Last year, Buckner gift officer Rhandi Bobo volunteered three times at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas to sort, prepare and pack shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® for transportation all over the globe.
Like many of the thousands of volunteers who give their time each year, as she prepared each pair of shoes, she slipped a handwritten note into one of the shoes to the child who would receive them.
As she sorted one pair of older girl's shoes, she thought of the girl who would receive them and wrote the words, "You are loved."
This year, Rhandi visited the Buckner Family Hope Center in Villa Hermosa, Peru, with a small team of supporters, Buckner International President and CEO Albert Reyes and a Buckner Communications team to explore ways to support Buckner's work among families and children in Peru.
Villa Hermosa, outside Lima, is notable for its extreme poverty, with hundreds of makeshift homes clinging to the sides of rocky, dusty mountains. The team placed shoes on some of the teens and pre-teens involved in the Family Hope Center's programs.
As the team washed each child's feet, they pulled similar notes out of the shoes and read them through an interpreter. Rhandi chose a young teen girl and began to place a pair of shoes on her feet. Before she placed one onto the foot of her new friend, she pulled a note out to read it and froze.
It was in her handwriting. It was the note she'd written so many months ago in Dallas that read, "You are loved."
With thousands of shoes collected each year and distributed in more than two dozen countries, Rhandi acknowledged the chance of finding her own note was slim, "close to one in a million, but we know with God's timing, this wasn't luck."