“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” -Matthew 7:11
It was the last day of ministry on our shoe delivery trip to the Dominican Republic. We’d had a wonderful, life-changing week in Santo Domingo telling children about Jesus and delivering shoes, but today, I was tired. No – I was exhausted.
As we traveled to the orphanage where we’d serve that morning, I prayed God would work through me in spite of my exhaustion to show his love to the children we’d meet that day.
The children ran to us when we arrived, grabbed our hands and began chatting to us in Spanish. We shared with them the story of Joseph, who experienced many trials, but trusted God and believed he had a purpose for his life. We gave them hugs and told them how much Jesus loves them.
And then, it was time for shoes.
Some of the children could hardly sit still, excitedly pointing at the boxes of shoes at the other end of the room. Others sat quietly, patiently waiting their turn.
I sat down across from a little boy named Julio. He was quiet, and his face was expressionless. I smiled at him and asked, “¿Quieres zapatos nuevos? Do you want new shoes?” He nodded.
Julio was wearing Spiderman shoes – perfect for a little boy his age – but they were falling apart. They were torn, had multiple holes, and looked like they’d been left outside in the rain. Gently, I pulled the shoes off of his feet and took them to Moni, our trip leader.
“Try these,” she said, handing me a new pair. The second I saw them, I knew Julio would love them.
When I returned to Julio, his face lit up. His eyes grew wide and his smile spread from ear to ear.
Because what I held in my hand was a brand new pair of Spiderman shoes.
Carefully, I washed his feet. My heart was beating fast as I prayed over and over that the shoes would fit. I slid socks on his feet, and then the shoes. They fit perfectly.
I had tears in my eyes as I asked Julio, “Te quieren los zapatos? Do you like the shoes?” He nodded again, his eyes still wide, still locked on his new shoes. “Jesús te ama, Julio. Jesus loves you.” He smiled and gave me a huge hug.
As our bus pulled away from the orphanage that afternoon, I felt overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s provision. I thought about Julio, and about God’s love for his children.
Each year, Buckner receives thousands of pairs of shoes to give to children in need all over the world. But God made sure that very special pair of shoes made their way to a little boy living as an orphan in the Dominican Republic, a little boy who needed to know – deserved to know— he is special and he is loved. What good gifts God gives to his children. Each one of us.
Emma Brezik is the marketing coordinator for Buckner International. She recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to deliver shoes with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls.