By Analiz G. Schremmer
(HA NOI, Vietnam) — A pile of more than 240 shoes, booties and slippers were distributed to orphans living on the outskirts of the capital of Vietnam.
Among them was the two millionth donation to Shoes for Orphan Souls—a pair of Crocs that went to Ðàm Trung Hiêu, one of the boys at an orphanage near Hanoi.
The group of workers hauled bags brimming with gifts of school supplies, toiletries and medicine. They spent their time in the country doing crafts, playing games and encouraging the children.
[caption id="attachment_1395" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Đàm Trung Hiêu receives the 2 millionth pair of Shoes for Orphan Souls that was donated to Buckner International."][/caption]
The team’s service to Vietnam, a Communist country, was “to look after orphans… in their distress” (James 1:27). The team believed that through their service to the orphans the people of Vietnam may see the good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven.
“Through serving hands and loving hearts we were able to live out our faith in such a way that touched the hearts of the orphanage directors and teachers as well as each child,” said Jean Lewis, a trip participant. "Only our amazing God could take the little we were able to do to cause such a big impact.”
The children openly shared their stories and before the trip was over. The volunteers collected earfuls of tragedies.
“My father sold me for $7, so that he could buy food,” one child said. “My masters forced me to beg and they would beat me when I came back empty handed.”
[caption id="attachment_1396" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Đàm Trung Hiêu proudly displays his new shoes."][/caption]
Another girl talked of how her dad tried to kill her. “He beat me until I was unconscious, then he threw me into a lake,” she said. “My uncle saw me and pulled me out. After that I ran away and I eventually came to an orphanage.”
A third child, who could only see with one eye, told the story of how she lost the other. “I had begged for money and had made a lot of it, so the other street kids were jealous and so they used cigarettes to burn my eye.”
The stories were told desperately; they were anxious to be heard.
“It’s just nice to be able to show these children that they matter, to give them a gift of something just for them,” said Frank Dang, director of ministry in Vietnam. “And the orphanage director said they would not have been able to afford this kind of investment on their own.”
The children danced with their new Shoes for Orphan Souls and put them on their head to be silly for the camera. They were happy.
[caption id="attachment_1397" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Vietnamese orphans laugh and play with their new pairs of Shoes for Orphan Souls."][/caption]
“Buckner took care of every kid in the orphanage by measuring their old shoes and handed them the new ones,” Dang said. “So, from now on, the shoes that they have from Buckner will be the reminders of the love that Buckner brought to their lives. Some of the orphans wrote notes saying that the Buckner team left them with unforgettable memories through the gift of shoes and touching lessons. They are looking forward to having us next year.”
Shoes for Orphan Souls (SOS), a ministry of Buckner International, provides new shoes and socks to orphans and at-risk children in the United States and throughout the world. From conducting shoe drives to humanitarian aid trips, SOS offers hands-on opportunities to individuals, groups and organizations wanting to transform lives. Click here to donate a pair of shoes now.
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