I’ll never forget the first time I saw this picture. Something coarsed through me as I thought about all the shoes in mine and my husband’s closet. We take shoes for granted so often. I can’t tell you how many pairs we’ve donated to our local mission, but it’s a LOT. To be honest, I’m really not a fan of wearing shoes. The first thing I do when I get home is kick my shoes off. I take my shoes off when I drive [unless I’m wearing boots], I rarely keep them on during worship, and I usually kick them off first thing when I’m at someone else’s house as well! But it wasn’t until my trip to Peru this past summer that I really understood the importance of shoes.
One of the first things we were told in our meeting upon arriving at the mission was “don’t walk around barefooted… there are parasites that live in the dirt and you don’t want them…” Wow! I had never even considered the idea of how we can run around our home, our yard, barefoot and never pick up anything, but in these other countries, that’s not so. Shoes are so valuable to these third world countries!
Recently, I hosted a coffee/tea/hot chocolate exchange through Instagram. Ladies from all over the country signed up for it, I paired them up, and then you get to buy all sorts of goodies for your partner based on the information they shared about themselves. My partner was a lady named Carol in California, and oh my, I was so moved by what she shared in her entry form! Here’s a little excerpt from it:
“I love Jesus! I spend my days advocating for and loving on His littles! We find Sponsors for and try to provide for 223 poor, needy, vulnerable and malnourished children in Kenya. Our focus is to prepare and provide resources for sustainable lives for the oldest orphans now ready to age out of the home. We lead trips there each year. We will return the end of December and we cannot wait!”
I went and found her on Instagram and started following her. I quickly learned that they were in the middle collecting SHOES [crocs, actually] to bring with them on their trip in December! These shoes are lightweight and they can bring a large amount with them to Kenya to give away. I was on a mission-to find crocs! I literally went ALL. OVER. TOWN. looking for them, and finally came across some at one store. I bought up five pair of them, came home, and got to wrapping them up! As I wrapped each pair, I prayed for whomever the person is that will be receiving them, for their salvation, and most importantly that they will experience the LOVE of our sweet Jesus! I also had been praying about what to send Carol and the verse from Isaiah 52 just kept coming to my mind:
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
I stamped out this necklace for Carol! Her feet, oh so beautiful, are bringing this good news of peace and salvation to the people of Kenya as they go and hand out shoes, and love on those people there with hugs and kisses! I can’t really put into words how moved I was by what Carol, and her husband, Brian, are doing for these people in Kenya, but I can say that it completely moved me. [You can read more about their organization and the work they’re doing at http://loveoneanotherproject.org] I was constantly reminded of the people in Belen, the children running through the garbage, and waste, without shoes on. The looks in their eyes when we went down there to love on them, play with them. I can only imagine that these children in Kenya are a lot in the same ways like these children from Peru.
I’m so thankful for people who take Jesus’ command to love, and run with it without holding anything back. There’s nothing more beautiful in my eyes than the body of Christ doing what He did-loving. Loving their neighbor, loving the person in the grocery checkout, loving those who use them, loving those who are stinky, of lower class, loving those in other countries. We may not be able to change the whole world by ourselves, but by changing ONE life, we are working together as Christ intended to change the world!
[I will add, and this is not to sell you anything, but my dear friend, Nedy, who currently serves as a missionary in Peru, posted this amazing blog about TOMS shoes. TOMS mission is that for every pair of shoes bought, they will give a pair to a child in need, and Nedy saw this first hand. Check out her post here… you will truly be blessed by it!]