Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sensible Shoes: Walk in the Way of Love

When my son began kindergarten many years ago, Rick and I attended the orientation. The principal held up one of four little pairs of shoes – this one was decorated with pink sparkles. “This child,” she said, “lets herself in at home after school every day and plays alone until her mother comes home from work.” “And this child,” she said holding up a pair of grungy tennis shoes with the sole flapping off the back, “after having eaten on the meal program at school will skip supper so his little brother can have one meal.” The stories went on to tug at the heartstrings of every parent in the room.

Rick died not long ago and I found myself confronted with his pile of shoes. I couldn’t help but remember that kindergarten lesson and wonder about the story his shoes would tell. He had shoes for every part of his life – running, biking, skiing, hiking, and working. Our mud room was filled with a multiplicity of shoes that he wore to do what he loved most and what ultimately brought him one step closer to his Creator.

My own shoe journey began by traveling to Alaska for my first mission trip. I trudged through the deep snow and climbed the staircase to the church. As I stepped inside the door, I was confronted with a huge pile of…shoes. In that split second, I remembered the kindergarten lesson and I reflected on the life of Rick’s shoes. I love when God designs those precious moments as if we are the only person in the world. But…I wondered about the life led in those many pairs of shoes that lay tumbled about the floor.

Recognizing God's invitation to serve his people in East Africa, my heart-connection to the life lived in these shoes--sparkly tennis shoes, jogging shoes, or winter boots--drew me to provide shoes for children after washing their feet and praying over them. Just a few pair at a time were enough to satisfy my craving to love these children.

The journey continued when I met Sharon, introduced by a mutual friend. When we first met, she brought a wonderful gift, her recently published book called…Sensible Shoes. This novel is about a journey - a journey of prayer, healing, and self-discovery. How could she have known? I understood then that God had a special relationship in mind.

Only now do I realize how long God has been preparing my heart to deliver the message of Ephesians 5:1-2 and symbolized by shoes, and I am astonished at his patience. Today I have been blessed to share Sensible Shoes ministry with short-term team members and have even had a few teams dedicated to Sensible Shoes ministry. Many thanks to my friends and loved ones, and to Sharon and readers of the Sensible Shoes series, for the growth of this ministry. We now take 100 pair of sensible shoes to each village we visit and believe the Lord will do immeasurably more.

Your $10 gift will allow us to

  • Purchase locally made shoes and washing supplies from mamas in the Malindi marketplace providing them with a much needed income particularly in the off seasons. 
  • Teach children what it means to “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love...” (Ephesians 5:1-2). 
  • Wash the feet of 100 children.
  • Fit those children with a pair of sensible shoes--shoes sensible for the African child's lifestyle.
  • Pray over their distant future.

How many $10 gifts give so much. Click here to give and walk with us on this very special journey of love.