and so many other children in this area are in need of sensible shoes.
The one boy in the front who has two pair of shoes was so proud
that he owned these shoes he wanted to be in the picture too.
He is one of three children I saw who had a pair of shoes in this whole community.
Even several of the pastors who attended the workshop in the next blog post
didn't have their own shoes.